Summary: A sermon on how we should define the term authentic Christianity.
(Key verse) 1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
Introduction: One of the phrases that has been coined and is being used quite often in the church world today is the notion of "Authentic Christianity." As usual there are all kinds of definitions of this term and it depends quite often on your particular view of what the church should be like. For instance, we have a church about a mile from our campus that regularly advertises the idea that they have "Authentic Christianity." The problem with that statement is that in claiming to be "authentic" you imply that there are those who are not authentic. This is subjective and requires a certain amount of judgmentalism, although you would probably get an argument about that. Obviously the only reliable way of knowing what it is would be to find out what God has to say about this subject and that would remove the subjective and replace with the objective. So this morning we will look at what the Scriptures have to say about what constitutes "Authentic Christianity."
I. The Proof of Authentic Christianity v. 14-15
a. It is an affirmed truth v.11
It was an affirmed truth because first and foremost it is what Jesus taught. They knew it because they had heard Jesus teach it!
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
b. It is an assuring truth v.14a
This love is the "proof" that they had been regenerated, that they had "...passed from death unto life..."
WITH OUR ARMS ABOUT THEIR KNEES
"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.... The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners and his blessed Master, wil be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others...If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for."
SOURCE: Charles Spurgeon
c. It is an absolute truth v. 14b-15
"One of the things I like about God's Word is that it has no expiration date!" Patsy Clairmont What was true yesterday will be true tomorrow and forever! If we love our brother then it is evident that we have received the life of Christ and if we do not love our brother then we "...abideth in death..."
II. The Pattern of Authentic Christianity v. 16
a. The enlightenment of love v.16a
An accurate translation of the first portion of verse 16 would read like this; "We arrive at the knowledge of love"; we apprehend what true love is in Christ, by looking at His life and emulating it.
b. The example of love v.16b
16...because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
NO GREATER LOVE
It was February 1941, Auschwitz, Poland. Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan priest put in the infamous death camp for helping Jews escape Nazi terrorism. Months went by and in desperation an escape took place. The camp rule was enforced. Ten people would be rounded up randomly and herded into a cell where they would die of starvation and exposure as a lesson against future escape attempts.
Names were called. A Polish Jew Frandishek Gasovnachek was called. He cried, "Wait, I have a wife and children!" Kolbe stepped forward and said, "I will take his place." Kolbe was marched into the cell with nine others where he managed to live until August 14.