Thursday, June 30, 2005

True And False Conversion...

Text: Matthew 7:22-23 (NASB-U) "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' [23] "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM Me, you who practice lawlessness.'
Introduction: “There is no greater deception than the deception of one’s own heart and mind…neither is there a deeper or darker deception than that of spiritual and religious deception.”

One’s own heart and mind can be deceived concerning ourselves…We can think far to highly of ourselves resulting in self righteousness, judgmentalism, and blindness to our own true state which by the way, others can see and the mirror of the Word of God would expose it “if” we would read it for “us” rather than for “others”. This kind of personal deception always hopes someone else is listening to the sermon and always seems to find a way to justify or to be totally oblivious to their own spiritual condition.

On the other hand we can think to little of ourselves as well resulting in:

A worm mentality which produces self pity, despair, and an anger which can be directed at God for His “failure” with us. This kind of personal deception needs us to put the mirror of the Word before us, see what God has done for us, and receive His Son as our Savior.

The truth is the answer to both forms of a deceived heart and mind which is? Redemption through Christ Jesus our Lord. Yet that leads us to what can become the most deadly form of deception and that is “Religious Deception” or becoming a false convert.

The darkest deceptions of the heart and mind can very well be the religious concepts we carry believing that in these concepts we have eternal life. False religions are some of mankind’s greatest deceptions. There are people in the world today who are genuine in their belief systems. They sacrifice their entire lives to religious principles which carry a form of godliness or religion, but which are in fact a lie which they have received deep into their mind and heart. Anyone sold out to anything less than Jesus, God’s only Son and only Way of Salvation is lost and without hope in the world.

The only deception which the Bible reveals is the deception found in the kingdom of God, and that deception is by those who are false converts to the genuine Christian faith. This deception goes so deep, that people can actually think they are serving God by using His name in the midst of the good works they are faithfully doing.

Again the words of Jesus Himself, "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' [23] "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM Me, you who practice lawlessness."

  • #1 Who are false converts? First, false converts are people who claim to be Christians, but who don’t believe the whole counsel of God concerning their own supposed salvation. Once you are genuinely born-again the Holy Spirit begins the process of leading you into all truth. If you are a person who likes to believe certain parts of the Bible but not others, you could possibly be a false convert.

The stats are rather staggering, of the 60% to 65% or so who claim to be Christians in the United States, a large percentage of these do not believe Jesus was virgin born, do not believe Jesus lived a sinless life, do not believe Jesus is the only way to heaven, do not believe in a literal hell, do not believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, and do not like being told they’re wrong because they are rebellious to the things of God which they don’t agree with. If you fit any of these criteria you may be a false convert and not on your way to heaven!

  • Secondly, false converts are people who claim to be Christians, but don’t act like Christians. Listen to me very carefully, when you are genuinely born-again you are genuinely changed from the inside out. The Bible says you become a new creation in Christ, if you aren’t acting like a new creation in Christ, you probably aren’t one.

Listen to the scriptures:

1 Cor. 6:9-10 (NASB-U) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, [10] nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

2 Tim. 2:19 (NASB-U) Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness."

  • If you are still willfully living in sin you may very well be a false convert who has been wickedly deceived by the enemy and the Lord does not know you at all.
  • Third, false converts are people who said a prayer at an alter, may have come back to church once or twice, but then readily slipped back into their old ways.

These are hanging onto what may have been a temporary religious experience which in the end had no substance. Stats show that only 3% of those “saved” in modern mass evangelism crusades actually become active members of Churches and most never go to Church more than once or twice after their trip down an isle. The parable of the sower becomes the truth of the day here. Some hearts are just stony and never broken enough for the gospel to take transforming root in their lives. Others allow the enemy to steal the Word which means they never really believed it in the first place. Still others give the appearance of genuine salvation only to have that choked out later on as they willingly enter back into the rubbish and sinfulness of their own former lifestyles. If you fit any of these categories this morning, you could very well be a false convert and deceptively on your way to hell rather than heaven.

How do we know if we’re real converts or false converts since both the real and false can seek to serve God in some capacity and even be perceived as spiritual to a point?

2 Cor. 13:5 (NASB-U) Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?

Rev. 3:16 (NASB-U) 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

  • #2 Who are the real converts? Those who realized they were hopelessly in sin.

You can not get genuinely saved until you are genuinely lost. You can not see the genuine need of the cross until you see the hopelessness of your sinful situation. You can not go to heaven unless you come to genuinely realize you are on your way to not only a devil’s hell, but one deserved by you as well! The real converts are those who came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit to repent.

  • Repentance means to turn or to change your thinking. That desire comes only as the Holy Spirit convicts you of the sinful state you’re in and says basically, “This will cause you to face the wrath of God”. Repentance says “I will” turn from whatever I have to get right with God.

On the day of Pentecost the people realized their sin; they were convicted, and asked what must we do? Peter said first “REPENT”. I am convinced repentance is the key to genuine salvation. Christians, it’s hard for us to laugh about our sinful past when it was sending us straight to hell.

  • The real converts are those who received Jesus as their personal savior and entered into a relationship with Him whereby they became disciples.

The great commission doesn’t say to make converts, it says to make disciples. The great commission doesn’t say to see how many people you can get to say the sinner’s prayer, it says to make disciples. The great commission doesn’t say to see how many people we can get to fill out decision cards for Christ, it says to go and make disciples. A disciple is a follower of Christ who has turned their back on the ways of the world to follow after Jesus. Literally, the word “disciple” means to become a learner of something. In the Christian context, a learner of the ways of Christ. Jesus said this was done in this way, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me!

  • Lastly, genuine converts are birthed when the gospel of the kingdom is preached, not a modern day social gospel of come to Jesus and learn how to lead a completely successful trouble free life.

Mark 1:15 (NASB-U) and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Many of us are converts... But of which kind? It's a question worth asking...

~~And Answering~~

Taken from "Christian Life International, Sermon Notes And Archives" :

~~Special Thanks To Miss Lily Kimberlin~~