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Detecting a Counterfieit

Daniel Long 5/26/12

I work at a money processing center. As part of my job, I handle large quantities of currency every day. And when you handle that much currency, you are bound to come across counterfeit bills. Of course we have counterfeit detectors built into the equipment that we use to process the money, but many times the equipment isn’t accurate. Believe it or not, the best way to detect a counterfeit bill is to manually inspect the bill. That means you have to know a real bill from a fake bill. Some of the counterfeits I’ve spotted have been really bad; almost anyone could have spotted them. Others have been really good, so good that if you aren’t thoroughly familiar with the real thing, you would definitely miss it.
Now you might think as part of my training I had to learn all about counterfeit notes, studying different types of counterfeit bills, and ways to spot them etc. But that’s not how I learned to spot a counterfeit. The way I learned to spot a counterfeit was by handling the real thing so much, that I automatically knew when something about the bill was different. Something didn’t look right or feel right. Something about the paper was off. The color of the ink was slightly different. By handling the real thing every day, I found myself being able to spot a counterfeit almost immediately.
The same is true with the Word of God. How will we know when we have run across a counterfeit? We have handled the real thing so much, and know it so well, that we will quickly be able to detect when something is not right. I remember listening to the late Dr. Walter Martin, former president of the Christian Research Institute, speaking on Jehovah Witnesses say, “The average Jehovah Witness can turn the average Christian into a doctrinal pretzel in a matter of minutes.” This is because the average Christian doesn’t take enough time to study his Bible. And yet the only key to be able to discern truth from error is by knowing truth well enough to detect error. And this means that as Christians, we need to spend more time in the Word of God,
1John 4:1 tells us that we are not to “believe every spirit,” but that we are to “test the spirits,” to see if they really are from God. And Paul tells us that we are not to “despise prophesies,” but that we are to “test everything,” (1Thes. 5:20-21). But how are we to test false doctrine if we don’t know true doctrine? We should be more like the Christians in Berea, (Acts 17:11). They tested everything that Paul said by the Word of God. If the Bereans tested everything that the Apostle Paul said how much more should we be testing what our own Pastors say!
How sad it is that many professing Christians do not test what they hear from the pulpit against God’s Word. Perhaps the attitude is, “He’s the Pastor, he must know what he’s talking about.” Or, “He’s the Pastor, I’m sure he’s done much studying about this topic.” But what if he’s wrong? How will we know if he is preaching contrary to the Word of God if we don’t know the Word of God well enough to detect truth or error?
God is very serious about how we handle His Word, (2Timothy 2:15). The Bible is not a toy to play around with, (2Cor. 4:2). It is the very Word of the Living God. God the Holy Spirit wrote it. Why then don’t we take the time to study it?
If in order to get a particular job that you were applying for, a job that you have wanted for a long time, and you had to study and know the ins and outs of the company hand book, wouldn’t you study it every time you got the chance? Yes you would, otherwise you would fail the test and not even be considered for the job. So then how can the Word of God, the very book that speaks of how you relate to Him, and how your eternal soul will be saved, a book that speaks of how to know the eternal, holy, and righteous God of the universe, the One who created you and everything you lay your eyes on, a book that shows us the only way of redemption be so neglected? Perhaps it’s because at best we’ve become lazy, and at worst we just don’t care, which could mean we don’t really know Him.
The Bible is the book that God has written in order to reveal Himself to man (2Timothy 3:16; 2Peter1:20). It is our job as Christians to know this book well enough to be able to detect truth from error. It is the job of the Pastor to feed his flock truth. And it is the flock’s responsibility to test by Scripture what is being said from the pulpit. The way to do this is to study scripture not in small chunks, but in its context
First, make it a goal to read the Bible all the way through. Some people like to switch back and forth from the Old Testament to the New, reading a book in the Old, and then a book in the New. Others like to work their way through the Bible from cover to cover. What I have found very helpful is repetitious reading. I choose a New Testament book I want to study (usually a small Epistle, such as James or 1John) and I read it over and over. The smaller Epistles have anywhere from four to six chapters and can be read in one sitting. Reading a small Epistle for thirty days will give you a good grasp on what the author wanted to convey. When studying larger New Testament books like the Gospels, or Romans, I like to split the book up into sections and read anywhere five or six chapters a day. For example, Romans has sixteen chapters. I read chapters 1-5 for a few weeks, and then move to 6-10, then 11-16. These are my study habits. You may find something that works better for you.
Whatever that may be, the point is that we need to know the Word of God so well that when we come across a counterfeit message (and we will) we’ll be able to spot it immediately. I hope that this article has been encouraging and in spires you to study and treasure the scriptures.

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