Recognising False Conversions by lindash


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Title:                              Recognising False Conversions
File: 2.11.1                                                      Log: 1351                          Date: 14-Feb-2006
Issue: 1.0
Authority in Jesus Christ: Russell Morgan (Apostle)

1.        Document History                                                                                              2
2.        Introduction                                                                                                   2
3.        Authorities                                                                                                    3
4.                       e
            a b ig C n et ” a s
          Wh t en “ o v r d Me n                                                                                         5
5.        Reasons that People Reach Out to Jesus on Hearing the Gospel                                                   7
          5.1          Reaching Out that Results in Conversion                                                           7
          5.2          Reaching Out with Wrong Motives –No Conversion                                                    7
          5.3          Teenagers Especially Susceptible to False Conversions                                             10
6.        Discerning False Conversions                                                                                   10
7.        Managing the General Welfare of the Flock                                                                      12
8.        Summing Up                                                                                                     13

APPENDIX: Additional References from Scripture                                                                           16

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                          (Serving Ministries is a registered business name in the State of Victoria, Australia.)

1.     Document History

     Date          Issue                        Details of Change
 14 Feb. 2006        1.0   Original document prepared.

2.     Introduction

This document is being primarily written for the benefit of pastors so that they are properly
equipped to manage those who believe that they are born-again when this is not really the
       h s ht
         s        s a t y f s o v ri s.
case. T iiw a ime n b “ l c n es n ”           o

The focus of the Bible is about God calling out a family of people for Himself with whom He
will fellowship forever. The Bible repeatedly says –

       Hebrews 8:10
          wl u mya i h i n a d re h m n h i e r . wl e h i o ,
             l          w       r d
       …I ip t l snte mi s n w i te o te h at I ib te G d
                                    t     r    s   l     r
       and they will be my people.

The congregations in the churches include those whom God is adding to His family during
the Church Age. However, the congregations are a mix of people; some who are genuinely
born-again and are working out their Salvation with fear and trembling; others who are
born-again who are being caught up again by the enticements of the world; some who are
being drawn to God so that ultimately they will become born-again; some who are not
born-again but attend church services for a variety of reasons; and some who think they
          g i h n n e l h y r o.t h a go p
             n             iy                ’ s s
are born-a a w e i rat te aen tI til t ru of people about whom this
document is being prepared.

Not all who have responded to an invitation to accept Jesus as Lord are converted, filled
with the Holy Spirit and enter into the process of Salvation. When the Gospel of Jesus
Christ is preached the Holy Spirit moves in the hearts of people convicting them of their
sinfulness so that they reach out and call on the name of the Lord to save them. However,
there are some who respond to the Gospel message with the wrong motives and are not

The primary role of the pastor is to nourish and protect those who are born-again and
working out their Salvation with due diligence because i these people who will fulfill the
aim of the Bible by entering into eternity with God(1). The secondary aim of the pastor is to
rescue those who are born-again but allowing themselves to be drawn back to the ways of
the world(2). Unfortunately there are many in this category who will fail to enter Go ’
Kingdom in spite of the many warnings contained in the Bible. The Bible says here –

       Matthew 7:21-23
       "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but
       only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on
       that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out
       demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew
       you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Those who simply attend church services for the sake of having a social outlet are easily
recognised because when it involves spiritual matters, they quickly turn away. This group
of people would comprise those who are the spouses of people who are genuinely born-

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again, those who attend services because they wrongly believe that church attendance
alone leads to Salvation, and some who attend simply because they fear death. Who
knows –some of these may yet be called by God at some time in the future and become
part of the heavenly family.

The objective here is to know how to recognise the people who claim to be born-again, but
in reality are not, so that they do not become a source of troubles for those who are
                                  at f o ’ l k These are the people who can be wolves
genuinely converted and are p ro G d f c.   so
                                                                           s f o ’ h rh
in amongst the flock and can be very disruptive to the smooth operation o G d C uc .

3.     Authorities for this Document

  eoe e e i o e l i h p ci o ti u j t t mp r th th e d r
                 n         h           f
B fr w b g t d a wt tes e i s fh s b c i i otn ta tera e
                                        c     s      e ,’ s         a
understands the authority in which this document is being written. The following is offered
in this regard -

       3.1                                  n o ’ e af
               Personal Authority to Speak O G dsB h l
        s o a e r h e d ro h o u n, n me s u s l ra .’
                        o                    s
       A y uc ns ef m teh a e t tid c me tmy a iR se Mog n I                 l m
       called as an apostle of Jesus Christ with the following two missions –
              T h rl ao n tew r o r odJ s s c miga ansoon,
                o ead ru d h ol u L r e u ’ o n g i
              T b gntew r o rsoigG dsC uc t i oiia goys ta
                o e i h ok fe tr                                s g
                                         n o ’ h rh o t r n l lr o h t
               t n lb l nt n amo iu ni n c od n e i
                ’            y    e
               iso ego al u i da dh r no se tyi a c ra c w tt                  h
               Ephesians 5:25-27 –a bride fitting for our Lord when He returns. The
               Bible says -

                      Ephesians 5:25-27
                      …Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her
                      holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and
                      to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle
                      or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

       The Bible speaks of me in the following way –

               Malachi 4:5-6
               "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of
               the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and
               the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the
               land with a curse."

         r n r t n b u mye a d h s o t h h ’ ae s n p se
            f   o         f       sn     c m l           l
       Moei omai a o t s l n temi i s ow i I c lda a a o t ,
        r rv e n o u n c ld F lw ok r R s i o ’ h rh
             d              l   l          on     s
       aepo i do ad c me t ae “eo -w res e tr gG d C uc
        o eh r
       T g te”.

       3.2     The Bible as the Source of All Truth
       While God has called me to speak on His behalf, He has also provided me with the
       r h h t a o p a . h r h o s r h ie n n o ele
        u                          su               o
       t t ta I m t s e k T it t c me f m teBb o la dn ww ’s e  l y             l
       what the Bible says about itself in terms of the quality of this truth -

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       i)      The Bible is Perfect Truth

               Psalms 18:30
               As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a
               shield for all who take refuge in him.

               Psalms 119:9
               How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

       ii)     The Bible Covers Every Situation in Life

               2 Timothy 3:16-17
               All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting
               and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly
               equipped for every good work.

               Hebrews 4:12
               For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged
               sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it
               judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

       iii)    Everything Written in the Bible must come to Pass

               Isaiah 55:11
               so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
               but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

       vi)     The Truth of the Bible is Eternal

               Matthew 24:35
               Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
       v)      God Watches Over the Truth of the Bible
               Jeremiah 1:12
                The LORD said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see
               that my word is fulfilled."

               Proverbs 22:12
                h y s fh O D e p ac v r n we e
                                     h         d
               T ee e o teL R k e w t o e k o l g …

       vi)     God Esteems the Bible Just as His Own Name

               Psalms 138:2
               I will bow down towards your holy temple and will praise your name for your
               love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name
               and your word.

       In the light of what the Bible tells us about itself as a complete book for life in this
       Age and for eternal life, it cannot make any sense to use anything else in this world
       as our reference for absolute and perfect truth. We are to be thankful to the Jews
       who have given us the Bible.

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            t s h o re fr h smp r ts o t mp r th th r h s s d n
                              u            a ’
                                             s a    u
       Jus a tes uc o t t ii otn, otoi i otn ta tet t iu e i
       its proper conAlext. The Bible says –

               2 Timothy 2:15
               Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who
               does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

       In this document, the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible is being used.
       The reason for this is quite simple, namely: the NIV Bible is a modern-day fruit of
                           n h ie nh e tr.t
                                  x               ’s
       the Reformation i tes te t c nuy I the work of a panel of skilled
       theologians rather than just the work of one or two individuals where distortions of
       meaning can more easily arise. The Bible tells that men in a group are more likely
       to arrive at the truth by being sharpened by each other –

               Proverbs 27:17
               As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

4.                    e
         a b ig C n et ” a s
       Wh t en “ o v r d Me n

The Bible says –

       John 3:3-7
       In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God
       unless he is born again." "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus
       asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
       Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless
       he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth
       to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'

The nub of the matter is that a person must be born-again to be a genuine Christian. This
                                 t o p sie o ne G d tra Kn o i u
                                  s         b               s
is what conversion is all about. I n t o s l t e tr o ’een l i d m wto tg         h
  o    om f r l a i l e n es n i T e ie a s
                 ae n a
s mefr o mi c tk gp c i ap ro ’l . h Bb s y – sf e          l

       Matthew 19:25-26
       When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then
       can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but
       with God all things are possible."

Figure 1 at the end of this document shows how those who are born-again are set free
from the ways of the world and enter into the process of sanctification.

                                             o r p i h t or td y h i n u le .
                                                       rt s u
Being converted means that God renews u s i ta’c r pe b tes i o ri s             n         v
  s u n e g , e e p i e g li n h h l f o y o rv e h h s a
                n       r r n vgt
A h ma b i s w ’ s i b i sin i tes e o ab d t po i tep yi l l                 d           c
interface that we need to live on this Earth. Our personality, character and will are all
resident in our spirits which live on for eternity(3). (Our bodies are not redeemable like our
spirits and God replaces the bodies of Christians with new and indestructible bodies in the
first resurrection.)

Consider the following diagrams –

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    A              Unbeliever                                B      Born-again Believer

                           Prompts from the devil                                Prompts from the devil

Senses         Brain                                       Senses     Brain                   Behaviour that
                                          Behaviour that
                                                                                                can lead to
                                           leads to Hell
                                                                                             eternity with God

                         Choice of person's will                               Choice of person's will
                         permanently locked in                                 to be led by Holy Spirit
                         favor of the sinful nature.                           or by sinful nature.

             Corrupted                                                Born-again
               Spirit                                                   Spirit


        a A n , e e l t td h i e c n h i u t c s f n n ee e
                           v l r
In diagrms a dB w ’ i s ae ted frn ei tec c ms n e o a u b lv r
                                          fe              r      a               i
                      g i ee e. e e a b u “ee” ee e e o tln
                          n i                 k           i
compared to a born-a a b lv rWh nw tla o tb lfh r w ’ n ta i          r      kg
about the acceptance of the mind about something but rather the heart’acceptance that
something is irrefutably true.

Diagram A shows that in the day-to-day life of the unbeliever, the will of a person in
making moral choices is locked into the sinful nature meaning that the person is always
making choices which are in rebellion to God(4). We can see how the spirit of the unbeliever
becomes more and more corrupted as the person goes through life.

In diagram B, we can see the miracle of being born-again at work. The old corrupted spirit
is renewed so that instead of being corrupted and of no use, it is now a clean sheet ready
for God to work with as He leads us towards eternity with Him. See, too, how the Holy
Spirit comes to live in the person according to the Bible –

         John 14:23
         Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love
         him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

So instead of just blindly following the leading of the sinful nature of the flesh, the born-
again person can now make a choice whether to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit or to
 oo u s fl aue B h v g n n or td e p i e e rd p s d o ad
   l         n
flwo r i u n tr. y a i a u c r pe n ws i w ’ pe i o e tw rs
                                  n            u              r t r          s
following the lead of the Holy Spirit rather than our sinful nature. If we continue to follow
the leading of the Holy Spirit, we finish up with God instead of finishing up in Hell(5).

We can see, then, why it is that only a person who is born-again can enter into Heaven. It
simply is not possible for an unbeliever to live a life that is pleasing to God(6).

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5.     Reasons that People Reach Out to Jesus on Hearing the Gospel

       5.1     Reaching Out that Results in Conversion

         h o p l sa e s b u J s ss ci e n h rs frh is f l
       T eG s e me s g ia o t e u ’a ri o teco s o tes ’o a                     n        l
       mankind. The essence of the Gospel is that it makes it possible for mankind who
       are permanently cut-off from God, to be reconciled to Him and made holy so that
        h y a ne Hs tra Kn o h n h y i J s sp r ti to s e ss
                                     g                    e
       te c ne tr ieen l i d m w e te d . e u ’ efc r he u n s i         e g
       imputed to those who accept Him as Lord so that they are seen by God as
       righteous when they really are not(7). It gives God who is utterly just the platform to
       work with sinners turning them into holy people through the process of

       The Gospel when it is preached falls on the hearing of people with a wide range of
       personal needs. God miraculously enables some people to accept the Gospel so
       that they are able to see their sinfulness and repent calling on God to save their
       souls. These are the people who are miraculously born-again and have the
       capability of leading the life of obedience that is pleasing to God(8). (We should note
       again that being born-again is not the ticket in to Heaven itself, but rather it gives us
       the capability to act out choices that will lead us into Heaven when we die. Entry
       into Heaven is dependent on our obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit and not
       that we simply have Him living in us(9).)

       5.2     Reaching Out with Wrong Motives –No Conversion

       Amongst those who respond appropriately to the Gospel, there are people who
       hear the Gospel and have such pressing emotional and other needs that they
       respond to the Gospel with the wrong motives. Some will respond to the Gospel
       seeing Jesus as a solution for their immediate needs as one would see a hospital
       perhaps as a solution for a broken leg. People have a wide variety of wants and
       needs. These people are not repenting of anything but simply want a need fulfilled.
       They are not born-again when they respond to an invitation to receive Jesus as
       Lord in this manner.

       Some, people see Jesus as a way of bolstering their self-importance and be a
       source of financial gain. The Bible gives us the example of Simon the sorcerer–

               Acts 8:9-23
               Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and
               amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great,
               and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and
               exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power."

               They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his
               magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the
               kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men
               and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed
               Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

               When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word
               of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed
               for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had

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               not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name
               of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and
               they received the Holy Spirit.

               When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles'
               hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me also this ability so that
               everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." Peter
               answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could
               buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry,
               because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and
               pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in
               your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."

       The above example shows us how Simon gave mental assent to the truth about
       Jesus in the same way as did the devil. He believed that what was being said was
       really true but instead of repenting of his sinfulness, he saw Salvation as a means
        fe a i i ma e s h G e t o e” y ei h o p i o e p
                ng s                                        l
       o rg in h i g a te“ ra P w rb s l gteH lS i t p o l –ifn        y r    t       e
       that were possible. We know that Simon was not converted because Peter saw that
       He was still captive to sin.

       We enow going to have a look at two case histories so that we can gain some
       insight into this subject.

                           a e itr o “ o n
               Example 1: C s Hsoyfr J h ”

                           i al 0 .
                            s y s
               John is in h e r 3 ’ John believes he is born-again and has the right to
                e n gae n o ’ hurch as part of His family. But here is the
                    t          t
               b i e rtdi oG d C      s
               dilemma: John is very deluded in what he believes. John believes that the
               Earth is his and that God has given him control over all that goes on in

               John believes for certain that he is saved. He reads his Bible diligently each
               day and offers rudimentary prayers to God.

                     a ’ e ue b u w a h s a p n d n o n al e r fr i o
                         t                                         s y
               Wec n b s r a o t h t a h p e e i J h ’e r y as o h t                   m
                               e f o t o e p o l Al
                                             o       e     w n w s h t o n ae t
               need this degreo c nrl v r e p . l ek o ita J h ’p rns            s
               are separated because of some conflict in earlier years. We can only
               speculate that John has suffered a substantial degree of abuse in his early
               years so that in adulthood he needs to protect himself by being in control of
               all the situations in his life.

               The devil has locked him into this situation by working through his pride to re-
               enforce what he believes –that he is in control and when anything goes
               wrong, it is always because people have not submitted to his will.
               John can only form fleeting relationships with people. When differences of
               opinion begin to emerge, John can only resolve these differences through
               violence. He has quite a history of violence behind him. While professing to
               be a Christian, John resolves his differences with people by menacing them
               or through actual physical harm.

               While seemingly benign initially, he became quite disruptive during and after
               church services by shouting abuse at the preacher because he disagreed

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               with the doctrine being preached. John became so abusive towards the
               pastor that he required physical restraining and the need for police to remove
               him from the church premises.

                o n o d i eei ae o h o t h r e e a o ee e h t e
                    s     to        o                n
               J h ’c n i nd tr rtdt tep i w eeh b g nt b lv ta h    i
               was Jesus Christ –the ultimate delusion of the devil.

                x mpe : h a e f Alex”
               E a l 2 T eC s o “

               Alex is a young man of just 28 years of age.

                   a ’ e ue b u Alex’fmi l e c p w k o ta h d n t
               Wec n b s r a o t                  yf e
                                           s a l i xe t e n w h t e i od
               know his real parents and was raised by foster parents.

                    s o v c d h t e on
                         n         s
               Alex ic n i e ta h ’b r-again. He can remember the time when he
                a “on g i j a e e r a o t h rh ev e
                           n s
               w s b r-a a ”u t fwy as g a ac uc s ri .    c

                                 si s h t e a s i e a i rs o i r h ’
                                    e                   s        o
               The truth of Alex’l ita b c u eh b h v u is b ar, e          z e s
               unable to form friendships with people. He is self-focused to the extreme
               believing that he can steal from people and not be held accountable for his
               actions. Psychiatrists describe his behaviour as a compulsive-obsessive

               When he responded to the Gospel, he saw it as a means of having social
               contact with people who were obliged to show him friendship regardless of
               his behaviour. He wanted to be part of a church cell group to have some
               form of intimate social contact, but because his behaviour is so disruptive
               church leaders have declined him in this respect –and rightly so. Alex has
               become very offended by church leaders and sees them in a very poor light.

                             a e h i w c uc -s e k. h y a p o l boh ro
       Both John and Alex h v te o n“h rh p a ”T e c l e p “rte” r       l      e
        s tra te a e y e a d a ti si pa e o ”T e r h fh
          s                                       n k
       “ie” s h c s ma b , n s y h g le“ri G d. h t t o tematr  s               u            te
       is that we can be fooled for a little while into believing that they are genuine born-
       again Christians.

       Take the time now to study Figure 1 at the end of this document. You will see here
       how accepting Jesus as Lord sets us free from the world system –we are no longer
       a slave to the sinful nature but have the power by the Holy Spirit to live by the Holy
       Spirit. Regardless of how we might be damaged when we come to Jesus, we stop
                                           e e on
       sinning intentionally the moment w ’ b r-again. The Bible says –

               1 John 3:9-10
               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.

       In the case of John and Alex, their behaviour remains carnal and they continue on
       in their sinful lifestyle after their false conversion. They do not have the indwelling of
       the Holy Spirit to be set free from a sinful lifestyle. We can hope that God might

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                                           - 10 -

       show them both favor some time in the future so that they are truly born-again and
       i i s ot o G d tra Kn o h n h y
        v v       h          s            g
       lele w r y f o ’een l i d m w e te die.

       In the above cases, we can see the hand of the devil at work gradually destroying
       the lives of both John and Alex. If these two cases progress to the extreme the devil
       will take full control over them and they will eventually be indwelt by demons and
       they will live utterly tormented lives.

       5.3     Teenagers Especially Susceptible to False Conversions

       In a church community the youth of the church are drawn together because they
       share similar interests. Some are called by God and begin the journey of Salvation.
        t aua t th i e r w n t d t i a h te a d o
         s          h
       I n trl a te p es a toi ni wt e c oh r n s mewl e p n t
                            r                e f hy                              l
                                                                                irs o d o
       an invitation to receive Jesus as Lord so that they can be the same as their peers.
           ’ o tln b u a y e r rsue ee n ems f o ri u rte
           r         kg
       We en ta i a o t n p e pe s r h r i tr o c ec nb tah r the          o
       natural instinct of people wanting to be like their mates. Of course those who
       respond to the Gospel in this way are not converted.

       False conversions are also not uncommon amongst adolescents who have suffered
       the emotional deprivations that spring from dysfunctional family lives. Adolescence
       in itself can be a time of extreme turmoil for young people. Many suicide because
       they have nowhere to turn as they try to grapple with the rapid changes going on in
                                        t o od
       their lives just beyond puberty. I n w n er, then, that some reach out as I did in
       trying to find a panacea for my personal troubled emotional state in adolescence.

       I can speak with some authority about this matter because it applied to my own
       circumstances as a teenager. I was born into a household of strife where there was
       very little love. In my despair as a young teenager, desperately looking for peace
         n o , d c e o t n o e u ” t h rh ev e n h o e h t w u
              v          d       u                            c
       a dl e I e i dt “ r t J s s a ac uc s ri i teh p ta i o l                   t    d
       put an end to all my problems. I was not repenting of anything or giving my
         lg n e o e u . s y a td o
          l a                    mp                  o t n”o my moi a s rs
       ae i c t J s s I i lw ne s me“i me tfr e t n loe .                  o
       Consequently, I was not born-again at that time. I was 55 years of age when I truly
       gave Jesus my life and made Him my Lord. Until then I led an increasingly sinful

        t mp r to e o n e h t e a x e to e
       I i otn t rc g i ta w c ne p c t s earp i ra ei fl
                   a          s                               d c
                                                            ai n es na e      s
       conversions amongst teenagers as the world spirals downwards in moral decay and
       family life becomes more and more dysfunctional.

6.     Discerning False Conversions

When many people respond to the Gospel at the same time, there will be a mix of those
who are genuinely born-again, and some who are not because they responded with wrong
motives. It can be very difficult initially to discern who has been born-again and who has
      t mp r th t a t s r b o i ern
       s        a             o            e      s
not. I i otn ta p s r aea l t d c the difference between them because
those who are not born-again can have a considerably adverse impact on the rest of the
                                                           s e e l a y i u sed, the first
                                                                v r
congregation if the matter is not managed properly. A w ’ a e d d c s      s
priority of the pastor is to protect the common good of the people who are truly born-again
and living lives that please God.

A key difference between those who are genuinely born-again and those who have had
false conversions is that while people who have had false conversions think that they have

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                                             - 11 -

been born-again, a truly converted person knows that this is so. The one who is truly
converted knows it by the Holy Spirit who has come to live in the person. The Bible says –

       Romans 8:16
       The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

  h ie es s h t e a e o n e h s h ’ r y on
        l l                          s   r u
T eBb tl u ta w c nrc g i to ew o et lb r-again by the lives that
they lead. For example, the Bible says –

       Matthew 7:16-20
       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. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
       Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus,
       by their fruit you will recognize them.

However, it often remains difficult to tell new Christians apart from those who have had
false conversions. The reality is that in a new Christian there has been insufficient time for
 h es n o e e p e r t h i i s C n i rh a e fAi n w o a o l
                    o        ui         rv            d
tep ro t d v l n wf inte le . o s e tec s o “lo ” h h s n                s                y
recently been born-again –

       The Example of “Alison”

       Alison is a young woman of 38 years of age. Her family background is unknown.
       She ran away from home when she was only 15 years of age. She has accepted
        e u a h r od n a b e a te . h ’ u a ey e hii h s
                                                  z       s s
       J s s s e L r a dh s e nb pi d S e j t v r n wC r t nw oi               sa
       still at the foot of the cross waiting to be healed before moving on in Christian

       Alison has been a prostitute and a drug addict in the past. She has been raped
       more than once. Alison has also been involved with people who practice satanic

       The circumstances of life have been such that Alison can neither give nor receive
                                                moi a s n e S e rs nl e p
                                                     o                s
       love. No-one can get near her in an e t n le s . h ’pe e t d e l          y y
       depressed and is finding it difficult to grieve over the loss of her son.

       Her behaviour is what we might expect from someone who has been extremely
       emotionally hurt. The fruit of her life at present only reflects the pain that she bears.
       She is relatively selfish. However, she does not sin intentionally but she is
        e o n w r h t e s k g i rt ic nr y o o ’ i
                g                       n g
       b c mi a aeta h r mo i c aetss o t r t G d wl e          a           s l  .

Alison is an extremely hurt young Christian. The only fruit that she is bearing is the fruit of
her internal pain. Just as a tree takes time to bear fruit Alison has not been a Christian
long enough to begin to bear Christian fruit. Therefore, she is very self-focused and does
not yet have the capacity to look beyond herself. One might consider her to be one of
those falsely converted because she appears to be so self-focused and still smokes

Again the key difference between Alison, and John and Alex, is that she has stopped
sinning intentionally. As Figure 1 shows, this difference in lifestyle will widen and become

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                                            - 12 -

more obvious as time goes by because Alison has entered into the process of
sanctification where John and Alex have not.

Pastors must watch carefully, therefore, to shepherd people like Alison away from those
have had false conversions, so that they are being properly nourished and supported by
the church in their early Christian experience in the same way as a new born infant
depends entirely on its mother for nurture(10).

In time, those who have not experienced rebirth of the spirit will fall away. The Bible says –

       1 John 2:19
       They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged
       to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them
       belonged to us.

         y e i o a i We e p a i ee b u to e
               n         me      r     n
Somema rma fr t . ’ s e k gh r a o th s , for example, who may
have a spouse who is truly born-again.

7.     Managing the General Welfare of the Flock

 t mp r th t a t s r b o i en h i e c ew e h s h r r y
 ’s      a
I i otn ta p s r aea l t d c r ted frn eb te nto ew oaet l
                       o         e      s           f e                           u
born-again and those who are not because the situation can have a considerably adverse
impact on the rest of the congregation if the matter is not managed properly.

Consider the following diagram –

                                     The Core - Born-again believers who do the will of God.

                                            Born-again believers who are being caught up
                                            by the world again.

                                             Newly born-again believers - needing early
                                             nurture and then integration into the core.

                                            The Fringe - Unbelievers seeking the truth,
                                            those who fear death, etc, and the false

           The Main Groups of People Who Make Up the Congregation
The focus here is not to provide a detailed expose on this subject but rather that we should
see the false conversions in their proper context with respect to the whole congregation.
 oe ee h t ’ n h s h
                ts y                  k p h oe i l i h e ee es w o i
N t h r ta i o lto ew oma eu tec r ( c d gten wb lv r) h wl                 i             l
 ne G d    s
e tr o ’eternal Kingdom.
Now the Bible says this –

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                                              - 13 -

        2 Corinthians 6:17-18
        "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean
        thing, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and
        daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

The focus of the pastoral leadership concerning the congregation therefore concerns those
groups of people who are born-again, ie those inside the boundary of the heavy line. The
objectives are briefly as follows –

      Nurture those who are doing the will of God so that they grow into the fullness of
       Christ, (It is only these people who may be participate in Church ministry).

      Warn and instruct those who are backslidden so that they are not lost to the evil

      Nurture the newly born-again with spiritual milk so that they can be integrated into
       the core of those doing the will of God.

The next degree of interest for the pastoral leadership is to bring the Gospel to those who
are as yet unbelievers in the hope that some might cross over the boundary of the heavy
line to become newly converted Christians. The point here is that in managing the entire
congregation, the interests of the unbelievers must not be allowed to dictate the welfare of
the believers(11).

Generally this matter is relatively easy to manage but there is the potential for those who
are amongst the false conversions to be very disruptive and this may involve some
 n l s nn s. ’ l a y e n o o
     e               v r                           mo g th ru uf n t n o
u p a a te sWe ea e d s e h ws mea n s tigo ps f r oi s f     s           e       o
grandeur and if they are not managed carefully can be a very disruptive influence on the
entire congregation.

 o s e a a h a e fJ h ”J h s
      d        n                                 n h o l e i u te n h rh
C n i r g i tec s o “o n. o niama w ow u b d rpi i ac uc    d       s v
service by interrupting the smooth flow of proceedings. He is the type of man who when
asked to be silent, might prove to be violent.

Quite simply, John must be asked by the elders to leave and if he will not do so willing the
assistance of the police should be sought in this regard. It is a far better thing to advise
John early in this respect than to allow the matter to linger and cause distress to the
common welfare of the flock. The flock must be warned about such a person and that they
should stay away from John in any kind of social setting outside of the church premises.

A special note must be made here about the children of believers who are yet to meet
 e u a te a i rWe e a i r c ay b u te a es ee fr x mp , h
              r     o       r kg npl
J s s s h iS v u. ’ tln pi i l a o te n g r h r,o e a l w o                        e
have the comprehension to understand about matters such as Salvation. While these
                 e s e “n a e ”te ae nk l o e o re f i u t n n h t
                                                  i y
young people ar a y tu s v d,h y r u le t b as uc o d rpi i ta          s o
they are being made holy by association with their Christian parents and for this reason
are unlikely to be a source of trouble for a congregation.

8.      Summing Up

In this document the focus has been on false conversions. What we mean here is people
who think they are born-again when in reality this is not the case.

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                                                               - 14 -

   ’ o e t h t e g on g i e l me n . ’ e n o o e e s
   v o                  n              n     l
We el k da w a b i b r-a a ray a s We es e h wG drn w a      v
 es n p i n o s o i n
       s r   t                v
p ro ’s i a dc me t lei them in the form of the Holy Spirit when they come to
Jesus with a repentant heart for their past sinful lives and ask Him to save them.

     ’ e n to h w t p sie o p o l o o
     v                   i     b          e           o e u wt
We es e ,o , o is o s l fr e p t c met J s s i abo drn eo         h ra a g f
wrong motives and when this happens, no conversion takes place even though the person
  o c re h k oh r i A d e e l e n o t s mei d fu t i en
               n          e         v s
c n en dti s tews . n w ’ a os e h wis o t s ic l od c ri              i
                                                                 me f t s
initially between those who have been genuinely been born-again and those who have not,
when a number of people respond to a Salvation call at the one time.

 i l e e o e th oe t l to e h a e a a e o v ri s o e
   ay v o                         ao
Fn l w ’ l k da tep tni frh s w oh v h dfl c n es n t b      s          o
disruptive in the smooth operations of the church and how we must deal with extreme

To those who have been truly converted may they work out their Salvation in awe of God
as the Bible says –

       Philippians 2:12-13
       Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence,
       but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear
       and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good

And to those who have had false conversions, may God grant them the mercy to be truly
 o vr  e to       i n h uue o h th y o a sa e o ’ rth
c n etda s met i teftr s ta te toc ne c p G d w a which is        s
soon to come upon the Earth.

Russell Morgan
Called by the will of God as an apostle to serve Jesus Christ for the close of the Church

              Romans 10:15
              ...As it is written, "How beautiful are
                                                          Contact -
              the feet of those who bring good news!"
                                                         Russell Morgan
                                                          Phone: In Australia 0400 771 488
                                                                  From O/S (+61) 400 771 488
      Serving Ministries

        A Ministry of Servanthood to Jesus Christ
                                                        Please note - To write, please attach a letter to an email. Because
                                                        of the nature of my calling, I am often on the move and my actual
                                                        location can be away from home in Australia for periods of time.

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                                                                                            - 15 -

                                                Warnings to Persevere to the End

                                                              ETERNITY WITH GOD
                                                                                                                 Death or           Matthew 24:13
               Matthew 7:22-23                                                                                 Jesus' return        but he who stands firm to the end will
                                                                                                                                    be saved.
               Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not
               prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out                                                                    1 John 5:5
               demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them                                                             Who is it that overcomes the world?
                                                                                                                  p ir
               plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'                                                            Only he who believes that Jesus is
                                                                                                                S                   the Son of God.
                                                                                                                    Revelation 2:7

                                                                                                                    ...To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat
                                                                                                                    from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
                                                                                         io n
                              Born-again                                       ic   at
                            (Set free from
                                                                      c   ti f
                                                                   San         2 Peter 2:20

                             by the blood                                      If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and

                                                                               Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are
                               of Jesus)
                                                                               worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.
             Degree of

                   Worldliness - the world system - enslaved to the sinful nature and destined for destruction.

                                                                                                Figure 1

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                                                             - 16 -


                             Additional References from Scripture

Ref. #                                                          Scripture
   1      Ephesians 4:11-13
          It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and
          teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach
          unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the
          fullness of Christ.
   2      Jude 1:22-23
          Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--
          hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
   3      Genesis 1:26
          Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds
          of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

          John 4:24
          God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
   4      1 Corinthians 2:14
          The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him,
          and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
   5      Romans 8:13
          For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body,
          you will live,
   6      Romans 8:8
          Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
   7      Romans 3:21-24
          But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
          This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have
          sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by
          Christ Jesus.
   8      John 6:65
          He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."
   9      Hebrews 5:8-9
          Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of
          eternal salvation for all who obey him
   10     1 Corinthians 15:33
          Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
   11     2 Corinthians 6:14-17
          Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what
          fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer
          have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the
          temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they
          will be my people." "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will
          receive you."

RRM1402061A4.doc                                                                                                  Printed: 28-Feb-06

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