"Just because the mouse is in the cookie jar, doesn't make him a cookie!"
People around us may not always be what they seem! And not everyone in your congregation is a washed-in-the-Blood, born again, Spirit-filled believer! There are enemies among us- moles, if you would, planted in our churches by Satan to mess things up. Our review of Jesus' Parable of the Tares (Matthew 13) showed us Satan planted bad seed in the same field with God's good seed. "Tares" are weeds that look like wheat, and represent sinners that look like saints.
We saw numerous warnings in the Epistles of such people. So, how can you tell if the "brother" or "sister" sitting next to you in the pew is a counterfeit? Sad news is, often, we can't until the damage is done! Remember the O.T. story of Achan, who skimmed some loot from the conquest of Jericho? He brought trouble on his whole nation, and one bad apple could bring trouble on a whole church!
I've seen my share of "tares" (Don't worry, I won't name names or describe situations), and I can tell you by experience, it takes just one or two in the right postion to hinder the work of the Kingdom. They can keep a pioneer work from ever getting established, break up an established church, or just get a Pastor off his God-given vision and mission.
Let me tell you any city that has a Masonic Temple around doubtless has Freemasons sitting on the board of directors of basically all the denominational churches in town, and has had them there for decades, if not centuries. They may bring in counterfeit Bibles, such as NIV and newer "translations" that distort God's Word. They may turn churches away from the work of the Great Commission and turn them onto other social agendas (Green Movement, Ecumenical Movement, etc.).
A really weird and creepy phenomenon is MPD. Bear with me, I have trouble wrapping my head around this one myself. When a child is exposed to Sexual Ritual Abuse, they crack up, literally, their minds split up into separate compartments. It's possible for one part of their mind to think they're Christian while the other personalities are stil under demonic control. "That's blaphemous!", you say, "how could a person be only partly saved?" I don't claim to know.But just because I can't explain it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
I'll leave that to the experts. But I have known people who I thought were strong believers, 'til one day something triggered a transformation, and they got all weird. Don't believe counterfeit Christians exist? What then did Jesus mean when He said, "Not everyone who saith unto Me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?' And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7: 21-23)
SCAR-RY! Is it possible some of the people we know and love and admire can be counterfeits? Only God knows a person's true heart. Let us pray the the LORD will expose and remove any false believers from our midst! A heads-up, here Pastors: the Devil seems especially fond of hiding his counterfeits right in the worship team. Screen your musicians & singers carefully & prayerfully! And watch who you place in leadership & youth ministry: "Lay hands on no man suddenly!" Peace.