He was a member of the church. He said so when questioned about his religion.
He was a member of the church but he could not be counted on to attend the services. He worked six days a week, and he had to visit sometimes, when could he go except on Sunday. He worked hard and needed some recreation, and Sunday was the only time he had for recreation.
He was a member of the church, but he just could not get to Bible study on Sunday morning. He needed the extra hour or two of sleep more than he needed to study the Bible. He attended the worship most of the time, and he felt that was enough.
He was a member of the church, but he did not come on Sunday night. He had to rest to be ready to go to work on Monday. He had already attended one time and that was enough except for the preacher and a few over zealous people. He had eaten the Lord’s Supper, and that was the only thing that was really important anyway.
He was a member of the church, but he never came to mid-week Bible study. He could not find where the Bible said anything about mid-week Bible classes. He said he was tired on Wednesday night and needed the rest and requested people not to bother him by calling on him to invite him.
He was a member of the church, but gave very little of his money to the cause of the Lord. The church supported the preaching of the gospel, but not with his money. The church helped orphans and widows, but not with his money. After all, he owned a home, a new car, a television, and took a vacation each year and it took all of his money to live on.
He was a member of the church, but he never invited anyone. He said that he thought that was what the preacher was paid to do. If he was sick and no one visited him, it hurt his feelings. He complained of the church not visiting people.
He was a member of the church, but he never tried to teach anyone else. In fact, he did not know where to find the Great Commission. If someone asked him a question about the Bible he had to call the preacher to find the answer. The truth is he just did not like to talk with other people about the Bible.
He was a member of the church, but he died. I conducted the funeral. I said, “He was a member but he was careless in his attendance. He was a member of the church, but he did not think Bible study was important, and so he never came. He was a member of the church, but he never gave as he prospered. His funeral is being conducted in a building paid for by others. He was a member of the church, but he never visited the sick. He was a member of the church, but no one gathered here today has he taught the truth. He has now gone to judgment to meet his God, and all he can say to God is: ‘I was a member of the church.’ All that I can say about him is that he was a member of the church.”
While these are not the words that I used, it is the substance of what was said. The service was over, and as I stood at the door waiting for the men to take the casket and place it in the ambulance, I heard someone say, “He preached him straight into hell.” But I deny that I did so. All I did was to tell the truth about his life. All that he claimed while he lived was that he was a member of the church. Why should I insult his family and his friends and his body by saying he was more? I could not claim for a dead man what he refused to claim for himself while he lived.
This is not fiction—it happened.