I preached this sermon some time ago in JKUAT, came across it this morning and as I read through, it ministered to me, I thought it would minister to someone else out there. I pray it does.
If you bribed an officer because you were overlapping and were late for a meeting, would you confess your sin to anyone, or would you just live, chini ya Maji? What if you made a girl pregnant in the village, and you come back to the CU, would you step back, or would you continue living, chini ya maji? If you had sex today and there was no evidence, would the CU, at least the officials know? What if you cheated in an exam, you know for sure that that was not your work, would you confess, or again would you continue living, chini ya Maji? Are you secretly watching Porn in your room, or masturbating alone in your cubicle, and no one, no one knows about it? Is who we see a façade, or is it real? Do you have struggles relating to people in the CU and you know for sure, your relationships just do not seem to work? But you act like everything is fine? If you were dropped in Mars today, and there was no one there to would continue being a Christian? Why are you a Christian today? Do you know for sure why? Is it because people think you are, or because God knows that you are one.
What really is authentic Christianity?
Casting Crowns have sang this song,
“Stained Glass Masquerade”
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong
So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
Is there anyone who’s been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who’s traded
In the altar for a stage
The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart
But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be
Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay
Most of us know things about ourselves that only us would guess, we know for sure that we are not okay, we are still struggling from within, thoughts, secrets from our past that haunt day in day out. We wish we were better than we are. That realization brings shame and fear of real interactions, real relationships. We are afraid that once people discover who we really are, they will reject us. We live for the purposes of finding acceptance and security. We do not want to face the real monster of the pain within us. When we continually ignore that need, we eventually learn to live with it, it becomes part of us. We do not change, we do not transform, and we can only live with it, for so long, we will eventually be found out.
Can I face it?
The biggest question every one of us asks is, can I face it? Can I truly confront the sin that is within me, come out as who I really am and be able to truly confront it?
23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! 25“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23-23-27)
In His rebuke to the Pharisees, Our Lord included a principle that must be followed by all of us in our pursuit of God and our efforts to become who God wants us to be.
The tragedy of Personalities
We must be ready to confront the inside of us; this most of the time is what we call our weaknesses. For instance one may say that because:
- I am choleric, I can rough people around me, things must be done the way that I said without asking questions, I can have my temper running without apologies, after all, I am choleric
- Because I am melancholy, I can decide that I am not talking with anyone for the next seven days, I am a perfectionists and only I can do it right, after all I am melancholy
- I am sanguine, and so when I get to the room, all others shut up and listen to me, I am the life of the party, I talk you listen, after all I am sanguine
- I am a phlegmatic, I will do it tomorrow, do not ask, I just will do it tomorrow, relating with people is a burden, I like my space, keep off, after all, I am a phlegmatic.
These personality profiles or temperaments have gone ahead and encouraged us to remain in sin in the name of weaknesses instead of taking time to confront them as sin and trust God to grow in character. We excuse sin when we are angry, because we say ” it is my weakness” I believe the psychologists who first came up with this theory, wanted to help people, but it has gone another round all together, we are using it to excuse sin.
I went to a parenting seminar somewhere and the facilitator said that Phlegmatic children should not be spanked. The Bible does not seem to agree, it says children. My own opinion is that sin is sin, and it must be confronted at that level, as sin. We become authentic Christians when we face our own struggle with sin, because we all are there, we sin, we rise again when we face it and seek reconciliation with God.
What happens when we get born again?
- We are taken from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 peter 2:9). Before we became Christians, we were in the Kingdom of Satan and there And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:2). But now we have moved into the Kingdom of Light and turned from the power of satan to God, to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.(Acts 26:18)
- The body of sin is put off and we become alive to Christ: We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:6-7). This means that as a result of our union with Christ, we died to sin. That no longer reigns in us. Dying to sin is not something that we have done, Jesus did it. It happened when we encountered Him. This means that we died to the dominion of sin.
- We cease to be slaves to sin, and become slaves to righteousness. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6: 12-14)
- We no longer live but Christ lives in us 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
- We cease living for ourselves and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (1 Corinthians 5:15) 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (1 Peter 2:4)
- He took our shame:
Authentic Christianity does not begin on the outside; it begins from the inside, from your heart. It really is a battle against flesh and the Spirit; it’s a battle against sin.
How then ought we to live? (check out for part two of this)