Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Although, because of its vulnerability, the church is constantly under the threat of siege by infiltration, it is not defenseless. It can preserve the faith from corruption and destruction by recognizing and properly dealing with impostors. Those of us wh

Robert "The Master Spy" Hanssen

A high-ranking FBI counterintelligence agent, Hanssen caused more damage to U.S. national security than any other spy in our history. According to a key Soviet defector, the information provided by Hanssen was so damaging that the U.S. would have lost WWIII, had there been one. He escaped the death penalty only because his shyster lawyer made a deal with the Justice Dept that spared his life in exchange for his cooperation in revealing exactly what he sold to the Soviets/Russians. He will spend the rest of his worthless life in the Supermax Prison in Florence, CO, unless another inmate slits his throat (even serial killers despise a traitor!).

Read more: http://www.faqs.org/shareranks/581,The-Most-Famous-Spies-in-History#ixzz19S805meJ

An impostor who has infiltrated an organization can play out his agenda long before he is detected. That is the warning to the church we find in the epistle of Jude.

In Jude's words, "Certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 4). Left to his work, an impostor can threaten the mission and very life of any organization.

Although, because of its vulnerability, the church is constantly under the threat of siege by infiltration, it is not defenseless. It can preserve the faith from corruption and destruction by recognizing and properly dealing with impostors. Those of us who are true believers can begin by gaining helpful perspectives on the problem of apostasy in the church.

What Is an Impostor?

What is an impostor? An impostor is someone who claims to be someone or something he/she is not. In the context of the body of Christ, she/he is one who claims to be a believer…one who has received in some way the truth of the written Word, but not the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. This person's "Christianity" is theoretical, not experiential. He is what the epistle of Jude calls an apostate.

Apostates claim to be Christians, but they are not. But neither are they merely unbelievers. Apostates are those who know the truth but do not act upon it.

They perform an inside job and are tools of the enemy to destroy the foundation of the church even though they themselves may be blind to this reality.

Judas, the apostle, is an excellent example of an impostor. Although he claimed to be a believer, he was not. He had achieved near-perfect attendance with our Lord and His band of disciples for three-and-a-half years. In fact, he had appeared so trustworthy that he was appointed treasurer of that entourage! Judas's foundational problem was that he had seen the light, but did not have the life.

The Church's Ongoing Battle

Impostors are at work today. Their strategy is destruction by infiltration. Like Robert Hanssen, they have crept in unnoticed and seek to destroy the work of God from within. Our denominations, organizations, Christian colleges and seminaries and especially our churches are their victims.

In the early days of the church, believers met tremendous opposition from the outside. Satan tried to destroy the church from without by means of persecution.

History shows that persecution has not worked to destroy the church; rather, the blood of the martyrs has been the seed of church growth. The more the church has been persecuted, the more it has flourished.

In our generation we have seen this phenomenon occur in mainland China.

Although the church in China has seen persecution for decades, it is not defeated…it is stronger!

It seems that in these last days Satan's strategy is taking on a renewed emphasis. He seeks not only to destroy the church from without, but to also do so from within. His target is the Word of God, the foundation of our faith,

upon which the church is built. It is no wonder that Jude admonishes us: "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).

The work of infiltrators takes the life and heart from the church. There are many denominations and organizations that can attest to that today. Once they were thriving, vibrant and alive, but now they are dead or dying. What happened?

It certainly didn't happen from caving in to outside pressures. It happened from within! Impostors ... those who have turned from the truth have "crept in unnoticed" and are about the business of destroying the foundation from within.

Lessons From History

One of the most used platforms of impostor activity is the field of education.

Institutions of higher learning such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, and Princeton have much in common. Yes, they are all Ivy League schools. They have ongoing traditions. But their one forgotten common element is that they were all founded for the express purpose of the propagation of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were established for the glory of God. Tragically, they each left their calling.

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