Blurred Lines...

Excerpted from John Bevere's Driven By Eternity (Chapter 5: Pages 82-98)

Blurred Lines

The difficulty is found in the lines being blurred. Let’s look at a person who is self-seeking but who confesses the born again experience, talks the language of a true believer, makes friends with the godly and is even excited about believer’s gatherings; yet there is no nature change. So in essence this person is unknowingly an impostor, and the difficulty arises in the fact that his self-deception spreads like a disease. Others base their lives off of the “norm” in the Christian culture, and this “norm” is out of sync with heaven, thus making it hard to be true believer. In Paul’s day, if you were a believer your life was in jeopardy every hour. There was no question about it – if you gave your allegiance to Jesus, you put your life on the line. Paul continues:

     But you know what I teach, Timothy, and how I live, and
     what my purpose in life is. You know my faith and how
     long I have suffered. You know my life and my patient
     endurance. You know how much persecution and suffer¬
     ing I have endured. You know all about how I was perse¬
     cuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra – but the Lord
     delivered me from all of it. Yes and everyone who wants
     to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
     But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will go on
     Deceiving others, and they themselves will be deceived.
          2 Timothy 3:10-13, NLT (Emphasis Mine)

Paul made it clear. It wasn’t only what he taught, but what he lived and his purpose in life (eternally driven, which we will get to later in this book) that proved Timothy could trust him. It wasn’t his answered prayers, supernatural gifts producing the miraculous, or his excellent ability to teach the Word of God. No, it was not these traits he pointed to. It was his lifestyle. It was, and still is to be, the determining factor.

He continued by saying “evil people and impostors” will flourish. Now we all know to stay clear from an evil person; however, it’s impostors, those who assume an outward identity that does not match their true nature, who are the most dangerous. They are the ones who profess and have a form of Christianity, but there is no evidence of the life changing power of grace. Notice Paul says that they will not only deceive others, but they themselves will be deceived.

This perfectly describes Deceived in our allegory. This young man was active as the School of Endel, professed to be a devout follower, and sincerely believed he was in good standing with the king. He put more emphasis on his professed allegiance than a life that revealed his loyalty. Not only was he deceived, but he deceived others. Due to the standards Deceived set, many were compromised, from the girls he slept with to the many he influenced by his message within the student body.

You say, Message? He wasn’t a teacher. Oh yes, I mean message, for how we live communicates much louder than what we speak. For those students in Endel who were true to Jayln, it was a battle not to be influenced by the strong personality and lifestyle of Deceived. Those who didn’t stand strong succumbed to his influence.

This is a battle not only Paul warned us about but so did many other writers of the New Testament. Jude tells us,

     My dear friends, I was doing my best to write to you about 
     the salvation we share in common, when I felt the need of 
     writing at once to encourage you to fight on for the faith 
     which once and for all God has given to his people.
          Jude 3, TEV 

Notice the urgency in his voice. He wanted to discuss the wonderful things we share in salvation, but he had to write about something different. He had to encourage them to fight, battle, and wage war for the faith. What is the fight? He explains by saying:

     For some godless people have slipped in unnoticed among
     us, persons who distort the message about the grace of our 
     God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject 
     Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Long ago the 
     Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received.
          Jude 4, TEV (Emphasis Mine) 

The war is against the influences created by people who have perverted the grace of God in order to excuse their ungodly lifestyles. These assaults are more deadly than all-out persecution against the church. They’re more dangerous than laws against biblical principles such as abortion and the requirement for schools to teach evolution. They’re stronger influence than any cult or false religion. They’re eternally fatal!

You might ask how this applies to people in church because the people Jude reference reject or deny Jesus Christ. No one could do that in our churches today and still be accepted as Christians. What would make you think they were more vulnerable in those days? Look again carefully. These people slip into our circles unnoticed. No one could stand up in our assemblies today or in Jude’s day and confess with their mouths their denial of Jesus Christ and still be unnoticed. So how do they renounce Him? The answer is found in another New Testament book. “Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way the live” (Titus 1:16, NLT). They deny Him by their lifestyles, not words. In fact, they claim to know God, they confess Jesus as their Lord, but they communicate otherwise by their works. Remember, they not only deceive others, but they deceive themselves. In other words, with all sincerity they believe they’re Christians.  


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