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A Challenge Toward Authenticity

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
August 13, 2021 8:00 am

A Challenge Toward Authenticity

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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August 13, 2021 8:00 am

Dr. Tony Evans says that 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. In this lesson, you’ll discover how to become that kind of disciple as we explore Jesus’ challenge to be authentic.

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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. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, 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 the sad 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 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. 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 the 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. 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, is unacceptable. 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, 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 Laodicea 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. He says to the Laodicea 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 because 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 want to throw up. 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 coating in the physical. And because the coating 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 glasses 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. Oh, you come in the church, you're part of Laodicea Bible Fellowship, but you're playing games. You're not committed to me. You're not dedicated to me. What you're doing is coming to showtime at the church. You come for the performance of the choir, the performance of the preacher. You come for the environment, but when it comes to your commitment, you're trying to satisfy the public.

You're trying to satisfy the success of Wall Street and and every place out there, because you got it going on in Laodicea. But I'm gonna give you the amen, the so be it, the final word, the conclusion, and what I say is the bottom line. He says you don't see. 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, 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 when we make that realization? Dr. Evans will come back with the answer in just a moment. First though, I want to let you know that the lesson you're hearing today is part of a brand new four-volume collection of messages we put together spanning 40 years of ministry. We're calling it Tony Evans Top 40, and right now we'll send you volumes one and two of this powerful set as our way of saying thanks for your investment in us, which enables us to continue investing in you. That's 20 full-length messages, including several we won't be able to present on the air this time around. And as a special bonus, we'll send it to you along with Tony's booklet on a nearly forgotten spiritual discipline, fasting.

It'll help you discover how saying no to your physical appetite from time to time can really sharpen your spiritual one and lead you to the breakthrough you've been praying for. This double resource package is only available for a limited time, so visit to make the arrangements today. 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, after part two of our message and this. Have you ever done a connect the dots puzzle?

You draw lines from one numbered dot to another, and before you know it, a picture appears you didn't even know was there. Well, Tony wants you to have that same experience with the Bible. Through the Tony Evans Training Center, he'll help you connect the dots of scripture and discover the big picture of God's kingdom agenda, all at your own pace, anywhere, anytime, on your computer or mobile device. There are courses on a wide range of topics and texts.

Each one includes exclusive in-depth content from Tony, probing discussion questions, access to full-length messages, and an online discussion forum where you can ask specific questions and get detailed answers. Visit today and connect with the Tony Evans Training Center, where you can explore the kingdom anytime, anywhere. 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 eye 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 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, well, 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 know better than the widow who gives off of a fixed income of Social Security, who loves the Lord and who honors the Lord. You know 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 one Obama. 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. 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, wandering 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 now. Can I come in? Just cuz 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, too? 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 featured resource, Tony Evans Top 40. As I mentioned earlier, all 20 messages in volumes one and two of 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 booklet on fasting as a special bonus. 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. Well, 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.

I, 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 says 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 at While spiritual temptation and opposition can't be avoided, Dr. Evans says they can be overcome. I hope you'll join us on Monday to find out how. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-15 22:02:41 / 2023-09-15 22:11:26 / 9

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