But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.
2 Corinthians 4:3
I grew up in a church that taught that God wanted to save everyone. To many, this seems obvious. After all, they reason, according to their interpretation of John 3:16, He loves everyone. If God loves everyone, surely He wishes to save them all.
Human reason is truly marvelous. Look at the many inventions it has spawned. Nowhere is it so obvious as in our killing machines. But human reason, aided by the Devil, is a disaster in our misguided interpretations of the Bible.
"If every man would save a man, then all the world be saved." This is what I heard when I was a boy. Wow! We're talking outreach now--all the world! In my case it was quoted by one whose wife and daughter were not certain of their own salvation until shortly before their deaths. I was left to find it on my own.
Every effort was directed outward. One's own family were taught to be good and thus earn their own salvation. Jesus was held up as an example of goodness to imitate, not as our Savior. Early on, it became obvious that this church program was nothing but a membership drive.
To dare think that God does not love every one, that the message of the Gospel is for His elect, is to commit blasphemy in the eyes of most Christians. But let me say that if God has tried to save everyone, He has failed. The flood killed billions. Only eight were saved alive. "But they failed to use their free will to choose God, so it is their fault that they perished." This is the argument of those who deify free will and raise it above the sovereign will of God.
Want to try a little experiment? Bring up the subject of man's free will any where. See who gets angry. Such anger is the sound of wounded flesh. It hurts to hear that Almighty God is the one who chooses and creates, and that there are those to whom the Gospel is without meaning.
The most marvelous speaker, the most persuasive salesman, cannot reach some. While people strive to save the world, let them try to reach every member of their family. God's sheep will hear His voice, but to the goats it will remain hidden.