Summary: A challenege to authentic Christian living.
¡§The Challenge to Authentic Christian Living¡¨
Have you noticed how sometimes when you purchase something with a $20 or $50 bill the cashier will often take a marker and draw a line on that bill? They are checking the bill for authenticity? They want to know if it is real or if it is a counterfeit.
I just happen to have one of those markers in my pocket! The way it works is the teller or cashier will make a mark on the bill in question. If the line stays light colored it is probably authentic. If the mark is darker, that bill is considered suspicious.
Have you ever wondered about what would happen if your bill failed the test? I have. Not that I was planning to try and pass any counterfeit money, but I wondered what would happen if I had received counterfeit money and was passing it on unknowingly.
Well I checked it out this week. I was told that whenever a counterfeit bill is found at the bank, a suspicious activity report is filed so that there is a record regarding the incident and the counterfeit money. And of course, the ¡§suspicious¡¨ bill is held by the bank for further investigation and you actually forfeit the ¡§money¡¨ which wasn¡¦t money at all!
Counterfeiting is not just an issue with cash. There are lots of other counterfeits we have to be aware of including clothing, software, pharmaceuticals, watches and more. If you thought you got a great deal on your $50 Rolex, someone needs to break the news that your counterfeit Rolex was only $50. It¡¦s not the real thing! Sorry. ƒ¼
A counterfeit is an imitation of the real thing. We all know about counterfeit money. Some of us are even aware of the possibility of counterfeit jewelry or counterfeit music. But did you know that there are also counterfeit religions? That¡¦s what a cult is. A cult is a counterfeit religion. They use a lot of the same terminology as Christianity, they may look the part on the surface, but they are fake. They are not real. They are an imitation of the real thing.
What can happen with money, with clothes and with clocks, can happen with Christians.
Look what Paul told young Timothy:
2 Timothy 3:1-9 NIV
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
That¡¦s Paul¡¦s way of saying they are counterfeit Christians. They have a form of godliness. They may look good on the surface, but that¡¦s about all there is to it.
On the outside you can barely tell them apart. But on the inside they lack power. It is an issue of a divided heart. They are not fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
In his letter to the church in Galatia Paul outlines the qualities that will be evident in the life of an authentic Christian.
Galatians 5:22-23a NLT
 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control.
Authentic Christians should possess each of these qualities in increasing measure.
Nobody likes a counterfeit. Nobody wants counterfeit money. I am not interested in counterfeit religion. And who wants anything to do with being a counterfeit Christian?
My appeal to every Christian today is to GET REAL! Be authentic! Be genuine. Be what God has called you to be. Don¡¦t settle for being a pale imitation of the ¡§real thing.¡¨ Don¡¦t settle for being a cheap counterfeit. Decide today that when it comes to your faith and when it comes to following Christ, you will in fact be the genuine article. The real deal. Not a fake. Not a facade. Nothing to hide or cover up.
Check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Do you feel Christ’s presence and power more and more within you? Or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren’t at all?
This morning I want you to ask yourself five important questions in order to determine your authenticity as a Christian. Consider it a spiritual check up. Are you who you say you are? Are you truly what you appear to be? To use Paul¡¦s words, do you pass the test? Or are you just pretending when it comes to you walk with Christ?