Counterfeit Christianity

SERMON TOPIC: Counterfeit Christianity

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 7 July 2013


Sermon synopsis: Galatians 3:6-10 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! 

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Counterfeit Christianity.

Galatians 3:6-10.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Counterfeit Christianity.

Matthew 23:15.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

Counterfeit Christianity.

Job 13:15.

Job said “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”

That is a noble statement, yet very far removed from the faith that many modern day Christians adhere to. The fault does not necessarily lie with the followers of today’s popular Gospel, perhaps much blame lies at the door of the “Good News” preachers. But a vast contrast can be seen between the early church fathers and today’s leaders and between the early church followers and today’s followers.

Counterfeit Christianity is self centred.

In many countries today Christianity is not the popular religion of choice as it is in much of the West. Here a much higher price is paid to be a follower of Christ, although that term can scarcely be applied to the hundreds of thousands in western countries who call themselves Christians, yet do not pray except in personal difficulty, or when wanting some new additional blessing, whose church attendance is based on the weather outside or whether someone has not offended them with some triviality, or if they feel like it etc. They do not tithe and the money they do give is given begrudgingly with the expectation of great reward. Very far removed from those who still say “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”

Counterfeit Christianity is self centred.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”

Rather than the above statement, the average modern day Christian says bless me and I will trust You, prosper me and I will trust you, don’t let me get sick, don’t let anything bad happen to me or my children, be the genie in the lamp to do my bidding and I will trust You.

No wonder Paul says in

2 Corinthians 13:5.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you unless, of course, you fail the test?

The Apostles paid a high price as did many of their followers, for following Jesus.

Counterfeit Christianity is self centred.

From the Facebook page of Muslims for Jesus.

I am angry also when I hear preachers crying with great emotion, "Help me clean up America," when they dare not try to clean up the Church -- riddled as it is with carnality and sensuality. I am angry and grieved when preachers weep over the TV that their income is decreasing, though I've never seen them weep on TV over the millions of lost souls they address every week. The God on TV is an inoffensive, undemanding God, wanting to give but requiring nothing in exchange. There is no need to take up your cross and follow Him.

Leonard Ravenhill

Counterfeit Christianity is self centred.

Old Time Religion = I exist for God. Modern Religion = God exists for me.

A Roman Catholic priest startled us not very long ago by saying that for 25 years he had been sitting in the confessional, listening to the confessions of men and women. He said he heard (of) murders, rapes, adultery, and fornication. He met men and women who have broken every law of God and man with repetition. But never in 25 years had anyone ever confessed to be covetous. Covetousness! We wrap it up and call it ambition. We may call it business or something, but right down in the middle of those things is a rotten word called "covetousness." Paul called it idolatry!

Leonard Ravenhill

Counterfeit Christians believe but don’t obey.

Mark 10:17-27.

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honour your father and mother. And he said to Him, Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up. Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Counterfeit Christianity.

Hedonism is the problem with the West.

i.e. worship of pleasure. Today’s society is filled with pleasure seekers and comfort seekers but very few God seekers.

2 Timothy 3:3-5.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Counterfeit Christianity.

James 1:19.

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble!

(The demons believe and they tremble, but they are doomed to hell.)

Quotes from John Hagee.

Counterfeit Christians want to feel good without being good.

They want change, but they don’t want the conflict.

They want success but without struggle.

They want ritual not righteousness.

They want the crown without the cross.

They want Sunday morning to be a spiritual happy pill that will send them out the door singing about a heaven that they are never going to see.

Counterfeit Christianity.

John 8: 30-59.

Even as he spoke, many believed in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered him, We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free? Jesus replied, Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father. Abraham is our father, they answered. If you were Abraham’s children, said Jesus, then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.

Counterfeit Christianity.

John 8: 30-59.

We are not illegitimate children, they protested. The only Father we have is God himself. Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God. Jesus’ Claims About Himself The Jews answered him, Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed? I am not possessed by a demon, said Jesus, but I honour my Father and you dishonour me.

Counterfeit Christianity.

John 8: 30-59.

I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death. At this they exclaimed, Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are? Jesus replied, If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad. You are not yet fifty years old, they said to him, and you have seen Abraham! Very truly I tell you, Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I am! At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

Some counterfeit Christians are easy to spot.

Symbolism over substance.

Episcopalians in Washington DC headed by James Kelly, say they do not believe in God. James Kelly said “We all love the incense, the stain glass windows, the organ music, the vestments and all its drama, it’s the ritual. I don’t want to give up all of that just because I don’t believe in God.” No wonder that the Episcopal church has elected a practicing homosexual bishop, which is a clear violation of Scripture, yet these are the people that sail under the Christian banner.

Some counterfeit Christians are not easy to spot.

Prophets, miracle workers…

Matthew 7:21.

Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in 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, you who practice lawlessness!

Some counterfeit Christians are not easy to spot.

Matthew 24:24.

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Christianity is more than signing a card or singing a song, it is a commitment to Christ Jesus as you surrender your life to him.

1 Peter 4:12-18. Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

Some counterfeit Christians are not easy to spot.

Jesus spoke of the tares and the wheat, true and counterfeit Christians co-existing.

A counterfeit is so like the real thing that you battle to tell the difference, it sometimes takes an expert, but we try to give assurance to people who don’t even resemble what a Christian should look like.

Some counterfeit Christians are not easy to spot.

Matthew 13:24-30.

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares? He said to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Do you want us then to go and gather them up? But he said, No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.

1. The world has no appeal for a true Christian.

Philippians 3:8.

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage (dung), that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (What person sits and dreams of dung, yet some think with nostalgia of their life of sin. The truth is they have not changed inwardly only outwardly.)

James call such people adulterers.

James 4:4.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

2.The true Christian stands firm and takes action.

Daniel 11:32

Those who know their God shall be strong and do exploits.

The people who know God shall stand firm and take action.

Some seemingly well meaning Preachers have embraced a non confrontational gospel that does not confront men with their sin, but Jesus preached a gospel that offended.

Daniel didn’t hide in the basement praying because of the King’s decree.

2.The true Christian stands firm and takes action.

Revelation 12:11.

They overcame him by the blood of the lamb, by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto death. (Does that describe you or do you think there is a 2nd grade Christianity on offer)

When I came into the ministry 25 years ago someone said to me that you can be a Christian without being a disciple. I have never seen that option given in the Word of God.

3. The true Christian loves his brother.

They confess Christ. (You can fake that)

They get baptized. (You can fake that too)

We know that we have passed from life to death because we love the brethren. (You can’t fake that)

John 13:35

Jesus himself said, By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another.

1 John 4:19-21.

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

3. The true Christian loves his brother.

Loving our brothers.

1 John4:7-12.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

3. The true Christian loves his brother.

Loving our brothers.

1 John3:2-18.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

3. The true Christian loves his brother.

1 John3:2-18 (continued)

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

4. The true Christian serves with passion.

In matters of pain and persecution, Jeremiah the prophet may be considered the Paul of the Old Testament.

Perhaps no other pre-Calvary prophet suffered as much for God as did Jeremiah. The truth is, in many ways his sufferings foreshadowed the sufferings of the Savior. 1. Both Jeremiah and Jesus were hated by the religious world (Jer.26:7-8), John 11:47-53); 2. Both were plotted against by the citizens of their own hometowns (Jer. 11:21; Luke 4:28-30); 3. Both were denounced by the synagogue leaders of their day (Jer. 20:1-2); John 18:13, 24); 4. Both wept over the city of Jerusalem (Jer. 9:1; Luke 19:41); 5. Both were accused falsely and beaten (Jer. 37:12-15); Matt. 26:61) Were Jeremiah’s sufferings because of his stand for God worth it? Surely his conclusion would have been that of Paul’s (Rom. 8:18) “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”

4. The true Christian serves with passion.

He was persecuted by his own family He was plotted against by the people of his hometown He was rejected and reviled by his peers in the religious world Pashure, the chief temple priest, had him whipped and put in stocks. He was almost murdered by a wild mob of priests and prophets after one of his messages. He preached a sermon at the temple gate and was nearly killed by an angry mob for predicting the temple would be destroyed.

Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say, I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

4. The true Christian serves with passion.

According to Scripture and the Lord Jesus Himself, the greatest commandment is this: Matt. 22:37. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Many Christians can quote this passage, say all the right words, do all the right things, go to all the right places, but yet something vital is still missing on the inside of their mortal being. What is it that’s missing in the lives of so many “born again” Christians? Where is the genuine adoration and love of God that once burned within us? Do we really love Him with all of our hearts, all of our souls and all of our minds or is there a mixture in our Christianity?

4. The true Christian serves with passion.

One of the key ingredients in a Christian’s life is passion. Not passion for worldly things, but a true heartfelt passion for Jesus. A passion that burns on the inside and consumes our thought processes, consumes our decision making, consumes our worship, consumes our emotions and will.

I believe many Christians today are lacking passion for Jesus. We have passion for our friends, passion for our animals, passion for our computers and other realities of life, but where is our passion for God?

Passion is an abandoned display of emotion such as love, joy, etc. It denotes strong feeling, fervour, enthusiasm and zeal.

4. The true Christian serves with passion.

Acts 4:13-20. When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.

4. The true Christian serves with passion.

Do you serve because you are compelled to or because you choose to?

Paul was compelled by the love of Christ!

2 Corinthians 5:14&15. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

The Greek word translated “compel” - literally means, “it PRESSES us” but it’s pressure, not from the outside, but from within it is “motivational rather than directional”

“The love of Christ GRIPS me”, one translation puts it.

4. The true Christian serves with passion.

The Greek word translated “compel” - literally means, “it PRESSES us. But it’s pressure, not from the outside, but from within it is “motivational rather than directional”

“The love of Christ GRIPS me”, one translation puts it.

A missionary in Africa was once asked if he really liked what he was doing.

His response was surprising. “Do I like this work?”, he said. My wife & I do not like dirt. We have reasonably refined sensibilities. We do not like crawling into vile huts through goat refuse. But is a man to do nothing for Christ he does not like? God pity him, if not. Liking or disliking has nothing to do with it. We have orders to “Go”, and we go. CHRIST’S LOVE COMPELS US.”

4. The true Christian serves with passion.

When you know God you serve with Passion.

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Romans 12:1.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God this is your true and proper worship. (KJV Your reasonable service)

5. The true Christian hears the Lord’s voice.

John 10:3-5. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice…… All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them…...

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

5. The true Christian hears the Lord’s voice.

The big problem that confronts modern day Christianity is not a God that doesn’t speak, but Christians, like the Jews of old, do not listen.

Jeremiah 6:10. “To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The Word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.”

Obedience is the response that keeps the dialog going. If we refuse to do what God tells us, we risk deafening our spiritual ear.

Mark 4:23-25. He who has ears to hear let him hear. Consider carefully what you hear, with the measure you use it will be given to you and even more. He who hears will be given more, he who does not hear even that which he has will be taken away.

Examine yourself.

2 Corinthians 13:5.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you unless, of course, you fail the test?

Most people go through their lives without a great deal of reflection or examination. From their political views, to their stands on the issues of the day, most people are generally more interested in arguing proving that they are right and the other guy is wrong than in actually examining their beliefs to see if they square with what is true. That lack of introspection and self-examination extends to our religious ideas, as well. How many people honestly put their beliefs about God "under the microscope"? How many people truly examine their ideas about the meaning of life, about right and wrong and about good and evil? How often do people simply continue in the religious customs and practices they were taught as children, without making sure that the god they are worshiping is the true God?

Examine the God/ god you are serving.

Paul was struggling against the spread of a teaching that involved a different gospel, a different spirit and a different Jesus! Although its doctrines and customs sounded quite similar to the true gospel of Jesus Christ, it was a counterfeit! While deceptively similar, it was not the truth. The Bible describes a struggle to maintain the purity of the Christian faith, just a few years after Christ established His Church. Even in the next-to-last book of the Bible, we see the struggle continuing: "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 3–4).


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