Summary: We need to be real Christians, not fake ones.
PLAY GAME: Is It Real or Is It Fake?
I want to talk to you this morning about being a Christian. Many times, we look at someone who claims to be a Christian, and we often wonder if we believe that person. Are they a real Christian, or are they faking it?
In other words, can someone really believe me when I say that I am a Christian? Or to put it another way: How can I trust Christ, when other people who say they trust Him, don't match up?
Let me share with you three simple principles that will help you live a “real” Christian life.
My mindset about life has to change. (3:1-2)
This passage speaks about our mindset. Either we set our minds (or think about just the matters of this world), or we set our minds on the matters that are important to Christ. That is the point of (3:1-2). If that is true, then I should not be concerned with what others think about me. In other words, I should not try to fake my life to please other people. Why? I should really care about what God cares about.
Many people think only about themselves, even Christians. We get so preoccupied with the things that we are doing here, that we lose sight of what God wants me to do. God thinks in the long-term. He knows that we have so many days here, then we die, and if we have decided to follow Christ, then we get to be with Him.
He will “clothe” us in His glory.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.
(Colossians 3:1-2 NLT)
But in the meantime, we need to focus on what matters to Him. What matters to Him most? People. Relationships.
That is why we don't need to be faking it in relationships. Because God wants to use me to bring other people to Him.
My old life must die. (3:3)
As simple as it sounds. Your old life – your life without Christ must die. You have to let that old way of thinking, and old way of doing die.
Christ must be my real life. (3:4)
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life--even though invisible to spectators--is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too--the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
(Colossians 3:3-4 MSG)
So, if your life died with Christ, when He died, then your new life belongs also to Christ. That means that you really have to be changed. You really have to decide to follow Christ. Your thoughts need to be about Him, and Heaven, not just the selfish desires that come with this life. Otherwise, you are just like those fakes.
You know how easy it was to notice the fake photos?
Your life will be just as easy to notice by the people around you. If you try to fake your new life, it will be like Bush fishing in a hurricane, or Obama holding the phone the wrong way. People will notice that.
Just as some of those people who took the pictures could fake the pictures for awhile, it eventually will get exposed. Just as the old saying says:
You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
Jesus Christ is supposed to live in you. He is supposed to be your new life. And you put other things in your life to cover Him up. It is not these photos where you can touch them up to make them look like something else. Because sooner or later, He is going to do what He wants with you. Sooner or later, He will have His way with you.
But He wants you to do it voluntarily. And for that to happen, He wants you to be real with Him. He wants you to share the real Him through the real you, with other people.
That also means that we don't try to fake it in church. That is why we ask you to come as you are. Because when you are real in worship, and real with your relationships, you open yourself up to be used by God.
When you are real with God in your confession of sin, God opens up the forgiveness, and works wonders in your life. When you are real with your commitments to your family – when you start to get honest with your wife or husband, or your mother or father, God opens up opportunities for your family that were never before possible.