What does counterfeit money have to do with Jesus?
A story came out yesterday of a man in Lake Hallie, Wisconsin, who attempted to return a printer to Walmart without a receipt. This would have been a fairly normal situation had there not been counterfeit one hundred dollar bills still in the printer from his apparent attempt to forge US currency. The man was so adamant in his attempt to get a refund on the printer that he lost sight of the fact that he was about to be arrested.
“A further search at the jail revealed three additional counterfeit $100 bills on the subject’s person,” the police said in a statement. The man was charged with attempted theft by fraud, forgery and resisting arrest. Turned out, he was already wanted on two felony warrants for armed robbery and burglary from a nearby county. (source NBC news)
Beginnings of the Secret Service
A little known fact is that the Secret Service was not originally founded to protect the President but instead to suppress counterfeit currency. If you go to their website you will find that every year there are still many victims of this crime. It is not surprising to learn that the higher value bills are some of the most commonly counterfeited. Why waste your time getting arrested with something of lesser value when you can attempt to counterfeit things that are of much greater value.
Satan seems to have a similar tactic as it relates to the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NASB)
(Photo Credit: US secret service)
Notice the lack of definition on the second $50 dollar bill listed on the Secret Services website . To be tricked out of $50 or $100 dollars is a shame, to be deceived in areas related to your eternal soul is a tragedy beyond words.
Protecting Ourselves from Counterfeit Spirituality
How can we protect ourselves at such a time in history where there is so much counterfeit Jesus going on in the Global Body of Christ? I believe we can learn a great deal from the Secret Services approach. Though they are aware of the many kinds of counterfeit bills, their greatest training is to know every minute detail of the real thing.
Once they have a thorough working knowledge of the original they are equipped to identify the counterfeit. They hold the original up to the suspect bill in order to see if it’s the real thing. In the same way, we are to be living our daily lives with such a depth of knowing of Jesus – such a level of intimacy– that though a counterfeit may present itself – we are not deceived into following a false Jesus.
The Secret Service is so aware of the potential for counterfeit that they even have a section on their website where they proclaim “Know Your Money” – subtly stating “so that you don’t get deceived.”
In the same way, the global Body of Christ ought to have a sign up that proclaims – “Know Jesus – so that you don’t get deceived”.
Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:4-14 (NASB)
At such a time as this, our knowledge of Jesus must be so much more than mere head-level knowledge. We must be walking with Him in a level of intimacy where we know His voice and can follow whether or not it makes sense to our natural minds. This is the depth of dependency that Jesus modeled for us, and this is the level of dependency that He expects of everyone of His followers (John 5:19, John 10:4). He is expecting us to recognize the season of time we are living in globally and to prepare ourselves so that whatever unfolds we are spiritually ready and able to not merely make it through ourselves, but to be useful in His hands to rescue others.
“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
Be Ready for His Coming
“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Matthew 24:32-44 (NASB)
In closing, I would encourage a prayerful re-reading of this passage in Matthew 24. Let us take the time even as we’re reading these words to stop and pray through this passage and allow God’s Spirit to speak to us about any way in which He wants to get us ready for what is to come. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to rekindle a level of desperation in our lives to lay hold of everything that God has for us. That is an activity we will not regret. We join you in praying that this passage will rekindle a renewed level of intimacy in your relationship with Jesus Christ.