I don't know what to call this moment. There was no chaos in the environment but the words that came from him sounded sinister to the ear. A grin traced his lips while he awaited for me to answer his questions. "Are you a Christian?"
It was around 10:15 am, and I had just arrived a couple minutes later than usual. I remember telling myself to pick up breakfast for the youth group the night before so I could finally make it on time. I didn't and ended up getting the almost cool to the touch baked croissants from the bakery. Praise God, everyone else, also seemed to be running late this Sunday. Nothing really new there, but again, to God be the glory!
"Yes I am." I did not hesitate answering as I made my way toward the pew. It was a strange question. Yes, I admit, I looked nothing like a pastor that day. I'm actually not sure what youth pastors are supposed to look like, and quite frankly, God doesn't care. I showed up that Sunday in a white sweater, some dusty black jeans and sneakers. The kids and I talked about church apparel during a portion of our bible study earlier in the week. We decided to wear crocs to church, that's a story for another day. But as I waited for the rest of the youth to come, my focus locked into this conversation.
"What makes you think you're a Christian?"
"Because I love God"
"Why do you love God?" He asked.
"Because of His sacrifice for my sins"
He laughed. "You don't know the word. You don't know scripture. Jesus did not die for our sins," he said.
I kept a smile of my face for I knew exactly then, what I was talking to.
"You don't know the word," he exclaimed, still with the same sinister grin spread on his face. "Jesus did not die for our sins. He died to reverse Adam's sin".
"Christ died for you and I so we can have a relationship with God and an everlasting life in the Kingdom of God" I said.
He laughed. "You don't know the word, if you did, you would know that Jesus and Christ are not the same"
"We were made in the image of man, and that is Christ, not Jesus" He said.
"You should go back and read Genesis,"
He laughed even louder, and a little bit longer this time. "Why would God allow Himself to come to earth? I know the scripture by heart," he proclaimed "but you don't"
"Not all who proclaim Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven" I said. "I'm also really glad you're here today. The kids and I were talking earlier this week about something similar to this conversation," I continued. "We talked about the ones that come dressed as sheep but are ferocious wolves."
He started laughing as I spoke, and he looked back down on the floor. "We talked about how to recognize them and scripture also says you'll know them by their fruit. Your words today toward me were not spoken by the fruit. Everything you said was not said in love but to shame me." I smiled again, "I'm so glad you're here today because today's sermon is about the fruit of the spirit." I grabbed my bible and sat down.
He lifted his gaze from the floor, chuckled, and left the room.
Romans 16:17-18 "I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people." (NKJV)
1 John 4:1-6 "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood." (NKJV)
Matthew 7:15-20 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, 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." (NKJV)
Stay Alert, Stay Vigilant.
Romans 16:17-18, 1 John 4:1-6, Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Image by Light Houngbeke
The Found Sheep