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Counterfeit Christianity--J. C. Ryle (MP3 Download) - 63:03 min

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"Having a form of godliness but denying its power." [2 Timothy 3:5]

"A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." [Romans 2:28-29]

Our texts for this morning deserve serious attention at any time. But they deserve a special notice in this age of the Church and the world. Never since the Lord Jesus Christ left the earth, was there so much formalism and false profession as there is in the present day. Now, more than ever, we ought to examine ourselves, and our Christianity, that we may know what sort it really is.

Let us try to find out whether our Christianity is a thing of form or a thing of heart. I know of no better way of unfolding the subject than by turning to a clear passage of the Word of God. Let us listen to what Paul says about it. He lays down the following great principles in his Epistle to the Romans: "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God" (Romans 2:28-29).

Three most instructive lessons appear to me to stand out on the face of that passage. Let us see what they are.

I. We learn, first, that formal religion is not true religion, and a formal Christian is not a true Christian in God's sight.

II. We learn, secondly, that the heart is the seat of true religion, and that the true Christian is the Christian in heart.

III. We learn, thirdly, that true religion must never expect to be popular. It will not have the "praise of man, but praise from God."



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