Authentic: “of undisputed origin; genuine.”
Authentic: “of undisputed origin; genuine.”
"Do I meet the qualifications and experience requirements?"
Requirements are a part of life.
In His life and Word, Jesus shared characteristics with us that He expects us to embody in our daily life.
Early Christian examples provide for us a realistic picture of how we can apply these in our lives.
What do you think God is looking for in a true disciple?
He is not looking for something shallow and artificial.
But rather, He desires we embody something beautiful and authentic?
Paul relays 4 connectors that need to be evident in our lives in order to embody our Christianity.
Paul, Silas, and Timothy were beaten, imprisoned, and mistreated in Philippi (Acts 16:16-24).
They were flogged, thrown into the inner prison and fastened in the stocks.
When they went to Thessalonica, where a riot broke out, they still had the courage to preach the gospel.
But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.
God gave these men courage to be real in the midst of hardship.
To speak boldly in the midst of chaos.
When we know who we are and where we come from (Our Identity), we can be real and fearless in the face of trials.
There will be a confidence behind our courage.
12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.
Paul exemplified this courage in His work for Jesus:
10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Whenever we stay true to Christ,
whenever we’re real in our courage—even when we have something to lose,
even when tragedies pile up on us to the point we feel we might suffocate,
even when we’re mocked or beaten—
that’s when people take a closer look and say,
There may be something real here. It’s not contrived. It’s not staged.
14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
Courage and conviction are connected.
Conviction: complete confidence n. — a confidence that is full and complete in someone or something.
They were convinced of the truth of the gospel, and they cared more about what God thinks than what people think.
3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.
If we want to be real and authentic, we must stand by our convictions without wavering, without backing down in light of cultural opposition.
What the world needs is not a church that will provide a mere echo of our times but a church filled with people of conviction, who are gripped by a message from above.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
We must remain true to the gospel and who we are in light of the gospel for the glory of God, not for our own glory.
Courage and conviction result in compassion and kindness.
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
“Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go abut doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people” (Teresa of Avila, 16 Century).
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
The Lord's compassion was extended to those in spiritual despair as well as those in physical need.
compassion n. — a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering.
Compassion is powerful when it’s genuine, when it’s real.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
Our conduct must flow from our convictions.
We must be ever mindful that people are watching our lives, and so is God.
You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.
Paul had a clear conscience. When you don’t have anything to hide, you are free.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Notice in this text:
Fornication - Any illicit sexual sin. Premarital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexuality, lesbianism. This term references all forms of sexual sin and is all inclusive.
Uncleanness - Impurity of thought or life.
Evil desires and passions. An evil lust for the forbidden. (This is the sin that fueled Adam and Eve's fall into sin!)
Covetousness - Greed, or the sin of not being satisfied with what you already have.
Lying - We should always speak the truth. There is such a thing as absolute truth.
Our conduct should be lived out:
In Love – John 13:35
In Obedience – John 14:15; 21
In Faithfulness – 1 Cor. 4:2
In Holiness – 1 Pet. 1:16
Our current societal situation:
Our current societal situation:
Wisdom for the times
In times of stress, people are prone to lash out at their neighbors, mates, or brethren rather than probe their own hearts. In times of tension, may we search our hearts for a way forward that will please God, honor His Word, and bless our fellow man (Philippians 2:1-2). When feeling pressured, may we elevate our Lord rather than our differences. Christ said, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (John 12:32 ESV ). He did not promise to resolve all human differences, but He guaranteed that hearts focused on Him will grow closer as a result (Consider One Another: God’s Answer to Incivility by Aubrey Johnson. Gospel Advocate, 2019, 157).
But what about when we fail in our conduct?
That’s when you have the opportunity to be real in your repentance.
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
We are the church. The human side of the church is not perfect.
10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
May we in all earnestness do what the Lord requires of us!