Summary: How honest is your faith? This sermon takes a look at the sincerity of our faith and why often others question the sincerity of many so called Christians.
Bob Woodward Carl Bernstein won the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Watergate scandal back in 1973. The New York Times calls Bob Woodward the most famous investigative reporter in America. And as an investigative reporter, the one thing Bob Woodward is above all else, he is a trained skeptic. Most journalist would agree that in this day and age, you need to be a skeptic because everybody is faking it in one way or another. They say, “never take anything at face value. Everybody is insincere and just out to get something for themselves.
But when the famed Bob Woodward was recently asked about President George Bush’s religious conviction and what role it plays in his presidency, Bob Woodward said, "it’s sincere and genuine…he exudes an earthy sincerity that extends to his religious beliefs. I accept it at face value." It seems that the genuineness of Bush’s faith had disarmed the skepticism and caused even the best trained investigative reporter to accept it at "face value."
Now how about your faith? Does your life exhibit that genuineness, that sincerity where no one doubts your motives. What would happen if an investigative reporter were to examine your faith. Would he find it to be genuine and true or would he identify you as a fraud?
Often times, the sincerity of our faith is questioned. Why is that? It is partly to blame because of the fact that there have been so many who have used the guise of the Christian faith to push there own agenda. Politicians will get religion when they’re trying to get your vote. Or somebody pretends to be a Christian to get a date, or to make a business deal. You might remember the scene from the movie “Blue Chips” where Nick Nolte plays a college coach trying to recruit some players, and each time he went to visit a player, he took on that person’s faith. When he was in Indiana trying to recruit, he was an American Baptist, when he went to Louisiana, he became Pentecostal, all to get what he wanted.
Sometimes its someone who preaches not to advance the kingdom of Christ, but rather to advance the size their own pocketbook. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:17 “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.” And when people see those who peddle the Christian faith for their own gains, they automatically lump all Christians together and thus meet everything we say with skepticism and can you truly blame them? Others may use the Christian faith as a way out of trouble. The other day our oldest girl Clarissa broke a rule in our house and for her discipline she was going to be put in time out without her infamous pillow buddy. She immediately started to cry out, “I’m sorry I’m sorry!” Now do you think she was really repenting of her misdeed or simply trying to fool me into thinking she was to avoid the discipline. And it’s not simply little girls who do this. We see it all the time.
When people are in trouble, they get religious. When a president gets caught in a lie, he comes out and says he’s sorry and that he has repented of his sin and its now between him, his family and his God…but this is only after months and months of denial and only comes when evidence is found that refutes his story.
Mike Royko wrote that most spiritual transformations often happen while people are awaiting sentence or seeking parole. He said, “Theologians might consider studying the relationship between loving God and fearing a judge." And he then adds, “When the going gets tough, the tough get religion."
Another reason why people tend to doubt the sincerity of many Christians is because of the hypocritical lifestyle many Christians tend to live. We spoke about this this past week, and its sad when the church acts holy come Sunday morning, yet returns back to the normal way of life come Monday through Saturday. It hurts the church when those who profess to be a Christian neither follow Christ nor do they hold to His teachings. The apostle Paul told Titus about such people in Titus 1:16 when he said, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” I know of a few Preachers who match that verse.
Perhaps the most popular musical act out there right now is Britney Spears. In an interview with Teen People published in February 2000, Britney Spears said, "I’m a Christian, I go to church." Yet E! Online on Jan 25 of last year reported that the then 19-year-old princess freaked out prior to her performance at the "Rock in Rio festival." Unaware that her microphone was on, she asked who dropped the "blankity-blank-bomb" back stage and was caught on tape.