Warning to Disciples Part 2 Fakin It

The worst kind of “Fakin it” is when we have convinced ourselves that we are something we are not. Call it self-deception if you like.

Warnings to Disciples Part 2—Fakin It

“Fakin It” is the name of a song released in 1967 by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. I am not really sure what the song is all about but a portion of the lyrics have always stuck with me

And I know I'm fakin' it,
I'm not really makin' it.

I've just been fakin' it,
Not really makin' it.

This feeling of fakin' it
I still haven't shaken it.

Falsifying, Simulating, Forging, Pretending, Feigning: “Faking It” means not being genuine. “Faking it” is putting on a false appearance intended to deceive.

The worst kind of “Fakin it” is when we have convinced ourselves that we are something we are not. Call it self-deception if you like. Jesus warned those who would be his disciples to never fake it. In the parable that we will explore today, Jesus warns those who would be His disciples about pretense, about “Fakin It.”

Luke 13:22-30 (MSG)

[Jesus] went on teaching from town to village, village to town, but keeping on a steady course toward Jerusalem.

A bystander said, "Master, will only a few be saved?"

He said, "Whether few or many is none of your business. Put your mind on your life with God. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires your total attention. A lot of you are going to assume that you'll sit down to God's salvation banquet just because you've been hanging around the neighborhood all your lives. Well, one day you're going to be banging on the door, wanting to get in, but you'll find the door locked and the Master saying, 'Sorry, you're not on my guest list.'

"You'll protest, 'But we've known you all our lives!'  only to be interrupted with his abrupt, 'Your kind of knowing can hardly be called knowing. You don't know the first thing about me.'

"That's when you'll find yourselves out in the cold, strangers to grace. You'll watch Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets march into God's kingdom. You'll watch outsiders stream in from east, west, north, and south and sit down at the table of God's kingdom. And all the time you'll be outside looking in—and wondering what happened. This is the Great Reversal: the last in line put at the head of the line, and the so-called first ending up last.

How horrible to come to your end convinced you had all the right theology, all the right ideas, you said the Sinners Prayer, you were baptized, you can recite scripture from memory, you know all the stories from the Bible, you’ve gone to Church religiously, and then hear Jesus say to you: “Your kind of knowing can hardly be called knowing.”

I did a wakeup call for myself to make sure that I have not deceived myself thinking just because I believe something I actually know something, or in this case someone. On that day when it’s my turn to enter the party, I don’t want to be refused entrance. My wakeup call has left me with some suspicions that I want to share with you today.

If you have seen the effect of the drought on our reservoirs you noticed the mark where the water was and how far below that high water mark the reservoir has fallen. Lake Mead in Nevada provides water for an estimated 25 million people.  It has lost 63% of its capacity over the last 16 years. In this picture of the lake, the white area is where the water used to be. [https://www.google.com/search?q=Lake+Mead&rlz=1C2GCEA_enUS800US800&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjK672P2ZjgAhUQpoMKHU69DDgQ_AUIECgD&biw=1269&bih=614#imgrc=kZSLxN3V51wh2M: ]

The water level has dropped. I am not a church historian, but it seems to me that every new movement for recapturing the vitality of the New Testament faith starts out with a very high Spirit mark, like when Lake Mead was full to capacity, a beginning with passion, zeal, faith, and action.   Over time history has shown that this fervor starts to dry up, the level goes down so that when new people come into the group, they have no recollection of how low the water actually is. It just seems normal.

To the ancient congregation of located in Ephesus, the church started by the Apostle Paul, just a generation or two after the founding, we read in the book of Revelation Jesus telling those believers: “You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”(Rev 2:4-5 (NIV)

They had forgotten the heights and grown accustomed to living spiritually lower than those who had come before, not realizing how far they had fallen and were in danger of coming to a bad end. Mediocrity became the norm because they had forsaken, left behind, a Christians first love—Christ, and didn’t realize it.

I fear that among Jesus disciples today there are great many well-meaning, basically good people that in spite of the good beliefs they have forgotten Jesus. They actually do not know Him, only about Him. I was looking at some pictures from the 1960s, I instantly recognized John F Kennedy. I recalled things about his life, I knew the name of his wife, his kids. I could quote something he said: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” I know about his assignation, his legacy. But I never knew him. You see the difference between knowing about and knowing.

Let’s take this a step lower. My history teacher is not the best and when we got to that time in history a ten-page term paper on the life and times of JFK was assigned. Everyone in the class wrote basically the same thing, John Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States and was assassinated after 2 years in office. That’s it, nothing more; one sentence instead of a ten-page term paper. Here’s the surprising part, the teacher gave everyone an A and commended r us on the great work we were doing.

I fear that in the Church today we have lowered the spiritual mark of discipleship so low that we think a casual acquaintance with Christ is enough to get us into the party. I fear that what God said to the prophet Ezekiel is true of us today:

 Ezekiel 33:30-32 (MSG)
"As for you, son of man, you've become quite the talk of the town. Your people meet on street corners and in front of their houses and say, 'Let's go hear the latest news from God.' 31 They show up, as people tend to do, and sit in your company. They listen to you speak but don't do a thing you say. They flatter you with compliments, but all they care about is making money and getting ahead. 32 To them, you're merely entertainment—a country singer of sad love songs, playing the guitar. They love to hear you talk, but nothing comes of it.

In this word of the Lord, I thought I am one of His people. I have heard many sermons and now this late in life preached more sermons than I have heard. I have studied the scripture. I have been taught by scholars and godly people. I have read so many books about the things of God that I can’t remember the lessons I encountered. I know about Jesus, but what have I put into practice? Is it because the spiritual watermark is now so low that I think I can get by with doing so little. You see your only way of really knowing Jesus is by doing what He says. Not just obedience to the things we like, but doing all He instructed us to do. I like to think of myself as a pro when it comes to matters of the faith, but am I really just an amateur? Confident that I am doing A work in the classroom of life when actually the standards have dropped so low that all I need to do is recite the sinner's prayer and I have my spiritual A.

We are living in a day in which millions culturally identify themselves as Christians but biblically are not followers of Christ. There is no significant difference between how they are living their lives and their neighbor who doesn’t identify with Jesus. Too many are caught up in a nominal adherence to obedience; stuck in a spectator mentality; asleep in the light; following whims instead of the Word; drifting along with the latest fads instead of anchored in the faith.  Casual Christianity is fakin it. When I am more concerned about making money, getting ahead, and fitting in than I am for doing what Jesus said to do, I’m fakin it.

 Jesus warned, "not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 7:21) Belief and lip service doesn’t cut it, there must be a life change observable in you living a life of love motivated obedience. This will set you apart from those who have yet call upon Christ to escape the wrath which is to come.

The result of my own wake call, my own self-examination was unsettling. I went to an old standard, one written at a time when the reservoir was full, one in which the spiritual mark was high. [J.W. The Good Steward Sermon 51 Sec 3.3-6] By honestly answering a lengthy list of questions the Holy Spirit shone a light on areas in my life that are substandard, that doesn’t make the grade.

Instead of feeling guilty, I thanked God that it is by grace I am saved and then asked for empowerment to overcome these shortcomings that I might take another step in living out authentic Christianity, coming to know Jesus through obedience to all that He has and will reveal to me. I don’t want to be “fakin it.” I don’t want to be deceived that I am “makin it” when I am not. I want entrance into the party.

The party is fellowship with God. The party is knowing God.

What does a disciple do to make sure they are not “fakin it?” I wish I had an easy answer for you, that I had three steps to making sure you’re making it. Instead, this is what I have discovered. “Makin it” is what spiritual authenticity is all about.  Spiritual authenticity is an inside job; it is becoming whole in Christ; it is becoming the person God created you to be.  This takes being honest with yourself. One way you do this is through your encounters with God through the reading of the Bible. The Bible reveals the high water mark of holiness. As you contemplate what is written the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to you. This truth is transformational; it changes you from the inside out. If you make what is written into rules to adhere to then you are trying to make changes from the outside in and that’s not going to work. The relationship is the catalyst for becoming spiritually authentic not rules.

What makes truth transformational is doing it. You don’t wait to be transformed, it occurs as you are doing what God directs. God provides everything you need, it's up to you to take the step, then you discover you have the resource.

Authenticity in the spiritual life is found in you actually doing what the scripture says. “Not merely turning over the pages of an engineering magazine and enjoying the pictures, but putting on overalls and getting on with the job. The real spiritual life must be horizontal as well as vertical; spread more and more as well as aspire more and more.” Evelyn Underhill, The Spiritual Life. “…faith without deeds is useless… (James 2:20 (NIV).

James 2:14 (NCV)
My brothers and sisters, if people say they have faith but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them?

Ask yourself as you immerse in the scripture—Is this how I am living? Is this my attitude? Is this my desire? Is this what I want in my life? You will encounter the hard work of unlearning, breaking habits, attachments, and addictions, replacing them with behaviors that are inspired by your relationship with Jesus. If so then intrinsically the Holy Spirit will raise your spiritual mark; you will strip away pretense and become real.

I want to get into the party, I want you to be at the party with me. To get in we must be spiritually authentic. Jesus teaches us that authenticity is found in love-motivated obedience, doing the things that He shows you to do to take that love and make the life of those less fortunate than you better.

Matt 25:37-40 (MSG)
When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you a stranger and invited you in, or needing clothes and clothed you?  And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?'    Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

It’s in the faces of the overlooked or ignored, the oppressed, the disenfranchised, the sinners and tax collectors,  that you get to know Jesus.  Go be a difference make in someone’s life.


Popular posts from this blog