How do we identify unbelievers masquerading as believers in the church?

‘I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.’ – Romans 16:17-18

The Bible tells us there will always be unbelievers within the church. It refers to some as wolves among the flock, masquerading as believers in the church. But how do we identify such people?

According to these verses there are four signs of those masquerading as believers in the church:

  • Unbelievers masquerading as believers are divisive and stir up dissent
  • Unbelievers masquerading as believers create obstacles to right doctrine
  • Unbelievers masquerading as believers want to serve their own egos
  • Unbelievers masquerading as believers will flatter you with what you want to hear

Listen to the audio above, a section taken from a sermon preached back in March 2015 on Romans 16, for an explanation as to how this may work its way out in practice within the church.