There is a lot of emphasis on numbers today. There is competition all around us. Its all about the numbers. This has taken root in the church, as well. There is competition among churches as to who has the largest membership roll or who has the largest number of people in attendance on Sunday morning. It seems we want to bring the ministry down to mere numbers. What a sad commentary for the church!
Nominal followers were the greatest obstructions to the ministry of Jesus when He was here on this earth - and they still are today. Their interests were being entertained by His miracles (Matthew 16:1), finding opportunities to criticize Him (Matthew 22:15-16) and getting something for nothing (John 6:26).
Judas was one of the original twelve disciples, but Peter said of him, "he was numbered with us" (Acts 1:17). He was just a number. You see, Judas wanted to be a disciple of Jesus without complete departure from the world and its ways. Judas attempted to serve God and money (Matthew 6:24). His tongue was pious and his heart was greedy (John 12:1-8).
"He was". This could be said of many today. Once he was a person of prayer, but now? Once, she was faithful in gathering together for service, but now? Once he was a joyful Christian, but now? The most miserable person you will ever run across is the one who, at one time, served God with all his/her being, but now no longer does. They can't help but be miserable.
Again, Peter said of Judas, "he had obtained part of this ministry" (Acts 1:17). Judas' part of the ministry was no less than the others'. Heaven's resources were at his disposal. He was witness as well as partaker of the many miracles performed at the hand of Jesus as well as by His disciples. He could have had an eternal mansion (John 14:3-3). What happened? What became of Judas? Like every self-centered life he came to his end with a little silver and a plot of ground bought with his sin. A lot of good those things did him.
Let us ask ourselves this question, "Am I just a nominal Christian?" Is my church participation and service to God genuine or is it "put on" so as to keep others from nagging me? Do I find it difficult to do the things of God or am I ready, willing and eager to do the will of God?
I challenge you today to make your calling and election sure (1 Peter 1:10). Be saved and know it. Have a "know so" salvation. We must make a greater effort to follow God's will - not our will (Luke 22:42). We should take a greater interest in one another and be available for one another in times of need as well as in times of rejoicing (Galatians 6:1-2). We should be encouragers. As children of God, we ought to have a greater interest in the unsaved (1 Corinthians 9:22-27). Instead of "canned" prayers, we must take a fervent approach to God in prayer if we truly desire to see God answer our prayers. Of course, we must take a greater interest in Bible study (2 Timothy 3:16). I dare say, the local television listings are more familiar to most people, even Christians, than the Bible.
As the great preacher Billy Sunday once said, "It's time to quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ!"