"In" But Not "Of

“In” But Not “Of”


Modern critics have questioned whether Athens was truly a democracy. At its zenith, Athens only granted citizenship to 50,000 adult males out of a population of 250,000. Women, children, slaves, and resident aliens were excluded from the right-to- vote. The resident aliens were called metoikoi (literally, "with house"). It was translated: "those who live with us." A metic could not own land, speak in court, or marry a citizen. By 431 B.C., there were 30,000 metics residing in Athens.

In short, they were "in" Athens, but not "of" Athens {adapted pp. 65-66, Carl J. Richard, Twelve Greeks and Romans Who Changed the World

We face the same thing in the church. John says: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us" (1 Jn. 2:19). Sometimes they are this evident— physically leaving the local church.

But there are far more subtle ways in which some "members" of a local church are not, in reality, "of" the church at all.

The Recreational Christian

These folks think the weekend is for one thing: F..U..N! They are almost always gone. Their children grow up thinking this is what Christians do. They go somewhere all the time. They really are not "close" to anyone in the local church because they are never around for anyone to get "close" to them. You cannot count on them to be here, so why put them on the roster for public worship? They are "among" us, but not "of" us.

Remember, the Bible warns about being sucked in by the world's allurements and forget- ting our purpose for being here (Mark 4:19 and 1 John 2:15-17).

The Arm-Chair Quarterback Christian

These Christians are lying in wait. If everything goes well, they do not complain. But let the first thing go wrong, and they let the elders have it. Oh, they look like they are "of" us. They come all prim and proper to Sunday services. They are here all the time (unlike their recreational counterparts). But they are watching for the slightest misstep. They sit on the sidelines scrutinizing the work. Oh, mind you, they know how it ought to be done. They have the right opinion about a host of things. They tell their "arm-chair quarterback" friends all about it. Everyone agrees and they all lie in wait. And then something goes wrong they go for the jugular. Criticism is their forte. They think they are "of" us, but they are truly only "among" us.

Are we "in" but not "of"?