The Strange Mystery of the Counterfeit Christian

Matthew 13:24-30, 37-40

Adrian Rogers

Sermon Overview

Scripture Passage: Matthew 13:24-30, 37-40

Not everybody who claims to be a Christian is a genuine Christian. Hypocrisy is a confusing and bewildering thing. Through the parable of the wheat and tares, Jesus shows us how He deals with counterfeits.

Matthew 13:24-30 is a word of comfort, warning, and instruction for those caught in the strange mystery of the counterfeit Christian.

“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’” (Matthew 13:24-26).

First, we see the sowing of the tares.

The tares in the parable came from the chief counterfeiter himself, Satan. The devil wants worship and false believers. He has convinced hypocrites to follow a false Jesus and false spirit. (See 2 Corinthians 11:4.) He has false ministers to produce false brothers and proclaim a false gospel. (See 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.)

We shouldn’t let hypocrites keep us from seeking true fellowship with God and with each other; counterfeits copy what is worthwhile.

Adrian Rogers says, “Every false Christian that you see is a testimony to the good, the worth, and the reality of the real.”

God is well aware of counterfeits; they may pass through the world with ease, but God cannot be fooled.

Second, we see the growing of the tares.

No matter how tempting it may be, we cannot uproot false religion; it’ll do more harm than good. God is the judge, not us. Every church must exercise discipline—not meant to root out and remove but rather to reclaim and restore.

Finally, we see the knowing of the tares.

The wheat and the tares will be discerned at the harvest. God tolerates the tares for the sake of the wheat; He waits until they are all ripe before He sends the reapers. He does not judge now, because it is too early. Our influence, whether for good or for evil, goes on and on after we die. God collects the evidence of our influence.

Apply it to your life

Adrian Rogers urges us to:

  1. Make certain of your salvation.
  2. If you are not saved, don’t let a counterfeit Christian keep you out of heaven.
  3. If you are a counterfeit Christian, repent and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior.