If there's anything this world is hungering for, it's reality. We see that yearning played out in our own homes on our televisions with every type of "reality" show imaginable. People are just tired of games and hypocrisy.
That can be applied to the preaching of the Gospel even today. Today, you can reach people with the Gospel if it approaches people with a sense of reality. You see, the great hunger of every man and woman's heart, every child's heart, is to know truth and that truth is Jesus Christ; not know about Him, but to know Him and to have that reality in their own lives.
The Fatality of a False Witness
"A false witness shall perish." That is, it's fatal not to have reality, to be false, to be a "Cardboard Christian." You'll find the Words of our Savior in Matthew 7:21, explaining that one of the devil's favorite ploys is to use false witnesses. "Not every one that 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."
And notice Jesus continues, referring to the Judgment Day: "Many will say unto Me in that day 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?' And then will I profess unto them, depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. I never knew you."
These false witnesses are marked by several characteristics.
• There's false praying. "Many will say unto Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord.'" These are people who knew to pray! They didn't know how to pray, but they knew to pray.
• But not only false praying, it's compounded by false preaching. "Many will say unto Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name?'" The word prophesied means to stand up and preach with authority. Did you know that there are those who will stand behind the pulpit and yet they don't know Christ as their personal Savior? The tragedy in our day and in our land is that many are standing behind the sacred desk who have never been born again!
• And then it's compounded with false power and performance. "'Lord, Lord,'" ...false praying. "Have we not prophesied in Thy name," ...false preaching. "And in Thy name cast out demons," ...false power. "And in Thy name done many wonderful works," ...false performance!
"But a false witness shall perish." Jesus said, "And then will I profess unto them, depart from Me ye that work iniquity, I never knew you.'" Now, not that I knew you, and then you lost it, they never had it!
I've said it before and I want to say it again. The worst form of human badness is human goodness, when that human goodness becomes a substitute for the new birth. Jesus called it iniquity!
The Reality of Faithful Witness
God's Word says there are the three marks of reality in a faithful witness?
• First of all, there must be a listening worship. "He that heareth." No man knows God, or is prepared to serve the Lord until he's first heard the Lord. One of the marks of all true Christians, in fact, in all reality in spiritual matters, is that you have heard the Lord. Jesus said in John, Chapter 10, Verse 27, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them." The Lord doesn't know anyone unless they've heard His voice.
• There is the call to be a living witness. "He that heareth speaketh"! Did you hear that? We dare not speak for God until we've heard God. But if we've heard God, we dare not be silent. Jesus didn't say, You shall be my lawyers. Jesus said, "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me." A lawyer argues a case, but Jesus says we are called to be a witness — to tell what we've seen and heard.
• And then there is a lasting walk. "He that heareth speaketh constantly." That is, he stays with it and doesn't give up. That's the hallmark of reality. Why do people start and fall away? If you've got reality, it's going to last. And those that do go away never were saved.
Do you know if it's real in your life or not? Are you an exclamation point or a question mark? Are you a Cardboard Christian? If so, then you're going to perish. If you don't know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, I want you to know Him, and you need to know Him. And I want you to know reality, not religion, reality...to know Christ.
Just as plants need certain essentials to grow---light, water, and fertile soil---so do new Christians, babes in the faith. Without these essential basic truths of the faith, they will never establish strong roots or bear fruit.Adrian Rogers has written this book to give believers the nurture and care their faith needs to blossom and grow. What Every Christian Ought to Know seeks to give intellectual truth, and also provide the "spiritual nutrients" required to produce mature faith.