Are you tired of games and hypocrisy? Our world is looking for reality.
To evangelize the lost, we must have the living reality of Christ in our lives. There can be no cardboard Christians. As Proverbs 21:28 puts it, “A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.”
Let’s examine what a false witness looks like and then the marks of a true Christian.
The Fatality of a False Witness
Using false witnesses is one of Satan's favorite ploys. In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus says, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.”
There will be false witnesses at the last day who think they are saved but are not. Their lives are marked by several things:
False Praying - These people will cry out, “Lord! Lord!” They know they were supposed to pray. They seemed orthodox in their prayers. But it was false praying, to a God they didn't know.
- Have you observed someone who prayed falsely? What was the situation?
- Below is a list of possible motivations for people to pray falsely. Add others to the list.
- for show
- for respect
- pressure to fit in
- nowhere else to turn with a problem
- How do you think God views these prayers?
- Describe your sincere prayer life and commit to strengthening it.
False Preaching - Verse twenty-two says, “…have we not prophesied in Thy name?” False preachers have stood up and preached with apparent authority. They have talked about God and His Word. The tragedy is that many standing behind the pulpit are simply not saved.
- Have you ever witnessed a false preacher?
- What seems to be their motivation?
- What are some things to look for that would indicate a preacher is sincere and preaching a message given from God?
- His main purpose is to point others to Christ. (Christ is exalted in his ministry.)
- He preaches from the Word of God with no additions, deletions, corrections, or apologies.
- The fruit of the Spirit is evident in His life and ministry.
False Power - These people claim to have cast out demons: “…and in Thy name have cast out devils…” (verse 22). Many times a demon will allow someone to have some semblance of power over it. But it is a false power, used by Satan to deceive. Not everything you see that claims to be miraculous is really a miracle.
- In an attempt to cash in on the desire for “spirituality,” we see many examples of this. Have you observed any?
- What do you believe is the danger in such “innocent-looking” or even “well-intentioned” portrayals?
False Performance - Others participate in false performances: “…and in Thy name done many wonderful works?” (verse 22). These people may sing in the choir, take the offering, work in the nursery, and may even be on the church staff. They do all these works. But they aren't saved. They claim to do all these good things for God, but Christ says they are doers of evil. God doesn't love you because of your works. The Bible says your righteousness is like filthy rags.
- How can this particular trap be perhaps the most dangerous?
- Have you known someone who has done this?
- How can this be avoided?
Now, let’s look at the marks of a true Christian:
The Reality of a Faithful Witness
Solomon noted that a false witness will perish, "but the man that heareth speaketh constantly." That's a tough phrase to understand in our modern language, but it basically means three things are found in a true Christian:
A Listening Worship - First, a true Christian listens to God. No man really knows the Lord unless he has first heard Him. One of the marks of all true Christians is that they have heard the Lord.
- Read the following passages about hearing God. What does each one say about hearing God?
- John 10:27 - ___________________________________________________
- John 18:37 - ___________________________________________________
- Romans 10:17 - ________________________________________________
If you want to hear God, read the Bible. It’s God’s Word to us.
- How often do you read the Bible to hear the words of God?
Another way to hear God is through listening in your prayer time.
- Do you think God speaks to people today?
- How often do you listen to God instead of just talking to Him?
He may also speak to you through a preacher, a friend, or through circumstances; but you have to tune your heart in to God’s voice. A listening worship is necessary to become a true believer.
A Living Witness – Solomon says, “The man that heareth, speaketh.” We dare not speak for God unless we've heard from Him, but once we have heard from Him we dare not be silent.
- How do the following verses teach this idea?
- 1 Corinthians 15:3
- John 8:26
A Christian is called to be a witness. A witness simply tells what he has seen and heard. When you really hear Him, you just have to speak.
Are you speaking of what you have heard? Take a few moments to write out your testimony. Put it on paper. You don't need to memorize it; just keep in mind the main points. Now start praying for an opportunity to share your testimony.
Consider including the following points:
- How did you meet the Lord?
- What were you looking for when you met Jesus?
- Describe your old life.
- How has your life changed since becoming a Christian?
A Lasting Walk - "He that heareth speaketh constantly." A true follower of Christ stays with it. He doesn't give up. He is consistent.
- The apostle John spoke of some who had “gone out” from the church in 1 John 2:19. Read this verse. What is John saying about those who do this?
Why do people start in the faith and fall away? Because they were not really saved. If you've got reality, your faith will last. Sure, you can be saved and stray away from God, but God loves you, and by His grace and power, He will keep you.
- Have you known people you thought were Christians who have fallen away? What do you think happened?
If you're a cardboard Christian, you're going to perish. Jesus will say, "Depart from Me, I never knew you." But if you're a real believer, a faithful follower, you will spend eternity with Him.
- Examine yourself using the criteria we have discussed for being a true Christian.:
- Do you hear from God regularly?
- Do you share what you hear?
- Have you stayed with Jesus through good times and bad?
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