Christian Churches should be safe places where a believer can trust everyone. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world, and not all members in the churches have honorable intentions, and even some who do come with good intentions can fall back into old patterns of sin. Therefore, Jesus warned against that “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). And He added, “See that no one leads you astray” (Matthew 24:4-5). That’s why the believer needs to “Be sober, be vigilant; because” his “adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Here are some guidelines that would help the believer to differentiate between the faithful and the unfaithful members in the church:
A) By their fruits – The fruits of the members are the clear evidence to their true nature.
“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16-20).
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23).
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:19-25).
B) By the Word of God – By saturating the minds with the pure teachings of the Bible on a daily basis, the believers will be able to discern truth from error.
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
C) By the revelation of the Holy Spirit – God will give the believers wisdom to protect them from deception.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).
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In His service,