Summary: This culture is longing for an authentic view of Christianity and God demands it. This series paints a picture of the Authentic Christian.
Authentic Christianity - #4 of 7
* For the last several week we have been visiting, from the Bible, what it means to be an Authentic Christian. There are two reasons I have felt led to do this: 1) This world needs to see an Authentic Christian and be influenced by him and, 2) God expects EVERY believer to be authentic.
* To remind you of the qualities of an authentic Christian, let’s review by saying that an Authentic Christian answers the call of “FOLLOW ME” given by Jesus.
* The Authentic Christian life is also a life of ongoing REPENTANCE. Because we are such sinful creatures, a one-time repentance is not enough. The blood of Jesus cleanses our sin ‘IF’ we confess and repent. This keeps us clean before God.
* Last week from the scriptures, the third quality was a penetrating message that the Authentic Christian life is indeed a life of MISSION. Jesus saved every one of us to be on mission for Him. This mission is one of death & life & of heaven & hell. Jesus said, “As the Father sent me, so send I you.” This mission is not once a week for the spiritually elite, but it the drive for the spiritually alive.
* Today and next week, we will consider the only two marks which the Bible says; “By this” the world will know you are mine. Turn to John 13 and let’s hear the words of our Lord Himself, in the upper room, and in the very shadow of the cross. (READ)
* The message today is very simple to hear, know, and even comprehend; but it is difficult to live. It is one thing to ‘say’ we love but it is another thing entirely, to actually demonstrate love or ‘do it.’ Look at the text and hear Jesus say;
1. We are commanded to love – It is a very sad thing to say, but these days we don’t seem to respond well to commands. As a boy at my Pappaw’s house, I would watch as he would plow the horse. His commands to the horse were ‘g’ & ‘haw’ (which for the uneducated mean ‘right’ and ‘left’.) Candidly, the first time I heard him use these words I had no idea what they meant, BUT THE HORSE DID.
* The attitude of the average person today is, “Don’t tell me what to do, I can decide on my own.” Modern day arrogance seems to be snuffing the life out of the Christians in America. Yet the divine command remains, ‘Love one another.” This ‘one another’ is only one of 50+ ‘one anothers in scripture. Candidly, the object of our love to ‘each other’ is but one of at least 4 target of our love as listed in God’s word. Jesus is clear, the greatest commandment is to Love the Lord God with all your heart, souls, mind, and strength. We express this love to Him, according to scripture, by doing what He says. But aren’t we the people who prefer to do what WE say, instead of what He says? Aren’t we the ones who prefer to put ‘our spin’ on His commands? Our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience.
* Without taking a breath Jesus follows “Love the Lord” with “Love your neighbors.” The Pharisees, like most religious types, wanted to know EXACTLY who Jesus was talking to, so they ask “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus counters with the story of the Good Samaritan! Ouch! A lowly Samaritan is being used to teach the religious?
* In our text, Jesus is commanding the 11 to “Love one another.” One other thought, before Jesus gave us any of these words, He said that you must ‘love your enemies.’
* Isn’t it interesting that the very thing Jesus implores His disciples to have as their very badge of salvation, fellowship, & followship is the very thing which the world doesn’t seem to see in us? Consider this; there is not one credible survey in which the lost world describes the redeemed of God as people of ‘love.’ They use many other terms to describe us (I.E. judgmental, out of touch, etc) but not ‘love.’ Does that not bother you? Make no mistake that we, in this place, seem to have a lot of love and even show love in ‘church’ ways.’ We can say with a little ‘pride’ that ‘we are a loving people’ and that ‘love abounds in this place.’ We’ve seen it this past two weeks in the expressions of love given to those who have suffered loss and this is great. But I submit that to love each other the way Jesus commands requires more than simply a meal at a tragic time. It speaks of our concern, our care, & our respect for each other. It speaks of more than affection for but a connection to each other.