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"Authenticity"

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
May 16, 2021 5:00 am

"Authenticity"

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Hi there, this is Lon Solomon and I'd like to welcome you to our program today. You know it's a tremendous honor that God has given us to be on stations all around the nation bringing the truth of God's word as it is uncompromising and straightforward. And I'm so glad you've tuned in to listen and be part of that.

Thanks again for your support and your generosity that keeps us on the radio. And now let's get to the word of God. You know it all began with Jim and Tammy. And then there was Jimmy Swaggart.

And then there was the primetime expose of Robert Tilton and Larry Lee and all of their money habits. Then there was and really continues to be all of the instances of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. And the thing about all of this aberrant behavior and all these people doing it is they all claim to be Christians.

Which is something the media makes sure that we know. And the result is that in the United States of America, evangelical Christianity has become seriously discredited. There was an article in USA Today that was entitled extremists action tarnish fundamentalists image.

And here's what it said. USA Today sponsored a nationwide Gallup poll that found that 57 percent of Americans consider fundamentalists to be intolerant. And 55 percent of Americans surveyed call fundamentalists Christian fundamentalists extremists.

In fact, social scientist John Green, who teaches at the University of Akron, says that the term Christian fundamentalists has become almost synonymous with a set of ugly adjectives such as, and I quote, intolerant, narrow minded, poorly educated, anti intellectual and just plain nasty people. End of quote. Question. How are we who are true believers in Jesus Christ?

People who don't cheat people out of money, people who don't molest children, normal people who just want to love God and worship God and help other people come to know God. How are we going to reestablish our credibility with the people here in the United States of America and around the world? How are we going to reestablish our credibility and that of Jesus Christ and that of Christianity with a world that is convinced we are a bunch of hypocrites?

Answer. We're going to do it by living lives of personal authenticity, living lives that are authentic and real and credible ourselves. And that's what I want to talk to you about this morning, because that's what Jesus talks about in Luke Chapter six.

He talks about hypocrisy and he talks about authenticity. Let's look at the passage. Luke six one Sabbath. Jesus was going through the grain fields and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain and rub them together in their hands and eat the kernels. And some of the Pharisees asked, Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath? Now, by the way, what Jesus and his disciples were doing was not illegal.

They weren't stealing grain. Deuteronomy Chapter 23 says that what they were doing was allowed. The issue was that they were doing it on the Sabbath.

Now skip down to verse six. On another Sabbath, Jesus went into the synagogue and was teaching and a man was there whose right hand was all shriveled up. And the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus.

So they watched him closely to see if he would heal. Here it is on the Sabbath. You know, almost every family has a beat cop.

So what is that? Well, that's the person in almost every family who goes around spying on everybody, always checking up to make sure you're doing it right and ratting on you if you don't. But in the family of Israel, the people who played the role of beat cop were the Pharisees. They were the inspector generals of Israel who checked everybody out on everything to make sure everybody was keeping the rules, especially the rules of the Sabbath. How do you think they knew that Jesus walking through a cornfield was picking any corn if they weren't in the cornfield spying on him?

And many commentators think the man with the shriveled hand was a plant in the synagogue just to see what Jesus was going to do. But the Sabbath was their big thing. They had 12 books of rules that they had compiled over the centuries of what you could and could not do on the Sabbath. In the Mishnah, 12 books of rules. And these rules were incredibly detailed and oppressive.

Listen to a few of them. On the Sabbath, a person was only allowed to walk 3000 feet from their home because if you walked any more, it was work. On the Sabbath, you were not allowed to swat an insect because if you swatted a mosquito, you were doing the work of an exterminator. Women were not allowed to look in the mirror on the Sabbath. You say, what?

It's true. What would explain that kind of screwball law? Well, the reason is, the rabbi said, if a woman looked in the mirror on the Sabbath and saw that she got a gray hair, she might try to reach up and pull it out. And then she was doing the work of a beautician. And that wasn't allowed. You were allowed to dip a radish into salt water if you wanted to eat it, but you weren't allowed to leave it in the salt water because if you left it in the salt water, you were pickling it. And that's work. You were allowed to try to resuscitate a dying person, but if the person died, you were not allowed to reach up with and close their eyelids with your fingers because then you were doing the work of a funeral director. Right. And this is just a tiny sampling of 12 books worth of rules of what you could and could not do. Last week, if you were here, you remember I said that these guys had taken the true worship of God and they had turned it into a prison.

Do you understand what I'm talking about now? This is not worshiping God. This is imprisonment that they had built. Jesus had a lot of problems with these guys and all their rules about the Sabbath. But the biggest problem he had is that they were hypocrites. They were religious hypocrites.

You say, Lon, what do you mean? Listen, friends, these people did not want Jesus and his disciples to eat when they were hungry. And they did not want Jesus to heal a poor, crippled man on the Sabbath. But, brother, they had all kinds of loopholes worked into the system so that they themselves suffered no loss on the Sabbath.

Flip back with me to Luke Chapter 13. And again, Jesus is arguing with them about the Sabbath. Verse 15.

He says, Luke 13, verse 15. You hypocrites, doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? You see, oxen and donkeys needed water every day or they would get sick and could die. And that would mean a financial ramification for these people. So they had worked into all of these Sabbath rules, a way to make sure they got their donkey and their ox down to the water so they didn't suffer any financial hurt.

You don't have to turn there. But in Matthew Chapter 12, Jesus refers to the same thing. He says, if any of you has a sheep and it falls in the pit on the Sabbath, won't you go down and throw a rope around it and pull it out? Of course they would. They're not going to lose a sheep. They don't want to go through that financial loss.

Jesus said, how much more valuable is a person than a sheep? If there was a fire in their house, they had worked the rules in so they could run in their house and save all their possessions. And you know that dumb rule about you could only walk 3000 feet from your house? Well, what if they wanted to take a longer trip if some rabbi wanted to go see his brother somewhere and it was longer than 3000 feet? You know how they got around that?

You will love this. What they did is they said, if on Friday, the day before the Sabbath, you fix two extra meals and you took it 3000 feet away from your house and deposited it there, you had just established a second home. And then you could go 3000 more feet from your second home. Well, then if you took more spaghetti and put it at that level, 6000 feet, you could go 3000 more feet from your third home.

And you could keep this up as far as you wanted until you got where you wanted to go. But they said to Jesus, Jesus, don't you dare pick any corn and eat it if you're hungry. And don't you dare heal a poor crippled man who's been crippled all of his life on the Sabbath. And Jesus responded to these guys with sharp rebuke. Turn with me to Mark Chapter two, because Mark tells us a couple of things that Luke doesn't about this confrontation. Mark Chapter two regarding the corn that he had eaten. You remember that they said you can't do this on the Sabbath because when you grind it up like this, it's work.

Look what he said. Mark Chapter two, verse twenty five. Jesus said, Did you never read what David King David and his companions did when they were hungry and they were in need? Why, they in the days of Abiathar, the high priest, entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread that was lawful only for the priest to eat.

And not only did David eat it, David gave it to all of his buddies. Then Jesus said to them, Don't you guys understand? The Sabbath was made for the benefit of man, but it was not made to be a prison. Man was not made to be in prison to the Sabbath. And besides, I'm the son of God and I'm Lord over the Sabbath. I can do whatever I want on the Sabbath. I made the Sabbath. What Jesus is saying here is, hey, look, King David, when his men were running away from Saul and when they were famished, they went into the temple, they took the special bread that God had said only the priest could eat and they ate it. And God never said one thing about it. Why? Because with God, human need is more important than ritual.

That's why. And then what about this handicapped man? Skip down to Chapter three, chapter three, verse three. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, stand up in front of everybody. And then Jesus turned to these Pharisees and he said to them, what is lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill? But they didn't answer him anything.

He looked around at them in anger and deeply distressed at the hardness of their heart. He said to the man, stretch out your hand and he stretched it out and his hand was completely restored. Folks, Jesus could have waited till the next day to do this, couldn't he?

He could have waited till Sunday to do this. But Jesus said he's not going to because this man's need is more important, Jesus said to them, than all your stupid little rules. And it's very interesting here in Mark, chapter three, verse five, the Bible says that Jesus was angry. Do you know, I looked in the Bible this week and this is the only place anywhere in the Bible in the New Testament where it says Jesus was ever angry. Say, no, no, no, no.

Wait a minute, Lon. Remember when he drove all the money changers out of the temple with the whip? Certainly the Bible says he was angry then.

Nope, doesn't. Well, how about when he said to Peter, get behind me, Satan, you don't savor the things of God, but no Bible never says he was angry then. This is the only place in the entire Bible where it says Jesus was angry and what he was angry about was the Pharisaism, the hypocrisy of these guys that on the Sabbath they would make provision for their own fire insurance and their own personal travel desires.

But another person's hunger. They couldn't care less about it. That on the Sabbath they would show mercy to their cow, their donkey, their ox and their sheep, but they refused to show mercy to a fellow human being in need. And the point is, these guys were bogus. They were massive hypocrites. And just to prove it, look at verse six. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. These guys write 12 books full of rules to try to keep one of the Ten Commandments to the nth degree.

And here these very same guys are going out trying to break the other one. Thou shalt not kill. Now that ends our passage, but it leads us to ask the question much better.

Thank you. So what? Well, we've been talking about hypocrisy. You know, the Greek word Hippocrates actually is a stage word. It was use of actors.

That's where it began. The word hypocrite or hypocrisy actually means literally to wear a mask. It means to pretend to be somebody that you're not as a stage actor would do. And therefore it became what we think of today as a hypocrite who pretends to be one thing, but he's really not or she's really not authentic or authenticity. Also comes from a Greek word authenticos, which means to act like yourself, to be genuine, to actually be what you claim to be. That's what it means to be authentic. And what is the opposite of being a hypocrite? It's being what?

Authentic, where what you see is what you get. Maybe some of you here have really been soured on Christianity because of the lack of authenticity in the life of some Christian. And maybe even today you're still struggling to get over that. If that's how you feel, I hope you'll remember that the foundation of Christianity is the impeccable integrity of Jesus Christ, not his followers. And I hope maybe that you're a little older now and you're a little wiser now.

And maybe life has made you more aware of your own inconsistencies, no matter how hard you tried to get it right, that you're not as consistent as you wish you were. And maybe as a result of that, you'll reconsider Jesus Christ on his own merit, on what he did for you on the cross and his willingness to forgive sin. If you've been soured by some non-authentic Christians, that's not the real issue. I hope you'll really let God talk to you about the real issue, what Christ did for you and your need. I have found that our personal integrity is a crucial element in people coming to know Christ. And it's very important. If you're a Christian, may I say the most important thing that you can do for the cause of world evangelism is to go out there in the marketplace, go out there in your neighborhood, go out there in your family and live an authentic Christian life.

Like Peter said in the Bible, 1 Peter chapter 2, Live such good lives among unbelievers, he said, that they may see your right deeds and give glory to God. Now, if we're going to do that, how are we going to do it? I want to give you three practical suggestions and there's three key words I want to give you. Here they are.

Ready? Commitment, reliance, humility. Let me expand on them in the time I've got left. Commitment. Commitment to what? Commitment to biblical obedience. Folks, I have a premise.

My premise is this. Biblical obedience results in authentic behavior. What I'm saying is when we take the word of God and we live the way the word of God tells us to live and we run our lives the way the Bible tells us to run and we have the kind of attitudes the Bible tells us to have, when we live the way the Bible tells us to, the result is that we will display authentic behavior that honors Jesus Christ. And if that's true, and I believe it is, then this approach to life demands high commitment. It demands a commitment to the lordship of Jesus Christ over every part of our lives.

It demands a commitment to do what God tells us to do and God asks us to do, as opposed to what we feel like doing, because very often those two things will not be the same. That leads me to my second word. My second word is not the word commitment, but the word reliance. Reliance on what?

You say, Lon. Reliance on the power of the Spirit of God to enable us to live the commitment that hopefully we've made to biblical obedience. We have a tape series out in our bookstore that I've done called Living by Grace. The subtitle is If I'm a Christian, How Come I Can't Live the Christian Life? And I don't know about you, but I've been there before.

Have you ever been there? If I'm a Christian, how come I can't live a Christian life? How come I get up in the morning and I pray and I go, God, not today. It's going to be different. God, today I'm going to do it your way. God, today we're going to do it the way you tell me. And before I'm out the house, particularly if you walk by your children, you blew it. How can that happen?

It was very simple. We have a sinful human nature that is so strong that no matter how much you're committed to the lordship of Christ, our sinful human nature sometimes breaks through and causes us to do things we don't even want to do. That's what Paul said, Romans Chapter 7. He said, I have the desire to do what's right, but I can't carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do.

No, the evil I don't want to do. That's what I keep doing. Does that sound like you?

Sounds like me. So how are we going to solve this? Our second word was the word Reliance. You see, this is why God put the Holy Spirit inside of every Christian, to give us the power to do the good we want, to give us the power to live out the commitment we've made, hopefully, to the lordship of Christ. But we've got to actively, deliberately, consciously rely on the Holy Spirit for that power.

So many of us as Christians, we go out every day to live the Christian life. We get up in the morning and we walk out of the house and we go, I'm not going to lose my temper today. I'm not going to lose it in the office today. I'm not going to think that about my mother today. And then we go do it. It would be better if we got up and said, Lord, I am going to get mad at the kids today and I am going to get upset. I'm going to do all those things that I don't even want to do unless the Spirit of God lives through my life today. That's why God gave us the Spirit of God.

And there's a little acrostic I use to help people remember this. W-H-Y. Willingness. W. Lord, I want to do what's right. H. Helplessness. But God, I don't have a chance.

Why? Yieldedness. Lord, I'm going to yield to your spirit.

You live through me today and give me the power. Willingness. Helplessness.

Yieldedness. Try it out. It'll work. But, you know, even if you're committed to the lordship of Christ and you plug in, there's still going to be times you blow it because nobody, I don't care how committed you are and how sincere you are, can stay completely surrendered to the Holy Spirit every minute of every day, of every week, of every month, of every year of their life.

Only Jesus could do that. So you're going to blow it. What's going to happen then in terms of your authenticity? You say, well, man, when I blow it, my authenticity is gone forever. No, it isn't.

Not if you handle it right. That's the third word. Remember the third word? Humility. See, when you go to a person and admit you blew it and humbly ask them for forgiveness and try to make it right, I have found many times you will communicate more authenticity to them than if you'd have simply got it right in the first place. More authenticity. You see, in order for our faith to be credible with unbelievers, they don't expect us to be perfect, but they do expect us to be honest, honest enough to admit when we're wrong, humble enough to try to make it right. It's not our lack of perfectionist Christians that costs us our credibility. It's our lack of honesty and humility. You know, I grew up with a Jewish mother because I was Jewish.

Makes sense. My mom is dead now and in heaven. But I thought many times about establishing a support group, actually a recovery group, and I thought I would call it ASJM, adult survivors of Jewish mothers, because we're sick people. My mother and I never got along well at all. And no matter what it was, I would never admit to that woman I was wrong.

I would not give her the satisfaction of thinking she was right. I grew up one way to college. And after my dad died, my mom was left with nothing. She went to work. And back in the early 80s, when I first come to this church, she ran into real money trouble and needed help. At the time, Brenda and I had a mortgage in Maryland. We hadn't sold our house in Maryland.

We had a mortgage over here. And there was no money to give her except the money that I committed to giving to the Lord. And she called up and told me she needed money and asked me if I could help her. I said, Mom, I don't know.

I have to think about it. And when I thought about it, I thought, you know, I don't like the way my mom spends money. She buys things she can't afford. She buys cigarettes with it. She buys alcohol.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-19 12:54:17 / 2023-11-19 13:03:14 / 9

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