Friday, August 26, 2016

Real Christ Followers

The imitations can be so close to the real thing that you might be surprised.


Matthew 7:20-23  Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.  21  "Not everyone who calls out to Me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter.

22  On judgment day many will say to Me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.'  23  But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God's laws.'

In my previous post "Living A Lie" we saw that all of the disciples were deceived into thinking that Judas was one of them. Everyone in the room at the Last Supper was shocked except for our Savior, Satan had produced such a superb counterfeit Christ Follower to the point that the eleven guys that Judas was in a small group with didn't have a clue.

Christianities true value can be seen in the number of cheap imitations that there are. Counterfeiters do not waste their time producing pretend copies of something that isn't real and very valuable, a lot of effort goes into making false cash or precious gemstones or even imitation of expensive medication but nobody is making fake versions of cheap things with little value.

That's one of the ways that Satan proves to us that Christianity is valuable and real. Other religions do not have a problem with fake versions, nobody has ever seen a false Buddhists or a fake Hindu, I know that Christ and his teachings are extremely valuable because of all of the effort that Satan puts into making counterfeits.
You even heard it from our president, “Well, there were Christians a thousand years ago who slaughtered Muslims.”  Those weren't Christians, by the way, those were false Christians who belonged to a false Christian system, but that’s the kind of strategy that goes on all of the time surrounding Christianity.

-John MacArthur "Traits of a True Believer"
There is a lot of talk about being a Christian, many funerals do the injustice of labeling someone a Christian when their isn't any real evidence, what a tragedy that is! The people that attend such a funeral will understand a false gospel and feel comfortable about their eternal relationship with God.

So how do we know who the true Christians are?  Who are the true followers of Christ? If Judas was able to trick eleven guys in his small group then how can we be sure about our own small group?

It is difficult for us to know because the heart is where the real change has to take place. Anybody can put some effort into changing the outside, I can follow the rules and do what is expected of a Christ follower for long enough to fool anybody, but real transformation comes from the heart.
Ezekiel 36:25-27  "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.  26  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you.

I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  27  And I will put My Spirit in you so that you will follow My decrees and be careful to obey My regulations.

A new heart and a new spirit has to come from God, the inner spiritual transformation has to work its way out to the outer physical transformation, too often we try to change our exterior with the hopes that it will sink inward. The Bible tells us that is the wrong direction.

Heart Issues: Acts 15:9, Romans 2:29, 2 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Timothy 2:22, Hebrews 10:22

From the inside a new creation comes about from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God from nothing. The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of inwardly toward self. The old things are replaced with new things that are full of life and the glory of God.

Empty Words: Psalm 55:21-23, Proverbs 26:23-25, Ezekiel 33:31-33, James 2:15-16, 1 John 3:18-19

We have all heard the parable of the two builders that built their own homes, they might have the same architect, same floor plan and they were probably in the same neighborhood because they both weathered the same storm but without a solid foundation they will have drastically different outcomes.

Spiritual activity without a proper foundation is the easiest way to seem like you have been changed by the gospel, you don't have to dig or pour a footer, you just pick a place and start building, your house may resemble the true believers around you but without the proper foundation it is all going to fall. (Matthew 7:20-27)

Examine Yourself First: 1 Corinthians 11:31, Matthew 7:4-5, Romans 2:1,

Real followers of Jesus have a new birth, a new heart and new desires, they are Spirit led and obedient to God's Word. Real followers of Jesus are strangely different, what they hated before are the things that they love, going to church and studying God's Word are no longer a chore. All of the stuff the world loves is seen as garbage and so they strive to die to their old way of life.
Ye call Me Master and obey me not,
Ye call Me Light and see me not,
Ye call Me the way and follow me not
Ye call Me Life and desire me not,
Ye call Me wise and acknowledge me not,
Ye call Me fair and love me not,
Ye call Me rich and ask me not,
Ye call Me eternal and seek me not,
Ye call Me gracious and trust me not,
Ye call Me Noble and serve me not,
Ye call Me mighty and honor me not,
Ye call Me just and fear me not,
If I condemn you, blame me not.
It may sound like a long checklist of things to look for in someones life but it can all be summed up with the word love. It's that thing that Jesus said that we should be known for and since the world is pretty good at love that means that we will have to be really extreme at showing love in order to be set apart from the rest. (John 13:35)

These are the clues that somebody is a real follower of Christ. They have experienced a new birth, received a new heart, and enjoy new desires. All of these things make them a totally different person than they used to be.

Plenty of "good" people will end up in hell for eternity without God. Living a moral and descent life may fool your pastor, your friends or even your small group but it isn't going to fool God.

Your good works, church attendance, baptism, Bible study or prayer time isn't going to keep you from hearing Jesus say "I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God's laws."