Genuine Christianity. Romans 1.8-12
The church in January, 2021 - how do you think it is doing? As 21st century Christians, do we allow God to really be God in our daily lives? Zooming out,
would you say that the church today is effective, courageous, faithful and genuine?
The first century Roman Christians had a reputation … a reputation for their faith—so much so, that Paul thanked God for it. Their faith was genuine.
genuine: truly what something is said to be; authentic
Paul wrote: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because
your faith is being reported all over the world.
God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith… Romans 1.8-12
Remarkable, authentic and different—that was the faith of the Roman Christians. Even Paul knew he would be personally encouraged by being with them. Genuine faith is like that. It attracts people; it is powerful.
What makes faith genuine? On a personal level, I mean.
It is based on the truth of the gospel
and our need of the saving work of Jesus Christ,
in order to be made right with God.
we are separated from God because he is holy and we are not.
There are not many ways to God. (despite pluralists’ teaching)
There is only one—Jesus.
He said of himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”1 Our personal, individual decision is critical.
There is more—genuine faith requires our trust in Jesus. See, many believe in God, they may even believe in who Jesus is and what he did—but genuine faith requires we put our trust in Jesus, and submit our will to him.
One of the best illustrations of what trust looks like is that of the tightrope walker, Blondin. One day he stretched a tightrope across the Niagara Falls. A large crowd gathered on the side to watch him walk across and back and cheered when he arrived safely back on the bank of the river.
The second time Blondin pushed a wheelbarrow filled with a large sack of potatoes across and back. Again, the crowd cheered. Blondin asked the crowd if they thought he could safely push a man in the wheelbarrow across and back. Many in the crowd said, “Yes!”
Then Blondin went up to one of the men who said, “Yes!” and asked him, “Sir, would you get into the wheelbarrow?” Now, if that man truly believed in Blondin he would get in and trust himself to Blondin to carry him over the Niagara Falls.
Genuine faith is exactly like that. It not only knows and agrees that Jesus alone saves, but also allows Jesus to be the leader in our lives.
That is the faith the Roman Christians had, the reason Paul said their 'faith was being reported all over the world.' How about you? Oh, I know that you believe in God . . . that is good, but James said, ‘Even the demons believe that that there is one God—and shudder…2 No - more is required of us. True faith, genuine faith changes us, emboldens and impassions us and encourages others.
“You have trusted Him in a few things, and He has not failed you. Trust Him now for everything and see if He does not do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you could ever have asked or thought, not according to your power or capacity, but according to His own mighty power, that will work in you all the good pleasure of His most blessed will.3 You find no difficulty in trusting the Lord with the management of the universe and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more complex or difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of it?”4
Let God really be God in your life . . . you see, truly trusting in God gives you an underpinning assurance that your Heavenly Father's got you; it gives you a goal to 'aim at' [last briefing: https://conta.cc/2L4nd5I] and a compelling reason to live life to the full.
Heard this song this morning at church, captured it all: All Hail, King Jesus,
by Jeremy Riddle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtdzS9ADLOs
With my love and prayers~
1 John 14.6
2 James 2.19
3 Ephesians 3.20-21
4 Hannah Whitall Smith