Sermons

Summary: THIS IS THE SIXTH IN A SERIES OF CHOICES WE MUST MAKE CONCERNING OUR WALK WITH THE LORD. THE CHOICE TO BE AUTHENTIC IS THE CHOICE TO LIVE EVERYDAY WHAT IT IS WE BELIEVE. WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT SOME GUIDELINES TO HELP US BE AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS.

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I CHOOSE TO BE AUTHENTIC

MATTHEW 6:1-8, 16-24

THERE IS AN OLD SAYING, “WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET”, AND QUITE FRANKLY, I FIND IT QUITE DECEITFUL. IN MANY CASES THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE, THOUGH WE STRIVE TO BE LIKE THIS, WE FEAR THE VULNERABILITY THAT COMES FROM ALLOWING PEOPLE TO KNOW WHAT WE REALLY THINK AND FEEL. WE DO NOT WANT TO BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF OR HURT, AND SO WE CHOOSE TO OPEN UP TO ONLY A FEW PEOPLE.

WE DECORATE OUR HOMES WITH ARTIFICIAL FLOWERS, AND BOWLS OF ARTIFICIAL FRUIT, HOPING TO ACHIEVE THE BEAUTY THAT THE AUTHENTIC ARTICLE BRINGS. WE PAINT A ROOM A PARTICULAR COLOR TO DECEIVE PEOPLE INTO THINKING THE ROOM IS BIGGER THAN IT ACTUALLY IS.

AUTHENTICITY IS A BIG ISSUE WHEN IT COMES TO THE CHURCH. A BIG COMPLAINT OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T GO TO CHURCH IS THAT THEY CAN’T STAND THE HYPOCRISY IN IT. THERE ISN’T AN ORGANIZATION THAT DOESN’T HAVE SOME FORM OF HYPOCRISY IN IT, AND THE CHURCH IS NO EXCEPTION. SOMETIMES, IN AN ATTEMPT TO REACH PEOPLE, THE CHURCH SACRIFICES IT’S OWN IDENTITY AS DEFINED BY THE SCRIPTURES.

OPPOSING HYPOCRISY IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT JESUS AND THE PEGANS ACTUALLY AGREED ON. THE BIBLE IS CLEAR THAT WE ARE TO BE AUTHENTIC IN OUR LIVING.

JAMES 1:6-8:

BUT WHEN YOU ASK, YOU MUST BELIEVE AND NOT DOUBT, BECAUSE THE ONE WHO DOUBTS IS LIKE A WAVE OF THE SEA, BLOWN AND TOSSED BY THE WIND. 7 THAT PERSON SHOULD NOT EXPECT TO RECEIVE ANYTHING FROM THE LORD. 8 SUCH A PERSON IS DOUBLE-MINDED AND UNSTABLE IN ALL THEY DO.

THE PERSON WHO IS DOUBLE-MINDED SEEKS TO PLEASE GOD, BUT ALSO WANTS TO BE POPULAR WITH PEOPLE, THUS THEY WILL BEHAVE ONE WAY WITH A CERTAIN GROUP, AND ANOTHER WITH ANOTHER GROUP. IT IS TO BE “SUPER-SPIRITUAL” ON SUNDAY, AND ANYTHING BUT “SPIRITUAL” THE REST OF THE WEEK. JESUS HATES THIS FORM OF LIVING.

MATTHEW 6:1: “BE CAREFUL NOT TO PRACTICE YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS IN FRONT OF OTHERS TO BE SEEN BY THEM. IF YOU DO, YOU WILL HAVE NO REWARD FROM YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT WHAT AUTHENTICITY IS, AND SOME GUIDELINES TO HELP US BE AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS IN A NON-CHRISTIAN WORLD.

POINT ONE: WHAT IS AUTHENTICITY?

TO BE AUTHENTIC MEANS TO BE GENUINE, OR NOT FORCED. WE OFTEN REFER TO PUTTING ON A “BRAVE FRONT” WHEN INVITED TO SOME OCCASION, WHICH REALLY MEANS IT’S THE LAST PLACE WE REALLY WANT TO BE. BUT IT MAKES ME WONDER, HOW MANY OF US ARE PUTTING ON A “BRAVE FRONT” HERE AT CHURCH. HOW OFTEN DO WE SAY:

I HAD TO GO I HAD TO BRING SOMEBODY

I HAD TO GO I HAD TO TAKE PART IN THE SERVICE

I HAD TO GO TO FORCE SOMEONE ELSE TO GO

NOTE IN ALL OF THESE SITUATIONS THE PERSON HAD TO GO, THEY DIDN’T SAY “I WANT TO GO”. NOW A SECOND QUESTION FOR YOU TO CONSIDER, IF ALL THE REASONS YOU “HAD TO GO” TO CHURCH WERE REMOVED, WOULD YOU STILL BE HERE? IT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “HAVING TO” AND “WANTING TO”.

JAMES MacDONALD WRITES:

“TAKE OFF THE MASK AND LIVE FOR CHRIST BECAUSE YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT HIM. AUTHENTICITY FLOWS FROM WHAT IS TRUE. IT’S BASED ON FACT. AN AUTHENTIC PERSON IS SINCERE, WITHOUT PRETENSE, WITHOUT PERFORMANCE – REAL”

OUR PRIVATE AND PUBLIC LIVES SHOULD REFLECT THE SAME PASSIONATE DEEP LOVE FOR GOD AND THE SINCERE RESPECT FOR HIS WORD. TO BE AUTHENTIC IS TO TRULY SAY “WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT I AM.”

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