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A Challenge Toward Authenticity, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
December 3, 2021 7:00 am

A Challenge Toward Authenticity, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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December 3, 2021 7:00 am

Kids like to play dress-up because it’s fun pretending to be something you’re not. But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will explain why it’s not so much fun when grown-ups try playing that game with God and how we can become an authentic Christian.

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We need to be close to folk who want to give us Jesus' perspective, even if they don't have your money, your car, your house, and your clothes. Dr. Tony Evans says no matter who we are, where we've been, or what we've done, there's no escaping our common dependency. We're all in need of the same grace. 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. A lot of us go to great lengths to give the impression that everything is okay and we've got it all together. But Dr. Evans says time spent trying to fake it to make it is meaningless when there's no connection with God and eternity.

Let's join him in the book of Revelation as he challenges us to be authentic in our faith. 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, where they made fancy clothes. 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 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, the Amen, the faithful and the true witness, the beginning of the creation of God, says this.

So before He gets into what He wants to say, He wants you to know who's doing the talking. He says to the church at Laodicea and our church today, I am the Amen. Amen means so be it.

It is so. Amen means the final word on the subject. 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. 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 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. You've become so successful in your financial district, your fashion district, your pharmaceutical district, that you don't really need me. You just placating me. You don't need me. You just using me. You don't need me.

You just acting and giving the impression that you are close to me, and y'all make me sick. 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. 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—so he's going to give you some advice, me some advice—I advise you to buy from me gold, because it's a financial district, 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'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. See, our world has so duped us, and we all are facing this. I face it, you face it, because it dupes us. 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, cuz I'm not gonna lie to you.

I'm not gonna trick you, nor am I gonna be impressed by you. Any of y'all— anybody here had a root canal? Anybody had a root canal in here? Oh, good Lord.

All of that. There's bad teeth everywhere. So my tooth is starting to hurt, and I'm brushing it harder and flossing it and all that. I'm telling people my tooth hurt. They're giving me what they think I should do. Finally, I woke up and went to the dentist, cuz could it be that the dentist had a little bit more inside information to my situation than me or the folk advising me who thought they knew what to tell me what to do?

Well, the dentist did all these x-rays and started looking at all up in my mouth, started drilling in there, and had to give me a root canal, cuz see, the dentist wasn't dealing with what I thought, how I felt, what people said. He was looking at something deeper, which required something deeper. See, we live our lives on how we feel, and what I think, and what people told me, and she told me this, and he told me that, they told me this, and Jesus says, yeah, but I'm the great physician, and I'm seeing stuff deeper, and you need to let me give a spiritual assessment of where you are. But see, that's what the saints in Laodicea didn't want. That's why they didn't know. They didn't want the spiritual perspective.

They wanted people to make them feel good about where they are based on the world's perspective. And that's not what the church is supposed to be, not the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ lives on the truth, and it lives on the reality of the Son of God, and it lives on the proclamation of the spiritual. And unless the spiritual is put out front of the physical, and not the physical put out front of the spiritual, you and I will live in deception individually, and we will live in deception as a church, and we will carry on services while Jesus wants to vomit. Unless the spiritual is out front, and that becomes the standard and the gauge for every area of life, then Jesus says, I can't do anything with you, because you're living based on a facade, based on a lie. A goldsmith was purifying gold one day, and somebody asked him, how do you know when the gold has been purified? Goldsmith says, when I can see my reflection in it.

And until Jesus sees Himself in us, we're still dealing with all kind of alloys, mixtures that is contaminating what God really wants us to be. Dr. Evans will give us a simple suggestion that can help move us toward greater authenticity when he returns with more of our message in just a moment. 2022 is just around the corner, and your support is vital to meeting our year-end challenge amount, and finishing the year strong to keep messages of hope and life coming to you and others.

So many right now need the hope and truth found in God's Word, and it's generous friends like you who make that possible. Your gift today will help keep the urban alternative going strong on air and online. Visit tonyevans.org to give today. That's tonyevans.org. The message you're hearing today is part of a brand-new audio compilation called The Best of Tony Evans 2021. It contains 20 of Tony's most requested lessons of the past year, covering the importance of prophecy, our need for spiritual armor, how to find freedom from anxiety, and much more. And right now we're also making available a special selection of bonus books and devotionals that can be bundled along with these powerful audio messages. The complete Best of Tony Evans 2021 collection on CD or digital download, plus the custom bonus resource, are our gift to you when you help support Tony's ministry with a year-end contribution. Get all the details and make the arrangements today when you visit tonyevans.org or call our Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222.

Team members are standing by to help you day or night. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. Well right now, Dr. Evans is back with more of today's message. Let's join him.

You need to, I need to, we need to be close to folk who want to 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, cuz 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, tell the poor man, well you go into the back, cuz 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, cuz 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, cuz 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, cuz you're bringing that world's junk into the family of God, thinking you're better than somebody else, cuz you have more than somebody else.

When that's somebody who doesn't have what you have, maybe the person I want to speak into your life. Praise God that you got a BA and an MA and a 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 at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, 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 cards.

Cuz 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, because I want to be the standard by which you operate. Therefore, I advise you to deal 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. Therefore, be zealous and repent.

Mmm. Okay, stay with me here. You got your seatbelt on?

Tie your seatbelt. Those who I love, I reprove and discipline, because I love you. But you don't really know you, cuz you think you all that in a bag of chips, so you blind to you. But I'm not blind to you, but I love you, and I want to get you right. 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, cuz 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. I gotta give you the right view of you, like the—you remember that old Lexus commercial with two dummies in the car? There's two dummies. Two dummies in the car, but they're in suits. I got two dressed up dummies in a nice car, but what they do is crash the car. So I got two dummies, living large, dressed nice, on their way to disaster.

And that's what the world does. It'll make you look good until it crashes you. And what God is saying, He's not complaining against the car. He's not complaining against the nice clothes.

He's complaining against you being a dummy. To make that more than it is. May I make a suggestion for me, you, us, all of us? Sometime, sometime in the next few months, go visit a junkyard, because that's where stuff winds up. This world and its physical benefits, the many physical benefits, is all temporary. It's real, but it's temporary. Don't act like it's forever, because it's not. Wealth goes away.

Clothes get torn and worn. He says, don't put the physical first. Use it. The Bible says, use what God gives you, but don't abuse it. Don't put it—don't act like it's all that, because you'll lose me, because I will have to spew you out. I can't use you.

I can't connect with you, because you're not in concert with me. 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. It ain't about an extension on the building. It's not about programs. It's not about any of that. It is about me and you and us experiencing intimacy with Jesus Christ at a deeper level, and all that other stuff is extra.

Nothing wrong with it, but it's extra. It ain't the definition of who we are. Praise God for it, but that's not who we are. Thank God for it, but that's not what we're here for. We're here to know Him, love Him, and serve Him. Everything else is a facilitating process for that, but even if we don't get it, even if something downturns and we lose it, it doesn't change who we are because it was never about it. It was about dining with the Savior, and then it goes on and He closes.

He says, to Him who overcomes, as I were, to Him who overcomes, I will grant Him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne. A bird one day was walking on a branch, and then the branch split, so the bird had to make a decision. Am I going this way or am I going that way? Because if I don't go anywhere, I'm going nowhere. The lukewarm Christian is the one who won't make a decision. He says, be hot or cold, but don't be stuck. Don't just be churchified. Don't just be religious. Don't just act the part. Don't just play Christianity. Just make a decision. Be all-in.

Be hot, be cold. That doesn't mean we're perfect, but it means we repent when God reveals our imperfection so that we can get back on the road. And when you do and Jesus shows up, He enables us to become overcomers of the things we have to overcome. Dr. Tony Evans, wrapping up his message called A Challenge Toward Authenticity. You can request your own CD or digital copy as a standalone lesson or as a part of his new compilation, The Best of Tony Evans 2021. As I mentioned earlier, this giant collection is available for a limited time as our gift when you help support Tony's ministry with a generous year-end contribution. In addition to the 20 audio messages, if you contact us right away, we'll also include a special bonus. Choose from the powerful Kingdom Men Rising devotional, the Made by God book for children, or Tony's newest release, Kingdom Race Theology. Just visit tonyevans.org today to get the details and make the arrangements, or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are ready to help you day or night. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. It's common practice for movies and TV series to show previews of coming attractions, and God has done the same for us in the Bible, giving us a taste of what's coming in the time between now and eternity. On Monday, Dr. Evans will talk about humankind's longing for a perfect world and what's kept us from living there so far. Be sure to join us. 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 / 2023-07-15 05:53:44 / 2023-07-15 06:02:27 / 9

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