In the world of merchandise, there are many products that are designed to imitate the real thing.  There is plastic decking that looks like real wood.  Visit any home improvement store and you will find vinyl flooring that appears at first glance to be ceramic tile.  You can purchase fake fur, fake jewelry, fake hair, all designed to imitate the real thing.  Lack of authenticity is not only a problem in retail–it is also a problem in spiritual matters.  In Matthew 6-7, Jesus teaches that His disciples are known by authentic faith, genuine and sincere faith, as opposed to a thing called ‘hypocrisy.’  No less than eight times or so in these chapters, He mentions the dangers of hypocrisy and false discipleship.

Beginning on Sunday, August 23, I am looking forward to beginning a new teaching series as we dig into these words of Jesus.  We’ll examine what authentic Christianity is as it is held up in contrast to a cheap imitation that looks like Christianity on the surface, but is found lacking in substance.  The enemy would love nothing more than for people to embrace an imitation faith that does not save.  Therefore, we had better pay close attention to the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless you fail to meet the test!”

What does authentic Christianity look like?  Simply put, it looks like Jesus.