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A Challenge Toward Authenticity

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
December 6, 2020 7:00 am

A Challenge Toward Authenticity

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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Just cuz you have in church don't mean Jesus is in the sanctuary. Dr. Tony Evans says the Lord knows when we're not being authentic, no matter how together we appear on the outside. You got the look, but you don't have the reality.

And the worst part about it is you don't even know it. This is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. It's pretty easy to spot a Christian who looks the part, but not as easy to spot one who lives the part, a believer who's authentic through and through.

You'll discover how to become that kind of disciple today as Dr. Evans takes us to Revelation 3.14 for today's lesson. Our final church to the final body of saints is Laodicea Bible Fellowship. Laodicea was a wealthy city known for three things. Laodicea was known for its finance industry, its banking industry.

It would be akin to our common-day Wall Street. It was a very wealthy place to live, work, and raise a family. It was also known for its fashion industry. In New York, you would call it the fashion district, where they made fancy clothes that would go out to the retailers to sell to the general public. Not only was it a financial district and a fashion district, but the city of Laodicea was a pharmaceutical district. It was known for its medical industry, particularly when it came to eye diseases.

It was specializing in this salve for the eyes to improve the sight of those struggling with seeing. That is why you will see three areas—finance, fashion, and pharmaceuticals—referred to in Revelation chapter 3, verses 14 to the end of the chapter. Jesus, as He does in each one of these churches, introduces Himself as He wants you to see Him now, the ruling King and head of the church. And He says in verse 14, to the angel of the church at Laodicea write, I am the Amen. Amen means, so be it. It is so.

That's the way it is. He's basically saying, I don't care what anybody else said to you. I don't care what other folk told you.

I don't even care what you're telling yourself. I am the Amen. I'm the final word on the subject. I am the faithful and true witness. He says, I am the beginning of the creation of God and the one who's responsible for how history operates. Pay close attention, because I know what I'm talking about. I am the Amen.

I am the final testimony and witness, and I am the one who existed prior to you even being here. He says in verse 15, I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were hot or cold. So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. He addresses the problem at Laodicea Bible Fellowship of lukewarmness.

You are lukewarm. Now to understand why he is saying this, you have to understand Laodicea's unique location. On one side of Laodicea, the city, was Aeropolis, which was akin to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

If you've ever been to Hot Springs, Arkansas, you know the heated water that comes up from the earth, the steam that shows up because of the heat, and that water is used for healing and refreshing. Aeropolis was the Hot Springs, Arkansas of the day, and that hot water flowed down to Laodicea. But on the other side of Laodicea was the city of Colossae, where we get the book Colossians, and cold water came down from the mountains into Laodicea. When the hot water came down from Aeropolis and the cold water came down from Colossae, they met at Laodicea. And when the hot and cold water met, the water now became lukewarm when it reached Laodicea.

So Jesus Christ uses this geographical reality to express a spiritual reality operating at Laodicea Bible Fellowship. He says you are neither hot nor cold. We can appreciate that, because on a hot summer day, you want a cold glass of water. On a hot summer day, you want a cold glass of lemonade. On a hot summer day, you want a cold glass of tea, sweet tea, because you want to be refreshed on a hot summer day. But on a cold summer day, you want a cup of hot chocolate. On a cold summer day, that hot cup of coffee or tea, it warms you up.

In other words, hot and cold are designed to meet a need, to address a situation depending upon the weather. I'm sure you don't go to a restaurant and ask you, do you want a warm cup of coffee? Do you want a warm glass of tea? You want it hot or cold, because you want it to be refreshing.

Jesus writes this church through its pastor, and he says, you tell them, I know about them. They are neither hot nor hot coffee here. They're not cold, there's no ice in that glass here. They are lukewarm. In other words, they are unacceptable.

I want ice in this glass or heat in this coffee. What I don't want is lukewarmness. He says, their lukewarmness, that is, their stagnant spiritual state. Their in-between Christian commitment. Their mixture that has made them unusable, unspiritual, is unacceptable. How unacceptable is it, Jesus?

I want to spew them out of my mouth. And Jesus says, this is the amen talking. This is the one who's not going to tell you what you want to hear, I'm gonna tell you like it really is.

This is the one with the final witness making the declaration. Because you're neither hot nor cold, I can't do anything with you. Your spiritual condition reflects your geographical location.

It is lukewarmness, it is stagnant, and I can't do anything with you. So it's possible to be a church that makes Jesus sick. Here's what Jesus says was the problem. Verse 17, because you say, I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing. He says, I have a problem with how you view yourself.

You say, I am rich, I am self-sufficient, I got it going on, got my job, got my money, got my car, got my house, got my clothes. So my going to church is part of my style. I go to Leo to see a Bible Fellowship, because that's what all Christians do. But I don't go there because I need Jesus.

I go there to fulfill my religious obligation. You've become so successful in your financial district, your fashion district, your pharmaceutical district, that you don't really need me. You're just placating me. You don't need me, you're just using me.

You don't need me, you're just acting and giving the impression that you are close to me, and y'all make me sick. He says to the Leo to see a Bible Fellowship that you have allowed, watch this now, the definition of success in the world, to give you the definition of success in the church. You think cuz you got money in your wallet, you think because you buy the nicer clothes, drive the nicer cars, have the nicer job, that somehow God has blessed you.

You've been falling into this false theology that if I got stuff, I must be blessed, when actually you and your stuff have made me sick, and you make me want to throw up and spew you out of my mouth, because you have brought the world into the church instead of letting the church define who you are and how you function in the world. You've allowed the world to tell you whether you're successful. You've allowed society to tell you whether you're successful. You've allowed degrees on the wall to tell you if you're successful.

Promotion in the marketplace to tell you whether you're successful. But I'm the amen, and I'm gonna tell you like it is and like it is. You make me wanna throw up. They were measuring the spiritual by how things look in the physical. I am wealthy. I got this going on, so I must be blessed. The fact is, the physical and the more of it you have camouflages the spiritual, so that you think the spiritual must be okay because we got this coding in the physical, and because the coding looks good. The inside must be okay, because if I wasn't close to God, why would I be blessed like this? If I wasn't close to God, why would I have what I have, be where I am, have the education that I have?

Why would all this stuff be okay if I wasn't close to God? He says all that stuff is is painting a false portrait. Second half of verse 17, you do not know you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. He says, I don't care where you buy your couture clothes, you're naked.

So you see, he's quoting the district, finance, fashion, pharmaceuticals, because what you think you can see, what your expensive glass is on, you're blind. It's bad to be blind. It's worse to be blind and not know you blind. It's bad to be naked, but it's worse to be naked and not know you undressed.

It's bad to be poor, but he says you don't know how poor you are. It's bad to be messed up and you don't know how messed up you are. That's how messed up you are. You're so messed up you don't know how messed up you are. And what's got you messed up is that you've allowed the physical to erase the spiritual. And so because you don't see things from my perspective, you don't see things correctly. And you didn't let what other folk telling you, oh you something, oh you're successful, oh you accomplished, oh you, and you believe in them and they are not the amen. They are not the faithful witness and them folk lying to you. The worst thing in the world is to believe folk in your ears who are lying to you and not telling you the truth.

God says, I don't play those games. I'm gonna tell you what I see, and what I see is not good. You're like a beautiful car on the showroom floor of an automobile dealership with no engine.

You got the look, but you don't have the reality. And the worst part about it is, you don't even know it. You know anybody who's messed up but don't know they messed up?

Are you messed up and don't know you messed up? You see, that's the bad part, because you will not accept the spiritual perspective first. You're judging yourself by what they are saying out there, not what I am saying in here.

And if what I am saying in here is different than what everybody else is whispering in your ear out there, they are wrong and I am right because I'm the Amen. I made you, not them. I'm the Creator.

So what do we do once we make that realization? Well, Dr. Evans will come back with the answer in just a moment. First, I want to let you know that the lesson you're hearing today is being highlighted and bundled with 19 other powerful messages from Dr. Evans. And if you make a donation to help us keep Tony's teaching coming your way, we'd like to send you this new collection. We're calling it The Best of Tony Evans 2020, and it's our way of saying thanks for your investment in us, which enables us to continue investing in you. And for a limited time, to those who donate and request The Best of Tony Evans 2020, we'll also include a copy of his popular devotional book, Called for a Purpose. It'll help you learn how your past experience, personal development, and giftedness all fit into your calling and will encourage you to allow God to shape your destiny. Get Tony's Best so you can be your best.

Twenty messages to end 2020, plus his powerful devotional book. Just visit for details before this limited time offer runs out. That's Or call us at 1-800-800-3222.

Our Resource Center is open 24-7. One more time, that's 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat all that information for you later, but right now let's get back to today's lesson. What do you want me to do, Lord? What do you want me to do?

I'll tell you what I want you to do, verse 18. I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, because you're not rich. You think you're rich, but you're not.

And white garments, because it's a fashion district, so that you may clothe yourself and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed. And I salve, because it's a pharmaceutical district, to anoint your eyes so that you may see. So guess what I want to do? I want to make you truly rich. I want to give you real clothes, and I want to open your eyes so that you can see. But the only way you get any of that is from me.

Buy from me. In other words, I'm the only one who can give you what you really need to be what you're supposed to be. All that other stuff is fake. Our world has so duped us, and we all are facing this. I face it, you face it, because it dupes us. And so we wind up buying things we don't need with money that we don't have to impress people we don't know.

We just—we get duped, you know? And our world is duping us, and Jesus says, no, I ain't gonna dupe you. No, I want you to become truly rich, which means you're spiritually rich. I want you to become truly clothed, which means you're spiritually attired. I want you to become truly sightful, so I'm gonna remove the blindness so you see things as they really are, but I am the only one who can do that, because I'm not gonna lie to you.

I'm not gonna trick you, nor am I gonna be impressed by you. You need to, I need to, we need to be close to folk who are gonna give us Jesus's perspective, even if they don't have your money, your car, your house, and your clothes. That's why James 2 decries the man who's got stuff. He's got stuff. He's got money. He's got wealth. He's got recognition.

He's got notoriety. He's got power, and then somebody poor comes and sits next to him. This person doesn't have all the finest clothes. This person doesn't have much money.

This person doesn't have much to give, but they know God. But the rich person doesn't want to sit next to the poor person, because they got the world standard, and they're using the world standard, so he's not in my class. Well, you're not in Jesus's class, but He accepts you. I'm not in Jesus's class.

He accepts me. He says, how dare you, James says, tell the poor man when you go into the back, because we saving the rich folk the seats up front. He says, don't you know you are evil people with evil motives? You can't have classism in the Church of Jesus Christ, because some people have and other people don't. There's no room for that if the spiritual is first. That's why we don't pat people on the back who give a lot of money, because you're no better than the widow who gives off of a fixed income of Social Security, who loves the Lord, and who honors the Lord.

You're no better. And where there's classism and racism that operates in the Church of Jesus Christ, He says to the church, y'all make me wanna vomit. Can't stand dealing with y'all, because you're bringing that world's junk into the family of God, thinking you're better than somebody else, because you have more than somebody else.

When that somebody who doesn't have what you have may be the person I want to speak into your life. Praise God that you got a BA and an MA and an MBA and a PhD. Praise God for that, but you're no better than the high school graduate who is in love with God, who serves God, and who honors God with that which God has entrusted them. You may be the president of the bank, but you're no better than the garbage collector who loves God and serves God and honors God and who can speak God's way into your life. In fact, James 2 says, I have chosen the poor of this world to be the speakers into the life of those who have. Therefore, no matter what God does, you and I are never to be an elitist church that only responds to big name people with big name money and big name houses and big name cars, because at the cross, at the cross, at the cross, we're all in need of the same grace.

So Jesus says, I got some advice for folk who put the physical in front of the spiritual. Buy from me. You got to get on my page. You got to start with me, not with what they're saying out there, not what the television is saying, not what the media is saying, not what the pundits are saying. You start with me.

Verse 19, those whom I love—if you're a child of God, He loves you—those who I love, I reprove and discipline. I'm gonna create some situations in your life. It's called discipline. I'm going to bring some corrective measures into your world. I'm gonna put you in the situations money can't buy you out of. I'm gonna put you in situations you can't dress up for.

I'm gonna put you in situations to deal with your blindness. I'm gonna bring some discipline into your life to let you know that all that stuff that the world applauds and makes you feel wrong about yourself with can't solve your problem until I can get your undivided attention. Now I'm not trying to be mean, because I love you, but I am trying to correct some things that need to be corrected so I don't have to spew you out of my mouth. You know who I love?

I'm gonna have to deal with you, but it's because I love you, because I don't want to be divided from you. When you and I can't see the spiritual, because we've let the physical block it, the world's ideology block it, then you will not be able to see what God wants to do. Do you remember Joshua and Caleb when they were going into the Promised Land, the Ten Spies said, we can't go there, because look at the physical. The physical says there are giants in the land. Joshua and Caleb said, y'all not seeing.

Y'all are blind. You're not seeing, because if you were seeing what God is seeing, then you can see we can go in there and take that. But they were so entranced with the physical that they missed the spiritual and wind up wondering for 40 years in the wilderness.

You don't want to spend the rest of your life wondering, looking good, wondering around in circles with money in your pocket, wondering, not getting anywhere, but you got a nice house. The spiritual, being able to see things from God's perspective first. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. When the spiritual is put ahead of the physical, then the physical is in its rightful place. That's why all through the Bible God says, first, worship me first, give to me first, honor me first, put my kingdom first, glorify Jesus first. It's first and first. The spiritual must be put in front of the physical. So what do we do?

Okay, watch this now. Verse 20. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. He's at the door of Laodicea Bible Fellowship. He's knocking.

What does that mean? They're having church and he's not even there. They're singing and praising and waving their hand in the air like you just don't care. They're jumping over pews, they're shouting, hallelujah, ain't God good? He's so high you can't get over, He's so low you can't get under, He's so wide you can't get around Him, ain't God good? Yeah, all the time God is good.

They're having a good time. Jesus is outside, not, can I come in? Just because you have in church don't mean Jesus is in the sanctuary. And what keeps Him out of the sanctuary is lukewarmness.

Christians who are not all in, who just want a little religion to make them feel like they've done something, but do not want Jesus Christ to rule in their lives, govern their direction, their decisions, who do not prioritize the spiritual. And Jesus is saying, can I come to church, team? So how do you know for sure if what you're hearing is really Jesus knocking on the door of your heart? Well Dr. Evans will have a final thought about that when he comes back in just a moment to wrap up this message called, A Challenge Toward Authenticity. If you'd like to hear the full-length version, it comes as a part of our current series, The Best of Tony Evans 2020. As I mentioned earlier, all 20 messages in this collection are our gift to you when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station. And for a limited time, we're also including a copy of his devotional book, Called for a Purpose. Just drop by where you can get all the details and make your donation online. Again, that's

Or you can call our 24-hour Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our team members help you with your request. Dr. Evans is back now with a question for us to consider. So the question is, how do you know if you heard? Here's how you know you're hearing the knocking on the door. God is convicting you of your blindness. You feel convicted that, yes, that's me standing in the need of prayer. That you feel this tug of God on your heart. You know you're playing games with me. You know you're just going through the religious motions.

You know that there's not a full commitment to me. And He starts tugging you, and you start to feel uncomfortable. You're squirming in your seat, although you're not moving. It's just all on the inside, and you know God is talking to you. That means you're hearing a knock, and He's calling your name. He says, if anyone hears my voice, because I've disturbed your world, I've messed up your situation, I've let you have money, and I keep things breaking down that you can't pay for, I let you buy nice clothes and you lost your job, you know, I didn't create disciplinary situations, and now you never made the connection between what's going on and the stuff you have from the world. But now you see there's a possible link.

You just heard a knock. If you're ready to open the door and let God in, go to right now and click the link on the home page that simply says Jesus. There, Dr. Evans has what could be the most important message you've ever heard. It's a quick explanation of how you can find God's forgiveness for everything you've ever done wrong and be a hundred percent sure that you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ that guarantees you a place in heaven.

You can also download some free follow-up resources, so check it out today. Again, that's In modern culture, the truth has been replaced by my truth or your truth, but next time Dr. Evans explains why the path to unity begins when we recognize the authority of God's truth. I hope you'll join us. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-18 01:16:27 / 2024-01-18 01:26:33 / 10

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