Authentic Truth in an Authentic Community

This may come out sort of mumbled.

This morning the sermon focused on authenticity. I had no pen and no paper, which is unusual, so I’m having to write this from sleepy memory, and quickly.

But, basically the idea is that thinking of God’s truth as only for the seminary graduates and pastors, and only relevant on Sundays in church, is making the same mistake Plato makes about a higher world of Forms.

God’s truth is applicable in the everyday, and accessible to every person.

We can question it and test it, because it will stand up to the test, and we are commanded to test all things, and hold on to what is good. And we should live and proclaim God’s excellent, authentic truths everyday and to everyone, if we are to be authentic.

The message was backed up with verses out of 1 Peter 2, Acts 2, and somewhere else I forget. The ONE time I forget pen and paper…!!!

***

Well, fortunately Pastor had another go at the sermon, and fleshed it out a bit – and this time I had pen and paper.

The relevant verses were Acts 2:42-47; Matt 5:13-16 and 9:9-13.

Notes I took (not all of the words came out of the Pastor’s mouth… I reword things to fit with what I already know… I memorize it better that way):

Two sermons in the series that I missed:
Authentic truth – Jesus’ life interprets; bounce it off others, don’t be afraid to question
Authentic people – who we are in Christ

Where we are at in the series:
Authentic mission – proclaim excellencies (authentic truth) to God in worship, to believers in discipleship, and to unbelievers in evangelism

Plains of Plato (not good) – don’t leave authentic truth to “professionals”
Steeple mentality – “come to us” is wrong – GO… impact the culture… to whom did Jesus go?

Matthew 9:9-13 —
1. Matthew (dreaded tax collector, went on to write gospel of Matthew) at the top of “most unlikely to succeed” list (see “Lord calls the lowly” thread – this is how God works… a form of miracle)
2. Jesus kicked back with him on his own turf
3. Jesus took the disciples with Him
4. Jesus didn’t worry about what the churchy people thought
5. Matthew 9:13 go and learn what this means
6. religiosity misses the point, I desire your heart (love people)

Show mercy: take initiative to go to them and help… think of the baggage associated with Matthew. Look at the results of what happened in his life. Redemption.

Great Commission is faith building and we are commanded to do it.

Christianity is all about a personal relationship with our Savior… and, because the point is love, community is important. God’s truths are subject to (and stand up to) peer review in an authentic community…

“Authentic Community” notes

Luke 6:12-37; Acts 2:42-47

Problems with living missionally, without at the same time living in authentic community: corruption, not knowing all the answers yourself, persecution

Problems if you don’t live missionally in authentic community: become bored believer, in danger of drifting away

Living in authentic community: getting together around a common theme: Christ… transcends location. Only takes 2.

Jesus’ authentic community went from the 70 to the 12 disciples, to the closer disciples like John and Peter. After choosing the 12, he lays out the values of the community, which have a “one shoulder in/one shoulder out” mentality… an inward and an outward focus.

Without the outward focus, the community can become sectarian, a cult, and encounter all the problems of not living missionally (see above). Without the inward focus you have all the problems of living missionally without authentic community (see above).

One shoulder in: In the beatitudes it says blessed are you who acknowledge that you are weak, and woe to you who consider yourselves strong (see my “Lord calls the lowly” thread). Those who acknowledge their weakness open themselves to something greater – God and authentic community. Those who think they are strong, settle for less, rob themselves of God and authentic community. [ An aside to Satyr – in the ‘evil’ thread, you mention innocent/guilty are concepts invented by the weak. I’ve heard others say they are concepts invented by the strong to control the weak. What do you say about that? This sermon points out that an elite community is still community… still a type of herd. It seems like calling a larger herd a herd, while belonging to a smaller herd, is like calling a larger restaurant full of many people a restaurant, while eating in a smaller restaurant with less people in it. Make it sound like an insult, and people, if they don’t stop and think about it, will get all defensive over nothing. Saying, “Yeah, that’s just it, though…. They don’t stop and think,” misses the fact that you are the one pointing out a speck in their eye that is not a speck but a pupil, when you have in your own eye a log that is not a log. That is utterly pointless – more pointless than failing to stop and think. It is an abuse of thought. ]

One shoulder out: Also in the beatitudes it points out that even sinners lend/love to those who repay/love them back…. And Jesus says to go beyond that and lend/love expecting nothing in return – lend/love in a way that transcends this world. From where I sit, Nietzsche was saying “go back” not “go beyond”. If you disagree, say why.

In vv. 17-19 before beatitudes, you see Jesus living missionally and in authentic community at the same time.

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About Maryann

Maryann Spikes is the past President of the Christian Apologetics Alliance. She blogs at Ichthus77, and loves apologetics and philosophy. In particular she loves to study all things Euthyphro Dilemma and Golden Rule. A para-educator (autism) for five years, she holds a Certificate in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, an AA in Humanities via Modesto Junior College, and moonlights as a freelancer. You can follow her on Twitter @Ichthus77, connect with the Ichthus77 community on Facebook, or look her up on Google+.
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