The Authentic Christian

1 Thessalonians 2: 9-13   &   Matthew 23: 23-26

The message is clear

As I was studying these two passages of Scripture  –  Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians and Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees –  the message seemed to be clear – that being authentic Christians was vital – people of God who faithfully walk the talk and don’t put on a religious act, or wear a religious mask!
 
In ancient Greek theatre, one actor would often play two parts. When saying something humorous, he would hold up a mask with a smiley face and when playing a tragic part, he would hold up a mask with a sad face. The actor was called a ‘hypocrite’, and literally means ‘one who hides behind a mask’! 
 
Jesus incurred the wrath of the Pharisees when he called them ‘hypocrites’.
“Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you Hypocrites!.”  He was not impressed with their pompous religiosity!

What happened to the Pharisees? 

How did they get such a skewed version of their faith?  History, shows us how easily what happened to them, could happen to us as well!
 
The Babylonian exile made them think that God had punished them for their wickedness – a line of thought held by many today as they try to come to terms with drought and Covid.
The Pharisees turned to the study of Holy Scripture to repent. Then, around 150 BC, Greek education was forced on the Jews.  The Pharisees responded by vigorously defending their religion and their traditions. However, it was to the point of fanaticism.

How did these things turn them into hypocrites? 

Sadly they became so intent on perfection that they added extra details to the Law that God had given.  While appearing religious, they actually worshipped the Law, rather than the Law-giver.
 
As we prepare for a post-Covid period, we have a wonderful opportunity to review critically, our own spiritual lives, in the way we approach the rituals of our worship and how we do church – remembering always that what makes us Christians is our relationship with God through His only Son, Jesus.   Strict adherence to the Law of God can never compensate for a lack of that relationship.
 
If we can learn anything from the history of the Pharisees, and Jesus’ discourse with them, it is that we cannot be complacent and just drift along – same old, same old!

Depend on Him

Timothy wrote that the Scriptures are God-breathed and good for teaching and rebuking. God continues to instruct and teach us and speak through His Word.  He desires that relationship with us that allows Him truly to be God and work in His ways in our lives, and depend on Him more than ourselves and our own understanding.

Be authentic

With the Spirit of Jesus in us and with Him walking alongside us, there is no need for any pretence.  He knows us through and through.  He simply desires that we be authentic and become the best we can be through His Spirit working in us. That, and our love for our Saviour, will be enough.

All thanks and praise to Him!

A précis of a sermon by Revd Angela Brown.

Tuesday at 7:30pm

This week we are led to focus on health workers in our church community and beyond. Join us for a time of ministry, prayer and encouragement. 

Lockdown prayers every Tuesday @ 7:30pm. All welcome!

Please contact Andrew (083 546 2451) for the Zoom link.

 

Lockdown prayers every Thursday @ 2:30pm. All welcome!

Please contact Andrew (083 546 2451) for the Zoom link.

“Reading the Signs in John’s Gospel”

You are invited to join this Online Zoom Bible Study to study a series called “Reading the Signs in John’s Gospel”. 
Every Thursday evening at 7:30 pm for about 40 minutes. 
Anyone interested can contact Jane Purchase via Whatsapp (0826556727).

Children & Teen Ministry

27 August

from 6 – 7pm at the Youth Centre.
(Arriving from 5:30pm)
Contact: Andrew – 083 546 2451

 

Does anyone have a laptop no longer in use & willing to donate it to one of our Haven students? 

 

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blankets & warm clothing
will be appreciated.

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