The Church – The Haunt of Countless Chameleons.
The Talented Chameleon Is Very Difficult to Detect.
A Great Many Attend Church, So Few to Hear the Word.
First Question: Why Are There Chameleons Among Us?
When one stops to think about it, what would cause anyone without a relationship to Christ to attend a Christian church service? Maybe it is an inbred family tradition, their best friends attend or maybe just looking for clean company. Often you will find men and women seeking a respectable spouse; a church goer must be a good find. Today, many decide in sending their youth, hoping some morality might rub off on their hellions; sadly it works the other way. I think it is actually much deeper than that. I believe that they innately know something, and they are not sure how to deal with it. As follows:
- They know there must be more to life than this present world has to offer. Have you ever gone to a religious funeral for one you know was not a believer? You will hear words like, the deceased are now at peace, they are finally at rest in God’s loving arms and lot more lies said to comfort the mourners and those officiating. Actually, it does no such thing, it increases their awareness of the finality of the grave and their total ignorance of what lies ahead: it is a very scary proposition. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states that God has placed the world (eternity) in the heart of man, which brings us to…
- Their abject fear of death. This fear is so strong it drives the majority of lives to seek even temporal relief by pursuing what this temporary world has to offer. Just look around you at the world’s buffet: money, power, success, pleasures galore, fame, drugs, adventure, eschewing humanity and loving nature; something for every budget. Sadly, the world’s rewards for these pursuits are the 5 “D”s: despair, depression, disease, destruction and ultimately death without hope.
- Many actually believe there is a God, not of a personal nature but a tyrant that hates murderers and the like but favors those who work hard at being religious. These religionists fall into two main camps: the Christian and the non-Christian which includes the Jews, Buddhists, Muslim and whatever.
Christian religionists: God loves everybody but make sure your good outweighs the bad. If you should do something not up to good standards, you can work off the deficit by doing something extra-good. Increase your giving, go to church at every opportunity and while there, serve the church in as many ways as possible. Be a better spouse, do nursery duty, teach a children’s class and always be available. Remember God’s laws are more nebulous than the other religions, because they know God loves works, or at least they hope He does.
All other religionists: A common factor is a strict written code for every action or inaction, whether good or bad, that must be adhered to. If the required actions become too burdensome, bail and join a Christian religion; it is easier to get away with being undisciplined. Remember this though: make sure you did all of your really bad stuff before professing that you want to be a Christian. Because if a Christian commits a really bad sin, the other Christian religionists will use you as target practice; they love to shoot their own. It makes the phony believers feel even more righteous than normal.
The Real Test is to Discern the Truth From the Lie.
Second Question: How Do We Identify the Chameleons Among Us?
Someone may be wondering why we need to identify those false Christians among us. First of all, we are commanded, not suggested, to come out from among non-believers when comes to spiritual fellowship. Also, per 1 Corinthians 15:33 (a DO NOT BE DECEIVED passage) tells us that evil company will rub off on us. Have you ever seen a clean pig walk through the mire and the mire become cleaner? Of course not. In this world the principle applies to goodness, but we are so deceived we think that our goodness will rub off on to the lost soul. As there is a physical law of gravity, the world is also governed by certain spiritual laws; one of these being separation when it comes our worship and service to our Lord.
Back to the question at hand; how can we discern the truth from the lie and become separate, but remain available to reach the lost with the Gospel? Caveat: until our Lord returns, the true Church will always have non-believers seeking refuge within our assemblies. This Truth is illustrated by the parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13. Let us start at the top:
- The assembly: if a church building is a come one, come all based gathering, this is an open-door policy that allows the world to pour in unchecked. One of my pet peeves is when one calls the building the house of God. Since when does God allow demons into His house? When the world comes in, they may check their mannerisms at the door for a short period, but their resident evil is alive and well. This should be a born-again believer’s warning that the sermons will be watered down, sin and repentance an avoided topic and baby food fed to many who are starving for the meat of the Word. If the Word is preached in season and out, the probability that the majority are believers is very good, for it will separate the wheat from the chaff. No one needs to stand at the door and vet those who enter, the Word will take care of that. In many parts of the world and coming soon to America, vetting has and may become a way of life. It is the by-product of being hated.
- The leadership: listen to what they are saying, for as the Word teaches, the issues of the heart will be made known by what comes out of our mouths. Topical preaching, avoidance of doctrinal topics, God loves everybody, kindergarten level bible classes, money or tithing a major issue and don’t forget, the ministry is centered around the youth. Take your family and run away as fast as you can for it will seriously impact your fervor for the Lord Jesus Christ. Their motto: keep everyone busy and complacent, making it easier to control with less work for the leadership.
- The people: once you get past the assembly and the leadership, it now requires more attention to detail. The individual chameleons can be very difficult to identify at times, but eventually they will have to expose themselves; some will be obvious from the start. Remember that some may be babes in the Word, but they will be like sponges, soaking up the Word and with a million questions. They are fun to be around. Many will be almost indistinguishable until either a major trial comes their way or confrontation with a believer over a questionable issue. Some signs I have noticed over the years are: easily offended; lack of basic biblical doctrine; overuse of catch phrases; greater attention to sports, the political arena, careers, and their social lives; gossip and unrestrained language; and the big one, the fear of death.
An Amazing Man of God Who Eschewed Society's Churches
Let Us Hear the Conclusion of the Matter.
The greatest witness we have to the world this side of heaven is not how we live when all is well, but how we live in the midst of dire trials. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” A true born-again saint is victorious even in what the world would consider defeat, for it is the reaction to trials that truly sets us apart. You may believe another is saved, until that day you see them drowning in the trials of life. Be a life-preserver, for once the unbelief is exposed, you may be God’s instrument for the Gospel. I know this to be a living fact. Before I came to Christ, I was suffering beyond my ability to cope and was prepared to commit suicide when God introduced me to one of His life-preservers, Conward Farris. I had played the game and I had lost. But the grace of God, through faith saved this hell bound sinner over 50 years ago. I have never looked back.
Final note: as the above picture's caption states; Bonhoeffer avoided public worship buildings called churches; he found it near impossible to worship with so many unbelievers present; a bad spirit in the air. The smaller the group the better: as Jesus said, “…where two or more are gathered…”. We have lost intimacy with other believers and have institutionalized Christianity. May God help us.