~ Do You Know the Difference? ~
Differences can be very subtle!
The following is an excerpt from a book.
Today ~ In our day the value of true natural pearls is obscured. Large-scale farming of cultured pearls, mass-produced fake pearls, and the merchandising of freshwater pearls have made “pearls” commonplace. The average person viewing a strand of pearls does not usually know or care about the strand’s composition. In fact it is very difficult for even a gemologist to differentiate between natural pearls and some of the high-quality imitations. An x-ray is generally considered the best way to reveal the true nature of a pearl. We read in Scripture that God uses His own unique way to reveal the truth of the character of a human being, and it is reasonable to believe He can similarly determine the genuineness of a local church.
God has the ability to look beyond the surface. “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
There is another parallel here; religions and cults are currently abundant, and at first glance many look like reality. It takes skill and attention to detail to differentiate many of them from true Christianity with its one and only Creator and living God. In pearls and in truth, it is the very center that confirms reality. At the center of truth are the core doctrines concerning God, and in particular the second member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. There is only one way to heaven. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him’” (John 14:6-7).
~ from “ONE PRECIOUS PEARL: God’s Design for His Church, pgs 93-94 (ISBN: 9780741462329)
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW