[a] Just recently, I took my son and daughter to see Mission Impossible 2 in the Cinema - you’ll see it, and the stars featured on the front of the War Cry this week.
[b] One of the things about the film, is that things are never quite what they seem!
You’ll see what you think is one of the characters in the film, and suddenly, he’ll remove his rubber face mask, and he’s really someone quite different underneath!
[c] How often do we come across people who are not quite what they seem?
Sometimes, they are not even who they have fooled themselves into believing they are!!
[d] The Bible makes clear in a number of different ways and metaphors, that there are false, COUNTERFEIT CHRISTIANS!! They are almost indistinguishable from the real thing!
[e] More and more nowadays, we see copy perfumes - some of them are so good they even fool the experts!!
In recent years, we have seen imitation diamonds, and other gemstones, that need a jeweller to evaluate!
Modern technology has meant that even banks sometimes have difficulty discovering the forgeries.
[f] Jesus termed the counterfeit Christians as ‘TARES AMONGST THE WHEAT.’
Paul termed them as ‘REPROBATES.’
Peter used the term ‘FALSE BRETHERN.’
[a] No doubt the best known to spring to mind is JUDAS!
[b] In every way, he appeared genuine! He was there in the midst of all the preaching, healing, teaching - he must have been sent out with the other disciples when they went on campaign!
He must have appeared trustworthy - after all, they made him the treasurer!
[c] BUT HE WAS THE DEVIL’S COUNTERFEIT! HE WAS SATAN’S INSTRUMENT!
[d] He was just waiting his chance to sell out Jesus! And when he did it, it was for thirty measly pieces of silver!
It was, we are told, the price of a slave!
But you could not have bought a slave for that! It was but the compensation value, if your neighbour’s cart had run down your slave and killed them - he was obliged to pay you ‘thirty pieces of silver!’
[e] Judas may have sold the Saviour, but he sold his own soul as well!
[f] We spoke of this, this morning, people who sell their soul, for the pleasures of sin for a season!
[g] We brand such people as ‘backsliders’. But very often this is not the case.
Perhaps many such people, were counterfeit Christians from the beginning - they were a time bomb, waiting to go off!
[h] We are too eager sometimes to take for granted, that because someone looks like a Christian, sounds like one, acts like one, that they are one! It does not necessarily follow!
It is difficult to quantify the number of counterfeit Christians I have met down through the years!
Turned out nicely in their uniforms - involved in sections - wrapped up in all the mechanics of the Army!
[i] But then you find that they have no interest winning people to Christ!
They want nothing to do with the Word of God or it’s teaching!
You find that when there is trouble or gossip in the corps, they are always right there in the centre, stirring it up, and spreading the word, or getting others aggravated!
When I was just a teenager, I met a young man young man who appeared a wonderful trophy of Grace. Wonderful conversion! Wonderful testimony! Wonderful involvement!
Then we came to realise, that he was working hard underneath to lead young Christians away from Christ, back into the world. It wasn’t long until he was back in all his old haunts, boasting to his mates, how successful he had been as a counterfeit Christian, and how he had pulled the wool over everybody’s eyes.
Nicky Cruiz tells of something similar that happened in one of his centre’s for drug addicts.
A girl was gloriously saved, and appeared an angel of light to all. Then it was discovered that she was a lesbian, who was leading some of these young vulnerable Christians astray.
I think of a Salvation Army open air meeting in Ireland.
How wonderful to be out on the streets spreading the Gospel! What a wonderful witness!
Until, one of the bandsmen, right there in the open-air, thumped one of the others, and knocked him to the ground!
I wonder how many people’s souls were turned away from Christ - perhaps permanently - through that one Satan inspired action! Talk about COUNTERFEIT CHRISTIANS!
[a] Jesus warns, “many shall come in that day” and say we have done this that and the other in Christ’s Name, and He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you!”
There are so many today, who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof! In other words, their experience not real! It’s just a pretense - a counterfeit!
[b] One of our relatives, tells of how he grew up in the salvation Army, and was in the sections, and fully involved - the son of a local officer.
[c] But the day came, when he realised, that although he had signed the articles of war: although he had been a faithful Salvationist for years: although he was a top cornet player, although he knew the Gospel inside out - YET HE WAS A COUNTERFEIT! HE WAS NOT SAVED!!
[d] WHAT ABSOLUTE HORROR IT WOULD BE, TO END UP IN A LOST ETERNITY, WITH A LIFETIME OF SALVATION ARMY SERVICE BEHIND YOU!!
My dear friends, if Jesus came tonight - IS ALL WELL WITH YOUR SOUL??
Can you look back to that day when you found Jesus as your Saviour, and your life was transformed?
Can you look at a life that has been maintained spiritually, and is truly being lived for Christ right now?
There are many tares amongst the wheat, and the harvest time is fast approaching!