Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How To Identify Counterfeits

Let me ask you a question. How is it that federal agents and the like are able to identify counterfeit money? The answer is simple. They train by studying the original intensely. When a counterfeit bill is presented, the flaws will be obvious because they have spent countless hours looking at the authentic.

Let me ask you a follow-up question. How ought Christians (every Christian) to be able to identify counterfeit religions and sects of Christianity? Once again, the answer is simple. They ought to train themselves (2 Tim. 2:15), like the Bereans, by studying the Bible intensely. The Bible is God's Word, after all. As Christians, ought we not to desire to know its contents inside and out? To know the mind of our Creator, God, Lord, Saviour, and King? To know more of Him? "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom. 12:2). "...Walk as children of Light...trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord" (Eph. 5:8c, 10). "...That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Col. 1:9).

You see, we can (and ought to) know the mind of God because He has given us His written Word. If I want to know God's mind on controversial subjects such as abortion or homosexuality, all I need to do is turn to God's Word. I should know God's Word so well—know God's mind so well—that when controversial subjects come up, I should already be standing firmlyunable to budge. I should not need to hum and hah about it not knowing where I ought to stand.

This is not a task meant only for specific types of Christians (e.g., preachers and teachers). This task is meant for every Christian! Every Christian is going to encounter resistance from the enemy, the devil, and his children. Every Christian is going to encounter counterfeit teachings and teachers in their every day life. Every Christian ought to be equipped to be able to answer these. "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" (1 Pet. 3:15). "Let your speech always be with grace, as though season with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person" (Col. 4:6).

If counterfeit religions such as the Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door, you are not going to be able to ask your pastor or your theologian friend for answers. God has ordained the meeting between you and them. You ought to be well-seasoned enough in the Word to be able to reason with them and give a response to their false teachings and doctrines. If all you do is rely on others, then you will never be anything more than a spoon-fed parrot. You will simply repeat what you have been told and it will never become real to your own soul; something you know intimately because you have spent hours studying and meditating upon it.

Christians are supposed to be in God's Word daily, because that is where we hear from God and learn God's mind. If you never open your Bible ever, how can you claim to be a Christian? You apparently do not enjoy hearing from the One you claim as your Lord and Saviour. If your husband/wife wrote you a book about himself/herself, would you not pour over it so that you may know them inside and out? So ought every Christian to do with the Bible. Every Christian should train themselves (or be trained) to identify counterfeit religions and sects of Christianity by studying God's Word—the Bible—intensely. That way, when the counterfeits are presented they will be so obvious because the Christian has spent countless hours studying the authentic.

"Now [the Bereans] were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." Acts 17:11

"[Study] to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching (what's right), for reproof (what's wrong), for correction (how to get right), for training in righteousness (how to stay right); that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17