Wheat and tares look virtually alike. Only God can see hearts. However, the awareness that those dear to us may merely appear to be a brother or sister in Christ should compel us to humbly initiate these hard conversations. Let us not become the Christian gestapo, but let us exhibit an authentic urgency and concern for the spiritual condition of those who worship God alongside us each week.
People in your church are faking Christianity. Are you one of them?
You enter your church’s building. You know what to wear, what to say, and how to say it. You’re accepted and loved. But have you been spiritually born into the family of God? Are you merely a nominal Christian—a Christian in name only?
You Don’t See Them…
Early in my ministry, I led a youth group. I assumed that a high percentage of these teens who grew up in Christian homes were genuinely born again. Looking back, though only God knows their hearts, I think the number of true believers was much lower than I imagined. If I could do it again, I’d preach the gospel more urgently and plead with each teen individually more often than I did then.
…But They’re Everywhere…
“The saddest thing one meets is the nominal Christian,” wrote Amy Carmichael. She spoke from her experience—in her “Christian” homeland of England, in her brief assignment in Japan, and in her lifework in India. Carmichael noted the stark honesty in Japan where young and old freely admitted their belief or unbelief. In contrast, India, following England’s example, contained whole villages of those who claimed the name of Christ without experiencing genuine regeneration. Carmichael continued, “The church here is a ‘field full of wheat and tares.’”
“Not in our church,” we might argue. We point to other denominations and movements. But even in our Bible-believing, more conservative congregations, we should examine the authenticity of the spiritual life in those among us.
We should start with ourselves. Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” Even among Christ’s twelve disciples, a goat blended in with the sheep.