Saturday, April 25, 2009

C.H.A.R.A.C.T.E.R. (Part 4 of 8) – Authenticity - Part 1

The Word:

Read: John 3:1-7 and Romans 10:8-11
Additional Reading: John 3:16-21, Acts 16:22-34, 1 Peter 1:2-5

“Authenticity” (Part 1) By Randolph Koch

In the age of increasing untruth and lure of worldly rewards, it is more important than ever that we live in Christ’s likeness as an authentic Christian.

Being a Christian is being a follower of Christ not merely in name but also in word and deed. This includes living our lives according to His will and by His standards as revealed in God’s Holy Word and not by our own or the world’s standards.

We are to follow Him and take up our cross daily to follow Him and our words and actions are to be a reflection of Christ because we are His name bearers.

I recall an analogy that was shared with me years ago that has many applications to our faith.

The one who shared the analogy asked, “What do you think the US treasury uses to study and train their agents in order to know the difference between fake and genuine US currency?”

Now there were a variety responses, such as, “the counterfeit money”, etc. However, the answer was given that, “They study the real currency because by studying the real currency, they will recognize the counterfeit for what it is right away!” Likewise those who know, study, and follow God’s truth with recognize untruth for what it is right away!

I’m sure you see the truth and parallel to our faith as the analogy lends itself to knowing the true Bible vs. the false ones that exist, a true church from the fake ones, as well as the difference between a true believer and a false one just to name a few.

Now, to be clear, God is the Judge of all including their salvation and ultimately it’s not our place because God is the only one who truly knows a person’s heart. However, God has given us the truth of His Word and His Holy Spirit so we’ll be able to distinguish between a true and false believer which is evident by the fruit they do or don’t bear. I’m not talking about some sort of performance or works based salvation that some might teach because the Scripture is clear regarding the fact that we cannot earn what God already did through the complete work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Rather, I’m speaking directly to how a true and authentic believer should live and be His representative in their day-to-day conduct. This is clear in the Word.

The starting point for an authentic Christian is salvation. You might say, “well duh, I know that!” However, in a world that is confused it needs to be clearly stated because some believe that they are saved and going to heave, they are Christian because they were born in a specific country such as the USA. Some also believe that they are believers because they occasionally go to church or they try to live a good and moral life.

While going to church and doing good things isn’t bad, these things are not what saves a person because we can do nothing to earn salvation and they don’t make you a Christian. No, you have to make a personal decision to follow Christ, first by believing He is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for your sins, that you are a sinner in need of salvation, that you need to repent or in-other-words – verbally and physically turn away from your sin and receive Him as savior and Lord.

Another way to put it is that you need to be born again.

Being born again is the grace of God at work as we begin a new life in Christ and enter His family as His child with a completely fresh start - a clean-slate to live and walk in forgiveness. Nicodemus, a Pharisee struggled in understanding when Jesus told him that he must be born-again. But it’s clear that Jesus communicated that being born again is what takes place when you take the step to receive salvation.

This is where true authenticity begins because if you aren’t saved then you can’t truly be a follower of Christ and cannot be capable of following Him if you are not a part of Him.

Questions to Get Started With:

-What does it mean to be saved or born again?
- How does one become saved / born-again? What does the Bible say about this?
-Am I Saved?
- Am I living an authentic life for Christ? Or, do I need to make some changes and get real with living what I say I believe?
-What does the Bible say about why Christ had to die?
-Do I realize that being born again is not about me?
-Who is Jesus Christ?

For Further Study:

1- Do a Bible study on Authenticity / What it means to be a Christian.
2- From your Bible study, select a few verses about Authenticity and memorize them. (Then review them on at least a monthly basis as a great personal tool and reminder of the importance of Authenticity)
3- Pray and ask God to help you be Authentic and also help you build at least one relationship (If you’re a man, with another man or if you’re a woman, with another woman) to the point where you can be accountable to each other so you can speak into each others lives because you’ve come to trust each other. Accountability is a real key to authenticity.

Dear Family in Christ,

As I started to study further in preparation to pick up and continue on in the CHARACTER series and specifically looking at Authenticity, it quickly became clear that there are many aspect of what it means to be an authentic Christian. You could probably spend months discussing or “preaching” on this topic but in the form of devotion I’m going to purpose to do a multi part series within the Character series on the topic of authenticity by looking at several elements that are many of the marks of an authentic believer.

There is so much one could write or say about being an authentic Christian that a devotion cannot contain a comprehensive look into this important characteristic. Furthermore, there are so many elements of authenticity that I must state that I will only hit on a few of them in the series.

So, in the weeks and months to come we’ll continue our Devotional Starters look into CHARACTER and we’ll camp on Authenticity for at least a few more Devotional Starters.

May you personally be spurred on to study and live out the life God has given you in Christ’s likeness as an authentic believer.

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May God Bless You as You Seek Him!

With Love In Christ,

His Servant and Yours,


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