Living Authentic Lives
Introduction: Several years ago, in Long Beach, California, a fellow went into a fried chicken place and bought a couple of chicken dinners for himself and his date late one afternoon. The young woman at the counter inadvertently gave him the proceeds from the day-a whole bag of money (much of it cash) instead of fried chicken. After driving to their picnic site, the two of them sat down to open the meal and enjoy some chicken together. They discovered a whole lot more than chicken--over $800! But he was unusual. He quickly put the money back in the bag. They got back into the car and drove all the way back. Mr. Clean got out, walked in, and became an instant hero. By then the manager was frantic. The guy with the bag of money looked the manager in the eye and said, "I want you to know I came by to get a couple of chicken dinners and wound up with all this money. Here." Well, the manager was ecstatic/ thrilled to death. He said, "Oh, great, let me call the newspaper. I’m gonna have your picture put in the local newspaper. You’re the most honest man I’ve heard of." To which they guy quickly responded, "Oh no, no, don’t do that!" Then he leaned closer and whispered, "You see, the woman I’m with is not my wife...she’s uh, somebody else’s wife."
Charles Swindoll, Growing Deep in the Christian Life, p. 159-60.
I. Parceled Lives
Integrity in America today is much like this man’s. It is selective and calculating. We are able to parcel out sections of our lives and to define for each of these arenas a varying magnitude of moral convictions.
Two-faced- brings out arguments
One of the hardest critiques someone can levy upon us is to label us as 2-faced
Nobody likes hypocrisy, but publicly majority accepts a (platonic) separation of lifestyle
"An overwhelming 90 percent of Americans believe that extra marital affairs are wrong. However, 35 percent of women and 45 percent of men cheat on their spouses."
-Psychology Today, July/August 2000
Clinton Issues (Jennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinsky, Financial scandals, pardons)
John Ashcroft (will he execute the law, or play to his personal interests)
[Pharisees-venerated the rules, but neglected to understand its purpose)
Christ says, "Go beyond honoring the Law by honoring its purpose"
"You have heard it said, but I say to you"
Matthew 6:1-6 "Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding."
"When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure– ‘playactors’ I call them– treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it– quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your god, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out." -The Message
John the Baptist once said, "Bear fruits that befit repentance" Matthew 3:8
"Do the things that will show that you have turned from your sins." (TEV)
Our lives cannot be parceled out
Moral failure in one area leads to moral failure in other areas
*Lie to policeman to escape a ticket (self protection)
Lie to boss (self protection)
job’s not done, we made mistake–cover it up
Lie to acquaintance/friend (self protection)
Lie to spouse (self protection)
hide things, affairs, finances, actions
The more we lie the easier it becomes and the more we use it in all areas of our life.
"Good or bad, it’s like leaven-it takes over everything" Matthew 13:33; I Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9
II The Solution
"It’s just not me", or "I’m just not there yet-when God’s ready He will change me."
James 1:22-25 "Do not fool yourselves by just listening to his word. Instead, put it into practice. For whoever listens to the word but does not put it into practice is like a man who looks in a mirror and sees himself as he is. He takes a look at himself and then goes away, and at once forgets what he looks like. But the [person] who looks closely into the perfect law that sets men free, who keeps on paying attention to it, and does no simply listen and then forget it, but puts it into practice– that [person] will be blessed by God in what he does." (TEV)
Constitution in a museum- it’s great to preserve it, but its real value lie in the fact that a nation has committed themselves to its precepts
Car Manuel- give it great care, protection -read, study it, analyze it- but if we fail to use its words to take care of our vehicles-we have missed its intended purpose.
The value of God’s written word is in how we live it out
Instead of putting the Bible on a pedestal we should share it, read it, us it
Our heritage is the "social gospel"
By meeting the physical needs of people we open their heart to receive Christ– we introduce them to Christ
Have we lived authentic lives faithful to what we believe?
"Study to show yourself approved" II Timothy 2:15