A recent poll indicated that 80% of Americans claimed to be Christians. Can you possibly imagine the impact on our culture if 80% of us were true, genuine followers of Jesus Christ. There must certainly be a lot of people deceived into believing that they are truly Christian. It would seem it is the proper or cool thing to claim a type of nominal Christianity but in fact, genuine Christianity is not cool in our culture. What is cool is to muddy the name of Christ and people do that in two ways:
1.) Many out and out deny that Christ exists. They claim to be atheist. They feel a certain sense of relief if God doesn’t exist. If there is no God they can be their own gods.
The humanist hates the Christian who claims that Jesus is God because if Jesus is God, he isn’t. He doesn’t want to answer to a more powerful and moral being. And besides, he will get a lot of attention by stirring up his religious friends and relatives if he claims atheism.
The atheist reminds me of the athlete who hits a homerun or scores a touchdown and then stands in the end-zone beating his chest and pumping his fist and pointing his finger at himself desiring the admiration and worship of millions because of his athletic feat. In reality he is a little parasite who does not seem to realize that he could not even walk or breath accept for the grace of a God that does exist.
2.) They claim Christianity but they live in sin. Many have a crazy idea that they can be Christians and still have a strong love for sin and the world. A true Christian is sensitive to sin. A true Christian keeps the commandments of God and he is grieved in his heart if he fails. He repents with great sorrow when he hurts the heart of God.
There is one, I’ll refrain from naming her, who has become a cultural icon in America and she makes a claim to be a Christian. I’ve seen her recent video. I’ve seen the way she dresses. I’ve always been told “If it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.” I will say with full assurance and on the authority of God’s word that a woman who spouts those words and promotes a sinful, sex-saturated lifestyle has a master and he is not the holy God of scripture. I see a woman who loves the pleasures the world can offer her and she wants others to share in her lust for depravity.
By now you may be asking, “How can you be so judgmental?” If God chooses you to point out the sins of the artificial Christian or of the blatant sinner you will feel their seething hatred. You may be surprised how many people can’t quote John 3:16 but they can quote Matthew 7:1. It’s the flagship verse used to checkmate and handcuff the Christian who would dare challenge the politically correct thought of the present age.
Matthew 7:1 “Judge not…that you be not judged.”
This verse is often taken out of context. Satan uses this verse just as he did the verses he shared while tempting Jesus in the wilderness. You can separate a verse in the Bible and make it say anything you like. But read all of Chapter 7. Verses 15 and 16 say “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”
There is a final judgment that is holy and untouchable and belongs to God alone and we are not to interfere or meddle with that judgment.
Divine judgment is not our realm. But we all make judgments here on earth and God expects us to. The policeman who sees a man enter a bank carrying a gun is going to make a judgment. If I tell my son to stay out of the cookie jar yet I see cookie crumbs on his mouth I’m going to make a judgment. We can and must make biblically-based judgments regarding the cultural icons of our day. We will fail our children and the next generation if we refuse to judge the music they listen to, the videos they watch and the cultural heroes they idolize. What we must not do is make a judgment without love. Many who say “Don’t judge me” are actually pleading, “Still love me.”
Genuine Christians have no love for the sinful things of the world. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) Why not love the world? Because God’s word says that “the world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” – (1 John 2:17)
The great deception of Satan is that those things in the world will bring you satisfaction. We binge on food and we only want more. We binge on drugs and alcohol and them we want more. We binge on sex and we binge on materialism and possessions and wealth and we only want more. Jesus counteracts this ‘great deception’ by telling us “there is an everlasting stream of living water that flows from Calvary.” It is never ending. You may drink from this fountain and you will be entirely satisfied. This precious flow will take away your lust for sin and for the world and once you taste its sweetness you will want only to share in the holiness of God and experience the joy and fullness of his salvation forever and ever.
During WWII, Adolph Hitler had a plan for the destruction of England’s economy. It was a great deception. He never did employ it so we will never know if it would have been successful. He wanted to make millions of dollars (pounds) in counterfeit money and drop them from the air all over London and other British cities. The Brits would run out into the streets and hoard the money. The infiltration of these counterfeit monies would destroy the British economy.
Satan’s plan is to infiltrate the church with so much false doctrine so as to destroy the church. He wants to dress it up so it appears to be genuine. He wants to fill our pulpits with false prophets who will declare these lies to be truths and who will bring great confusion to the church.
There is a great lie that has invaded the church today. The lie is that God no longer has a standard for righteousness. He no longer has any requirement for entering into the kingdom. You can have your cake and eat it too. You get to choose your own standard of morality. You can do what you want to and still claim Christianity as long as you said that little prayer of repentance somewhere along the way you’re in.
Genuine Christianity demands a genuine repentance accompanied by genuine faith which qualifies us for a genuine salvation bought by the precious blood of a genuine Savior. Believing and doing are twin sisters. When we strive to live up to God’s standard (doing) of holiness we demonstrate to the world what we believe and whom we love.