TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

PUFFED UP CARNAL

You who sit in the pews—who keep GOD from knowing you—commit two evils.  You are more evil than the prodigal son, who committed only one evil by forsaking Me.  But you commit two evils; you forsake Me and fashion Christianity to your choosing.

“The curse of a godless man can sound more pleasant in God’s ears than the Hallelujah of the pious” Martin Luther (ref#28, p9).

“Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me…” (Jer 2:22 ESV).

“…Their lives are perpetual fashion shows…” (Matt 23:4-7 MSG).  “…they make confident assertions” (1 Tim 1:7 ESV).  “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it.  They act like they’re worshiping me, but they don’t mean it.  They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy” (Matt 15:3-9 MSG).

“…Christians are too puffed up by a sense of what they suppose they are doing for God, to earnestly study what God has promised to do for and in His people.  They are so occupied with their fleshly efforts to ‘win souls for Christ’ that they feel not their own deep need of the Spirit’s anointing” A.W. Pink (ref#269. P6).

“…a Christian is a person who has faced realistically the problem of his own personal sin…Christianity is…a sinner’s religion” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p4).

FATHER, we all are so susceptible to being caught in doing instead of being.  The enemy urges us toward “Christian service” projects and human nature jumps at the chance to “serve.”  This is a classic example of the cart before the horse.  Putting ourselves in relationship with You must come first.

“Whatever does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the Holy Spirit, is unquestionably of the flesh” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

FANATICISM

“Rightly did Jonathan Edwards affirm, ‘Many have been the mischiefs that have arisen from that false and delusory notion of the witness of the Spirit, that it is a kind of inward voice, suggestion, or revelation from God to man, that he is beloved of Him, and that his sins are pardoned—sometimes accompanied with, sometimes without, a text of Scripture; and many have been the false and vain (though very high) affections that have arisen from hence.  It is to be feared that multitudes of souls have been eternally undone by it.’  Especially was this so in the past, when fanaticism made much of the Spirit witnessing to souls” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p138).

Samuel Chadwick defines this as ‘will-worship.”  “…a kind of will-worship, by which man substitutes his own enthusiasms for the will of God” (ref#195, p126).  These thoughts came from a spirit all right, but it was an unholy spirit and not the HOLY SPIRIT.

“…They tripped over what little they knew about him [JESUS] and fell, sprawling….” (Mark 6:3 MSG).

“He who is seldom with Jesus in private will only exhibit, in all that he does for Jesus publicly, the fitful movements of a mind urged on by a feverish and unnatural excitement” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 17th).

“Man-made enthusiasm and emotionalism is superficial and cheap.  In real revival emotion is not produced or manipulated by man.  It is a response to the unsought, unexpected, but powerful working of God’s Spirit upon the inner depths of people’s souls” Wesley Duewel (ref#341, p12).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

CARNAL – NOT YET FULL OF THE SPIRIT

“There is a notion today that people can walk up an aisle, pray a little prayer, and do God a favor by making their decision…” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p17).  “It will not do to say merely, Christ died but now lives, and therefore I shall live also.  There must be a vital union between our souls and him by faith or we must assuredly perish” Charles Ross (ref#241, p103).

“Because of the lack of clear and spiritual views of the freeness of the atonement—the perfectly unconditional bestowment of the blessings of pardon and justification—many are kept, even among those “called to be saints,” from entering fully into the liberty and peace of the gospel.  They have been convinced of their need of Christ; they have been made to hunger and thirst for pardon and acceptance; they may have been brought through a deep law work of the soul to stand as on the very borders of the land that flows with milk and honey; but looking more to themselves, and less to Christ,…waiting for some condition to be performed, some fitness to be experienced, or some price to bring, they are kept back from those rich and untold blessings which a closing in with Jesus the Savior of sinners would assuredly bring into their possession” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 18th).

“…if…we desire to enjoy…the Spirit’s power and blessing, we must give Christ the throne of our hearts and crown Him the Lord of our lives” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p45).

“The…mark of the carnal state is a man’s inability to receive spiritual truths….We give…men spiritual teaching, and they admire it, and understand it, and rejoice in such ministry; yet their lives are not practically affected….we dare not say they are spiritual men, full of the Holy Spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).

“Therefore, I say that I must never attempt by any means or method to get to know God or to try to make myself love God except in and through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I must avoid every other direct approach to God…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 26th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

INOCULATED CARNAL CHRISTIANS

Christians who keep GOD at arms length are in much peril.  Satan finds many ways to convince wanta-be Christ-followers that the way he choses to be a Christian is an adequate way.  This satisfaction can be labeled “inoculation” for it makes him feel safe that all will turn out well in the end.  The enemy makes his life pleasant enough.

“It may impart just enough light to the mind to leave its atheism without excuse, but it cannot impart enough light to convince the soul of its sinfulness, guilt, exposure to the wrath of a holy God, and its need of a Savior” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 25th).

Carnal Christians have a zeal for GOD but do not walk in tandem with Him.  They consider themselves inoculated and thus not in need of CHRIST the Physician.  “They work for Christ in a certain way, but we can scarcely recognize the true sanctification of the Spirit…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).

“One grain of the truth of God experienced in the heart is more valuable and precious than the whole system in the head only….Welcome whatever makes you more acquainted with God…Welcome the cross, though it may be heavy; welcome the cup, though it may be bitter…welcome the wound, though it may be deep.  Welcome to your heart whatever increases your knowledge of God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 10th).

“The bedrock in Jesus Christ’s kingdom is not sincerity, not deciding for Christ, not a determination to serve Him, but complete and entire recognition that we cannot begin to do it” Oswald Chambers (ref#83, p86).

“No matter what your experience or profession, no matter how certain of your conversion or how orthodox your belief: ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting’ (Gal 6:7-8).  O the madness of men in courting eternal death rather than leave their sinful pleasures and live a holy life” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p111).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

CULTURAL HOLINESS

“Many Christians have what we might call a ‘cultural holiness.’  They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them.  As the Christian culture around them is more or less holy, so these Christians are more or less holy” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p22).  “…those who grew up ‘in the faith’ but had no faith…” (Matt 8:10-12 MSG).

“…the present generation has been brought up to believe in the doctrines and religious customs of their ancestors…that…makes it more difficult, and calls for a more careful self-examination, to ascertain whether or not he has been taught of the Lord” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p103-104).

“…these…rest upon their intellectual knowledge of the Truth, and mistake it for a saving experience of the same.  And it is this class which…is the hardest to reach: it is much more difficult to persuade such to examine themselves as to whether or not they have been taught of God, than it is those who make no profession at all” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p104).

“…there are a lot of rebels out there, full of loose, confusing, and deceiving talk.  Those who were brought up religious and ought to know better are the worst….They say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words….” (Titus 1:10-16 MSG).

“I would issue a strong warning…to…moral, civil, well-natured people, good-livers, as we call them….when this virtuous, natural disposition has the advantage of a godly education, these sort of people come quickly to look very well; and, therefore, they ought to take great care….” Robert Traill (ref#225, March 27th).

“Moral, civil people are in great danger…they think they have sufficient assets of their own and therefore, they do not borrow from Christ” Robert Traill (ref#225, March 27th).

FATHER, these long-time pew-sitters are in great danger indeed.  They are “babes in CHRIST” that are lulled to contentment in virtue of their good actions and spiritual knowledge.  But they are static babes, presently stagnant in their growth toward holiness having no idea that “moral conformity’” is vastly different than the “Gospel.” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p69)   I pray for these who find themselves in this quote: “…I have been brought up as a Christian; I have always tried to do good.  I have never been conscious of the fact that I am a sinner, that I need repentance, and that I must be converted” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Sept 26th).

TRUE CHRISTIANS OR FAUX?

THE SPIRIT VISITS BUT DOES NOT DWELL

“The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it” (Matt 13:20-21 MSG).

“‘The Spirit visits many who are unregenerate, with His motions, which they resist and quench; but in all that are sanctified He dwells: there He resides and rules.…if we have Christ for our Redeemer, then we have the Holy Spirit for our Indweller.  But if have not the Spirit, we are not Christ’s.  We may be members of His visible ‘Church,’ we may be externally united to Him by association with His people, but unless we are partakers of that vital union which arises from the indwelling of the Spirit, we are His only by name” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p97).

“Many…presume that their faith is a lively and saving faith, because, as they think, they have repented, and are become new creatures.  And all because they had such an enlightening that they could not naturally attain; the Word has affected them, and somewhat altered them from what they were….They find that they do not commit many of those sins which they used to be committing; and that they do many good duties towards God and man, which they used not to do” Henry Scudder (ref#225, Oct 11th).

“But what of all this?  These men, as far as they go, yet going no further, are far from salvation.  The common gifts of God’s Spirit, given unto men in the ministry of the Gospel, may elevate a man higher, and carry him further towards heaven…yet if the saving grace of the same Spirit is not added, he will fall far short of heaven….” Henry Scudder (ref#225, Oct 11th).

“Solemn is it to realize that there are now in Hell multitudes of men and women who on earth were visited with deep conviction of sin, whose awakened conscience made them conscious of their rebellion against their Maker…How solemn to realize that many of those who experienced such convictions were aroused to flee from the wrath to come, and became very zealous and diligent in seeking to escape the torments of Hell, and who under the instinct of self-preservation took up with ‘religion’ as offering the desired means of escape.  And how unspeakably solemn to realize that many of those poor souls fell victim to men who spoke ‘smooth things,’ assuring them that they were the objects of God’s love, and that nothing more was needed than to ‘receive Christ as your personal Savior.’  How unspeakably solemn, we say, that such souls look to Christ merely as a fire-escape, who never—from a supernatural work of the Spirit in their hearts—surrendered to Christ as Lord” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p72-73).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

PROFESSING BELIEVERS

This title, too, is misleading for these are carnal men who, themselves, profess to be believers, but they are not genuine believers.

“A dangerous yet real possibility is that apparent followers of Jesus may not be true disciples at all but only professing believers (e.g. Judas Iscariot)” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1859, [Matt 18:14]).

“There are multitudes of unregenerate religionists [professing believers] who are taught, numbers of them well taught, in the letter of the Scriptures.  They are thoroughly versed in the historical facts and doctrines of Christianity; but their instruction came only from human media—parents, Sunday School teachers, or through reading religious books.  Their intellectual knowledge of spiritual things is considerable, sound, and clear; yet it is unaccompanied by any heavenly unction, saving power, or transforming effects….many of them are total strangers to a miracle of grace being wrought in the heart.  How it behooves each of us to test ourselves rigidly at this point” A.W. Pink (ref#269 p103, brackets mine)!

Jonathan Edwards lends sobering words in his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.”  “Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation and flatters himself…that his schemes will not fail” Jonathan Edwards (ref#139, point 9 in second set of beginning points).  “…whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes,…God is under no matter of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction” Jonathan Edwards (ref#139, point 10 in second set of points).

“It is not that he [the sinner] is averse from being saved from Hell—for none desire to go there—but that he is unwilling to “forsake” (Prov 28:13; Isa 55:7) his idols—the things which hold the first place in his affections and interests….the things of time and sense…” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p88-89, brackets mine).

“Man may change from error to truth, yet only in the head, not in the heart…morality is but nature at best….Sudden passion, or stirring of the affections.  Many desire heaven, but will not come up to the price.  King Herod heard John gladly; his affections were moved, but his sin was not removed” Thomas Watson (ref#48, “The Conuterfeits of the New Creature”).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

A TRUE CHRISTIAN – A FAUX CHRISTIAN

I realize that the title is misleading because there is no such thing as a “faux Christian.”   The definition I would put on a “faux Christian” is a person who thinks he is a Christian but is not.

A carnal, natural, fleshly person’s actions are very much like a babe, carnal-like Christian.  They are so much alike that no one can tell the difference since we can’t evaluate the heart.  Even the person himself sometimes cannot tell.

“Empty professors [faux Christians] are fatally deluded by a false confidence, a complacent taking for granted that they are real Christians when they have never been born again” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p130, brackets mine).

 “Beware lest there be among you a man…whose heart is turning away today from the LORD…who…blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart’…” (Deut 29:18-19 ESV).

“It is true that many a carnal man is ravished to think that God loves him, and will save him; but in this case, it is not the true character of God which charms the heart; it is not God that is loved….self-love is the source of all his affections” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p67).

“How should divine justice spare the sinner, who knows the right, approves it, and professes to follow it, and all the while loves evil and gives it dominion in his heart” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 14th AM).

The true Christian, possesses a new heart given him by GOD.  He is regenerated; he has now a different motivational direction than his old natural ways.  Yet he may remain a “babe” in CHRIST and not outwardly display any changed actions.  He may appear like a carnal, fleshly person.

With both a true Christian and a faux Christian looking so much alike it behooves us all to search ourselves and see if there is any wickedness in us.

PRAYER

PRAYING AMISS 

“If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Prov 28:9 ESV).

“…if the Word of Christ be not dwelling in us ‘richly’ (Col 3:16), how can we expect to have the right petition to present to God in the hour of our need” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p147)!

“As long as in prayer we just pour out our hearts in a multitude of petitions, without taking time to see whether every petition is sent with the purpose and expectation of getting an answer, not many will reach the mark” Andrew Murray (ref#19, TENTH LESSON).

“It is impossible to intercede vitally unless we are perfectly sure of God, and the greatest dissipater of our relationship to God is personal sympathy and personal prejudice.  Identification is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with God, it is by sympathy, not by sin.  It is not likely that sin will interfere with our relationship to God, but sympathy will…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 3rd).

“Sin is seen not only in selfishness, but in what men call unselfishness.  It is possible to have such sympathy with our fellowmen as to be guilty of red-handed rebellion against God” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, May 22nd).

“It must be, because I pray amiss, that my experience of answered prayer is not clearer.  It must be, because I live too little in the Spirit, that my prayer is too little in the Spirit, and that the power for the prayer of faith is wanting” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTH LESSON).

FATHER, how surprising to me is that my sympathies for others in prayer may not be Your will.  Guess that is why You say, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts’ (Isa 55:9).  You are insistent that I establish a relationship with You.  Without it I go on thinking my desires are Your desires.  No wonder so much praying sees no asked-for answer.  Remind me that before I open my mouth in petition I need to get an okay from You.

PRAYER

UNABLE TO PRAY ARIGHT 

“…so depraved is the saint that in the hour of need he is incapable of asking God aright to minister unto him.  Sin has so corrupted his heart and darkened his understanding that, left to himself, he cannot even discern what he should ask God for….In nothing do the saints more need the Spirit’s presence and His gracious assistance than in their addresses of the Throne of Grace” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p145).

LORD, send “the [Holy] Spirit…in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication…” (Rom 8:26 AMPC).

“…because we are so blinded by self-love…we are unable to discern what will be most for God’s glory, what will best promote the good of our brethren…and what will advance our own spiritual growth” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p146-147).

“We are poor, and needy, and ignorant, and blind…But in the midst of our feebleness we may look to God for the aid of his Spirit, and rejoice in his presence, and in his power to sustain us in our sighings, and to guide us in our wanderings” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Rom 8:27]).

“…the Spirit of God makes intercession for the saints, not by supplication to God on their behalf, but by directing and qualifying their supplications in a proper manner, by his agency and influence upon their hearts…” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Rom 8:27]).

“He [the SPIRIT] instructs and inspires all true prayer.  There is no truer word than that ‘we know not what we should pray for as we ought.’  There is no realm in which we so soon come to the end of what we know as in that of prayer.  Our petitions urge wants that are immediate, obvious, and urgent.  We cannot see deep enough or far enough to know what is our real need.  Most people would like good health, home comfort, congenial conditions, happy friendships, a little more money, and better success…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p60, brackets mine).