Here are 5 points from John MacArthur to know when the professing Christian might not be a true believer. Jesus said that there are few true Christians! Looking at the list, it categorizes most in our “churches” today!
“If you want to spot someone who’s deceived, look first of all for someone who’s seeking feelings, blessings, experiences, healings, angels, miracles. Why? Chances are they’re more interested in the byproducts of the faith than they are the faith itself. They’re more interested in what they can get than the glory God can get. They’re more interested in themselves than in the exaltation of Christ.
Secondly, if you’re looking to see who might be deceived, look for people who are more committed to the denomination, the church, the organization than to the Word of God.
Thirdly, look for people who are involved in theology as an academic interest.
Fourthly, look for people who always seem stuck on one overemphasized point of theology.
And one other thought. When you look for somebody who might be deceived, look for someone who is overindulgent in the name of grace. Lacks penitence, a true contrite heart, and so forth.
Add to that…They love to do “Christian speak” in the presence of Christians, like at church or in Christian company. They repeat the same phrases that they heard or read somewhere else but never really share how God has called them to applying His word. They live in practical disobedience daily, refusing to do the good they know that they should do. Their lives are characterized by the majority of focus being on the things of this world and seeking the people of this world and how other people are not doing what they should. They love to pick at “Christian” ministries or big name pastors are doing. They also seem to love to stick to knowledge in lieu of application. They use euphemisms for their sin like “I made a mistake” (if they admit that at all), never calling their sin what it truly is by name. They make a show of seeking “accountability”, if they must, but only from folks who are outside of their immediate family, or those that they figure cannot really check up on them. They refuse to submit to the accountability of husband or wife, choosing instead someone they can keep at a “safe” distance. Their lives are pretty much as they have always been, which means that they are still living and sinning in the same old ways with no apparent conscience or seeing a need to change (See I John 2). They know ABOUT Jesus, but they demonstrate through their actions that they do not know HIM, as they cannot share a thing about Him personally other than perhaps trite oft used phrases. They may say they are “sorry” to escape what is “confrontation” to them, but their “repentance” doesn’t lead to changed actions. Everything is someone else’s fault, for some reason, but not really theirs as they judge themselves by their own deceitful hearts and not the living word of God. They refuse correction. They never really admit they are wrong. If confronted they give the silent treatment or they tell you how they don’t really sin in the way they are being confronted about…nope, I don’t do that, or both. They attempt to obfuscate when it seems they may have to own their sin, making it be about something else instead…on and on it goes. Result…rotten fruit not in keeping with the biblical fruit of repentance and true regeneration. For all intents and purposes they are moralists only, and even their morals change depending upon the situation, so they never really live those either. Smells like a corpse….