The Pretenders


By Nick Bibile



1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.



They went out from us.  Who are they and who are us? They were pretenders of true Christianity. They said that they were true Christians but it was a false appearance of Christianity, it was a hypocritical appearance.  Spurgeon said, “Pretence never stood in so eminent a position as it does at the present hour. There be few, I fear, who love the naked truth.”


They departed from the communion of the believers.  They are the ones who fellowshipped with the true church, the church that preached the truth of the gospel and not the worldly gospel.  We know that there are lots of churches all over world but there are some false churches.  C. D. Cole said, “We believe a church of Christ is an organized body of baptized disciples, equal in rank and privilege, agreeing on what the Bible teaches, and covenanting to do what Christ has commanded. His command was to make disciples, and this can only be done by preaching the gospel to the lost.”  There are many who have adopted a good name for a church, but it does not mean that they preaching the true gospel.  For example we have The Church of Christ," and "The Church of the Latter Day Saints." “The Jehovah’s Witnesses.” “The Roman Catholic Church.”  The name does not mean anything, outside of the church does not mean anything, and it is not the external but the internal preaching of the word that counts.  When John says, “They went out from us, he is not talking to the Mormon church saying they went out from the Latter Day Saints” But the John is speaking of the true church of God of that day, that church will continue until the return of Christ. 



Now the people who left, occupied a place in the church and were counted among the godly people. Then they left the true church of God.  The church is exposed to evil and hypocrites come and sit with the godly and worship God. They came to the prayer meetings, they were busy in the ministry, they even witnessed to people, they had fellowshipped with us, but they went our from us.  They were chaff mixed with the wheat. They left the church.  Where did they go?  The hypocrites will not go from the better to the best but from the truth to apostasy.  They embraced a false Christianity or they went out to the world.


The early church was very careful whom they admitted into the fellowship, every Christian who sinned was only readmitted to the church by open repentance. There was very strong discipline in the body of Christ as the body of Christ is holy and well disciplined.  But today you can hop from one church to another without getting a background of the person who came from the previous church, the reason for his leaving.


The church is mixed with the chaff and the wheat, the goats and the sheep.


2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.


False teachers will try to penetrate into the church.


Satan is the archenemy of God; he has a program and a plan. He will come against the works of God.  He will do this by deception.  He will come like the good guy, he will come with the Bible, and he has many hats to ware according to the situation.


2Co 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.


Spurgeon said, “Counterfeit has at length attained to such an eminence that it is with the utmost difficulty that you can detect it. The counterfeit so near approaches to the genuine, that the eye of wisdom itself needs to be enlightened before she can discern the difference. Specially is this the case in religious matters.”


The pastor and the elders of the church are to protect the church from false teachings.  We need to heed the words of apostle Paul to the Ephesians church.

Ac 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Ac 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.


When people bring new doctrines to the church we need to test them in the light of the Bible and what the historical church believed.


Re 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:


Some examples


Adding to salvation. Salvation is a gift and by grace alone and we cannot add anything to salvation.


Ac 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.


Ac 15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment.


There are some who would leave the church to profit the world.  Which is easy? To deny yourself and carry the cross or to conform to the world? To take the broad road with pleasure or to take the narrow road with the gospel in your heart and be ready to suffer? To love the Lord or to love the World?


Col 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.

 2Ti 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.


“For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.”


Those who fell away from God had never been true Christians.  Calvin said, “they had a feign piety.”


Ps 66:3 Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.


The word submit in Hebrew is “kahash” means {submit...: or, yield feigned obedience: Heb. lie} This is what it means in the context. The word feign means only a show, a false appearance. John Calvin about this verse said, “Through the greatness of God’s power, his enemies feign submission to him.”  Calvin goes on to say, “The power of God is such as to force them into a reluctant subjection.”


A good example is Pharaoh.  When Pharaoh saw the power of God he became obedient like repenting but it was not true.  (Read Exodus 9:27)


The Geneva Bible in its commentary on this verse says; “As the faithful obey God willingly, so the infidels disguise themselves as obedient out of fear.”


Matthew Henry says that this is a feigned submission.


In the original King James, there is a foot note that says, “submit: or, yield feigned obedience: Heb. Lie


They disguise themselves before men. They will look like any other Christian.  But let me tell you, all this is done in hypocrisy.  There is much respect to God externally, outwardly but not sincerely inwardly. It is only a show and nothing else. Jonathan Edwards said, “You cover your enmity with a painted veil.” There is external honor but inward despise to God.


Those who left the true fellowship of God are superficial Christians, not real Christians their departure from the fellowship of the saints made manifest their true character. John plainly says that if they had been real saints, they would have continued in the fellowship of the saints. This verse unmistakably supports our doctrine. Judas furnishes an apt illustration of the apostasy of false professors.  Judas was never a real believer, although associated with real believers: "Jesus knew from the beginning that they were that believed not who should betray him"


Joh 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning that they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.


Why they could not continue? Their hearts were not rooted in the sacred truths of the gospel.  Their houses were built not on the rock of Christ but on the sand.  They hear but did not obey. They always wanted something new, as they grow weary with the old gospel.


“But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”


The church is like a threshing floor, the chaff will be blown away from every deceptive doctrines and the worldliness, but the wheat will remain.  Finally the hypocrites will be manifested clearly, we would recognize by their fruits.  But the elect of God will never fall away from his grace.


The true Christian is born of God, the true salvation comes not by raising your hand, standing to your feet or coming forward, it is not an inward thing but an outside, it is of God.


1Jo 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.


The true Christian had truly repented by hearing the word of God and the word of God is in him.  And it lives forever.


1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.


The true Christian will never be cast out.


Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.


They cannot be cast out because it is an everlasting covenant that God made with the elect.


Jer 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.


The true Christian will continue in his word and they will continue to the end.


Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.


"Once I was dead in sin,

And hope within me died;

But now I’m dead to sin,

With Jesus crucified.


"O height I cannot reach!

O depth I cannot sound;

O love, O boundless love,

In my Redeemer found!


"O cold ungrateful heart,

That can from Jesus turn,

When living fires of love

Should on His altar burn.


"I live—and yet not I,

But Christ that lives in me,

Who from the law of sin

And death hath made me free."