Sermon Manuscript …
The Pretender and His Parent
Titus 1:15-16 and John 8:44; 10:10
My friend told me once that his favorite teacher in high school ended up not being a teacher. He was a fake who later became known as the great pretender. He’d been a university exec, a psychologist, a prison warden, a navy surgeon for a foreign country, and a high school teacher–the favorite one with all the students. But he was not authentic. He was an intentional faker, a career pretender.
But there are a lot of other types of pretenders. Disneyland and the wannabe Knott’s Berry Farm. Name brand and generic brands, diamonds and cubic zirconia’s, and there are Christians and pretend Christians. Some know they are not believers, but many do not know–they think they are saved.
Just as Jesus said, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord . . .’“ (Matthew 7:22). But He will say, “’I never knew you; depart from me.’” (Matthew 7:23). They thought they were saved–not a few, not some, but many. The New Testament gives us many examples of this final shock. There will be many who think they are on the narrow road, but are actually on the broad road that leads to destruction. In Matthew 22, the king notices one of the dinner guests is not dressed appropriately, and he is speechless–shocked as he’s tossed out.
In Matthew 25, the five virgins ask for the door to be opened and the Lord says, “I do not know you.” In Matthew 13, there are the true wheat and the false tares. First Corinthians 5 discusses the so-called brother. And three times we are commanded not to be deceived about being saved if we are living in sin–1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 5:5-7 and Galatians 5:19 and following. So how do we know? Turn to Titus 1.
#1 Don’t be a self-deceived pretender
This letter is about living out your faith, and Paul hammers the Cretans with these words. Titus 1:15-16 says, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
It’s not walking an aisle, praying a prayer, making a decision at camp, having a Christian family, friends, serving, believing right doctrine, studying the Bible that assures that you are a genuine, authentic Christian. Paul is really pointed here.
First–The genuine believer is internally transformed
Verse 15 “To the pure, all things are pure.”
When God makes you pure, when he saves you, he makes you pure inside-out. The religious clean the outside of the cup, but not the inside. They look good, everything is about appearance. Maybe you’ve seen that, where people want to appear spiritual? But God changes us from the inside out–all things become new. How do you know?
1) You love Jesus more than anyone or anything–He’s your first love. You don’t try to love Jesus more; you will love Him more, even though you often fail to show it. Jesus is your favorite.
2) You are sold out for Christ. You are willing to do anything for Him. Luke 14:26,27,33 says you will turn away from any relationship. You are willing to die, give all you have away. It’s not that you will try to be this way; you will be this way, though every one of us falls far short. But we are sold out to Christ.
3) You want to obey His Word and please Him. Romans 6:17 says you have a heart that wants to obey Him in everything. Though you struggle and fail, you don’t make excuses. You want to obey His Word.
These are not rules, but ways to please Him. Religion is about rules, but a new heart wants a relationship. True Christians are never at peace when we remain in sin. We are never free to keep sinning defiantly. Have you been internally transformed? Paul also adds . . .
Second–The genuine believer lives externally different
Verse 16 says, “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” This verse is scary, since it tells us . . .
1) The fake openly profess Christ. They say, “I am a Christian, I know God, I am in.”
2) The fake live like non-Christians. Paul says, “but by their deeds they deny Him.” Their focus is appearance–looking good. They talk a little Jesus, but more about boys, clothes, appearance. They talk a little Christ, but more about sports, games and fun. And even though they go to church, their life looks just like a non-Christian–lust, flirt, envy, jealousy, unloving, cliques, no heart for the hurting or different. By their deeds they deny Him. And like the lukewarm, this makes God sick. They are detestable, an abomination.
3) The fake don’t serve or give. They are worthless for any good deed. They may come to church for the social event, but they never serve, never give, are not faithful. It’s worthless, because it comes from a fallen nature and not the Spirit of God through them. They are more greedy than giving, more selfish than serving. So don’t be a self-deceived pretender.
An authentic believer is transformed internally and externally, lives a unique, biblically-driven and Christ-pleasing lifestyle. They love God and others. They talk about Christ. They confess Christ openly. Their faith is a joy, and Christ is central in all they do–sports, cheer, band, keeping house, karate–even the wuxi finger holds skadoosh for him.
One of the problems with being a pretender is that they think they are serving God, but they are in actuality working for the enemy.
#2 Don’t be fooled as to who your parent is
The Bible says there are only two kinds of people–children of God and children of the devil. First John 3:10 says, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” And God and the devil are very different parents.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 8:44 says, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Those who do not turn to Christ in salvation have the devil as their master, their parent. Who’s your daddy? The devil, and he has sold his children a lie. One-third of the angels bought this lie, and all of mankind fell for it. The lie is that you can do your own thing, be your own God, and not pay any consequences for it. It is packaged as freedom, but it is actually slavery, used to destroy you.
Gals who have sex outside of marriage for the first time usually take a long shower because they feel dirty. We are sold the lie that it is just a physical act like an animal, when in fact it is the sharing of a person with a person to be one. Do that enough and you lose your soul and capacity to have healthy relationships–God can restore you, but there is a price you pay. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
Guys live for sports–they don’t pursue Christ, they don’t show up on Sunday or Wednesday because of practice or club meets. They don’t learn the Word or develop accountable relationships. So much focus on the physical distorts you, and then you get hurt and have nothing. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
You live for the cute guy or gal, get married right away. He finds someone cuter and commits adultery. You experience a pain God never intended. All because your focus was on externals and not the heart. Later there is divorce and bitterness. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
Those are all true examples of students I know. The lie says you can dis the One True King–Christ. But it comes with an awful price that you pay now. First Peter 5:8 says the devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to eat. Eat you up, not what you want to do with most of the 2 – 4 year olds around here–but kill you, destroy you. Plus later, Luke 16 says agony in flames awaits the devil and all his followers in hell.
Yet in John 10:10, Jesus tells us about his heart towards His children. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Where Satan is a LIAR, Christ is the TRUTH
Where Satan is a MURDERER, Christ is LIFE
Where Satan wants to DESTROY you, Christ can REDEEM you
Where Satan wants to ROB you, Christ will GIVE to you abundantly
And he proved it all by His life and death on your behalf. God, Who exists eternally in time, became a man, the God Man, lived a perfect life, veiled His glory so He looked like a mere man, but never sinned, never cheated, never stole, always spoke the truth, and does not want to ruin your life but bless you.
My wedding band has inscribed inside, James 1:17, “Every perfect gift is from above.” Jean is my perfect gift, but all good gifts are from above. In order to receive the ultimate gift of true authentic genuine salvation, it came at a great cost to Christ. At the end of his 30 years of life and 3 plus years of ministry, He willingly, intentionally offered Himself as payment for our sins.
The wages of sin is what? Death. Someone had to die for your sins. But a sinner could not do that. And all of you are sinners, right? How many of you have stolen? You’re thieves. How many of you have lied? You’re all liars. How many of you have lusted? Perverts. But even beyond that, to the very core of your being you are a sinner–even good things that nice people do are most often for selfish purposes, or guilt, or self-promotion.
Oprah Winfrey–every age has its philanthropists, and she is one for this age . . . she is beloved by many. Yet almost every issue of her magazine has who on the cover? We are sinners to the core of our beings. And someone had to pay.
So Christ endured six unjust trials, suffered the agony of crucifixion for six hours, the last three being the worst of all. It was so bad, God turned out the lights and Christ cried out, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAS THOU FORSAKEN ME?” (Mark 15:34) God poured out his wrath on His Son for the sins of His children. Then Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven so that His children might have life now and eternal life forever. Abundant life, if we respond to Him in repentance and turn direction by faith in dependence, exchanging all that we are for all that He is. He will transform us on the inside and change us on the outside.
We will begin to live for Him, not because we have to, but because we want to.
We will not try to live righteously, but live by His righteousness. It will be no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me. So I will want to go to church for Him, and serve others for Him, and not have non-Christian boyfriends for Him, and do my athletics for Him, and dream great dreams for Him.
It is no longer that I DO, but I D.O.–Depend and Obey.
I understand that GOOD minus GOD is O.
G O O D, minus G O D leaves an O, a zero.
Genuine Christians are hot, not cold and not lukewarm. Genuine Christians produce the fruit of changed lives. Their life changes, and so do the lives around them because of the way they live. So don’t be fooled as to who your parent is. There is a huge difference between God’s family and the other family.
Do you know what it cost Satan to promote his lie? The lie that says you can live anyway you like? It cost Satan nothing, but it cost you everything.
Do you know what it cost Christ to give you the truth? It cost you nothing, but it cost Christ everything.
#1 Turn to Christ alone for deliverance
Only Christ can set you free from sin now and hell forever
Only Christ can give you peace and love and forgiveness
Only Christ satisfies the deepest longings of your heart
Only Christ is a master whose yoke is easy and burden is light
Only Christ gives you direction and purpose
You were dead in your sins–dead. Only Christ can make you alive–cry out to Him for mercy and to open your eyes to your need.
#2 Follow Christ alone for assurance
Only as you follow Christ do you have assurance
Do you want to obey from the heart?
Are you willing to do anything for Christ–anything?
Are you one who wants to serve and give and it shows?
You will never be perfect, but you will want to follow Him (not that you prayed a prayer once)
Do you have authentic biblical assurance?
#3 Enjoy Christ alone for confidence
Don’t neglect the blessing of intimacy with Him
Prayer, the Word, the Church, fellowship
Let’s remember what He did for us now with giving and communion
About Chris Mueller
Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.