The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. 1 Thessalonians 1:8 (NIV) The church in Thessalonica was a bridgehead for the gospel. It is not surprising that at the end of chapter 2, Paul describes these believers as...
There will be false teachers among you. 2 Peter 2:1 (NIV)
Peter’s plain statement reminds us that the church needs to be protected. Among the many wonderful people who come through the doors of the church each year, there will be some who would do the church more harm than good.
They may seem like the nicest of people, but they do not believe in the authority of the Bible or in the exclusivity of salvation in Christ. We must welcome such people, because they need Christ as much as we do, but we must not allow them to have influence in the church.
If what Peter says here is true, this means that skeptics will always be able to point to hypocrisy and inconsistency in the church. They’ve always done it and they always will. One of the strangest reasons for not following Christ goes like this: “I’ve seen people in the church who are hypocrites.” You will not follow Christ because some people who claim to do so are hypocrites?
The existence of the counterfeit is never a good reason for rejecting the genuine. Peter says, “Of course there are counterfeit Christians. Of course there are teachers who do the church more harm than good. What else would you expect in this fallen world? Grow up! Don’t be naive! Don’t miss what’s real simply because you have seen the counterfeit.”
You might be able to make a case this week to someone who’s hiding behind this excuse!
Do you know someone who has rejected Christianity because of hypocrisy?