1 Timothy 1:19-20, "Having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
What can cause a soul to be shipwrecked? False teaching and belief in false doctrines about Christ. That was one of Christ's constant warnings. When the world darkens, culture crumbles, and truth dies—you know the end of the world is near. It is then that Jesus warned that the church would fill up with fruitless counterfeits. When that happens it is time for believers to brace for the storm we know is coming. The waves will only increase. Spiritual darkness will only deepen as deceptions grow. These are days when we, who know and love the Lord Jesus, should reach into our hearts and grab onto the anchor line of truth as contained for us in God's Word and feel it holding us securely—tugging us homeward.
There are two words I hope are never associated with my name: fruitless and counterfeit. The American church is filling up with fruitless counterfeits however. They are in our congregations, some even leading churches. They are those who proclaim to be followers of Christ but when the time comes for them to take up their cross daily and follow Him, they are nowhere to be found. They proclaim to do great things in the name of the Lord, but their lifestyles show their words are empty and their lives fruitless. They take God's Word and twist its meaning to fit their own selfish agendas.
Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Spiritual darkness is filling the pews of our churches. John 10:10 says the thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy. He is turning brothers and sisters in Christ against each other. If he can stir up turmoil in the church, dividing members on differences in theologies and worship, it will destroy the church. The enemy will have successfully robbed us of our joy, our hope and our peace.
I used to think that whenever I read in the Bible about false prophets it was a group of people who were deliberately setting out to deceive others. I am sure that those people are out there, but what I have witnessed and seen is something much more heartbreaking than that. Believers—fellow Christians—are the ones who have been deceived. The enemy has a veil over their eyes and they cannot see Truth. I think that most of these people have an inaccurate view of who God is. I think that their agenda has been distorted and twisted and whether they realize it or not, their ultimate goal is to glorify themselves. It's no longer what they can do for God, but what God can do for them. They have exalted themselves above others. Commands like “love your neighbor as yourself” only apply to others because they are exempt due to their own self-righteousness.
They speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They have perverted and twisted the words of the living God. They are self-appointed. Some of them are very aware of the condition of their heart. They are on a personal crusade to glorify themselves and speak lies in the name of Christ. They speak of persecution but are the ones persecuting others.
God has a plan that is bigger than our own selfish desires and we have got to get ourselves out of the way and let God work. We have to stop putting Him in a box. We have put limits on a limitless God. We have made our worship about us, and not the One we are to worship.
Fruitless and Counterfeit
Scripture says that by our fruits we will be known.