Religious Fraud

Habakkuk 2:19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awaken!’ or to silent stone, ‘Come alive!’ Can it give guidance? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, yet there is no breath in it at all.”

The accusation of Fraud is a serious one. Fraud is defined as deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

There have been many instances of fraud throughout history. Schemes have been devised to cheat people out of money, politicians have committed it to get reelected, and thieves have used it to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.

Probably the greatest attempt at fraud is to disguise a religion as representative of God’s Truth.

There have been many attempts by perpetrators at deception who have scammed people into thinking a particular idol or deity holds any power. They’ve taken paths that may resemble God’s truth and twisted it ever so slightly, then added elements to catre to the flesh and draw people into their deceptive scheme. Other’s have exalted themselves in hopes that people would follow.

How do we know who holds the Truth?

Psalm 86:11 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.”

*There are elements to religious falsity that exposes its deception. A brief summary of the charade is noticeably present in:

1. How a church perceives Jesus.

John 12:44-45 “Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.”

Jesus has fulfilled every prophetic description concerning the Messiah in history. He validated the prophetic requirements by rising from the grave and conquering death. The core definition of Truth is found in Jesus. Since Jesus is Lord, His words have weight and so we measure our definition of His position based off how He has defined Himself. He declared and proved Himself God incarnate. He was not Satan’s brother, a god in a lineage of other god’s, Michael the archangel in disguise, only a prophet, or just a wise teacher. He is the Savior of all who place their trust in Him. Apart from Christ, there is no salvation. There is no measure of good works that will qualify you for Heaven. He is King.

2. How a church practices their faith.

Acts 4:11-12 “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

If a religion is congruent with Jesus’ Lordship, then the focus turns towards how people practice their faith.

If the practice is focused on gifts of the Spirit, the focus is away from the source of those gifts. Jesus, when He was preparing to depart for Heaven promised He would send a Helper. The Helper was the Holy Spirit who administers gifts according to the wisdom of God. When the sermons are dominated by practicing gifts, a home group hyper focuses on discovering your gift, or the body of Christ is more centralized on manifesting their gifts, the evangelism of sin and grace turns into an evangelism of works. The substance of a fellowship becomes shallow when the people exalt their spiritual abilities rather than revealing the source of that light. Churches become practitioners of bringing in new converts but leave them with only milk…..the people slowly become spiritually malnourished.

3. How a church exemplifies the fruit of the Spirit.

Romans 8:13-14 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

A healthy church is one that is lead by the Spirit. This is the conundrum among those who claim to be followers of Christ, but aren’t. The attributes of Christ are exhibited among those who have been sanctified in Spirit and in Truth. A lack of agape love is the undercurrent for a misrepresentation of Jesus. Jesus embodies the very heart of love. He demonstrated it throughout history among His people Israel, He lived it out as the Messiah on earth, and He reveals it through His people today. When the Spirit isn’t at work, acts of kindness lack the power to transform, they only address immediate needs. Those on the receiving end of these altruistic attempts at mimicking God’s love are left in the same predicament where they started–walking in darkness.

Psalm 119:115 Depart from me, you evildoers, For I will keep the commandments of my God!”

4. How a church walks in obedience.

John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

The work of God is just that….the work of God.

It isn’t our work we are accomplishing, those who demonstrate the power of God are working according to His will, not contrary to it. Obedience has a direct correlation to righteousness. Understanding God’s moral law and walking in it is how we show love to the Lord. A church that forsakes the moral law makes provision for sin. The churches that celebrate homosexual marriage bolster the pride of man through their conduct, or simply focus on filling the pews and less on ministering to the people. These churches lack a heart for the lost. They may speak about the importance of evangelism but their conduct shows they are more concerned about their comfort.

Matthew 15:8-9 These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

Religious fraud appears godly in conduct and oftentimes in rhetoric, but their hearts are far from God. It’s easy to get duped by these charlatans of the faith, which makes it all the more imperative we walk in wisdom.

We must be sound in doctrine and washed in the Word. The ability to perceive falsity is by having the knowledge of Truth. To those who claim to be followers of Christ and yet live contrary to Jesus’ Word, we use the Word to correct.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.”

Know the Truth, live the Truth, and teach the Truth. As the world increasingly grows darker more people will compromise and defile Christ’s name, and while this blasphemous spirit continues to grow in pseudo-churches across the land, we must become a bastion of Holiness.

Now is the time to take our stand. Remember, we serve the King who will reign forever…..go forth victoriously.

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