Sunday, February 18, 2024

True vs. false Christian testimony


True vs. False Christians Testimony

We'll praise Jesus today, brothers and sisters in the Lord. I wanted to speak a little bit this morning about the difference of true and genuine Christian testimonies versus the false version of a Christian testimony that happens as a pattern in the false church. I recently got an email from a brother in the Lord who was discussing this with me a little bit. It was very true what this brother was saying. In church they have a pattern that everyone falls into when they are asked to share their testimony. So if you are in church and someone says, Hey brother, tell me your testimony. What they expect is for you to share the exact moment in time in your life, maybe when you were 10 years old, which happened back in 1989, of when you gave your life to the Lord at the Christian camp. Your testimony would go something like this. Back in 1989 I went to a Baptist camp. I was really touched by the preacher's message. I really felt the Lord moving in my heart. I was led to just lift my hands in praise. I was led to walk down to the front of the church and give my life to the Lord. My pastor encouraged me to do it. I went down to the front and I gave my life to the Lord that night. I gave up my addictions. He prayed over me and I became a changed creation that night. I remember that day was 1989 of March 3rd. My life hasn't been the same since because I used to be an addict and now I'm free.

 They have basically made your entire Christian testimony into this one small isolated incident that happened at one particular point in history in your past. Everything that happened before that time, you were not a Christian and you were not saved. Everything that happens after that moment, they believe that you're now eternally saved. Everyone who listens to these testimonies in church starts to build their own testimony after this pattern. A lot of these Christians, they hear really epic sounding testimonies of drug dealers who were doing drugs themselves and they were all mixed up in the world. They do 10 years in prison. They get beaten by their fellow inmates. They have this really crazy testimony of their past life and then they meet Jesus and now they are in church living as a good Christian. It basically contrasts this old life of who you were in the world and how crazy and how cool your life was in the world and now you're just a Christian in church and you're a good boy.

 So, everyone gets this idea that my testimony has to be this one snapshot in my life's history and that's all it is. I remember I also went to a Christian Baptist camp that was about a week long and at that point of my time, it was kind of the very beginning of me starting to hear from Jesus. My wife and I, I believe we were barely just married and I was just starting to hear from Jesus and I was starting to realize things in the church were false. There was a Baptist preacher there that was preaching to all these high school and junior high students and I was at this particular camp a mentor. So this camp was a family camp where kids from anywhere from junior high up to high school were there with their parents. But after the preacher would preach, you would get together with a few other different congregations from potentially different states. This was an out of state event. I believe it was in Glorieta, New Mexico. So we were from California and there were people from different areas there. One of the high school kids, he was probably only a freshman or a sophomore, he happened to be in the same group as my junior high and high school kids. We were asked to go around and share our testimony. This kid, who was obviously a son of a Baptist preacher and he'd been around church his whole life, he gets up to share his testimony. And I'm telling you, his testimony, the whole thing sounded like an absolute joke to me. No passion when he told his testimony. I was convinced that he himself didn't even believe what he was saying. He basically said, you know, “my name is Billy Smith and I've been a Christian now for five and a half years. I used to be a big sinner. Now I'm a saint, you know, I'm a Baptist preacher's son, grew up in church, but I used to be a big sinner, used to be doing all the big sins, thinking all the bad things. But one day in church while the preacher was preaching, I got convicted. I thought, Lord, I need to repent of my sins. So I said, hallelujah, I need to repent. And I walked myself as a sinner up to the front and I said, sinner, you need to repent. You need to have mercy on my soul. And I pleaded before the Lord that he wouldn't let me, that he would let me into heaven and not into hell and praise the Lord. I'm saved from my sins now. I'm on my way to glory, brothers and sisters.” And his testimony was so trite and so ridiculous that I just could not believe that it was genuine even to one percent of a degree. But when he got done sharing his testimony, to my surprise, nobody else thought his testimony was disingenuine. And I kept that to myself. I didn't question this high school student because obviously I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings or point out the obvious at that time. But everyone else just was saying things like, “amen, brother”, you know, “that was, thank you for sharing that testimony. Let's go on to the next testimony”.

But it was ridiculous. My point is, it was not a genuine testimony and it's obvious by your actions and your words if you really have a testimony for Jesus or you don't. Now I know where Christians get the idea of being a testimony or being a witness. The main verse that they get for this is in 1 Peter chapter 3. I want to read it for you. It says, “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. Do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense or to give an account or a testimony to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear, having a good conscience that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

 So you have these verses in 1 Peter that were told to always be ready to have a testimony of our faith in Jesus. Always be ready to stand up for the truth if someone approaches us and asks us why we are a Christian. So it makes sense. Also we have the words of Jesus, of course about being a testimony. At the very end of Matthew chapter 28 we are told to be a testimony to the world. Also in Matthew chapter 24 Jesus says, he who endures to the end shall be saved and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness or as a testimony to all the nations and then the end will come.

 So we as Christians are to be a light and a witness and a testimony to the nations of the world and beckon people to repent. We are to be fishers of them. You have this story of Jesus casting out a demon, a demoniac, a demon possessed person in I think how you pronounce the town name is Guderianese. You can read it for yourself in Mark chapter 5. And at the very end of this story of Jesus casting out this demon, the demon possessed man that has now been set free, he wants to follow Jesus but Jesus tells him that he shouldn't physically follow him. In other words he is not going to be the 13th disciple following Jesus around like Peter and the other disciples. And Jesus rather says to this man that has been set free, go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you and how he has had compassion on you. And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him and all marveled.

 So we know that Jesus wants us to be a testimony, a witness for him, and being a testimony doesn't just mean that Jesus did one thing for us in the past. Imagine if that demon possessed man who was set free by Jesus continued to think of the one time Jesus had set him free, even though he had allowed demons back into his life. Imagine he goes back to drinking, he goes back to beating his wife and beating his children, but he continues to go back and say, but Jesus set me free 36 years ago so I'm going to heaven. That is basically the attitude that many Christians have today in church and their testimonies are not true, they are disingenuine. A lot of it has to do with their false doctrine of OSAS, once saved always saved. These Christians in false religion are convinced that following Jesus just means saying one prayer, going to the altar in church, confessing your sins that one time and after you have that one experience, that one emotional high or that one spiritual high, then you're once saved and always saved and anything that you do after that moment doesn't really matter or count. Don't worry about it being a testimony after that because you've already had your experience. So it's absolutely ridiculous guys if you break this false Christian testimony down. It's actually not a real and genuine testimony at all. I'm not saying that all Christians in church have never met Jesus because there are a lot of really wonderful testimonies, a lot of Christians have shared their testimony on YouTube and a lot of them did genuinely have an experience with the Lord, but sadly from that point they have got wrapped up in religion, they have forgot to continue to walk with the Lord and now they're trying to build on that foundation of Jesus with wood, hay and stubble and all of the sinking sand. And because of that they don't have a genuine testimony. Their testimony is false.

Because Jesus is alive, He's constantly speaking to His children and because we are alive in Jesus, our testimony is fluid, our testimony is moving because Jesus is moving.  He's constantly doing new things in our life. So it's not an isolated event of a testimony that we had 32 years ago, but our testimony continues to evolve as the Holy Spirit continues to speak the Word of God into our life. He tells us new things and our testimony continues to emerge. I've been on YouTube now over 10 years, I think around 13 years and I have many different testimonies of what the Lord has been doing over these years in my life. He's given me dreams and revelations, interpretations of things, words of wisdom, all sorts of things the Lord has shown me since the time I have put my faith in Jesus years ago.  Now I first put my faith in Jesus when I was about 8 years old, but what if I continue to go back and I never had any of these videos of what the Lord is doing in my life, what if I never shared anything that the Lord was doing in my life after I was 8 years old? There would be no edification of the church, I wouldn't have allowed the Holy Spirit to be a light in me, I'd be hiding my bushel, hiding the light under a basket. There wouldn't be any testimony in me to share. All I would be saying on YouTube right now is, guys, back when I was 8 years old I felt convicted when I was lying in my bed one night and I knew I was going to hell, I had the fear of God in me, so I told my dad, Dad I want to be baptized. So my dad talked to the pastor and the pastor said, well the next baptism we're doing is next month, so take a few baptism classes and get ready for baptism on baptism Sunday. And then sure enough, baptism Sunday came around and I was baptized by Pastor Matt Calucci and that was back in 1994. And so there you go, there's my testimony guys. That would not be leading anyone to Jesus, but that is the kind of testimonies that you hear in church. It's not that my testimony or my faith in Jesus when I was 8 was disingenuine per se, but what happened in my testimony after that, because that is what is critical.

 If you get married and your vows are genuine, but then 5 years later or 10 years later you break your vows and you get divorced, then what relationship do you have with your wife? If you get divorced you don't have any relationship with your spouse anymore and your vows are broken. So it doesn't matter how genuine your vow was back in 1989. If you don't have faith today and if you don't have a testimony today, then your soul is going to be lost and people are not going to be seeing your light as a testimony for Jesus. You'll just be looking like the most disingenuine person. So I want to encourage you today not to buy into the false testimonies of church or the false OSAS, once saved always saved doctrine. The teachings in church that basically make the Christian into this do it once and done idea. If we are alive in Jesus because Jesus is alive, our testimony is alive, and we need to daily be walking in the Lord. Not just walking in the world, not just following preachers, but we need to have a testimony that is alive because Jesus is alive and He wants to walk with us. 

How I see this in dead religion is, it would be like if you said your wedding vows and then after that day you decided not to talk with your wife, but to go off and live life for yourself. Imagine you as the husband go off and you're kind of doing your own thing, your wife is doing her own thing. And then one day you as the husband speak to your wife and you say, hey I would like to actually conversate with you and grow with you and love you. And imagine your wife says, well we got married years ago, we got married 20 years ago honey, we don't need to talk anymore, we're already safe and secure and our marriage is going to be good forever. You as the husband, if your wife said that, you would know that you're already headed to disaster with your marriage, if you didn't already know that. We know as relational beings that we have to daily be communicating with people in order to have good relationships. With our wife we have to be communicating, with our children, with our parents, whoever we want a good relationship with we have to be daily in connection with.

And why would it be any different with God? So what we need to do as Christians is constantly be in prayer, constantly asking Jesus to help us to have a testimony, that he would speak his words to life into us. That way when we're around other people, whether they are brothers or sisters in the Lord or people in the world, we have something to bring, we're not coming empty. A lot of Christians are always spiritually empty, they're always looking for some spiritual nugget for them to eat, but they don't have anything to bring to the congregation of God, they don't have any truth or any enlightenment from the Holy Spirit for others. They're always empty. And because of that they can't encourage fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, they can't be edified themselves because they're just drained and empty all the time.

The churches gather these sorts of people, everyone talks about they're going to church to get fed. That should not be. If the true church is meeting together, brothers and sisters in the Lord, each of you should have a spiritual song, each of you should have a revelation from God that you're going to share a dream or a vision. You should have something, because after all, God sent his son Jesus to be with you through his Holy Spirit. And if Jesus is with you, you do have life, you should have something. So why are Christians running around totally empty without any knowledge of the truth, no love, no joy, they don't have any revelation from God, they have nothing. That is because they don't really have a testimony, they have rejected Jesus and they've rejected it for their ridiculous religion that is damning them.

I want to encourage you to have a true testimony today. Have a testimony like that guy that Jesus set free, that demon possessed man. Have a testimony like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all of the apostles, all of those disciples that walked with Jesus. Nothing was too special about them except they decided to walk with the Lord and as they walked with him they grew in their faith and in this understanding of God. They listened to the parables, they listened to the teachings about the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven. And they were convicted and as they walked with the Lord and received his Holy Spirit, they gained a testimony and power to be able to share with even educated men that knew more about the Bible than them. And they were given a mouth that no one could shut up, no one could speak against their wisdom because they walked with God.

I want to pray for the family of God, the children of God, my fellow brothers and sisters who want to have insight from the Holy Spirit. I want to pray for those of you that want a true testimony and for people that want to put their faith in God for their salvation. So “Lord Jesus I pray for my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. I pray that someone listening today may truly come to you and that you would come into their heart and dine with them, that they may be saved from their sins, that they would come out from false religion and not be deceived by the lying pastors that come to people in sheep's clothing but are wolves, who pretend that we don't have to really repent, who pretend that we don't really have to walk with you. These are those that say that we can just have one heightened experience in the past and then we don't have to walk with you after that and we know that that's a lie. We want to hold your hand Lord Jesus and walk with you every step of the way and endure with you to the very end of our life. So I pray for my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord that they would pray and seek you with all of their heart and that they would find you and that they would walk with you in faith and that you would teach them as their only teacher and lead them as their only leader and that they would not be misled and misguided by false brethren or wolves on the internet or anywhere else Lord. Keep us in your hedge of protection and lead us and guide us by your truth and your light. And we also want to be lights for you. Let us shine for you that other people may see the truth and give our Father in heaven glory. In your name we pray Lord Jesus, Amen.

 We'll continue to praise Jesus guys. Continue to have a testimony for the Lord and be a light shining for Him. That's what Jesus has us on this earth to do. Those that continue to sin, they get cut off. But those that want to follow the Lord and cut evil out of their life, the Lord prunes them and He disciplines them in righteousness and in the way of the gospel, that we can bear more good fruit and encourage more people in the kingdom of God and do what is right before our Father in heaven.

 Well thank you for being here this morning everyone.