I attended a funeral a few weeks ago. It was conducted by a Lutheran pastor. (Well, it was a woman, so she is a pastor as defined by men and not by the New Testament. But let's not get bogged down in secondary issues here.)
Her teaching, while its substance was Biblical, made no distinction between those present who were believers, and those who were not. All were presumed to be saved. Thus, all present were presumed to hold the hope of heaven, the hope of eternity with the Father, with Jesus, and the angels, and the saints, on the basis of their obedience to the revealed will of God.
Now I do not pretend to know the spiritual condition of all those in attendance at the funeral (and the pastor assuredly could not know, either), though I have a good idea concerning more than a few with whom I have acquaintance. However my notions of who is saved and unsaved are irrelevant. A sound Bible teacher always maintains a distinction between believers and unbelievers in his teaching, for the encouragement of believers and to warn the unbelievers. In II Corinthians 13:5 Paul wrote,
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
So then what must people do in the face of this truth? We must believe on Him, or perish. That is, we must each of us believe on Him. We are not saved by any corporate association, whether it be Israel or the church.
Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is to actually receive the grace of God; otherwise His grace is not received. It is as if God gave a Gift to each and every man, woman, and child on earth. Then what is our part? It is to receive the gift rather than simply acknowledge that the gift was given. Your brother sends you a gift, you receive notice that it is waiting for you at the post office, and yet you never go to receive it. In the spiritual realm this is tantamount to wicked unbelief.
Israel perished in the wilderness due to wicked unbelief. Yet they had been delivered out of Egypt just as the human race has been delivered out of bondage to sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Egypt is a type of the world and the world-system, of which the New Testament says, "The whole world lieth in wickedness." I Jn. 5:19. "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." I Jn. 2:2.
Does I John 2:2 mean that all are saved? Clearly not. It simply means that all are availed of the remedy for sin. What must we do, then? We must claim our gift. Each of us. Personally. Individually. Or perish.
Paul warned the churches against committing the error of Israel, in I Corinthians 10. And the author of Hebrews warns "church members" against succumbing to the error of unbelief in Hebrews 2-4. (These are "church members" after the definition of men, rather than the church members–members of the church of Jesus Christ through faith in Him–addressed in Ephesians and, in fact, in the opening salutations of all Paul's epistles.)
God delivered the many–Israel–out of Egypt. But only a few entered into "His rest" in Canaan. Entering into His rest is salvation. Wandering in the wilderness is not salvation, though a few of those wanderers did indeed ultimately enter into God's rest.
It is exactly the same under the economy of grace as under the economy of the law. There are believers and there are unbelievers in both dispensations. Believers are those who believe the current and abiding revelation of God. The current and abiding revelation of God is to believe on the One He sent. The current and abiding revelation of God is NOT that one is saved by "going to church." If you are saved you are IN Christ's church whether you "go to church" or not.
But false teachers blur the distinction between believers and unbelievers, instead teaching (mostly by inference, and this is the essence of vague and unclear teaching) that all those who have the good sense and taste to attend XYZ Church must necessarily be saved. This is false teaching. This is a false gospel. Paul said that anyone, even an angel from heaven, who taught any gospel other than the plain, unadulterated, unvarnished gospel of Christ crucified, mixing faith and human merit when it is faith alone that saves, should be accursed. "Let him be accursed." Gal. 1:9.
This is how the grace of God is turned to license: "church members" are presumed to be saved, though many of these cannot know the liberty that is in Christ for the reason that they are not in Christ. Thus the "liberty" they know is untethered to the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit and, in degrees and in manifestations varying from person to person, amounts to license, or lasciviousness. "By reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." And so they call us hypocrites or, at least, they see no holy power in that corporate body called Christians. There is variation from church to church; but the one, visible, earthly institution called "the church" elicits scorn from the world, not for loving Jesus (which is true persecution) but for its worldliness, i.e., the people in the church mostly live just like the people in the world.
The next time you hear words of grace spoken from the pulpit in your church building, ask yourself, "Does my pastor maintain a distinction between the recipients of God's grace and those who may be in attendance here and yet have no right to partake of the (spiritual, not physical) altar?"
Come, Lord Jesus, and rule the earth.