Authentic Christianity
Sunday, October 4, 2009

 The Sermon on the Mount

“Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness and all these things (basics for living) will be added unto you.”  -- Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ

                For something to be authentic, it must be real.  It must follow the patterns established by the reality of objects.  Mr. Webster says that to be authentic the object of authenticity must be shown to be true or trustworthy.  It must be valid, because all necessary procedures have been followed.  An authentic Native American is not a wannabe lover of that culture, but someone who carries the blood line of Native Americans.  Authentic sports fans are not the fair weather fans whom you see when times are good, but supporters of a team in good times and bad.  Authenticity is something sorely lacking in our culture which exalts make believe over reality; which values entertainment above doing; and which sings the praises of in-authenticity when that which is false meets our desired lifestyle.  Tragically, lack of authenticity is nowhere more clearly seen than in the realm of the Christian faith.

                Before such a claim is raised up the flagpole for public ridicule, it may be best to begin by determining “what is authentic Christianity. “  Authentic Christianity is Christianity with baptism and Holy Communion; it is love and compassion without law and legalism; it is obedience to grace without false social service; it is kingdom living each day instead of world living today without fear of hell; it is loving all people from conception to grave, without letting culture dictate who we can or cannot love; it is hating sin and evil according to God’s definition, while loving sinners of which we all are.  But even with these parameters, I would seriously doubt that with the broad spectrum of what is presented as Christianity today, you will find much agreement.  However, if the Bible is our guide and we believe in the authenticated version of who Christ is, some general agreements could be established – of which we would still eliminate a very large percentage of those who call themselves Christian.   Let’s begin this abbreviated exploration by looking at who the authenticated Jesus is, according to Scripture.

                First of all, He is the One who fulfilled the OT prophecy of Messiah.  And without going into detail, Jesus is the fulfillment of what God gave to prophets from Moses to Malachi.  Secondly, He authenticated that role by dying for our sins and then being raised from the dead and appearing to over 500 people when He rose.  And finally, that role was authenticated by the power of those who followed.  “Unschooled and ordinary men” through love, grace, and commitment unto death turned the world upside down.  So authentic Christianity begins by the authenticity of its Founder.

                But what would an authentic follower look like?  The answer to that lies in how closely they follow the teachings and life of the Founder.  And in that there are several basics.  An authentic Christian must first and foremost love God as the centerpiece of their lives; and secondly they must live out that love by their love for people whom God created – neighbors.  Finally, they would be followers of the Great Commission.  But don’t be confused about that Commission.  It does indeed involve evangelism, but it also involves discipleship and obedience.  Obedience has become a stumbling block for modern Christians, but cannot be separated from authenticity.  Jesus summed up the authentication by His words, “Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. . .”  For you see authentic Christians are those who live for the Kingdom of God.

                There is a quote from Dallas Willard’s book, Knowing Christ Today which is so important in our modern context – one that skips lightly over the thought processes (and belief systems) of the average churchgoer.  “Today, given the prevailing intellectual and cultural atmosphere, you are likely to pick up from your surroundings, with no special thought on your part, the conviction that there is no knowledge to be had of good and evil, no knowledge of God, and no divine presence in our world that enables us to transcend its merciless regularities.  If that conviction settles in on you, you will live in terms of it and never enter the Kingdom of God.” (emphasis mine).  Please re-read that quote until it sinks in.  Cultural Christians are blocked from the very purpose for which they were created.  Authentic Christians are those who strive for authenticity to enter the Kingdom.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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