What you are about to read is absolutely true. I say this because it almost too astonishing to believe:
- I know a pastor, who leads a church not three miles from our own, who has been receiving death threats! And from whom? Angry church people, that’s who.
- I know another pastor, who leads a church about five miles from PCC, who has been viciously attacked, maligned, falsely accused, physically threatened, and even had slanderous letters circulated about him. And by whom? Angry church people, that's who.
- I know still another pastor, who leads a church in the south end of the county, who has received threats of bodily harm and has even been pursued by a stalker! And by whom? Angry church people, that's who. (PS – He had to get the police involved to get the stalker to stop).
- I know a pastor in north Georgia, who has been stalked and had dozens of blogs sites set up against him. He is doing such a great work for God - more than 1000 people attend his church, and they still meet in a movie theater. Yet some people are so angry with him that they ruthlessly attack him on a daily basis. A lesser man would have thrown in the towel long ago. And who is doing this? Angry church people from other churches, that's who.
I find it absolutely mind boggling that people, who call themselves followers of Christ, can behave in such a way. This is not just misbehavior. It is pure devil, and they cannot possibly be true believers.
Jesus said on one occasion, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you WILL do” (John 8:44). In other words, it is impossible for people to act contrary to what they really are. “A tree is known by its fruit.” Here Jesus says that children of the devil ACT LIKE the devil because that’s what they are. There is no beating around the bush on this. Jesus said it, and that settles the matter. Oh, people may pretend they are followers of Christ, but really are children of the devil - and their actions prove it. They may join churches and learn to speak church-talk – but they are tares growing among the wheat.
Christians are not supposed to live like unsaved people. If they do, it’s a good sign they are not really followers of Christ. Sins that were unheard of in the church only a generation ago are now common place. Please understand, Christian people can and often do behave in carnal, sinful ways at times. We all do. But nothing in Scriptures suggests that a true believer might pursue a lifestyle of unbroken sin and antagonism; especially against other believers.
Children of God do not masquerade as children of the devil. The reverse is true; Satan pretends to be an angel of light, and his children pretend to be righteous (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
When the scriptures mention the difficulty of telling the sheep from the goats, the point is not that Christians seem sinful; rather the ungodly appear to be righteous. That is the line of demarcation.
False disciples are in it only for what they can receive. They are satisfied with a salved conscience, peace of mind, a good reputation, or spiritual satisfaction. But like Judas, their half-hearted faith eventually reveals itself.
“….and the lusts of your father you WILL do.”
HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE...
In contrast, Jesus also said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life..." (John 10:27-28). Who are His true sheep? The ones who follow Him.
Faith obeys. Unbelief rebels.
I John 3:14-15 (KJV) "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abides in death. Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer, and ye know that no murder has eternal life abiding in him."
I John 3:10 (NIV) "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."
I John 4:20 (NIV) "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."
Persecutors of the brethren are, in fact, children of the world.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
If you are being persecuted for righteousness sake, take heart, you stand in good company. You stand in league with Jesus, the apostles, and countless other saints who have endured to the end. You are in the company of the redeemed from all ages.
Jesus said, "If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you... You are not of the world, therefore the world hates you. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you" (John 15:18-20).