The Barner Research Group said that 62% of Americans claim to have a relationship with Jesus Christ that is meaningful to them. Yet compare this statement with the following statements from the book "The Day America
Told the Truth" which tells us:
1. 91% of Americans claim to lie regularly at home or work.
2. 86% lie regularly to parents.
3. 75% lie regularly to friends.
4. 92% own a Bible, but only 11% read it regularly.
5. According to another poll, 61% believe that premarital sex is not morally wrong.
6. A more recent Barner poll tells us that 1 out of 10
'born-again Christians' believes in reincarnation.
It doesn't sound like many of these people who claim to be born-again Christians know how to be born-again, so if a person doesn't know HOW to be born-again, can they really be born-again
If there's anything to show how the nation of America has gone down the drain morally and spiritually it is seen in programming such as MTV which is full of disgusting sexually immoral and blasphemous things. A Barner poll
showed that 42% of 'Evangelical Christian teens' watch MTV, while only 33% of teens who were not Christians watched it. Out of this 42% of 'Evangelical Christians'....... 65% said they prayed daily,
72% said they believed the Bible, 55% had sex, 55% had cheated on exams, and 20% had gotten drunk or had used illegal drugs!
WHERE is the CHANGE? Where
is the difference between the church and the world? Is there a difference anymore?
Listen to what James 4:4 says - "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." The people in these statistics sure make it seem like they are friends of the world to me and definitely don't act like Christians.
must remember in this day and age that just because someone CLAIMS to be a Christian and professes it, doesn't mean that they really are a Christian. We can't take people at their word anymore when they say they are Christians. And people aren't
Christians because they have a cross around their neck, or a 'Jesus' bumper sticker on their car, share a verbal testimony, or because they got baptized in water.
II. THE TWO MAJOR PURPOSES FOR THE EXTREME NEED OF THE
MESSAGE OF 'COUNTERFEIT CHRISTIANITY' :
1. To expose those who THINK they are Christians but show that according to God's Word that they are not.
This is done so that each counterfeit Christian can come to the knowledge of the TRUTH, and TRULY become a GENUINE Christian once and for all! Modern Christianity says this: "Pray this
little prayer just once, and you're a Christian. That's all God requires of you!" Yet the BIBLE says something altogether DIFFERENT.
2 Corinthians 13:5 says this ... "TEST yourselves
to SEE if you're in the faith. EXAMINE yourselves or do you not recognize this about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you fail the test."
So we need to EXAMINE ourselves and listen to the BIBLE'S truths
to see if we are really leading Christian lives! Even if people think you APPEAR to live a Christian life outwardly, that STILL doesn't show what you do in SECRET, or what goes on in your MIND ---- only you and God know that concerning what you
do and think about when no one else is around. So you need to EXAMINE yourself.
2.) The second purpose is this: For those who really ARE saved and want to share the Gospel with lost sinners, it helps to CLARIFY what the Gospel
Every Christian should have a desire to share the Gospel. If you have the gift of eternal life which is the GREATEST gift one could EVER receive, yet you don't have the desire to share it with
OTHERS, how selfish is that? Could you really be a TRUE Christian if you don't have a desire to share the TRUE Gospel?
Plus if we share the TRUE Gospel, it will help to keep us from producing more counterfeit Christians in
the world which this world does not need more of! There's WAY too many counterfeit Christians the way it is, and they're giving Christianity and Jesus Christ a bad name, and giving the church a bad name.
Plus clarifying the TRUE
Gospel message will help us to NOT SEND MORE PEOPLE TO HELL WHO THINK THEY'RE ON THEIR WAY TO HEAVEN!
III. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT VARIOUS FALSE GOSPELS THAT PRODUCE COUNTERFEIT CHRISTIANS:
The first thing we must ask ourselves is WHY IS THERE SO MUCH COUNTERFEIT CHRISTIANITY?
Doesn't the Bible make is CLEAR that Christians are supposed to be DIFFERENT, and SEPARATE from the world like James 4:4 says? Of COURSE, it does!
BUT IS THIS WHAT IS PREACHED IN THE CHURCHES OF AMERICA TODAY FOR THE MOST PART? We would have to say NO!
The main reasons and main causes for counterfeit Christianity
are the fact that UNBIBLICAL GOSPELS are being preached! People aren't being told the TRUTH about what people must do in order for them to become a Christian and they aren't told the TRUTH about what a Christian life looks like or
what is EXPECTED of someone who calls themselves a Christian.
The true Gospel is rarely if EVER preached in America. The "gospels" shared in most church buildings are nearly nothing like the Gospel that Jesus, Paul, Peter and the
rest of the apostles preached. So let's take a look at some of these 'gospels' that really aren't even gospels at all. Because Gospel means 'Good News', and when people think they are on their way to heaven but are actually on their way to hell, this
is not good news.
SO LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THESE FALSE GOSPELS BEING PREACHED TODAY.
1. The first major false gospel is called "The hellfire and brimstone gospel":
This false gospel comes from those who shout "Turn or burn!! You wicked evil people....you're going to hell!" And this is ALL that's preached - that's it! Now, don't get me wrong, these statements are true, and this should be PART of the true
Gospel message. But these types of people that ONLY talk about hell alone are void of the LOVE of God and void of the GRACE of God.
These preachers seem to be VOID of
the love of God themselves and they almost seem like they WANT the people they're preaching to go to hell. This is NOT the heart of God, but rather the heart of God is that EVERYONE become saved and that ALL come
to true repentance. Christ died for ALL people and not just some.
Also, those that preach this message seem to forget that they too were once wicked evil sinners themselves and in need of a Savior. They normally never mention the
cross, and have forgotten that 'Gospel' means 'Good News'. They never get to the Good News, and therefore have not truly preached the True Gospel.
There is nothing wrong with preaching the bad new, and it is absolutely necessary
that people know that hell is real and that Judgment Day is coming. This is ESSENTIAL to share, and if we don't share this, then we only have a 'half-gospel'. Yet, if we NEVER get to the Good News of Jesus Christ, then we have
not preached the true Gospel.
2. The second major false gospel that is VERY prevalent here in America is the gospel where people 'Ask Jesus into their heart.'
This is not even taught in the Bible, and the problem with this false gospel is that people get the false misconception, because they think they have 'asked Jesus into their hearts' and that they're on their way to heaven. This gospel usually never clearly
mentions repentance, or confession, or forsaking of sin, and there is usually no mention of hell or Judgement Day. There
is normally no clear message of Christians being holy, and no mention of a holy and just God who we will have to give an account to for our every thought, word, and deed.
This gospel is usually ONLY a grace and love only gospel, and is the opposite extreme of the 'hellfire and brimstone' gospel. It's just as wrong to swing to the other side of the pendulum from the hellfire and brimstone gospel, for the grace that allows
'license to sin' is no grace at all friends. For the grace of God CHANGES people, and for those who abuse the grace of God and use it as a license to sin is to reveal those people's true selves, and that they don't have the grace
of God themselves. Titus 2:11-14 describes the TRUE grace of God which tells us "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live
soberly and righteously and godly in this present age looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special
people who are zealous for good works."
Ask yourself....Does the 'just ask Jesus into your heart' gospel produce:
1. People, who live soberly, righteously, and godly and deny ungodliness and worldly lusts?
2. People, who are zealous for good works and looking forward to Jesus Christ coming back?
3. People who are being purified by Jesus Christ?
No, this gospel does not produce this! And this gospel makes no mention
of what's found in Mark 8:34-38 which teaches we must DENY ourselves, take up our cross and FOLLOW CHRIST!
"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his
life for Christ and for the gospel will save it, for what good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet lose his soul? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes
in His Father's glory with the holy angels."
The above passage is Christianity in a nutshell for it tells the conditions of Christianity which are:
1. Deny yourself
2. Take up your cross
daily and follow Him (this is what a Christian WILL do, not might do, and how Christians WILL live.)
3. True Christians will NOT be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
4. They want to sacrifice ALL for Jesus and for the
Jesus gave it all for us, and we must want to be willing to give it ALL to Him as well! Let's say Christianity became outlawed in America and people were forced to become Muslims. If someone came and knocked on your door and said
'You must forsake Christ or die', would you be willing to die for Christ? Or can you do something that's harder which is to LIVE for Christ each and every moment of the day? Are you willing to give your all for
Christ alone and make Him the pearl of great price? The center of all your affections, and not the world as the center of your affections?
This false gospel of 'ask Jesus into your heart' gives people a great
disservice, and leads them to believe that just because they ask Jesus in their heart, that they're on their way to heaven and is giving them a false hope. Also, where in the Bible does it teach this? It does not mean that all who
have 'asked Jesus into their heart' are not saved, but if they are saved it's not because they have asked Jesus into their heart, but rather because they have sincerely repented, trusted in Jesus Christ, follow Him daily, and have truly been born-again. They
live differently now because of what Christ did inside of them.
Folks, we MUST be careful how we share the Gospel, for men's eternal souls are at stake! One man said this about becoming a Christian - "This change
is RADICAL! It gives us new natures and makes us love what we hated and hate what we loved. It sets us on a new road and makes our habits and thoughts different. It makes us different in private and in public."
One of the main fruits
of counterfeit Christianity is that they've changed in public, but in private they're the same. They have a mask on and only live the Christian life in front of the people who they want to believe they're a Christian. This is what most of American Christianity
has come down to these days and it's a farce! It's merely a mask that people hide their lives behind. This is called hypocrisy friends, and the Bible tells us that hypocrites don't know God. They go to church etc with a mask on, and are on their way to hell,
for their private secret lives are not the same as their public lives.
3. The third major false gospel is called the 'incentive gospel'.
false gospel goes something like this: "Come to Jesus and He will give you joy, peace, happiness, purpose, and fulfillment in life." Or sometimes they say - "God has a wonderful plan for your life. Won't you come to Him so He can fulfill that wonderful
plan in your life?"
Jesus and the apostles NEVER shared this type of gospel, but rather they shared the Gospel of repentance and faith. Many times preachers use this false gospel as a drawing card to get someone 'saved.' Many people
think that when they hear the preacher say that God has a 'wonderful plan for their lives', that it means things like they will now have lots of money, a perfect spouse, a big house, be totally healthy and always be happy. Yet this is NOT what is taught
in the Bible, and all of the apostles except for John were all martyred for their faith, and it was attempted toward John many times.
BUT YET TRUE CHRISTIAN LIVING IS ACTUALLY A WONDERFUL LIFE, FOR ALL THESE MEN OF GOD,
WENT TO HEAVEN AND LIVED FOR THE GLORY OF GOD WHILE HERE ON EARTH! THEY DIED FOR A TRUE CAUSE!
This false gospel message gives listeners the idea that God is some sort of 'exalted Santa' to give us all our heart's desire. It completely
gives people the entirely wrong idea of God and the entirely wrong idea of the true mission of God.
4. The fourth major false gospel says 'Pray this little prayer after me...."
This is not found in the Bible either, and is known as the 'sinner's prayer'. We can't get saved by repeating a few words and then 'abracadabra' we're saved! The vast majority of the time when these prayers are prayed, they are not coming from a sorrowful
heart over one's sins and a repentant heart that never wants to commit sinful acts ever again; instead, they are normally just words parroted with no true heartfelt meaning.
God is not looking for someone who repeats words, for this
is only 'words.' Rather, if we do pray to God, it must come from a sorrowful repentant heart, and from a person with a sincere willingness to yield their whole life to Him no matter what the cost to themselves.
If someone is truly
looking for a prayer to pray if that person truly has a broken and contrite heart, you might want to suggest for him to read Psalm 51 which is a prayer of deep remorse over sin.
The true Gospel is very simple - it is simply
to sincerely repent of sin, and turn in faith to Jesus Christ as the only Person who can save you.
5. The fifth major false gospel is called 'Accept Christ'.
Think about the words "Accept
Christ". It almost sounds like the person is burdened to do it and like Christ is some sort of poor beggar just waiting for someone to accept Him. Friends, He accepts us, we don't accept Him. This is all backward. This
type of 'conversion' is often mechanical and spiritless and creates people who are not hungry and thirsty after Christ.
This is not all of the false gospels, but these are some of the most popular and major false gospels.
Folks, do you see how these 'gospels' are just false gospels that are no gospel at all and leave people with a false hope. These gospels are not good news at all because where will these people BE one
day if they haven't truly repented and placed their faith in Jesus Christ? They will be in hell even though they think they're on their way to heaven.
IV. MATTHEW 7:22-23 TESTIFIES TO
Matthew 7:22-23 - "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your
name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them 'I never knew you, depart from Me ye who practice lawlessness!'
This is possibly the scariest portion
of Scripture found in the whole Bible for the people spoken of here aren't atheists, pagans, Jews, Muslims, or Hindus but rather these people THOUGHT they were Christians and they even call Jesus 'Lord.' These people even prophesied in
Jesus' name, cast out demons, and even claimed to perform miracles (such as false prophets like Benny Hinn.) So the point is, just because people do religious things in the name of Jesus whether
it be prophesying, casting out demons, or 'healing people' supposedly in Jesus' name, it doesn't mean that they're going to heaven or that they're born-again.
Doing things like saying a little prayer, 'accepting Jesus', getting baptized,
or going to church doesn't make you a Christian according to the Bible. Now if you ARE a Christian, you WILL pray, you WILL fellowship with other believers, and you WILL read your Bible, but doing these things in and of themselves don't make a person
So what did Jesus say to these people who THOUGHT they were a part of His fold:
1. First He said He never knew them: The word 'knew'
is translated from the Greek word which means to know someone intimately as opposed to mere book knowledge. Instead, these people from Matthew 7 were merely religious people who did a lot of works in His name and figured they belonged to Him but don't.
They have a misunderstanding about how a person is born again.
2. Secondly, Jesus said these people practice lawlessness: What is lawlessness? It is the breaking of God's law and going against what God commands.
It is living, thinking, and sinning contrary to how God would have them live. Simply put, it's living in sin and practicing sin.
Let's see what John 3:9 says. It says "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;
for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God." This verse makes it clear that someone who is truly born again and born from above or who is truly saved CAN'T PRACTICE SIN. It is IMPOSSIBLE for
them to do this....Why?.... Not because they've lost their free will, but because God's seed (the Holy Spirit) abides and dwells in them. The Holy Spirit comes to live inside every believer the day they repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus
Christ. Romans 8:16 tells us 'The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.' And a person who is born of God cannot continue in sin because the Spirit of God convicts them and gives
them a desire to live a holy life.
Dr. D. James Kennedy once said "The vast majority of Christians who are members of churches in America today are
NOT Christians. Based on empirical evidence of 24 years of examining thousands of people."
This is scary friends. If you examine your life since becoming a Christian, has there been a dramatic change? Is there a
moving toward holiness and purity? Is there a hunger for the Word of God and prayer? Is there more of a desire for God and less of you? (I must decrease and He must increase.) Do you have the Fruits of the Spirit? Do you have
a desire to see the lost get saved? ...........If we don't have these desires, then friends, we must examine our lives because there must be something wrong. In the end, the Bible makes it very clear that those who truly are His are changed
1 Corinthians 5:17 says this "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new."
There are two Old Testament passages that really give us an idea of what a born again experience is supposed to be like......
Ezekiel 36:26-27 - "A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Jeremiah 32:38-40 - "And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."
If this is not enough to convince you then
read the whole book of 1 John if you want the full confidence of your salvation. In fact the verse of 1 John 5:13 tells us WHY 1 John was written: "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
You see friends God WANTS us to know if we have eternal life.
He does NOT want us to be self-deceived or self-deluded. He wants to see us in the truth.
Remember, this message requires a response from you and has three purposes in mind:
1. The first purpose is to expose those people who THINK they are Christians but really aren't. - Ask yourself, are you really a Christian according to the Word of God? Not according to what you've heard or
what you've been taught, but according to the Word of God? Don't let your pride stand in the way of becoming a Christian. Today is the day of Salvation, so repent of your sins completely and put your faith in Jesus Christ and He'll make you born
again with a new heart and new desires to do what He wants instead of what you want. Do this today friends - you may not have tomorrow.
2. The second purpose is to give those who truly are saved more assurance that
they are saved. - If you see that you ARE a true Christian by the Bible's standards and description then PRAISE GOD and KEEP on loving Him and loving the lost. For as we know, only those who
endure to the END in following Christ are the saved.
3. The third purpose is that for those who are saved and want more clarification of what the true Gospel message is, so they can help reach more
of the lost with the truth. - Please friends, compare the way that most people are preaching concerning salvation today (sinner's prayer, 'accepting Christ', etc etc) and compare this to the way Jesus and the disciples preached,
and all throughout the Bible, which centered around true repentance and faith and followed by a life of good works toward God, self denial, taking up our cross etc.
These things don't save us but show that we ARE saved and truly DO have the Spirit of God inside of us.
Friends, we must get the Gospel right or else we're in big trouble. The
last thing we want to do as Christians is giving those who aren't Christians a false hope that they're on their way to heaven and thinking they're Christians when they really aren't, and we don't want to preach a message that is not Biblical either.
Article by K. Skelley
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