Jesus unequivocally said, “You will know those who speak of Me falsely by the things that proceed from their lives.”
Our problem is that we judge on a the basis of appearance because we are carnal and spiritually unable to discern according to God’s standards. Consider the following examples:
- A man routinely preaches to thousands of regular attendees at his own “church,” even has a radio, television, internet and tape “ministry” that reaches around the world. But, at last report, his “church” was deeply in debt, the “congregation” divided into cliques, and less than 5% of the people were routinely involved in actively sharing the gospel (not even the “church’s” gospel!) or love of Christ.
- Another man sees enough truth to break away from the “church” but begins to receive “revelations” regarding supposedly spiritually deeper “truths” and the spirit giving him this revelation warns him that “some will oppose this.” Now the man will not even speak to anyone who disagrees about these “revelations” and is apparently quite welcome back in “church” circles, routinely appointing “church” “pastors” to leadership roles in his own circles.
- A local business man who claims to follow Christ donates money to help a “church” build housing for orphans in Mexico (“coincidentally” gaining a tax break and local community recognition) – but some of his own nearby neighbors who are also brothers in the Lord live in less than adequate housing. Some “brothers” who also claim to follow Christ who know this man travel many miles to help the man do things to expand his business – but none of these “brothers” ever show up to help the neighbors.
- Millions of American children reportedly go hungry on a daily basis but a man whose children have never missed a meal or suffered any significant lack is perceived and slandered as being “under God’s judgment” because he won’t take an American-styled full-time “job” (that would largely remove him from his family’s life) but instead finds innovative, sometimes laborious, ways to provide for his family (while he shares his life with them). Many of these “innovations” are simply historical methods employed long before we “gained” our many modern technological “advances” (most of which “coincidentally” enslave one to the time clock, the calendar or to the greed of one’s employer.)
- A group of people have escaped the institutional “church” but continue to practice the superficiality, worldly tolerance, spiritual and physical neglect, gossip, slander and false judging which they condemn in the people they see and pity because they are still trapped in the “church” deceptions.
- A brother confronts another brother about some trait he finds “spiritually” objectionable. But when the two brothers (and even witnesses) cannot agree on even the basic facts of what was actually said (let alone the spirit in which they were said), the first brother self-righteously withdraws from the second and refuses to have anything more to do with him.
And the list could go on. Paul told us to withdraw from those who have a form of godliness but don’t really have His power – power demonstrated in divine, self-sacrificing agape love and the genuine righteousness (what is right in God’s eyes) of God. We must see the things that proceed from people’s lives, recognizing them for what they are as God sees them, or else we will soon come under the same strong delusion that will engulf all those who derive pleasure from some sin or other and we will reap a judgment worse than if we had never known the way of truth at all.
Let he who has ears hear.
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