First I want to establish the definition of a pretender. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of the word that is relevant for this article is this: “one who makes a false or hypocritical show”. Some of the synonyms for the word are: faker, fraud, imposter and phony.
How many people sit in church every week that are just pretenders?
I believe that according to the Bible, as Christians we should attend church. Is it a requirement to be saved? I know of no place in the Bible where it specifically states that it is. However, Hebrews 10:24-25 (GNT) says this: “Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.” There are plenty of scriptures that talk about how we are the body of Christ and how we need each other to function properly; and, how we are told we are to encourage one another. (Please read these passages: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, 1 Peter 4:10, 1 Thessalonains 5:11) Some people will use the excuse for not attending church that something or someone offended them, so they just do not want to be exposed to that. Or, they will express the opinion that too many people at church are just hypocrites – they act all holy when at church then act like the devil when they are living their everyday life. Really? Well then, I ask you this – are you responsible for anyone else and their relationship with God? No – that is their problem. How they act at church vs. away from church is between them and God. As the old idiom says, it is no skin off your back. You alone are responsible for yourself and your relationship with God, and if you allow anyone else’s actions to keep you from doing what you should do it is a total cop-out. Jesus was treated horribly at times, right there in the worship services. He was called a liar, His teachings were rejected, His healing acts were called into question. But did He stop going? Absolutely not. In fact, the best example we have for attending worship services regularly is Jesus. Luke 4:16 (ERV): “Jesus traveled to Nazareth, the town where he grew up. On the Sabbath day he went to the synagogue as he always did. He stood up to read.” He not only continued to attend but obviously was still an active participant.
How many people give tithes and/or offerings to their church and other deserving ministries and organizations that are just pretenders?
I believe that according to the Bible, as Christians we should be generous with our offerings. Is it a requirement to be saved? No, I do not believe it is. But, we should desire to do what we are asked to do. The tithe of 10% was part of Moses’ law and we are no longer under that law because of Jesus; however, I do believe that giving a 10% tithe is something we should do. We should be as generous as we can to support the ministries that are important to us. If your materialistic desires do not want to share in God’s work, then you should seriously rethink your commitment to God. Matthew 6:21 (GNT) says: “For your heart will always be where your riches are.” Is your heart with God, or with your material possessions? 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (AMP): “As for the rich in this present world, instruct them not to be conceited and arrogant, nor to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share [with others]. In this way storing up for themselves the enduring riches of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
How many people sit on committees at church or teach classes or Bible studies that are just pretenders?
I believe that according to the Bible, as Christians we should be willing to serve and to teach. Paul is speaking in 1 Timothy 2:2 (CEV) and says: “You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others.” Then Jesus speaking to His disciples in Mark 16:15 (CEV) says: “…‘Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world.’” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (AMP) says: “Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.” By serving others you are showing your love for God and will be blessed as a result – Hebrews 6:10 (NIV) says: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Serving one another is important and there are many verses that speak to it – a sampling of verses you can check out are: Mark 10:45, 1 Peter 4:10, Galatians 5:13-14 & 6:10.
How many people nod in sympathy and mouth the words “I will pray for you” that are just pretenders?
I believe that according to the Bible, as Christians we are to pray for one another. But let us be honest here, it can be really easy to say that you will pray for someone and then promptly forget. We need to be certain that a concerted effort is made to do what we say we will do when it comes to supporting one another with prayer. Colossians 1:9 (CEV): “We have not stopped praying for you since the first day we heard about you. In fact, we always pray that God will show you everything he wants you to do and that you may have all the wisdom and understanding his Spirit gives.” Galatians 6:2 (ESV): “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” James 5:16 (ERV): “So always tell each other the wrong things you have done. Then pray for each other. Do this so that God can heal you. Anyone who lives the way God wants can pray, and great things will happen.” Whether it is a confession of sin or some need that you have, you should be confident in asking for other Christians to pray for you.
We need to face the fact that many people that go to church regularly, give of their time and their money, serve others and say they will pray for special needs believe they are Christians but in reality are only pretenders. Their hearts are truly just not right with God. Titus 1:16a (TLB) “Such persons claim they know God, but from seeing the way they act, one knows they don’t.”
I believe that pretenders are lukewarm Christians, at best. They are neither “hot” – zealous followers of God nor are they “cold” – to the point of being a follower of Satan. This is what we need to know about the lukewarm people in the world – Jesus Christ, speaking through his apostle John says this in Revelation 3:15-16 (AMP): “‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm (spiritually useless), and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth [rejecting you with disgust].’” In other words, being lukewarm will not get you where you want to be when your time on this earth is done.
Some people when asked the question “Are you a Christian?” or “Do you believe you will go to heaven when you die?” will say things like this: “Yes, I grew up in a home with Christian parents and Christian principles.” or “Yes, I go to church every week.” or “Yes, I tithe and give offerings to my church and many worthy organizations.” or “Yes, I teach Sunday school, or I am on such-and-such a committee at church, or I lead a weekly Bible Study.” or “Yes, I pray every day for my family and friends and those with special requests.” or, one of the most common (and in my personal opinion the most egregious) “Yes, I do my best to live a good life and try to be a good person.”
All of those things are good, but none of those things alone make you a Christian or will get you into heaven. You have to be right with God personally. Your parents, your church, your pastor, your good deeds do not save you. So what do you have to do in order to be a true Christian and know with confidence that you will go to heaven?
It is so simple that it can be hard to believe; but, it is spelled out in Romans 10:9-10 (TLB): “For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation.” And, John 3:16 (TLB): “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Our world is currently on a downhill slide. There is so much evil, despicable behavior around us that it can boggle the mind of Christians. There are people with influence because of their position in society and/or because of their financial success, that are attempting to change our world as we know it – and not for the better! In my personal opinion, they are literally evil incarnate. Their own wealth and power are all they care about. They are wanting to put into place their “New World Order”. A cutesy phrase that means a few elite will rule over and control the rest of us – they consider us nothing more than peons. It is a very dangerous situation.
So what does that have to do with everything else I have been talking about above? I believe the inordinate amount of pretenders we have in the world at large and in our churches today are hindering the effectiveness of Christian influence in the world. True Christians must get serious. We must stand together in unity, fulfilling our obligations to God and to one another and begin to pray as though our lives depended on it – because they do! We need to talk to our family, our friends, our acquaintances, even strangers and tell them about our God and His power. God is our only hope – we cannot depend on mere humans.
Now is the time to take a long, hard, serious look at yourself. Are you a true Christian? Or, are you just a pretender? It is time to make the determination of where you stand and then do something about it – one way or another.
I do not want to end this on what could be perceived as a negative note. So I want to share some scriptures with you:
We need to be wise: “To be wise you must first have reverence for the Lord. If you know the Holy One, you have understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 GNT)
We need to have respect: “Respect for the Lord gives true life and will save you from death’s trap.” (Proverbs 14:27 ERV)
We need wisdom and to be humble: “Wisdom teaches you to respect the Lord. You must be humbled before you can be honored.” (Proverbs 15:33 ERV)
We need to be fully dependent on God: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains.” (Proverbs 3:5-8 GNT)
Written by Karran Martin – June 6, 2022
[All emphasis is mine]