Summary: This message deals with us being revealed before the saints at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Does our reputation truly equal our character?
Who Are You Really?
How many of you have ever filled out a job application or an application to go to school? They want to know your name, your address, your education history, your work history, and some times a bunch of other stuff as well. After you give them all this personal information and they have done background checks, and gotten credit reports, if all of it comes back okay, they still want you to come in for an interview. Now why is that?
They know, they can know a lot of facts about you, and still have no idea who you really are? Before they hire you, they want to know, “who are you really?” They know what the paper says, “but who are you really.” When I look at some of you in church, and I look at your picture on facebook, I ask myself, “Who are you really.”
Suppose for a moment I told you, we had a true secret five minute video on a person in Pa. who was one thing in church, but was an entirely different person outside the church, many of us would probably be eager to start the video and find out what this hypocrite was doing. But if I changed the video slightly and I said, the secret video is actually of one of the people here at New Life At Calvary, how many of you are now thinking, “I sure hope it’s not me in the video.”
There is a tendency on our part to compare ourselves to others and think that we are doing pretty good in our walk toward righteousness. We admit to doing a little wrong here and there, but we are nowhere near as bad as those people. In our Old Testament reading, God had called the prophet Isaiah to preach to the people about their wicked behavior. Isaiah was letting them have it for all the wrong they were doing. He even told God in verse 2:3, God they are so bad, you should not forgive them. And then a strange thing happened to Isaiah in chapter 6. He said, in the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord.
The first thing that he did when he saw the Lord was to cry out “ Woe to me, for I am ruined. I am a man of unclean lips and I live among people of unclean lips for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” For the first time in the book, he realized that who he thought he was, he really was not. He was a whole lot worse. There is something about being in the presence of God, that exposes who we truly are. We find we are nowhere as near as holy as we had first imagined.
Who we truly are can be seen by discovering our character. Character can be defined in several ways. One is,“ character is who you are when you think you won’t get caught.” Character is “who you are when the pressure is on you to be something else.” Andy Stanley defined character as “the will to do what’s right, even when it’s hard.” Character is not something that comes automatically to us. Character involves the will to make a tough decision because it’s the right decision to make. To really the answer the question, “who are you really”, we need to know about your character.
The temptation in life is going to be to build a reputation. If I can just build a reputation for being a good person. If I can just build a reputation for being a Christian. If I can just build a reputation for whatever….. The problem with reputations is that, its built on what others think they know about us. It is what we want others to see or to think about us.
Up until a week before he died, Judas had a reputation for being one of the twelve outstanding disciples of Jesus Christ, a man of honesty and integrity, so much that others put him in charge of the money. The other eleven disciples would have gladly defended him from any and all charges. The reality, is that despite his reputation, Judas was a thief stealing money from Jesus and the disciples. His character was quite different from his reputation.
As an 13 year old student on the honor roll, I had a reputation for being a great kid, well behaved in school, and proned to do the right thing. Nobody knew that I also had a problem with stealing. It wasn’t until my character of stealing was exposed in front of most of the students in my school that I stopped stealing.
There was a church in the book of Revelations by the name of Sardis. Jesus says to the church, I know your deeds: You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. The reputation of the church, was far different than its character.