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True Christians Versus Pretenders

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True Christians Versus Pretenders

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In Revelation 3:9 Revelation 3:9Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
American King James Version×
Jesus explains that eventually He will make those who only claimed to be believers understand who His real followers really were. It is interesting to note that at the end of the first century, these pretenders claimed to be “Jews”—not Christians. While most of modern Christianity rejects this term and many teachings associated with it, such as the seventh-day Sabbath and annual Holy Days, this passage says the pretenders claimed to be “Jews” because they believed this was the correct name. Were these first century pretenders confused about this name?

The Bible shows that this Jewish name and the days of worship given in the Old Testament were not rejected by Christ or the first century Christians. These first century pretenders had the right name, but the wrong practices. Lest one misunderstand, believers were also called “Christians” in the first century (Acts 11:26 Acts 11:26And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
American King James Version×
) and this name is also an appropriate designation for believers. The real key in identifying the people of God, however, lies in their conduct.

The apostle Paul clarified this Jewish link to Christians saying, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Romans 2:28-29 Romans 2:28-29 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
American King James Version×
). In writing to the believers in Galatia, he described them as “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16 Galatians 6:16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus had much to say throughout His earthly ministry about people who would appropriate His name, but not do what He said. In Matthew 5:17 Matthew 5:17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
American King James Version×
, He exclaimed, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law,” but many people claiming to be Christian today mistakenly think that Jesus came to destroy the law and liberate people from it.

In Matthew 7:21-23 Matthew 7:21-23 21 Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
American King James Version×
He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Similar passages are found in Mark 7:6-9 Mark 7:6-9 6 He answered and said to them, Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. 9 And he said to them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.
American King James Version×
and Luke 6:46-49 Luke 6:46-49 46 And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and dig deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently on that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded on a rock. 49 But he that hears, and does not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house on the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
American King James Version×
.

Jesus’ instructions are the basis for Paul’s admonition to “walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12 1 Thessalonians 2:12That you would walk worthy of God, who has called you to his kingdom and glory.
American King James Version×
). Jesus predicted long ago that people would claim to be His followers, but reject His commands. UN

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