We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (NIV) The three virtues of...
4. Different Character. (What kind of people are being produced?)
The true believer pursues goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-6 NIV). The counterfeit Christian is marked by arrogance and slander (2:10), greed and adultery (2:14), and they “despise authority” (2:10).
5. Different Appeal. (Why should you listen to the message?)
God has spoken, and the true teacher appeals to this, “We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it” (1:19). The false teacher, “by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature… entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error” (2:18). So, the true teacher asks: What has God said in His Word? The false teacher asks: What do people want to hear?
6. Different Fruit. (What result does the message have in people’s lives?)
The true believer is effective and productive in his or her knowledge of Jesus Christ (1:8). The counterfeit is “springs without water” (2:17). He or she promises much but produces little.
7. Different End. (Where does the message ultimately lead you?)
Here we find the most disturbing contrast of all. The true believer will receive “a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:11). False believers will experience “swift destruction” (2:1). “Their condemnation has long been hanging over them and their destruction has not been sleeping” (2:3).
Jesus tells us that there will be many who have been involved in ministry in His name, to whom He will say, “Depart from me; I never knew you” (Mat. 7:23 NIV). Who are these people? Surely Peter is describing them right here.
Take a moment to thank God for the faithfulness you see in your leaders.