We all like to make a good impression, but when it comes to God and the church, honesty is the best policy. Here is a creative video about God’s grace and acceptance, and the need for authenticity in our spiritual lives.
This is one concept that should define a believer. By authentic I mean we are to be Christians that reflect the reality of the gospel. We want to be authentic Christians who are members of authentic churches pursuing authentic faith and service.
So, what does this actually look like?
Take a look at what Paul writes in First Thessalonians 1.
Presence: the first sign of Christian authenticity in a community is an awareness of God (1 Thessalonians 1:1-2)
Paul mentions that he is aware of the contributions of both the Father and Son in his relationship to the church in Thessalonica. A few verses later, in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 he references the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. We have to ask the question whether our lives reflect a similar awareness of each member of the Trinity? If not, who is missing, and why do we neglect that Person of the Trinity?
Practice: a second sign of Christian authenticity is faithful service characterized by faith, hope, and love (1 Thessalonians 1:3-4)
Paul says, “As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). It is always exciting to be a part of a community of faith that expresses these three virtues. Our prayer should always be that God allow us to work, labor, and endure with the faith, love, and hope.
Proclamation: a third sign of Christian authenticity is presenting the gospel not only in words, but also with power, the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
To many people the gospel has become mere words, which amounts to an exercise in beliefs rather than living out what we profess to believe. Does a church proclaim Christ only in words? If so, authenticity is going to be lacking.
Persistence: a fourth sign of Christian authenticity is leadership marked by incarnation, modeling, suffering, joy, and reproduction (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)
Sometimes it is easy to come to Christ. These believers came to Christ at the personal risk of life. I wonder how many authentic followers of Christ we actually have in the church today; once the persecution begins. These people not only came to Christ under difficult circumstances, but became an example to others in the region. They had a great testimony!
Perseverance: a fifth sign of Christian authenticity is faith characterized by repentance, service, hospitality and waiting on the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10)
The actions of this church spoke louder than mere words. They were demonstrating their faith and others concluded that their Christianity was authentic.
The church at Thessalonica was:
- An energetic church (1 Thessalonians 1:1-3) Paul gives thanks for their strong faith and labor of love.
- An elect church (1 Thessalonians 1:4) they were chosen by God himself.
- Salvation begins with God
- Salvation involves God’s love
- Salvation involves faith
- Salvation involves the Trinity
- Salvation changes lives
- An exemplary church (1 Thessalonians 1:5-7) Paul’s example to the church and their example to the world.
- They received the Word (1 Thessalonians 1:5, 2:8)
- They followed their spiritual leaders (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
- They suffered for Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
- They encouraged other churches (1 Thessalonians 1:7)
- An evangelistic church (1 Thessalonians 1:8) their faith was known everywhere.
- An expectant church (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10) they looked forward to the return of Christ.
- Decision made (1 Thessalonians 1:9) they turned from idols.
- Dedication made (1 Thessalonians 1:9) they turned to the living God.
- Devotion to a person (1 Thessalonians 1:10) their focus will be on the Son.
- Deliverance from a penalty (1 Thessalonians 1:10) they escape will be from the wrath of God.
I pray that those who come in contact with King’s Grant will know about, sense and rejoice in the genuineness of the authentic gospel. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35)