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Imposters of Faith

An imposter is a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others. Imposters may not start off with impure motives. Fear of what others may think initially often results in a chameleon effect, blending into environments so you’re not rejected by your peers. When an individual successfully deceives and tricks someone for the first time, an imposter is conceived. Imposters of faith come into play by preying on gullible Christian churches, going on a power trip when challenged or questioned.

For many imposters (seducers, deceivers, and false leaders) have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge (confess, admit) the coming of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) in bodily form. Such a one is the imposter (the seducer, the deceiver, the false leader, the antagonist of Christ) and the antichrist, 2 John 1:7.

One of my favorite books is the Handbook for Spiritual Warfare by Dr. Ed Murphy. The most powerful aspect of this book is a series of case studies, testimonies of how people ended up addicted, beaten or ravaged by poor choices they made in life. If I recall correctly, one of these is from an elder of a megachurch who tried to inform the leadership of a specific sin. After following the Matthew 18 principle, no one believed him as an imposter of faith had won the power struggle within this church.

Indeed all who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution [will be made to suffer because of their religious stand]. 13 But wicked men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and leading astray others and being deceived and led astray themselves, 2 Timothy 3:12-13.

During the Summer of 2020, the BLM movement attached itself to inner circle churches across the country. While Paul calls Christians to be color blind in Colossians 3:11, the Old Testament warned Israel about adding and subtracting from the Bible, Deuteronomy 4:2. Due to political pressure, some churches across the country have drifted from the Bible to embrace progressive policies. If money is involved, imposters of faith blend faith into our culture and society to avoid scrutiny. If you find yourself struggling with this syncretism, study Jesus words in Matthew 24 so that your love for God won’t grow cold.

by Jay Mankus

A Case Study in Religion vs. Relationships

Religion is an interest that a pursuer ascribes to as their supreme importance. This pursuit results in a particular system of faith as individuals believe in and worship a personal God or gods. Meanwhile, relationships are the way in which two or more people are connected and behave toward each other. Relationships can be traced back to a common alliance, bond, or connection based upon shared values. Religion tends to focus on teetotalism, a rigid following of a clearly defined set of rules. Depending upon your own personal desire, relationships can be kept at an arms length, drawn closer, or become intimate.

For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself, Galatians 5:14.

This case study begins with a first century sect referred to as the Judaizers. These Jewish converts to Christianity did not want to abandon their Old Testament heritage. Instead of focusing on their newly formed relationship with Jesus, the Judaizers overemphasized a strict adherence to Jewish customs. The leaders of this group convinced Gentile members of the Church in Galatia to become circumcised. Instead of following the apostles teaching in Romans 10:9-10, the Judaizers claimed that if you really wanted to be saved, “you need to to adopt Jewish customs and practices found in the Torah.”

But if you bite and devour one another [in partisan strife], be careful that you [and your whole fellowship] are not consumed by one another, Galatians 5:15.

The opposite side of this study is a woman who took relationships to the extreme. Unable to find love in normal relationships, Mary turned to prostitution, selling her body to unfulfilled men. Despite the money Mary made, the void in her heart remained. Instead of developing a physical attraction toward Jesus, a spiritual hunger was conceived. Eager to discover meaning in life, Mary becomes a follower of Jesus, trying to reconcile all the poor decisions of her past. Based upon the actions taken in John 12:3, Mary was closely listening to Jesus’ teaching. Perhaps a sign of contrition, Mary takes an expensive bottle of perform and anoints Jesus’ feet.

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God), Galatians 5:16.

The passage above offers a solution to souls wrestling with religion verses relationships. While religion provides a sense of direction, relationships offer freewill to choose your level of commitment. According to the apostle Paul, there is an internal tug of war going on within your mind daily. Instead of feeling forced to go to church or behave in a certain manner, walk and live habitually in the Holy Spirit. As Christians begin to develop a permanent meaningful lasting relationship with Jesus, you will want to go to church, pray and read the Bible. When you embrace the freedom Jesus offers, faith replaces the need for religion. Thus, choose the abundant life Jesus promises by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

A Stubborn Refusal to Believe

Authors Chester and Becky Kylstras have developed a simplistic approach to understanding how people form their belief systems.  Co-writing Restoring the Foundations, the Kylstyra’s rely on case studies, personal encounters and testimonies to apply biblical principles to real life.  Worldviews are shaped through experiences, which if repeated lead to beliefs.  These beliefs develop expectations such as ” if I do this or that, this should happen.”  Subsequently, behavior is dependent on the outcome of these expectations, either good or bad,

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen, Mark 16:14.

Jesus invested the last 3 years of his life on earth with twelve men.  During this great adventure, the blind received sight, mute were given a new voice and dead raised back to life.  Yet, after Jesus was crucified, the disciples relapsed into a state of doubt.  Although not mentioned in the Bible, I can hear Jesus ask, “don’t you remember all the miracles?”  Disappointed, the words of Mark 16:14 reveal a stubborn refusal to believe.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

If you believe everything happens to a reason, then life is filled with twists and turns.  While the good will lift up your spirits.  The bad and ugly times will either make or break you.  The disciples failed miserably when Jesus was gone for three days.  However, the introduction of the Holy Spirit breathed new life into the souls of these men.  This power is still available for us today.  Therefore, if you want to overcome a stubborn heart, ask the Lord in prayer to receive to receive the power of the Mighty Counselor, John 16:15.

by Jay Mankus

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