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Authentic Christianity

Go & Tell  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  50:40
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Intro:
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 5144 30 Saints Taken off Church List

30 Saints Taken Off Church List

Vatican City (AP)—Nearly 30 saints were dropped in a drastic revision of the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.

Among those dropped were St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers and the figure in millions of St. Christopher medals; Saint Barbara, after whom countless girls have been named. Saint Susanna, for whom the American Roman Catholic Church in Rome is named.

The new calendar was issued under a special decree titled “Paschalia Mysterii” (“Of the Paschal Mystery”) issued by Pope Paul VI.

The calendar states the deleted saints were removed from the listing because it is doubtful that they ever existed.

5145 Christmas Loses St. Nick

St. Nicholas, otherwise known as Santa Claus, has been abolished by Roman Catholic officials with one majestic sweep of forty-one saints that “may never have existed,” according to an announcement from Vatican City.

The announcement said that some of the abolished saints had attained their standing more through legend than truth and the decree was to set the record straight

Transition:
Thank the Lord that TRUE Saints endure and are never dropped from God's list--the Book of Life!
I felt lead to talk to you this morning about genuine Christian living and the impact of authentic evangelism.
Our passage this morning is from Matthew 5:3-16 a very familiar passage indeed, but a very important passage as well
Matthew 5:3–16a LEB

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,

because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the ones who mourn,

because they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

because they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are the ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

because they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,

because they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

because they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

because they will be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you

when they insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you, lying on account of me. Rejoice and be glad, because your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, by what will it be made salty? It is good for nothing any longer except to be thrown outside and trampled under foot by people. You are the light of the world. A city located on top of a hill cannot be hidden, nor do they light a lamp and place it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it shines on all those in the house. In the same way let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

3“Blessed are the poor (πτωχός humble) in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed (μακάριος happy due to circumstance) are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek (πραΰς gentle), for they shall inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure (καθαρός clean) in heart, for they shall see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste/saltiness (μωραίνω - to make foolish), how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Jesus' teachings here are antithetical to how the world sees the blessed and this teaching mocks self-sufficiency which our culture so idolizes.
This following quote from Dr. McLachlan sums up the application of our passage well "The Beatitudes describe who we are as Christians; and the Salt & Light metaphor is what we should do on account of who we are. If we really are what we are supposed to be, then we should be able to do what we are called to do"--Be Salt and Light.
Most of the following comes from the help of Dr. Douglas McLachlan

I. Authentic Living

Can Christians with the beatitude qualities really make a difference in the world? the Poor, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful, those who are persecuted--when was the last time you heard the media accredit these type of Christians? Can we (us, here in this sanctuary) really make a lasting difference in our society, which idolizes immorality and greed and rampantly kills babies, with these seemingly powerless attributes?
But Before you're quick to answer that, first consider that Jesus never shared in this pessimism, He never doubted the intense power of the church with the Gospel, He changed outcast Jews hated by their government to victors for our Lord. He typically uses the poor, the meek, the merciful to entrust effective service so that He is the One to receive the Glory (v.16).
Lets look at the society in which Jesus spoke these truths.

a. Living Conditions

Rome was the superpower of that known world, yet:
Morally, they were

Hedonistic

-they did whatever pleasure felt good--overate, immorality was rampant-- even in public, etc.
Spiritually, they were

Polytheistic

-many gods with many roads to some spiritual paradise
Philosophically, they were

Agnostic & Skeptical

-who can really know anything about the afterlife anyway?
In addition, they were obsessed with ungodly, horrific entertainment. Does this first century society not sound any familiar to us? Well, apparently 2,000yrs hasn’t changed human depravity much.
You might recall last week when Pastor told us it was during Domitian’s reign that the Apostle John, in exile at Patmos, received the vision recorded in Revelation. And how wicked these Caesars of Rome really were (i.e. Nero)-- I think if Christianity thrived during the times of these Caesars then Hillary and Trump should not be a real threat to us!
This proves that the Gospel is more powerful than politics and government!
Transition:
So What did these disciples do in that cultural darkness and decadence? Did they throw their hands up in despair and say, "Well… there is nothing we can do in a society like this, no point in witnessing to these people!"--much like we tend to do? NO!

b. Living style

First, they had to

Survive

-which wasn’t an easy task, as you know most the disciples were executed. They didn’t just survive-- they had to

Grow

-by always sharing Christ with both individuals as well as groups. And they grew by planting churches wherever they went, but thriving wasn't the end! Then they went on to

Conquer

-they conquered the great Roman Empire with all its gods and caesars in the timespan of around 2 centuries by changing-converting this secular/pagan empire into the Christian Empire--known then as the Great Holy Roman Empire, and Finally they had to

Endure

-they indeed endure today since the Roman Caesars are all dead & gone, but Christ followers are still here, present with us today.
Transition:
Can Jesus do this again in the 21st Century America? Yes, but we must be salt and light.
Christian Living is part of the light, next let's look at how to be salt: -- salt is our work
and that is the second point

II. Authentic Work

What does salt have to do with Christian ministry?
Salt in the Bible times to early 20th century was not just for flavor (contrary to popular belief.. And contrary to the yumminess)! With no refrigeration technologies, salt was a primary tool for preserving meats. Meat becomes rancid when bacteria grows and the salt is to slow down the bacteria growth significantly.

a. Work Ethic

Our salt is losing its saltiness
Sodium chloride is a very stable compound and will never be anything else but salt. Yet salt easily becomes contaminated and dissolves when watered down. Is this not the condition of the American church--watered down? "...but if salt has lost its saltiness--became foolish! how shall its saltiness be restored? The church in America has been made foolish, --please understand I am not being sacrilegious here-- but how shall its foolishness be turned to Glory?
"If we really are what we are supposed to be, then we should be able to do what we are called to do"
How do we ensure our saltiness?
Be different, be the Beatitudes and live out the commands that are for the believers in scripture

b. Work Qualifications

The following is four Truths that the church must glean from our passage in Matthew 5:

Holy separation

The Church must be different -- its seen in the beatitudes-- The beatitudes are characteristics that are fundamentally different than our cultural characteristic;s salt and light are fundamentally different from the substance which they permeate. The World is decaying and we are the salt, the World is dark and dismal and we are the light. The world is dead and we are alive! Jesus is fundamentally different than ANY other human being and we are called to be like the Christ. Yahweh changed me and He transforms others. The problem comes when we try to look like the world to attract the world, because then we risk the world looking at us and asking, "Is Christianity any different from all the other religions out there or is it junk, like all the rest?" What a sad price we could risk by hiding our holy difference. Be different!

Healthy presence

The Church must permeate society -- we have to be morally and spiritually separated, but not socially and physically segregated. We have to be insulated from the world's philosophies and practices, but not isolated from the people--this is how Jesus was in the world. We must be friends to the sinners of this world. Jesus was separate from sinners Heb. 7:26; yet He was friend to sinners Matt 11:19-- so was He separate from the world or a friend to it? BOTH! The Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us--sinners!
Hebrews 7:26 LEB

For a high priest such as this indeed is fitting for us, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and having become exalted above the heavens,

Matthew 11:19 LEB

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a man who is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

Problems come when we remove ourselves from the world and forget the rest who are headed to hell. The Creator of this universe was with us for thirty-three years in flesh and blood. We are called to be pure, but we are also called to be present. Permeate society!

Humble Confidence

The Church will impact society-- Jesus touched and changed lives, so must we. We have a holy influence. Salt is a powerful preservative retarding harmful bacteria and Light dispels bleak darkness, just ask any mother who has broken up a sibling pillow fight. Brother and sister, ruthlessly beating each other with pillows out for blood and hidden by darkness, but then come the light, switched on by the fuming mother immediately shedding light onto the evil, turning chaos into restored order. But seriously, Christians can shed light where evil pops up to restrain and chase off ungodliness. Impact society!

Hearty Awareness

The Church must retain its Christian distinctiveness-- The church must be diligent and vigilant to watch out and not to EVER waver from truth. What happens if we are not watchful? Look at v.13 "..but if salt has lost its saltiness ...It is good for NOTHING"--we become ineffective and watered down. Salt cannot cease to be salt, but it can become tainted, light can become dim and has in America. We need to watch for the world's philosophies not to creep into the church and the world's practices to compromise the practices of a Gospel Life. As we permeate society we have to watch that our society does not permeate us.
Illustration
During my research for this sermon, I came across Willmington’s Book of Bible Lists which in it showed 127 commands directly from the NT that were specific to believers. Now, I don't expect you to go around rehearsing all the 127 commands each day saying, "this is what I must check off to be a Christian," as if it were by works, rather it is through the sanctification process, the Holy Spirit will be prompting you to be living these commands; and right now I am beseeching you to respond to the Holy Spirit's prompting with obedience to these commands as you are convicted to produce good works.
Lets look at a small list in Romans 12 that comes after Paul urges the believer to be a living sacrifice to God
Romans 12 is a rich chapter chalk full of practical applications that need no extra commentary than to expose it simply and purely, yet most of us live as if these commands are neither simple nor pure.
Romans 12:9–21 (ESV)
Romans 12:9–21 LEB

Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; be attached to what is good, being devoted to one another in brotherly love, esteeming one another more highly in honor, not lagging in diligence, being enthusiastic in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, enduring in affliction, being devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, pursuing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Think the same thing toward one another; do not think arrogantly, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own sight. Pay back no one evil for evil. Take thought for what is good in the sight of all people. If it is possible on your part, be at peace with all people. Do not take revenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this, you will heap up coals of fire upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In other words live Spirit-filled! Are you living like this? I understand that to always live like this is living radical, but Christ has radically changed us! You are the Church and you must be radical-- not radical in the sense of rebellion to bring attention to yourselves, but as radical as the first century church was to imitate Christ and obey the radical Christ.
So as an individual Believer you must display for the world How Christians deal with other Believers
a. Love and honor your Christian brothers (12:9–10).
b. Show them your zeal and joy (12:11–12).
c. Share with them--even share your money! (12:13) .
d. Mourn and weep with your Christian brothers (12:15) .
e. Live in harmony with them (12:16) .
And also you must display for the world How Christians deal with enemies (12:14, 17–21)
a. Bless/act kindly toward enemies when they persecute you (12:14).
b. Let God repay them for the evil done to you (12:17–19).
c. Give them food when they are hungry and water when they are thirsty (12:20).
This is part of the Light. What is the other part? The Gospel Hope, let your testimony be known to all tell others how the Gospel changed you. The Gospel changes drug dealers to zealous worshippers, drunkards to sober proclaimers, prostitutes to proselytizers, the hopeless gain hope.
"If we really are what we are supposed to be, then we should be able to do what we are called to do"

III. Authentic Calling

Where is your product?

Where is the salt?
It is too easy for the Christian to reign condemnation down on our society (and I've done this reigning all the time at my job) for their blatant rejection of God. But consider first, Jesus loves the world--He gave His life for the world. And second, who's fault is it really? A society becomes rancid when the bacteria of sin and satan grow freely--where is the salt? It is not the meat's fault that the bacteria grows--that's what happens to meat left to itself-- no one blames the meat when it goes rancid, it is simply doing what it naturally does. But the Christians should soak and saturate their societies to slow the growth of sin and death. Show the world how Yahweh changed you!
And the Light?
When the sun sets, a house becomes too dark to navigate through. Should anyone blame the house for becoming too dark? No! Light is needed. Where is the lamp? We must be the light. We must shine bright the Hope of the Gospel. Shine what is in you!
What has happened?
Why has the salt of God's church lost its saltiness? Why has our light become so dim? Has the church neglected the rich resources Christians have in America? Don’t hide your light that God gave you through the Gospel power. We Christians are to blame for America's rottenness, not our secular nation. How many of us are actually being salt to our neighbors? Are you?

So What?

Will not God judge our culture for its persistent acceptance of abortion, sodomy/homosexuality, dispossession of the family and ethics--as he did in the Bible? Yes He will, but God will judge based more on the apathy of His chosen people against a country, than on the immorality of the lost in that country.
Hear me again, God will judge based more on the apathy of His chosen, than on the immorality of the lost.
GOD does hand down judgment for the lack of presence, care, and action of His church!
Where is that in scripture!?!
Study Genesis 18:23-33 - this is the account of Abraham asking the Lord to spare Sodom for the sake of the righteous. Look at verse 24 where Abraham asks:
24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?
25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”
26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Then jump down to verse 32
32 Then [Abraham ] said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” [God] answered, “For the sake of ten [righteous] I will not destroy it.”
Albeit this is under an earlier dispensation; but here, the timing of God's judgment is more dependent by the presence & persistence of the righteous, than by the sins of Sodom. For the sake of the righteous, Yahweh held back His judgment a little longer.
You, righteous ones, beg and plead to hold back God's judgment a little longer--you have this influential power and relationship with the almighty Yahweh! Then use this given time to add to His church, Grace Baptist Church.
SO then, where is the church? How much have we left in our little personal worlds (our workplace, on Facebook, our families, and peer groups) to rot and fall into darkness? Stop blaming the house for becoming dark at nightfall & stop blaming the meat for becoming rancid, be the salt and light that Jesus called you to be! Has the salt and light become infected by sin and the world? If so, then repent! Repent of our lack of care for the lost around us and remove these barriers like selfishness, hypocrisy, gluttony, idolatry and any other sins by shedding and repenting and embracing the Gospel for yourself. Repent from hiding your light, then be the Gospel light and the potent salt to penetrate and be different unto God and for our world. You have been chosen by God to be the world changers, therefore go out through Dickinson County and be used as salt and light. Talk to your neighbors, share your hope!
"If we really are what we are supposed to be, then we should be able to do what we are called to do"
Are you able to do what Jesus has called us to do?
Let us PRAY!
With your heads still bowed and your eyes still closed, who here this morning would say, "I needed this, I needed the reminder of righteous living"? May I see your hands?
And again, With your heads bowed and your eyes closed, who here this morning would say, "Josh, I don’t know what this living genuinely is like, I cannot answer this calling (at least, not yet); I haven't met the Messiah personally, but I want to, I want this authentic living to dominate my life" May I see your hands?
The Leadership here and I are ready and willing to introduce you to the Savior--and we can right after the service! Let us point you to the life that promises eternality. As Pastor Kimbrough has said before, "I am just one beggar telling another beggar where to find the living bread."
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