Summary: G.U.T.S: Genuine 5 reasons to share who we really are from 1 John (Series idea from Mike Mack in his book, Small Group Vital Signs, pgs. 103-111; Warren Wiersbe's book, "Be Real" provided the outline, pgs. 19-28)
Mike Mack- When I was about 10 years old, I made friends with two brothers in my neighborhood, Tim and Jeff Ward. Perhaps because I did not have a brother living at home, or just for fun, I told them I had a twin brother named Mark. We would be playing Wiffle ball, and I’d go home, change clothes, and come back as Mark. At first Mike was a better batter, but Mark steadily improved (which is how I became a decent switch hitter). After a week or so, they grew suspicious, asking me questions like why we rode the exact same bike (our parents were too poor to afford two bikes I said) or why they never saw us together (because we only had one bike!). When they came to our house, only one of us was ever around; the other had a game, choir rehearsal, or was at another friend’s house. Then one day, Jeff asked my mom where Mark was, “Who’s Mark?” my mom asked. The gig was up.
Why do so many of us pretend to be something we’re not? Probably because we’re afraid people won’t accept us for who we really are. So we put on a mask that hides the real us. We wear these masks at church, too- the one place we should be real, authentic and genuine. Someone once said, “There’s more lying on Sunday morning than any other day of the week.”
Real discipleship can only happen in an environment of authenticity. If we cannot be real and admit our faults to one another, we cannot grow beyond where we are. When we have an environment where we can be real with one another, sin loses its grip on us. Church should be the place where we get encouragement to battle against Satan’s attacks. The accountability of friends helps us live the life we want to live but can’t live by ourselves.
Christian community, the church, is often described as something safe and comfortable, a place “where everyone knows your name and they’re always glad you came.” While that’s true, healthy community isn’t always nice and clean. In fact, it can be downright messy! It takes G.U.T.S to live in real, Christ centered community.
Use this acronym to talk about Christian community. G stands for genuine. Romans 12:9 in English Standard Version says, “Let love be genuine.” Genuine means to be authentic; to be real; not counterfeit. Romans 12:9 in NASB says, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” In other words don’t be phony. Romans 12:9 in NIV says, “Love must be sincere.” Sincere means without wax. In the NT days when many statues were made, if the sculptor made a mistake and something fell off they would take hot wax and put the piece back on. To be sincere, without wax, meant that a person was genuine, the real deal, without hypocrisy.
Thesis: 5 reasons to share who we really are from 1 John
1. That we may have fellowship (1 John 1:3)
Simply fellowship is to share what we have in common. As sinners, we have nothing in common with a holy God. But God in his grace sent Christ to have something in common with us. Christ took upon himself a human body and became a man. Then He went to the Cross and took upon that body the sins of the world. Because He paid the price for our sins, the way is open for God to forgive us and take us into His family. When we repent, confess, and are baptized in water we “participate in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). The term translated “participate” is from the same Greek root as the term translated “fellowship” in 1 John 1:3.
We cannot share what we do not have. Invitation time at end
Many people pretend to look like they are Christians. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:22, 23, NIV.
2. That we may have joy (1 John 1:4)
Fellowship is Christ’s answer to the loneliness of life. True fellowship results in joy. When a London newspaper offered a cash award from the best answer to this question, “Which is the shortest way to London?” the winning answer was: “The shortest way to London is good company.” Our way through this life is made shorter and sweeter all the way to heaven by the company of brothers and sisters in Christ.
Jesus said on the night before his crucifixion: “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no-one will take away your joy.” John 16:22, NIV.