It might come as a surprise, but not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is actually born-again! When it is something that seems good to be a Christian a person might attach themselves to identifying as a Christian. But if they have no fruit, they probably are not a Christian. One of the worst things about a trendy society is the crop of so-called Christians that come out of the woodwork claiming that it is what they are when they have not repented of their sin and surrendered to God in faith.
Jesus spoke of these so-called Christians in Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way, they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. A false prophet is someone who proclaims that "Jesus is my Savior" or "I am a member of the such and such church" but there is no Holy Spirit in them.
These people are the ones who are holding back the Lord from using His church to reach a lost and dying world. Believe it or not, they actually fall in together with others who are of the same spiritual condition and position themselves in places of leadership in many churches and they cause much damage to the Bride of Christ. Remember, Judas was around Jesus for three years and He betrayed the Son of God at a very pivotal time. If Judas can be deceptive enough to fool those around Jesus, then it can certainly be done today.
1 John 2:3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. Scripture says it is fairly obvious when a person is not of the faith, but we need discernment to show the truth of who Christ is in their life. People who say "I am a Christian" are not the same people who say "I can never forgive that." People who say "I am a Christian" are not the same people who say "I will never love that kind of a person." People who say "I am a Christian" are not the same people who say "I don't want to get deeper into God's Word. This fruit thing is real and it is indicting to those who really don't have Christ in their life.
God's presence is "the" change in a person's life when they are born again. Jesus explained it this way in John 3:3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” 5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
As you can see, the Holy Spirit or God's presence is the difference. Nicodemus couldn't understand born-again because of his Judaism. The rich young ruler couldn't understand born-again because of his wealth, possessions, and position. Maybe "lost Christians" can't understand born-again because of their religion. Just keep in mind when we are born again we receive the Holy Spirit, who is God. God is the Holy Spirit so His presence has taken over our life. In verse 5 Jesus explains this truth very clearly where He says 5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
If a person denies the need for the Holy Spirit, that person is not of God and God's presence is not in them. They are what I call "Churchified Christians." They are people who call themselves born-again believers, but the Lord is not in their life. They will use terms like "I was raised in the church", but they were never born again. They just became a member of a church like their family before them. This has become a prevalent practice in areas where it is a good thing to say you are a Christian, like the south. These people become barriers to "real" change and revival because their deception is so deep it has them fooled and they live secure in this spiritual condition. They will even live fairly moral lives, but they are empty vessels, not filled with the Holy Spirit, and deceived by the enemy about what a born-again Christian really is. It's not bad enough they will never see heaven, but through the power of the enemy they disguise themselves as believers who are totally for God, but the truth is not in them. I am not judging them, but perhaps God's Word already has and they don't realize it.
They can never understand why they don't want to see life change in themselves and they fight God "moving". But in reality, their pseudo faith is fighting against God doing great work because they are being directed by the god of this world and the last thing he wants is a revival among born-again believers. Our God is more powerful, but we need to pray for God's presence to be so evident in our lives that those who are deceived will wake up and the Holy Spirit will convict them and turn them toward the Lord.
If those so-called Christians would open up their hearts to the Lord we might truly see the barriers they are putting up busted down and then experience a great work in His church. Until then, we are fighting with people who really are not born-again and they are in the way, and they bear no spiritual fruit because they do not understand life in the Spirit because they never repented and were never born again. They are "church Christians" or religious, but not regenerated, born-again believers filled with the Spirit.
Paul said it well in 1 Corinthians 2:10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For His Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. If you live in the Spirit you will bear fruit that is made possible through the Holy Spirit. If you have God's presence, you will bear fruit!!
Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.17 For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
The Pilgrimage Continues...