Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Separating the True and the False

ACTS 2:42-47 – And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Let’s start today’s nugget with a contrast. Go back and read today’s scripture. Picture being a part of that little band of believers. How exciting to be there! Oh, the times of prayer, sharing, and sense of oneness was a slice of heaven. By the way, that is to be what we are to pursue in our local churches today; this oneness of community. So, there is the marvelous positive side of our contrast. Now ponder the opposite from the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy – But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people (2 Timothy 3:1-5). What is being described is happening in our world, but pay close attention to the people the Apostle Paul is describing. They are not the hardened, God-haters of the world. They are deceived religious people of the world, maybe even in our churches – having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. These might be the people who profess to be Christians but their lives reflect the sinful patterns of being lovers of self, lovers of money, lovers of pleasure, and not lovers of God making them professors of Christ but not possessors of Christ. And this certainly applies in our world today.

The times we find ourselves living in are difficult and getting more so, just as the Apostle Paul declares. They are also purging times in Jesus’ church. The increasing pressure and persecution on professing Christians will separate the true from the false. Or to use our contrast, separate the true believers (Acts 2) and the false (2 Timothy 3). And what will be the distinguishing difference? Start with the true or the Acts 2 believers. They will band together more frequently in prayer, the Word, and sacrificial sharing of lives — spiritually and materially – out of desire and necessity. There will be sweet fellowship of unity, community, and the fragrance of Christ everywhere. The false believer? The person making a profession of Christ and having some outward form of Christianity? They will continue a “fringe” but false Christianity of convenience and compromise, but it won’t last. They will be deceived by what is happening in the world, living life as they always have but will soon find the pressure too great. They will be faced with the reality that Biblical Christianity is either “We are all in all the time” or “We are out, never in at anytime.” And the false believer will be exposed and fall away out of fear and lack of spiritual community with true believers.

We do live in dangerous and challenging times, but we also live in exciting and opportunistic times as Christians. In fact, our world now resembles a lot of how it was in the book of Acts. Hmmm . . .  may God give us a heart to seek revival; a revival making us true, true as what we read in Acts 2.

PRAYER: “Father, I praise You for giving me to Your Son to be a part of His Body, His church.”
QUOTE: “True believers flock together often and for spiritual purposes. They do so out of necessity and delight.”

Because of Him,
Pastor Jim