Summary: Watch out for fakes! Whether we're talking about counterfeit products from the internet or people, the results are similar. We're disappointed, angered, distrustful. Fake stuff doesn't live up to our expectations. Become the "real deal."

Authentic: Becoming The Real Deal


• Fake Rolex in NYC for $50. (real deal is anywhere from $10-$15K USED) That street corner Rolex will eventually turn your wrist green and quit right after that.

• If you shop online at all, chances are good you’ve bought counterfeit or fake merchandise.

• The problem is that counterfeit products never live up to their promise. We’re nearly always disappointed.

• We feel the same way about people who are fake.

Spotting a Fake

• The NT presents the Pharisees as the bad guys (think “guys in black hats in the old westerns.)

• In part because of their frequent clashes with Jesus.

• The prevailing popular opinion of the Pharisees was largely positive. Most Jewish people looked up to them as examples of piety and godliness.

• Jesus was disruptive when He called them out as, essentially, spiritual fakes.

• The problem wasn’t for the most part their behavior but their motives. And this is where Jesus directed most of his criticism: their external piety and ritual often betrayed a counterfeit spirituality.

Mark 2:16 NLT

16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

• Counterfeit spirituality is arrogant and prideful.

Mark 2:18 NLT

18 Once when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why don’t your disciples fast like John’s disciples and the Pharisees do?”

Mark 2:23–24 NLT

23 One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat. 24 But the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”

• Counterfeit spirituality is always looking to see if everyone else is following OUR rules.

Mark 7:5–8 NLT

5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.” ??6 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ??‘These people honor me with their lips, ??but their hearts are far from me. ??7 Their worship is a farce, ??for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ ??8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”

• Counterfeit spirituality relies more on tradition than the Word. Even when doing so may harm themselves or others.

Matthew 23:5 NLT

5 “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.

• Counterfeit spirituality loves to be seen and heard.

Matthew 23:6–7 NLT

6 And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. 7 They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’

• When you synthesize this picture, you see someone who is proud, arrogant, judgmental, selfish.

• When we interact with someone we thought was the real deal but wound up acting like a Pharisee, we’re disappointed, angry, untrusting.

• While this is important in how we deal with one another in the church, it is VITAL that we present a true, genuine picture of who we are in Christ.

• How do you know if you’ve got the Real Deal?

The Real Deal

• Jesus is, of course, the real deal.

• Paul calls Jesus the very image of God in

Colossians 1:15 NLT

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. ??He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,

• John declares Jesus to be the embodiment of grace and truth in

John 1:14 NLT

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

• As His disciples, we’re called to emulate our Master.

• It’s important that we don’t trade one kind of external piety and spirituality for a different one.

• This is inside-out transformation. This is becoming more and more of the real deal.

• So what does it look like when you’re becoming the real deal?

• It’s a lot like paper money. How do you know when you’re handling real currency vs. a counterfeit?

• Money has a texture, smell, sound, color that is nearly impossible to fake. When you hold a $20 bill in your hand, you just know if its the real deal.

• Genuine disciples sound, look, and feel like their master.

Ephesians 4:21–24 NLT

21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

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