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“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 23:16 NIV)

At lunch recently, our friends began to describe their friend who made his living discovering counterfeits. He was on the lookout for popular labels of clothing made to look like the genuine. He became totally familiar with the hot selling brand—the stitching, the cloth and materials, the cut, every pleat, the logo, as well as the printing on the tag. For the fake to come to light, he compared the imitation with all that made the original product unique.

The fake can have a lot of similarities to the real, but, with counterfeits, something is always amiss. Our lunchtime discussion raised the possibility of Christians, without knowing it, possessing a counterfeit faith. It looks real. It may feel like it is real. They may assume what they have is genuine, but they had been sold a clever counterfeit.

I’m ashamed to admit this, but some time ago I bought an expensive looking watch. Without asking too many questions, I bought it from a man with whom I worked. George had a persona and an office that had the feel of money and success.  As for the watch, it had an inscription on the face that read “Rolex,” yet I paid a penny on the dollar of what the genuine would cost.

Who was I hurting anyway? If someone asked about my nice watch, I did not lie. I may have sent them to George. The sad truth was that I was wearing deceit.

Before you judge, what about the brand of Christianity you wear? Is your faith genuine? Could it be that you are you okay with the small portion of false teaching you received from the most prestigious and prominent church around? Are you willing to sell others the fake item of faith you own? Are you comfortable displaying the fraudulent doctrine you were sold, and disinterested about knowing the truth? You did not realize it was fake, but why now the reluctance to compare it with God’s word?

“What harm can an imitation faith do?” you ask. “Fake is the new in-thing.” No one cares for authentic. No one holds it up to the Light to see if it meets God’s standard for truth.”

We may be particular about the food we eat, our clothing or our jewelry, yet all too willing to swallow the lie.  Even if no one cares to investigate matters of faith, we should. With counterfeit Christians, something is amiss. Critical thinking is absent. The Bible is not used as a source of authority. Jesus is exalted, but his truth is not (1 Timothy 2:4).

Let the buyer beware. We live an era filled with deceit and with men like George.  It would be wise to examine ourselves for the lies we believe, then warn others who might be ready to buy into a counterfeit faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).

 

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