Summary: Authentic Christianity, at its core, is motivated by an intense passion for God and this is what our Lord means when He tells us to love God with all of our heart.
Basics of Authentic Christianity
The Internal Motivation: Passion
I can’t tell you HOW HONORED I AM to have this opportunity to open the Word of God to you this morning and for the rest of this month. I am excited about what God is doing here at Lakeland. And as I’ve sought God as to what He wanted to say to us, He’s confirmed that before we can go any further with Him, we MUST master the basics.
Why the basics? … Because everything we do well is the result of mastering the basics. That’s why football practices start with drills and professional musicians still practice their scales.
And the most basic of basics for Christians is to be authentic – to live what we say we believe.
Our culture is spiritually hungry and desperately looking for AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS.
Peter Jennings is searching for Jesus
Oprah Winfrey is remembering her spirit
And a whole host of other celebrities and stars are proclaiming that being “spiritual” is in!
Yet in this time of spiritual hunger the church is declining.
Not because the church won’t accommodate the culture
Many denominations, out of a fear of being labeled intolerant, have compromised the truth of God’s word for what is more culturally acceptable.
Despite their attempt to please everyone, these churches have empty pews and little impact on people’s lives.
If people are hungry for spirituality, why aren’t they looking to the church? There may be several answers to this question, but I think it all boils down to the fact that
The church… and individual Christians… are not authentic
The world looks at the church and sees
People who cheat in their businesses, cheat on their spouses, and cheat on their taxes
They see people who gossip, and worry, and complain as much as they do.
In a word, they see hypocrites. People who say they have been changed and yet behave just like the rest of the world day in and day out.
Our culture longs to see real Christians, not perfect Christians, but real Christians… Authentic Christians.
As we approach this issue of Authentic Christianity we are going to look at the Great Commandment. Turn with me to Matthew 22:34-40. Please stand in honor of God’s Word.
You can be seated.
In this passage, the Pharisees send an expert in their religious law to test Jesus by asking Him a highly debated question of the day.
The Pharisees, the religious leaders, observed 613 different commands
They often disagreed as to which one was the greatest.
They thought Jesus’s teaching was so radical they wanted to test Him in front of the people.
They expected Him to deny the law, but instead He quoted a part of Scripture that the Jews repeated everyday.
He says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And don’t forget… Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Here JESUS GIVES US THE CALL TO AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY.
He tells us we must love God with ALL that we are
½ hearted love is not acceptable!
God demands an all consuming love
This month we are going to EXPLORE THIS COMMANDMENT – Loving God with all of our heart, all of our soul, and all of our mind. We’re going to look at WHAT I BELIEVE JESUS IS SAYING IS ESSENTIAL TO AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY.
What does it mean to “love God with all our heart?”
Jesus is talking about an internal motivation that should drive us. We are to be driven by a love for God… we are to have a passion for God.
In Matt 6:21, Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
WHAT WE TREASURE REFLECTS OUR PASSION AND WE HAVE A PASSION FOR WHAT WE CONSIDER TO BE OUR TREASURE. Our problem is that we don’t treasure God. Oh… He’s our savior and our friend… we’ll visit Him every once in a while, but He’s not our treasure.
A.W. Tozer said it like this … “We may WANT God, but we want something else more. And we get what we want most.”
We need a PASSION FOR GOD. What do I mean by passion?
Let me tell you what I don’t mean first:
I’m not talking about just an emotion or a feeling
I’m not talking about something sensual or romantic
The Passion I’m talking about is touched by Webster’s definition: A STRONG, EXTRAVAGANT FONDNESS, ENTHUSIASM, OR DESIRE FOR SOMETHING.
I’m talking about the need for us to have a strong, extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, and desire for God.
Is this passion I’m talking about Biblical… let’s look…