Start with Authenticity
Series, “Being Spiritual without being Religious” – Part 1
re•li•gion. ri-’li-j&n, from religare to restrain, tie back. 1 : An institutionalized set of systems, attitudes, beliefs, and practices. 2 archaic : scrupulous conformity.
All religions lead to God?
No religions lead to God?
faith. ’fAth, from fidere to trust. 1 a : allegiance to a person : b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions. 2 : belief and trust in and loyalty to God.
How to Experience a ‘Myth-Free’ Faith
that Works in Real-Time:
1. Look at the Dark-Side of Religion:
A. It depends on human resources, not God’s.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son….” Romans 8:1-3
B. It forces us to live in the world of ‘make-believe’.
• “I’m religious, I don’t have ‘those’ problems…”
• “I’m religious, I shouldn’t admit weakness…”
• “I’m religious, therefore I never have any doubts...”
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” The Apostle Paul (Romans 7:15, 24-25)
C. It divides instead of unites.
"I have this hunger in me ... everywhere I look, I see the evidence of a Creator. But I don’t see it as religion, which has cut my people [the Irish] in two. I don’t see Jesus Christ as being part of any religion. Religion to me is almost like where God leaves - and people devise a set of rules to fill the space." Bono, U2
2. Assess the Authenticity of my own Spiritual Life: (Mark 10:17-22)
A. Authenticity means being honest about my own Spiritual Condition.
“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him…” Mark 10:17a
B. Authenticity recognizes Truth.
“Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” Mark 10:17b-18
C. Authenticity looks for my next Spiritual Step.
“You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:19-21
3. Make My Choice:
“At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” Mark 10:22
A. Fake it (and be religious).
• Make sincere promises to do better / try harder.
• Maintain the facade of the religious by admitting no weakness.
• Retain total control of my life.
• Admit my weaknesses and ask for God’s strength.
• Relinquish control of my life to Jesus.
Scripture passages from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.
Home Church Discussion Guide: being real
1. What is the toughest group you have ever had to give leadership to? (Junior high field trip? Church nursery when Pastor Jeff didn’t know when to quit? Team meeting at the office?)
2. Read 1 Peter 5:1-4.
• What good and bad motives does Peter give for desiring to be in ministry?
• What character qualities does he encourage spiritual leaders to cultivate?
• Why would these qualities be so significant?
• What ideas in these verses attracts you toward spiritual leadership? What concepts intimidate you?
3. Read vs. 5-7.
• What connections do you see between submissiveness, humility, and anxiety?
• What anxieties do these people face (take a peek at vs.8-10)?
• How can humility replace anxiety? (any examples in this room?)
4. Read vs. 8-11
• What do these verses teach about adversity and opposition?
• How are godly character and spiritual humility prerequisites to effectively handling opposition and adversity?
• Where does the lion like to attack you (your ‘Achilles heal’)?
5. Pray for and minister to one another in the areas if your greatest weakness.
2004, Jeff Christopherson, The Sanctuary