Today I want to talk to you about Authenticity in the church. For those of you who prefer old fashioned reading over videos, the text to the video is below:
Authenticity In The Church
This is a cry for authenticity in the church. It is a cry for honesty and authenticity to become more important than rituals and religious programs. It is a call for the church to rediscover the importance and sanctity of being genuine.
The church has to be willing to show her brokenness but also the grace that accompanies it. She must relearn to cry with the broken, break for the poor, feed the hungry and most of all remember how to listen.
The church always has something to say but rarely listens to those she speaks too. The heart of Christ lives in these silent voices. He will be found in their dirt, sin and destruction. He will be found in their bad choices and their broken hearts. The church must listen to the words of their brokenness and then respond with the character of Christ.
Until we relearn to listen we will always be known for what we are against instead of the depth of our love. We do not have to abandon our beliefs in morality but these beliefs should not be confused as making us more moral. We are all sinners and it would do good for the church to remember that includes her.
No one is exempt.
No one is righteous.
Feeling the presence of God is not our main priority as the church. Our mission is to be the hands and feet of Christ and take His gospel of love, grace, and forgiveness to those who do not know about it. To cut a path and show up right on the front doorstep of our neighbors with nothing more than grace, love, and forgiveness. Our goal is to love them and show them what Christ looks like.
Much of the world hates the church because she has done such a terrible job at showing the world the image of Christ. She is not known for her love she is known for her division, conflict, hate and unforgiveness. In many ways she has become anti-church and anti-Christ in these actions.
Bear with me I know that last sentence just threw a lot of you for a loop. The term “anti-Christ” and “church” are rarely ever used in the same sentence. But, it’s my opinion that “anti-Christ” is not just some end-of-times evil guy with bad breath. I believe it is an action. The opposition and flip-side of the characteristics of Christ. Christ is love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. When the church acts outside of these characteristics she is only left to act out of her broken human nature and that broken nature has many “anti-Christ-like” characteristics.
The human nature, sin-nature, is full of corruption, greed, hate, envy and all sorts of bad things. It’s the character and mercy of Christ that takes up residence in our brokenness and redeems it to show His goodness.
The church, In all her doing and in all her programs, buildings, budgets and performances finds herself building a wall of mirrors around herself and calling it beautiful; while all it has done is fool her into believing her broken rituals reveal Christ. All-the-while the rest of the world looks in from the outside and only sees a bunch of people who see into a glass dimly and look nothing like this Christ they so believe is in their wall of mirrors.
Yet the world eagerly wants to see Christ.
They long to be loved even though they have failed and will continue to do so.
They long to have family because theirs was ripped away.
They long for safety because theirs was taken as a child.
They long to have someone see them for how they can not even see themselves. They yearn to be understood but can not understand themselves. They long for peace where there is none and they want hope though that word only seems like a fairy tale.
They want to see Christ because He is all these things. What we have been showing them is not Christ. It’s religion and it stinks like a soured gym sock left under the bed for a month.
It wreaks of dishonesty and that is not Christ.
Nothing is more important than Christ and the church must remember the characteristics of who He is and must rekindle her relationship with Him on such a personal level that His character can’t help but become their own.
It will then be that the church becomes relevant again. Because love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, healing, peace, hope and perseverance are always relevant. They lead those who receive them toward an image of who Christ really is.
So if we want to show people Christ, then we do so by acting in the characteristics of Christ and less in the characteristics of unauthentic religion.