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Outward Appearances
by Ethelyn Martin
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Jesus answered them, Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? John 6:70

We often wonder how the disciples were clueless as to who this devil was until the last moment. How could Judas have so deceived everyone into believing his sincerity and loyalty?

It made me think of people in our lives, and how many times we can be right next to a person and not know what is really going on in their hearts.

I thought about this as I looked at a basket of lemons on my counter.

Seemingly overnight, amongst the bright, yellow, attractive lemons, appeared green, moldy, rotting fruit. The fruit was chosen based on the outward appearance, and unbeknownst to me, in the heart of the lemon, was the start of disease and spoil.

Sad to say, that in the church there are still those who look like Christians from all outward appearances. On the surface they are bright, available, firm, and look like other true believers. But like the lemons, time will show the disease that has been infecting the heart. Soon what was hidden beneath the surface comes out and it is an ugly sight to see. When their plans fail and they are no longer motivated to pretend, the devil hisses like a snake and the wolf growls at the sheep.

Jesus knew from the beginning who Judas was and what he would do; it was no surprise to Him. But it was a shock to the other disciples. For three years they had worked with, served with, prayed with, and trusted this man who looked and acted like the real thing. Those who have been betrayed by someone close to them can empathize and understand. The doubting and questions that ran through their minds in those three days could have torn the other eleven apart. Yet praise God someone remembered the words of Jesus – “ONE of you is a devil.”

People are leaving the fold of God, and the house of God, because of a devil in the congregation. A leader in the church who was trusted and revered later found to be an adulterer or liar devastates and divides a congregation.

It was easy for me to throw the diseased fruit into the trash. I knew it was good for nothing, and would only affect the good fruit if I kept it in the same basket. But in many churches today, overt sin and hypocrisy is ignored, and genuine believers are being affected.

Paul speaks to the church in Corinth, not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat.(I Corinthians 5:11) He also wrote to the same church not to be deceived; that evil company corrupts good manners. (I Cor. 15:33) Let's not be naive in thinking that there are not devils and hypocrites among the people of God. There are wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing, and sometimes they look more real than the ones washed in the blood of the Lamb.

The disciples were not sure who it was because each one of them knew their own heart; their own sinful weakness. For they ALL asked the question "is it me?” No pride or self-righteous defensiveness, but a humble acknowledging that it could be any one of them.
As you look around in your congregation next Sunday, may we all ask the question – is it me, O Lord?
Unless we daily confess our sins, and allow the Spirit to search our hearts, we are capable of hypocrisy.

Are you coming to church and singing the songs with your mouth, but your heart is far from Him?

You may have fooled those around you, but Jesus knows you are a devil. He knows what is in your heart.

Woe unto you, hypocrites.

Believers, prayerfully consider your associations, and remove yourself from relationships that corrupt.

As the LORD looks into your heart and mine, may He see purity, freshness, willingness and a readiness to be used by Him for something good.

May the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, cut out the corruption in our hearts before we are not fit for the Master's use.

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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