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The Strange Mystery of the Counterfeit Christian

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2024 4:00 am

The Strange Mystery of the Counterfeit Christian

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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June 17, 2024 4:00 am

Not everybody who claims to be a Christian is a genuine Christian. The parable of the wheat and the tares is a word of comfort, warning, and instruction regarding hypocrisy. In this message, Adrian Rogers shares the strange mystery of the counterfeit Christian.

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Known for his unique ability to simplify profound truth so that it can be applied to everyday life, Adrian Rogers was one of the most effective preachers, respected Bible teachers, and Christian leaders of our time. Thanks for joining us for this message.

Here's Adrian Rogers. To be finding Matthew chapter 13, we're going to be talking about the strange mystery of the counterfeit Christian. I think you know that not everybody who claims to be a Christian is a genuine Christian.

Dr. Vance Habner, the late, great Dr. Vance Habner said, too many church members have been starched and ironed, but they've never been washed. They have never come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. Now, to be a word of comfort, because many people are confused and bewildered when they see so much hypocrisy, so many false cults, so much that parades under the banner of Christendom that is not real and genuine and they think that perhaps the whole thing has gone wrong.

For them, there is comfort. There will also be tonight a word of warning, for there are many tonight who are not true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, who perhaps think that they are saved and they are lost and they need to be warned, they need to be brought to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And the third word is a word of instruction to tell us how to deal with these people and how to think about these people who are counterfeit Christians. Now, let's look at the parable itself. Remember, there are seven parables. And what is a parable? A parable is an earthly story that has a heavenly meaning.

The Lord would tell a story, just a plain story, and then the Lord would give us a very special meaning, a double application, the natural story and then the hidden meaning. Now, sometimes people have the idea that parables are given to reveal and that is true, but that's not all of the truth. These parables were not only given to reveal, they were given to conceal. This is the first time that Jesus spoke with parables.

And this is the time when rebellion against him was at its zenith. They had accused him of having a devil and Jesus had to warn them about an unpardonable sin. And then he began to speak with parables because he said to those who had hungry hearts, unto you it is given to know, unto them it is not given to him that has to be given to him that have not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And so Jesus now gives these seven parables.

Now here's the second parable and it is the parable of the wheat and the tares and I began now in verse 24. Another parable put he forth unto them saying, the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which 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 blade was sprung up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, an enemy hath done this.

The servant said unto him, wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? And he said, nay, lest while you gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest and in the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.

Now that is the story. The story is simply that a man had planted wheat in a field, an enemy came while the husbandman or the farmer was asleep and he sowed weed seed. Now that's, it's called here tares.

The horticultural name is Darnel, D-A-R-N-E-L and it is a crop of weeds that looked at first very similar to wheat. As a matter of fact, very hard to discern the wheat from the tares and the enemy knew this. So he came and sowed in the field these tares. There's seven elements in here in this parable that we need to identify and let's see what they are. The man who does the sowing is Jesus Christ himself. Verse 37, as the Lord begins to unfold this, he answered and said unto them, he that soweth the good seed is the son of man.

Now I remind you again that son of man is a term that Jesus Christ used frequently to describe himself. So the one doing the sowing in the field is Jesus Christ himself, verse 37. Now the seed that he sows are true believers. Now I want to pause right here and say parenthetically but very importantly, do not confuse the seed in this parable with the parable we just used. In the parable of the sower, the first parable, the seed is the Word of God. In this parable, the seed are true believers.

And if you don't understand that, you may get confused. In the first parable, the soil was the hearts of men. In this parable, the soil is the world. And so our Lord is sowing seed that is true believers all over the world, everywhere he's putting his believers. Now while the Lord is planting true believers, we're going to find out that the enemy is planting false believers. Now there are true believers that are called the seed.

For example, in Genesis chapter three, verse 15, right in the front door of the Bible, the Lord said to Satan in judgment, and I will put enmity, that is to Satan the serpent, I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed. So there's the seed of the woman, the good seed. There's the seed of the serpent. And so the good seed is what the Lord Jesus Christ plants in the world. There's going to be in this world in which we live a constant warfare between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. All right, the sower is the son of man, the Lord Jesus. The seed, true believers, those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, those who are truly twice born. The third element is the world. Look, if you will, in verse 38.

The field is the world. We don't have to guess about that. We're not talking about the church now. We're talking about the world in general. In this world, there are saved people and there are unsaved people, but there are some unsaved people who appear to be saved people. They are counterfeit Christians in the world. Now, the enemy who has done the sowing of these false Christians alongside the true believers is the devil himself. The enemy is Satan. Notice in verse 39, the enemy that sowed them is the devil.

So we don't have to guess about that, very clear. Now, the tares, therefore, are the children of the devil. Notice the enemy that sowed them is the devil and the tares are the children of the devil. Look in verse 38.

The field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the wicked one. Now, sometimes people will talk to you about the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man. We may be brothers in our humanity, but we're not spiritual brothers, and not everybody is a child of God. Jesus said to the Pharisees, the counterfeit believers of his day, you are of your father, the devil.

And so it makes it very clear here. The Lord Jesus said, these tares are the children of the devil. All right, now, the reapers that are going to reap the harvest are the angels. Notice in verse 39, he says, the enemy that sowed them is the harvest, is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. And when will the reaping be done at the end of the age?

That's the seventh element, the time of the reaping. Verse 40, as therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. Now, that gives you a clue that these seven parables that our Lord gave span the entire history of the Christian church and the one who sows the seed is the Lord Jesus Christ. He began his ministry sowing good seed, and it goes all the way, these seven parables, to the end of the age.

So this is all encompassing. Here our Lord is unfolding the mystery of history, religious history. These are seven sacred secrets, strange mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. We're going to talk about the sowing of the tares, the growing of the tares, and the knowing of the tares. Now, let's think a little bit about the sowing of the tares and look in verse 39. The enemy that sowed them is the devil.

Who did it? The devil did it. It is the work of Satan. Satan is a counterfeiter.

He is a pervert. He's the one, the enemy, who's done this. Now, let me make it abundantly clear that the devil, therefore, is not opposed to religion. Religion is his chief tool.

It is his stock in trade. Satan is in religion up to his ears. Who did it? The devil.

Why did he do it? Well, this same verse says, an enemy hath done this. Verse 39, the enemy that sowed them is the devil.

Tyndale translates this, an envious person has done this. Now, why would the devil do that? Do you think the devil's interested in weeds? No. Do you think the devil is interested in wheat?

No. What the devil is truly interested in is not weeds or wheat but worship. The devil wants worship.

He wants false believers. He is a counterfeiter. And let me say this about the devil who is the chief counterfeiter of religion.

He is a good one. And the best counterfeit seems most like the real. The more like the real it seems, the better the counterfeit. And that's the reason our Lord, the master teacher that he was, chose this parable because wheat and tares, especially at the first, look so much alike. Let me point out seven false things that are in the world today and you need to look out for them.

This is the work of Satan. Did you know that there is a false Jesus? And if somebody comes to you and says, oh, we believe in Jesus, a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon or something like that, hey, we believe in Jesus. You find out which Jesus they believe in. You find out if they believe in the true Jesus. Put this verse down in your margin. 2 Corinthians 11 and verse 4, for if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus whom we have not preached, another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit which ye have not received, another gospel which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

He's saying, you're so gullible, you just may accept it. You may just say, well, God bless your brother. Oh, Pastor Rogers, they were so wonderful. And I asked him if they believed in Jesus and they said, yes. And so there is a false Jesus. There is a false spirit. 2 Corinthians 11 and verse 4, for if he that cometh preaches another Jesus whom you've not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, somebody says, oh, I know it's real because I had a spiritual experience.

You may have had an encounter with the devil. The Bible says, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, test the spirits, whether they are of God. And if there's a false Jesus and if there's a false spirit, there are also false ministers. 2 Corinthians 11 verses 13 through 15, for such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. That is, they have been called.

They have appointed themselves and no marvel. For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness whose end shall be according to their works. And when you look for the devil, never fail to look in the pulpit. Satan has a false Jesus. Satan has a false spirit. Satan has false ministers. And what does this false Jesus and this false spirit and these false ministers, what do they produce?

False brothers. 2 Corinthians 11 and verse 26, Paul talks about the things that he endured, the suffering that he endured. And he says in 2 Corinthians 11 verse 26, in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea. And then now listen to this, in perils among false brethren. Paul said on top of all of this, the elements, the heathen, the difficulties, I'm having to contend with counterfeit Christians, false brothers, a false Jesus, a false spirit, false ministers, false brethren, and they have a false gospel. Galatians 1 beginning in verse 6, Paul said, I marvel that you're so soon removed from him that I will lead you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel which is not another. What he's saying is it's another gospel, but it's not truly the gospel. There's only one true gospel, but it is not another. But there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Learn this about the devil. He is a pervert and the thing that he wants to pervert more than anything else is the gospel of Christ. And Paul says, but though we are an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have received, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed.

I've told you before that word literally means let him be condemned, let him be damned. Now these false apostles with their false gospel may seem to do some good. They may clothe the naked. They may house the homeless. They may feed the hungry. They may be against abortion. They may be doing this or they may be doing that.

But I want to tell you something. A counterfeit bill can do a lot of good. It can buy clothes. It can buy groceries.

It can buy gasoline. But friend, it will not pass the bank examiner. And a false Christian may do this and this and this and everybody will say, look what he's doing and look how good it is. But there's coming a day when he's going to face the examination of the Lord Jesus Christ. No one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

But he that doeth the will of my Father, which is in heaven. Now, don't you let some counterfeit Christian keep you out of heaven. And don't you ever let anybody use a hypocrite as an argument against Christianity. A hypocrite is not an argument against Christianity.

A hypocrite is a wonderful argument in favor of Christianity. Now why? Well, men don't counterfeit gum wrappers. They counterfeit what? $50 bills, $100 bills.

Why? Because $100 bill is worth something, about $20. So they counterfeit money. They don't counterfeit that which is worthless. They counterfeit that which is worthwhile. And every counterfeit Christian, every false Christian that you see is a testimony to the good, the worth, the reality of the real.

And so in a backward way, it's sort of a testimony. And another thing, don't you say, well, I don't want to be a Christian because of hypocrites. How foolish. All right, would you say, well, because there's some tears in the world, I'm not going to eat any more bread?

Of course not. It'd be just as foolish to say, well, because there's some hypocritical Christians, I'm not going to go to church. I'm going to serve the Lord. Every now and then somebody says, oh, there's some hypocrites in your church.

I say, do tell. Hey, folks, one of the 12 apostles was a hypocrite. We bought a dozen eggs, one of them was a hypocrite.

They're hypocrites. Now, don't be dismayed. Hypocrites, counterfeit Christians, a false Jesus, a false spirit, false apostles and ministers, a false brethren and a false gospel have not taken God by surprise. That's the whole point. These things don't prove what we believe not to be true.

They're proof of what we believe is true. Because men are counterfeiting that which is worthwhile and also because the Bible says that's exactly what will be. Not just was, but will be to the end of the age. Now, when did he do this? When did the enemy do this? Look, if you will, in verse 25, the Bible says, but while men slept, the enemy came and sowed tears among the wheat. And it happens because those of us who are part of that kingdom of the redeemed sometimes are asleep.

God have mercy on us while men slept. First Corinthians chapter 15 verse 34 says, Awake to righteousness and sin not. For some have not the knowledge of God.

I speak this to your shame. There are those who are being led astray and the reason they're being led astray is because we have not been awake to righteousness and some have not the knowledge of God. Too many sermons are like in a lullaby to put people asleep rather than an alarm clock to wake them up. And it could be that some of your loved ones are going to be the devil's tears because of your dullness and your drowsiness. We need to sound an alarm. The apostle Paul said, Am I therefore your enemy? Because I tell you the truth. Sometimes we're out to win popularity contests and the enemy sows the tears among the wheat because men are asleep.

They don't sound the alarm as we should sound the alarm. So the first thing, the sowing of the tears. An enemy, an envious person hath done this.

Now here's the second thing I want you to notice. Not only the sowing of the tears, but the growing of the tears. Begin now in verse 28 and look at this, this 13th chapter now and verse 28. And he said unto them, an enemy hath done this. The servant said unto him, wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? And he said, nay.

That's old English for no. Lest while ye gather up the tears, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. And in the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tears and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn. Now our job today is not killing or rooting out weeds. Every now and then somebody wants to go in a crusade against false religions. That is not our job. We can warn people, we can preach the truth, but it is not our job, it is not our assignment to try to root out or to stamp out a false religion.

If we do, we'll do more harm than good. When you try to stamp out a fire, all you do is scatter the embers. And I want to say to you, and listen very carefully, never, never, never join a movement to persecute someone because of their faith. You're to preach the truth, you're to stand for the truth, but these people are accountable to God.

God is the one who will judge them, not you. And if you try, you'll do far more damage than you will do good. And you may just root out some wheat while you're trying to root out some tears. I was at a Southern Baptist Convention one time and some young preacher boys who were all hot under the collar about some liberalism in the Southern Baptist Convention came to Dr. Gray Allison and they said, do you believe that that da-da-da-da-da-da-da is saved? Talking about somebody.

Well, I looked at Dr. Allison, I wondered what he would say. He said something that greatly blessed me and instructed me. He said, the only one I know is saved is me. I'm not even sure about you.

Now, folks, don't you put yourself up to begin to root out the weeds. Now, he's not talking here about discipline in the church. Every church is to exercise discipline. But discipline in the church is not primarily to root out and to remove, but to reclaim and restore. Sometimes people have to be removed from a local church fellowship.

He's not talking about that. You miss the parable. The parable here is wheat and weeds in the world. The field is the world.

Our job is to preach the glorious gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But there's the sowing of the weeds. There's the growing of the weeds. And the Lord said, just let both grow together until the harvest. Now, here's the last thing, the knowing of the weeds. There's coming a time when these weeds and this wheat is going to be discerned, beginning in verse 40 of this same chapter.

Look again. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send forth his angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity and shall cast them into a furnace of fire and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the Son in the kingdom of their Father.

He who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Now, what does this tell us? This tells us that a harvest time is coming. Why does God tolerate tares? Why doesn't God root them out right now?

I'll tell you why. Because the tares are not fully ripe. Neither the wheat nor the tares are ripe until the end of the age. You say, well, some of these people have been dead for a long time.

They're still not ripe. Now, let me give you a verse to put in your margin. Revelation 14, verses 14 and 15. John, the writer of the apocalypse of the Revelation, John, the beloved apostle John, has given a vision of the final judgment and this is what he saw. And I looked and behold a white cloud. And upon the cloud once set like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown and in his hand a sharp sickle.

You know what a sickle is? That's what you reap wheat with and tares. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, thrust in thy sickle and reap. Now, watch this, for the time is come for thee to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

What does he mean by that? Well, a man's harvest doesn't come when he dies. That harvest goes on and on and on. It won't be over until the end of the age till God puts the last period upon the last sentence upon the last paragraph, the last page, the last book, the last volume of history. When it is over, then God gathers the evidence. And the same thing is true with a righteous person. Your influence for God will go on and on and on and on after you die. As God said of Abel, he being dead yet speaketh.

And I hope that my influence will go on and on and on and on and on until the ripples of this ministry will touch the shores of eternity. Then the harvest is ripe. Then the harvest is ripe. That's why God doesn't judge at this time because it's too early. But don't let the slowness of God's judgment deceive you. You may be a fine looking tare, but judgment is coming. Notice that the tares are gathered into bundles to be burned.

That's interesting to me. I've noticed that in the world, the unsafe people seem to be gathering together. They're getting amalgamated. They're all joining. They're all merging. They're all coming together. They seem to just be bundling themselves up for the burning.

And this unity is not necessarily something that's going to be a great blessing to them. Well, let me just say three things in conclusion, all right? We've talked to you about the sowing, the growing, and the knowing of the tares.

Let me make three applications very quickly. Application number one, please, for God's sake, for your sake, make certain of your salvation. If there is a false Jesus, if there is a false spirit, if there is a false brethren and false ministers and a false gospel, has the devil played a trick on you?

He'd just as soon rather really send you to hell from the pew than from the gutter. 2 Corinthians 13, five, examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith. Prove your own selves. You say, well, I know I'm saved because my Sunday school teacher told me I was. My mom told me I was. My dad told me I was. My pastor told me I was. Friend, you examine yourself. Prove your own faith. Do you have a Bible reason? If you were to stand before God right now to say you know that you're saved, examine yourselves whether you be in the faith.

Prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how the Jesus Christ is in you, whether ye be reprobate. I didn't ask do you know the plan of salvation? Do you know the man of salvation?

It's Jesus Christ in you. Somebody wrote these words, ye call me light and see me not. Ye call me way and walk me not. Ye call me wise and follow me not. Ye call me fair and love me not. Ye call me rich and ask me not. Ye call me eternal and seek me not.

Ye call me gracious and trust me not. Ye call me God and fear me not. If I condemn you, blame me not. Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith.

That's the first thing. The second thing, if you've never yet given your heart to Jesus Christ, I beg you, don't let a counterfeit Christian keep you out of heaven. Don't hide behind some hypocrite.

Don't think that the true is not real because the false is there. And number three, if you are a counterfeit Christian, I beg you in the name of Jesus, repent of that and receive Christ, him only, as your Lord and Savior. God loves you. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. The wonderful thing is that right now this moment, you can receive the Lord. The Bible says, he came unto his own and his own received him not.

But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons, the daughters of God, the children of God. Would you pray like this, Lord Jesus? Oh, Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for me. Thank you for paying for my sin with your blood on the cross. Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I confess my sin. My sin deserves judgment but I need mercy. I want to be saved. Come into my heart.

Forgive my sin. Cleanse me. Put your spirit in my life. Begin now to make me the person you want me to be. Save me, Lord Jesus.

Pray that from your heart. Save me, Lord Jesus. Then say thank you for saving me. Thank you, Lord Jesus. You are now my Lord and my Savior. My life belongs to you. Begin now to make me the person you want me to be. I want to follow you and love you and serve you the rest of my life. And I will not be ashamed of you, my Lord and Savior. In your name I pray, amen. If you would like to learn more about how you can know Jesus or deepen your relationship with him, simply click the Discover Jesus link on our website, lwf.org. For a copy of this message or additional resources, visit our online store at lwf.org or call 1-800-274-5683. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-17 06:34:40 / 2024-06-17 06:47:01 / 12

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