An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil (Part 11)

Revelation 2:12-13 ESV  “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.  (13)  “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

A community of evil. Have you ever thought about this subject? An entire community having an appearance of godliness, yet denying its power.

I live in just such a place.

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An Appearance of Godliness – Case Studies in Evil (Part 10)

Mark 7:6-7 ESV  And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;  (7)  in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

The kind of people we are learning about and exposing in this series are, in Paul’s words, hypocrites who have an appearance of godliness. Not only are they unregenerate (not born again), but by their words and practice they actually deny the gospel by denying the necessity of being born again.

Isaiah describes them in terms of lips and hearts. They spew out words that “honor” the Lord but in fact the person they really are (their heart) hates the Lord and all who belong to Him. All of their busy, buzzing, behive activity in their “churches” are vanity. Emptiness. In fact their religion (doctrines) are the commandments of men. Man-made. Fake. Opposed to Christ. They are of the spirit therefore of the antichrist.

Let me introduce you to Larry.

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An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil (Part 9)

2 Timothy 3:5 ESV  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

In these now 38 years of pastoral ministry I have met a long list of the kind of people the Apostle Paul is warning Timothy about here. Identify them. Avoid them. Go no contact with them. And who are they? They are people who claim to be Christians. People who have an appearance of godliness. But who, by the rotten evil fruit they demonstrate, are not born again by the power of Christ. 

In fact, I can confidently say that in these nearly four decades of ministry, the large majority of people who were members of the congregations I pastored, fit this very description. And I do not believe that this is at all atypical in the local churches today. You must be born again, and they were not.

In this chapter, I want to talk to you about Mary. Mary, like so many on my long list of these kind, was not just a church member. She came from a family of church leaders. The large part of her time was spent doing “church.” She and her husband established numbers of church outreach ministries. They were present at every single church event. They religiously maintained daily Bible study and devotions. But there is more.

Continue reading “An Appearance of Godliness: Case Studies in Evil (Part 9)”