Authenticity is something our world is lacking these days. As Christians, we should be known for living authentic lives. Today we are talking about living authentically.
Links and Downloads
Watch the video of this teaching at https://www.celllifechurch.tv/living-authentically/
View the entire Living Out The Gospel Discussion Series
We first produced this teaching in 2014 for a 7 part Bible Study titled Living Out The Gospel. You can still participate in that Bible Study on our main website at https://www.celllifechurch.org/resources/discussion-series/living-out-the-gospel/. The whole study series is about living a practical Christian life today.
The Apostle Paul gave a young pastor, Timothy, some instructions. These are commonly shared with new pastors, but these are instructions that apply to us all. Let’s read 2 Timothy 4:1-7.
2 Timothy 4:1-7
(1) In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: (2) Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (3) For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (4) They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (5) But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (6) For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. (7) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Paul is teaching Timothy, and the rest of us, that our life is to be run like a race. We must finish and we must finish strong. We must not give up. The whole 7 part teaching series on our website is many aspects of the Christian life like living with boldness, living beyond doubt, living with compassion, and more.
The first thing we need to understand is we must live authentically. As Paul shared with Timothy, our world is turning away from sound teaching and turning toward what they want to hear. People are getting more and more self-absorbed and selfish and perpetuating lies to make their own thoughts and desires come true. We must be different! We must live authentically.
We are going to read a passage of scripture in pieces and break it down. Let’s start by reading Acts 8:9-13.
Authenticity is Rooted in Christ
(9) Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, (10) and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” (11) They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. (12) But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (13) Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
The first thing we need to understand about living authentically is all truth starts with Jesus. Philip was in the city preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. Many people were listening, being saved, and being baptized. Philip’s preaching was so persuasive that even the great sorcerer Simon came and believed and was baptized.
The power of the gospel of Jesus Christ can reach anyone of any class, power, or level of finance. The truth of Jesus is for everyone. Once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior we are no longer defined by our past, good or bad. We are no longer defined in any way the world defines us. We are Christian.
Here’s the catch, though. When we turn our lives over to Jesus, we give up ourselves and take on His plans and purposes for our lives. We no longer take the glory for what is accomplished through us, it is the power of God through the Holy Spirit, in Christ Jesus. We no longer cling to the labels the world has placed on us, good or bad. We take on the name, Christian. We find authenticity in Christ.
Beware of the old self
Let’s continue reading Acts 8:14-19:
(14) When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. (15) When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, (16) because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (17) Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (18) When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money (19) and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
The devil is so sneaky sometimes. He is always reminding us of who we were. He is always trying to return us to our old worldly selves. In this case, when Peter and John came, the believers were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Great things happen when people are baptized in the Holy Spirit. People are healed, relationships are mended, there are prophecies and words of knowledge, people speak in other tongues and others interpret, and more. Miracles happen.
Old Simon the Sorcerer got greedy and jealous and wanted this power. His old self started to come back. He wanted the notoriety Peter and John had. He tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit.
As we do our best to live an authentic Christian life, we must be careful to not allow the old self to creep back in. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan is always watching and waiting for an opportunity to draw us back to our old self and our old ways.
Authenticity lives in the humble heart
Peter then responds to Simon’s offer to buy this power. Let’s read Acts 8:20-24.
(20) Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! (21) You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. (22) Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. (23) For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” (24) Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
Simon’s heart was not humble. It may have been shortly after saying yes to Jesus and accepting Him as Lord and Savior, but now he was getting prideful. He wanted the notoriety and power like he used to have. His heart was not right before God. He became captive to his sin.
The great thing here is when Peter pointed this out to him, Simon repented and was humbled. He wanted to be an authentic Christian and follow Jesus. He needed a reminder.
As we run the race of life, we must run it honorably, following Jesus the whole time. We must also be willing to help others who start to stumble and accept help when we start to stumble. None of us are perfect. Satan is constantly roaming about trying to trip up Christians and convince us of giving up the gift God has given us in Christ Jesus.
In order to live an authentic Christian life, we must humble ourselves and let go of our own selfish motives and desires and take on the plans and purposes of God in Christ Jesus.
Always remember living an authentic Christian life means three things: