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Counterfeit Christianity | Part 2

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2022 7:00 am

Counterfeit Christianity | Part 2

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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January 27, 2022 7:00 am

In this message from Acts 8, Adrian Rogers shares three warnings about false religion, so we are not deceived.

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Do you have a true faith or a false religion? Listen to Adrian Rogers.

Welcome to Love Worth Finding. Satan is not against religion. In fact, it's one of his chief tools and most deceptive tricks. In Acts chapter 8, on the heels of a great revival, a sorcerer named Simon exhibited a counterfeit Christianity that posed a threat to the early church. If you have your Bible, turn to Acts chapter 8 as Adrian Rogers shares part 2 of Counterfeit Christianity. When God moves, the devil also moves. As we've said before, Satan tried to pose the church from the outside, and that didn't work.

It just drove the church to her knees. So now he's going to try to pose the church from the inside. And he does it, first of all, with superficial saints and a nice sense of fire. But now he also does it with counterfeit religion. And the devil is a counterfeiter. And what he does, rather than to deny the faith, he counterfeits the faith, and that is doubly dangerous. The three things I want to lay on your heart as we're thinking about counterfeit Christianity, and believe you me, these things are very real. And if there were ever a generation that needs to hear what I have to say, this is the generation that needs to hear of the dangers of counterfeit Christianity.

Three things I want to warn you about. Number one, don't be dazzled by the satanic force of false religion. Look in verse 10. It speaks of this sorcerer, and the Bible says, "...to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God." There was force in what this man was doing, and they were all dazzled by it.

Notice verses 9 and 10. There was a certain man called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. Now, here was a man who was using sorcery. Sorcery is just another word for witchcraft.

What Simon was doing was not just a bag of cheap tricks. It's not just that he was an illusionist. He was in league with the devil. You know, sometimes people will get into sorcery, witchcraft, whatever, and they say, Well, there's really something to it, Pastor, as if that exonerates it, as if that somehow indemnifies it, if somehow that substantiates it. There is something to it. But, friend, what there is to it is devilish. There is devilish, demonic, magical power in the world today.

Now, here's the second point. First of all, don't be dazzled by the satanic power of false religion. Number two, don't be deceived by the superficial faith of false religion. Not all false religion is in the occult.

Sometimes it moves right into the church. Now begin to read in verse 13. Now, remember, Simon now has been a sorcerer. He's been practicing witchcraft. But now notice verse 13, Then Simon himself believed also. Well, Philip has been preaching Jesus.

And now here is this sorcerer, this man full of demons who has been practicing witchcraft, and the Bible says he believed also. And when he was baptized, he continued with Philip and wondered, underscore this next phrase. Now, if you don't mind writing your Bible, beholding the miracles and the signs which were done. Now when the apostles, of which were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John, who when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For as yet he was fallen upon none of them, for they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

This is the progression of Pentecost. Now these people in Samaria are receiving the Holy Spirit as they did at Jerusalem. Now notice in verse 17, Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Now watch verse 18. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay my hands he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God might be purchased with money.

Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Now I'm going to stop reading there just simply to say this, that Simon, quote, believed, end of quote. But he was an unbelieving believer. He was not a true Christian. His faith was superficial, not real faith. He is believing not in the Master. He's believing in the miracles. He sees the power being manifest there by that New Testament church.

And so he wants to be a part of it. But he never has met the Lord Jesus Christ. You say, Pastor, it says he believes. Wasn't he saved?

Read verse 21 again and look at it. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right with God. Simon never did really truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not all belief is saving belief. You may give mental assent unto the facts of the Gospel, but you have never met Jesus Christ. You say, I am a believer, but you're not saved.

You know the plan, but you don't know the man. You've seen what God has done, but there has never been a change of heart. You say, well, doesn't the Bible say believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved?

Yes, it does. The Bible also says the devil believes in trembles. You see, there's a superficial faith. There's a kind of faith that never really comes and bows the knee to Jesus Christ, never makes Jesus Christ Lord. It is the superficial faith of false religion. Now, we have today a generation of people who are, quote, very spiritual, but they do not believe the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Now, God has sent me here to tell you that you better get a bulldog grip on God's Word and God's truth. Thousands of church roles are padded with moral whirlings who had spiritual experiences who have never been born again. Now, have you had some experience, something that you call being born again? Suppose you come to the end of your life. Suppose you stand before God and God says to you, why should I let you into my heaven?

You would say, well, when I was on earth, I had a great experience. An angel, a heavenly being came into my bedroom and told me that I was heaven bound, that I am ready for heaven. An angel appeared unto me. Satan could be there and sneer and say, you fool, I was that angel. You say, pastor, is that possible?

Put it in your margin. 2 Corinthians 11 and verse 14, and no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed as an angel of light. If you have an encounter with an angel, how do you know you're not having an encounter with the devil himself?

Satan himself is transformed as an angel of light. I tell you, it would be a whole lot better if you were to stand before the Lord and the Lord said, why should I let you into my heaven? And you were to say in John chapter 5 verse 24, because Jesus said, verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life and on the basis of your word and on the basis of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in my faith in him, I seek entrance into heaven.

Heaven's gates will swing wide and he'll say, enter into the joy of your Lord. Listen, friend, you had better beware of the superficial faith of false religion. This man, Simon, was a believer, but he wasn't saved.

Now here's the third and final thing. We're talking about counterfeit Christianity today. Remember the force of false religion, the satanic force. Remember the superficial faith of false religion. Here's the third thing. Don't be destroyed by the selfish focus, the selfish focus of false religion. Do you know what the fuel that empowers false religion is? It is selfishness. Now you don't have to think too hard as you read this story to see that Simon is full of himself.

He is focused on himself. Read verses 9 and 10. There was a certain man called Simon which before in the same city used sorcery and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out, now underscore this, that himself was some great one. And then skip on down to verse 14. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John, who when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost and so forth. Now notice verse 18.

Then when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. Here was a man who was so full of himself. Listen, what is self-centeredness?

Let me give you a synonym for it. It is pride. Do you know what made the devil the devil?

Self-centeredness. What made the devil the devil is pride. Isaiah chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, put in your margin. Isaiah is speaking to Lucifer, the devil, and here's what he says. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning? Thou art cut down to the ground which didst weaken the nations.

And now he describes the process that made the devil the devil. For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High.

Five times, I will, I will, I will, I will, I will. What did Jesus teach us to pray? Not my will, thine be done. What did Satan say? Not thy will, mine be done. All false religion is self-centered. It focuses on self.

How do you think that Satan got Eve to take of the hidden fruit? He appealed to our pride. He said, you be like God.

You can be like God. All religion, that is false religion, put it down big, plain, and straight, the focus is selfishness. First Timothy, chapter 6, beginning in verse 3. Paul was talking to Timothy about truth and wholesome doctrine.

But then here's what he says. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud. What drives liberalism in seminaries? Pride. What causes unbelief, the word of God? Pride. What made the devil the devil? Pride.

What is the root, the fuel, the source of all false religion? It is the focus on self. It is selfishness.

It is pride beyond the shadow of any doubt. Therefore if you want that which is real, you go to the word of God, you lay your intellectual pride in the dust, and you crawl out to Jesus for mercy. It's obvious that Simon was in this thing not for what he could give, but for what he could get. Look in verses 19 and 20. He said, Give me this power that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God might be purchased with money. False religion and self-centered religion brings two things. Let me tell you, the root is pride. Let me tell you the fruit. You want to know what the fruit of all false religion is?

I want to show you right here. Peter says to him in verse 23, For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. Learn this about false religion. The fruit is bitterness and bondage. The very word gall means poison. False religion is a poison.

Peter said, Look, Simon, I'm going to diagnose your heart. You are bitter, and you are in bondage. I perceive that there is in you this bitterness and this bondage, because your heart is not right in the sight of God. Bitterness and bondage, verse 23. That is so true. Did you know why so many churches have trouble?

Because there are people who are bitter and who are in bondage. They have met religion, but they have never met Jesus. They have never been broken at the foot of the cross.

They have never laid their pride in the dust. They have come into a church not for what they can give, but for what they can get. They've never met Jesus. The Spirit of God is not in these people, and they are troublemakers everywhere they go, because their religion has never satisfied them, and it never can.

They are disillusioned, and they have unfulfilled desires, and they got in for the wrong reason, and they never, never, never, never, never have satisfaction. Everywhere they go, they're like Simon, full of bitterness, full of bondage. They're troublemakers in churches. Now, even in his repentance, so called repentance, this man is full of self. Notice Peter says, look, you are in the bond of iniquity. And notice what Simon said in verse 24. Then answered Simon and said, pray ye to the Lord for me. Now, why didn't he pray? Why didn't he pray? Because he didn't know the Lord. Pray ye to the Lord for me that none of these things which you have spoken upon me. He didn't say, pray for me, I'll get my heart right with God.

No! All he is doing is wanting to escape trouble, difficulty. There's no change in this man's heart.

There's no change in this man's life. It is self-centered even repentance. Do you know the difference between a true child of God when he sins and an unsaved person? The unsaved person fears the consequences of his sin. The saved person is brokenhearted because he's broken the heart of God. Not only have I broken God's law, I've broken God's heart and it grieves me.

But the unsaved person says, man, I'm in trouble. He'll go to some psychologist, some counselor, somebody else, say, pray for me. Pray for me, preacher, my wife has left me. Pray for me here. Pray for me here. Pray for me here.

I don't want this trouble. What they need is God. All false religion is self-centered. There is the satanic force. There is the superficial faith. And there is the selfish focus of false religion. And I want to tell you again, the devil is not opposed to religion. He's in it up to his ears.

It'll be a great day in America when people stop enduring religion and start enjoying salvation to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. A woman was in her house. A knock came on the door. She opened the door and there was a man there. And he said to her, lady, do you know God? She was flustered, taken aback. She stuttered and stammered, was embarrassed. She just stepped back and shut the door.

The man bowed his head and walked away. Later, her husband came home. She said, daughter, let me tell you what happened today. Said, a man knocked at the door of our house and asked me a question. He asked me if I knew God. I didn't know what to say. I shut the door in his face.

I'm so sorry. I wish I could find him and apologize to him. Apologize, he said.

You should have slammed the door in his face. What right did he have to ask you such a question? Why didn't you tell him we are members of the biggest, most influential church in our city?

She said, husband, he didn't ask that. He asked if I knew God. Well, why didn't you tell him we are reputable people? We have a good reputation.

We are well known in this community. He didn't ask that. He only asked if I knew God.

That's what I want to ask you today. Not do people think that you are fine. Not do you have manners and culture. Not even do you have religion.

Do you know God? Are you saved? Oh, my friend, you can be.

You should be. I want to lead you in a prayer. If you've never prayed this kind of a prayer, you can pray it from your heart. Maybe you've been sort of an unbelieving believer.

Maybe you've had an intellectual faith, and maybe you've been impressed with miracles and things, but you've never really bowed to Jesus. Would you pray this prayer, dear God? I know that you love me, and I know that you want to save me. Jesus, you died to save me. You promised to save me if I would trust you. I do trust you.

Tell him that. Lord Jesus, I trust you. I believe you're the Son of God. I believe you paid for my sin with your blood on the cross. I believe you walked out of that grave, and now I receive you by faith as my Lord and Savior. I take myself off the throne, and I enthrone you, Lord Jesus. Now, right now, I do come into my heart, forgive my sin, cleanse me, save me, Jesus. Pray that from your heart. Save me, Lord Jesus.

Did you ask Him? Then pray this way. Thank you for doing it. I receive it by faith, and that settles it. You're now my Lord, my Savior and my God, and I will live for you the rest of my life, not in order to be saved, but because I have been saved. I receive salvation as a free gift, preparing to serve you the rest of my life. In your name I pray.

Amen. If you prayed to receive Jesus Christ just now, we would love to celebrate with you and invite you to our Find God's Love page on our website. There you'll find answers you may need about your newfound faith. Who is Jesus?

How can I know Him? Go to lwf.org slash radio and click the tab that says Find God's Love. Welcome to the forever family of God. We can't wait to hear from you today. We also can't wait to hear from you. If you'd like a copy of this message, you can order one by calling us at 1-877-LOVEGOD. You'll receive the entire message, Counterfeit Christianity, 1-877-LOVEGOD. This message is also part of the insightful series, Living Supernaturally. For all 13 powerful messages, call that number or go online to lwf.org slash radio. You can also write us to order at Love Worth Finding, Box 38600, Memphis, Tennessee 38183. You can also purchase our new Bible studies, much like this message, in our online store.

For information on that, go to the website, lwf.org slash radio. We're so glad you took time to study in God's Word with us today. In this day and age of spirituality without a true faith in Jesus, we need a strong grip on God's Word and truth so that we're not deceived by counterfeit Christianity. Tune in next time for more from Adrian Rogers, right here on Love Worth Finding. Not long ago, we received a message online from a listener who wrote, Pastor Rogers' sermons are as relevant now as they ever were. That is amazing.

How they can just live on even after his home going. Well, thank you for that encouragement, and we totally agree. At Love Worth Finding, we believe truth is timeless and that God's wisdom is an anchor that we can depend on. And when you donate to Love Worth Finding right now, we want to thank you by sending a copy of the book, God's Wisdom is Better Than Gold. God takes pleasure in the prosperity of his servants. Do you believe that? In this book, Adrian Rogers upholds the true definition of prosperity and reveals how the book of Proverbs is God's guidebook to wisdom. Request a copy of God's Wisdom is Better Than Gold when you call with a gift now at 1-877-LOVEGOD. Or you can give online at lwf.org slash radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-17 06:01:32 / 2023-06-17 06:10:13 / 9

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