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By Ordinary Means

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What does an authentic Christian look like? How can you tell if someone is a Christian? Does that matter? More importantly how can you be assured that you are a Christian?

Intro

Easter: What is Easter? What is it we celebrate today? a time of egg hunts and fluffy white rabbits? There seems to be a time of confusion in the church and the message to the world.
Hodgepodge of religion, truth, and fable.
What is the message of the church to the world?
Are we being authentic Christians?
Has the church been teaching people wrongly? So often we look for extraordinary ways to share the gospel message. We get cute, we get creative. Yet, so often the way that God has established is so simple and ordinary.

Drama

A glimpse into the beginnings of the church and the most basic principle of its necessity
Peter and John just healed a lame man
Peter shares why they did this through a sermon ()
Peter responds to the council of Ruler and Elders ()
They were jailed
Yet, through all of this God still worked - the church continued to grow
Acts 4:4 ESV
But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
Acts 4
Then the rulers asked: by what power do you do this?
Peter and John through their actions and words attested to the Kingship of Jesus!
Something supernatural was happening that would forever change the world
Martin Lloyd Jones calls this a phenomenon
Courageous Christianity Chapter 5: The Authentic Marks of Christianity

There is nothing that has so affected this world as the Christian message.

Courageous Christianity Chapter 5: The Authentic Marks of Christianity

Has anything in the modern world turned anybody or anything upside down, let alone the world itself? No, a lifeless religion is not Christianity. New Testament Christianity is life-giving, dynamic, and challenging—a phenomenon.

A phenom in the baseball world who will come onto the scene and turn the baseball world upside down. A five tool player that will earn all kinds of money and change the game.
Chipper Jones, Bryce Harper, etc . . .
Our message is the witness of Jesus Christ work - specifically his resurrection
Acts 4:10 ESV
let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
Jesus is the cornerstone and foundation of Christianity
He rode in on a Donkey and now sits and the right hand of God
He is King and this is his world
And only he brings salvation to the world
Acts 4:12 ESV
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:11 ESV
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.
The Christianity of the early Church, I would argue is not the Christianity many of us espouse today.
What does it mean to be an authentic Christian?

Doctrine

Christianity is a phenomenon that brings real change
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
1 Corinthians 2:14–16 ESV
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Lot - Goes out and tells people that he angels of the Lord are there to destroy the wicked city. In this sense he is a prophet. But, even his family took him as joking. There wasn’t a seriousness to the threat.
Jeremiah 6:14 ESV
They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.
Jeremiah
The world needs a people who have experienced this real change to share with them this very change
Courageous Christianity Chapter 5: The Authentic Marks of Christianity

Christianity is not something that we do; it is not something that is in any sense dependent upon us.

App: Praise God that you have been raised from death unto life and been made a new creation.
Christianity is a phenomenon that brings a real message
Our message is not:
Peace
Social Justice
Moral living
gained through knowledge, status, merit
Our message is the gospel of Jesus:
Jesus came to die for his people and save them through His work of death, resurrection and ascension. He will complete this work in the final consummation.
The message is simple, yet the world rejects it.
They reject it because it starts with the premise that they are sinners and in need of a savior
No one likes to be told they are in need
App: Praise God that you have been given ears to hear the message. There is no greater message than the gospel needed by the world today.
Illus: News - many of us love news. I think all of us love to learn something new. Digital media has taken over paper media. But, it isn’t the medium that we desire so much. No, its the news.
Whatever we do as people of God let the message be consistent, the Good news about Jesus Christ! He is Risen!
Christianity is a phenomenon that brings a real power
Not our own power but that of God
Acts 4:13–14 ESV
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.
This power is not ours
Courageous Christianity Chapter 5: The Authentic Marks of Christianity

Christianity is not something that we do; it is not something that is in any sense dependent upon us. Here we touch upon the greatest modern fallacy. We like to think that we can do anything and everything; we have the confidence; we have the capacity and the power. But here at the very beginning, we are told at once that becoming a Christian is in no way dependent upon us and our power and capacity. It is not a matter of our ability, understanding, and knowledge.

It is a supernatural power
not intellect
not status
not effort
Courageous Christianity Chapter 5: The Authentic Marks of Christianity

And there is Christianity for you in a nutshell. It does not depend upon us; it is a power acting upon us and in us and in spite of us.

Even Jesus makes this clear:
Matthew 11:25–26 ESV
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Doxology

What is a Christians and how do you know you are one?
Christians are a people who see that they have been changed in a very phenomenal, drastic and supernatural way.
Christians are a people who live in light of this:
Our worldview has changed, our thinking has changed, our hearts have been softened, our responses have changed . . . .
We should live as a changed people but the power of God who now live in His grace
Out of this the Apostles speak with boldness and answer to God rather than men
So often, we allow the people around us to dictate how we live. We live out of fear. We try to live on our own power. We try to live in appeasement of others. Some of us have fallen prey to seeking men’s approval and not even willing to offend.
Christianity isn’t about political correctness. It’s about growing in our love for God and love for others.
Change through ordinary message now received through the power of the HS.

Conclusion

Now what do you do with this phenomenal transformation?
How is God using you to reach others? What are you called to do in His Church?
Don’t overlook the simple things we do everyday.
Christians are very busy people. Yet, we can be too busy. We can become so busy that we miss the work that God is doing in our lives and on the lives of others in ordinary yet phenomenal ways.
Illus: College professor who shared a brief encounter with a young man that saved his life.
What is God doing through you to reach you family, your friends, your co workers, your golf buddies, etc . . . .
Look at the role God has placed you in and stop being so busy. Look at the ordinary ways in which God is working. It is the very same ordinary ways that God has saved you.
Let’s simplify things a bit and slow down and see that God uses very ordinary people to do some amazing things in His Kingdom.
How will you be used by God today? What ordinary means of grace will God use in your life?
You don’t have to have a title to great things for God. Actually it is the complete opposite. God uses the ordinary every day things in our lives to bring people to himself.
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