Summary: This sermon addresses the issue of make believe Christian and is a call to real Christian living. This sermon is a regurgitation of material written by Brennan Manning: Abba’s Child and Posers, Fakers, & Wannabes.
SERIES TOPIC: REALITY
SERMON TITLE: Let’s Quit Pretending
Preached at Point Assembly of God on July 11, 2004 at 11:00 AM by Louis Bartet.
Many of the thoughts and ideas found in this sermon are from the writtings of Brennan Manning. The two books that I am most indebted to are: Posers, Fakers, & Wannabes and Abba’s Child. I have never met Brennan Manning, but I have met myself in his writtings. You would do yourself a favor by reading anything he has written!
Have you ever experienced a disastrous victory or a magnificent defeat? In my thirty plus years of serving God, I have experienced some soul-diminishing successes and some life-enhancing failures.
There have been times…
• When the presence of God was more real to me than the clothes on my back;
• Times when the Word penetrated my soul like lightening and thunder;
• Times when it seemed I could do nothing wrong.
There have been other times…
• When I couldn’t seem to get anything right;
• When, in spite of all my efforts, failure prevailed;
• Times when the Word was as bland as unseasoned sausage and
• God seemed a million miles away.
It is my observation that when things are going well we tend to think of God as being interested in us and taking pleasure in us. In such moments we feel the warmth of His smile. On the other hand, when some important project or endeavor goes south…
• a great Sunday morning is followed by a devastating Sunday evening;
• a satisfying accomplishment is eclipsed by a devastating loss;
• a peaceful evening is shattered by a life threatening crisis.
In those moments we tend to feel that God is displeased with us and that He is expressing His displeasure by withdrawing His blessings and His presence.
Without realizing it we project our attitudes and feelings about ourselves onto God—this is how I feel about myself, so this is how God must feel about me.
Blaise Pascal said it this way: “God made man in His own image and man returned the compliment.”
• If we dislike ourselves, then we assume God dislikes us also.
• If we view ourselves as failures, then we assume that God views us as failures.
I remember conversations with my mother in which she would assume the divine trait of omniscience—of being all knowing. Because she believed she knew what I was going to say before I said it, she would quit listening and talking to me and address her presumptions. This always infuriated me. Even in those moments when she presumed correctly, she wasn’t communicating with me but with her perceptions of me.
We are wrong to presume that God sees us as failures or dislikes us because that’s the way we see ourselves.
The incarnate Christ revealed to us what God is like and what He thinks about us. He revealed that God is passionately in love with us—not in spite of our sins and faults, but with them.
Please note, I am not suggesting that God condones sin. What I am saying is that He does not withhold His love because of our sin!
ILLUS: Daniel, a lively five-year-old boy, was misbehaving in front of the pastor. His embarrassed mother didn’t want to make a big scene, so instead of applying the board of education to the seat of learning she said, “Daniel, God doesn’t love you when you act like that.”
The pastor called Daniel over and after giving him a big hug, he said, “Daniel, God doesn’t always like the way we behave, but He always loves us!”
God didn’t save us so He could love us. No! God saved us because he loved us.
Paul tells us that “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Ro. 5:8; NLT).
How would Daniel’s mother’s statement affect us if we believed it? What if we believe that God only loves us when we do right?
Well, we would feel loved and accepted when we are on top of our game and in control; when our life is together. But what happens when life falls apart?
• What happens when we sin and fail God?
• What happens when dreams shatter?
• What happens when we realize we have participated in gossip?
• What happens when we are forced to face our human condition with all of its frailties, failings and faults?
I have found that even the most optimistic optimist can be positively pessimistic about pessimist.
It’s always easier to reject that which is flawed. So we…
• We abort our baby on the chance that it may be hydrocephalic or have Downs Syndrome!