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No Other Gospel

Galatians 1:6-11 January 5,2020 Part 1/4 Bringing the Gospel to Life in the Church, Community and the World

Are you counterfeit proof?

Can your faith withstand the cunning and craftiness of counterfeit gospels? Counterfeit saviors? Counterfeit churches? Counterfeit religions? Counterfeit hope?

But really it probably doesn’t start with any of those initially. It more likely starts with something like a counterfeit friend.

Whether you realize it or not, our collective faith is constantly under attack – and not only from the outside – but from within as well. From perhaps an unsuspected source.

But maybe because you’re taking the time to read something like this, it demonstrates that you are willing to take the necessary type steps that would keep you counterfeit proof. But the warning is plainly there throughout the Scriptures often enough. We are admonished often, first by Jesus and then by every other new testament writer to beware and to resist the devil and to not fall for his schemes. There will be deceiving spirits, false christs, wolves in sheep’s clothing, false prophets, false brethren, deceitful workers disguising themselves as servants of righteousness and even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, to name a few. How do we do this? First by not being ignorant of them and second by better preparing ourselves. The world is full of deceivers.

So it begs the question - why?

Why so many different kinds of deluding influences unleashed, bent on deceiving, if possible, even the elect? Jesus promised it would happen. {Matthew 24:24} No, this isn’t the end times Jesus spoke of there, but to lesser degrees this has always been happening throughout history. And we may well be entering a season where the attempts to weaken and diminish the church are going to grow stronger and stronger and if that is true, we must be ready.

The source of the deception is spiritual first but it is seen from within our own country and from within the Church. The Church is no longer respected in the community as it once was and those wolves in sheep’s clothing are infiltrating the Church itself. That’s not an exaggerated scare tactic. I am not an alarmist. But it is frankly happening more and more, and we need to be keenly aware and refocus our faith with a clarity like never before.

It’s been slowly happening for some time now, and the church at times has almost been unwitting accomplices to our enemies’ strategies. But much of the deception is now risen to the level of intentional which is what makes is a true counterfeit.

The goal is to dissuade people from holding on to their faith in Christ. The goal is for people with a professed faith in Jesus to walk away from it. The goal is for people to publicly renounce their faith. The goal is for people to turn their backs on their professed religion and walk away, because it is after all, just a false crutch we’re told. This message is reinforced on TV, in movies and all over the internet.

On one of the longest running prime time TV shows ever, The Simpsons, only those who are awkward social outcasts would still rely on their faith. Because as the Flanders boy reports, “Teacher says, ‘Faith is believing something when there is no proof.’” This is nothing but a twisted version of the definition of true faith. But it and other twisted versions like it are said over and over again at all levels of public education.

The script has flipped in our nation over the last 30 years. Candidates running for President who were indifferent or superficial toward faith used to feel uncomfortable when confronted about their personal faith. Their answers just weren’t very convincing.

So how would this very public problem be solved? Would it be to rethink the importance of their own personal faith journey and embrace a real observable personal faith for their own well being and to answer doubts some may have? After all, those of genuine faith want to avoid the appearance of evil, we would just as much want to avoid the appearance that our faith is less than genuine or integral to our life.

That’s not what happened. It did not mean more fully embracing faith, but rather flipping the script and making those with faith look bad. Those questioning the sincerity of a public figure’s faith would no longer be seen as self-righteous for daring to ask such probing questions, they would be declared immoral. The process of deconstructing orthodox faith would speed up the role reversal and a reconstructing of what faith in Christ looks like in their own image would be underway. A sort of tailor-made religion that can adjust on the fly to the quickly changing demands of the culture around us.

It would result in making those whose core faith has not changed at all, look like the extremist or the bad guy, all the while redefining in the public square what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. A switching of the price tags if you will. Or as some are so good at, rewriting labels and smacking them on the back of the unsuspecting. “Kick me”, they read. “Evangelical Christian = Racist Bigot” they read. With these and many other false labels, followers of Jesus are singled out to be excluded from the public conversation – at least that’s their goal.

And people read the labels and believe with no further investigation. What are we left to do? What should we do?

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