Those early Christians sometimes struggled in trying to understand why anyone would hear the gospel and not obey it. Perhaps Paul says it best when he expressed their frustrations with the question, “Have they not heard?” Truth and righteousness meant so much to them and to us that the first response to the world’s disobedience is to think the only reason they have not obeyed is that they have not heard.
Now before we become too judgmental in looking at the world, perhaps we should take a look at ourselves. There are many Christians who are like the lost world—they have heard, but they have chosen to ignore what the Lord says. Consider the following examples of areas where Christians ignore Him.
Have they not heard what the Lord says about worshiping him regularly? I find it so remarkable and perplexing that there are Christians who think worship of God is optional. How is it that some can be so sporadic in their attendance at worship? I’m talking about those who every month miss worship. Have they not heard the Lord’s promise to be present every week and partake the Lord’s supper (Matt. 26:28)? Surely anyone would want to sit with Jesus at His table. Can you imagine the honor each of the apostles had to be at the last supper in the upper room? Can you imagine any of then choosing to be absent?
Have they not heard that Jesus is in our midst and sings praises with us as we sing (Heb. 2:12)? Just imagine what it would be like to have the Lord sitting beside you and singing, There is a God; He is alive. Do those who are not here regularly know these matters? Can you think of any reasonable explanation for such behavior? Have they not heard?
Have they not heard what the Lord says about modest dress? I am so perplexed about how Bible teaching about our dress is ignored by Christians. Have they not heard that Jesus discusses the way we should dress? Are they not aware that provocative dress that is too short or too low or too tight produces lust? Are they not aware that the word “lasciviousness” (the word is defined as “a means to entice the lust of the flesh”) is listed as a work of the flesh and God simply says, “They who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom” (Gal. 5). Why do these words have almost no impact?
Have they not heard these things? Why have they not obeyed? Think soberly about it. Why, oh why?