If all you had to go on was Hollywood movies, you would expect that all Christians were ignorant fools, and quite possibly hypocrites, hiding wicked acts. Of course, you know better: you know there must be some good Christians. But how can you tell one from the other? It is not enough to see that someone has a fish on their bumper, or even that he or she attends church. Who really has been changed by trusting Jesus? Who is it that really is alive by His Spirit?
This is not a new question. There were pretenders from the very beginning. Think, Judas. And lots of pretenders look very real. Some of them have become famous pastors with huge congregations. How can we safely sort out who is real? Jesus taught that many “wolves” would infiltrate His followers, dressed as sheep.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Matthew 7:15-17 )
Likewise, John wrote:
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:7-10)
Just today I read of another so-called minister who swindled his congregation of hundreds of thousands of dollars. These guys have always been among us. Don’t be fooled. What a person does shows in Whom or in what he or she really believes.