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The Jagged Edge of Authentic Living
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:21; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Act...
Track 9 of 15 in the Paul: Grace & Strength Mixed Together series
Running time: 1 hour, 05 minutes, 29 seconds.
When Paul and Barnabas set out with John Mark to share the Gospel to a world unfamiliar with Jesus, their best tool was their authentic life. Yes, they had the Good News about Jesus but back in their time, the world they traveled in was flooded with all sorts of lifes philosophy. What made the Gospel message so effective was the authenticity of their lives before the people they met and shared time with. The Gospel is only effective when displayed through an authentic life.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

The Jagged Edge in Authentic Living

There is nothing worse than to buy into something or someone to find out later that everything was fake. All that you believed in, saw and experienced was manufactured to make you believe or think one way only to find out that what you believed wasnít real. We live in a world where reality for many is only a lie. They live in a fantasy world longing to know what is real truth. It is sad but true but when authentic living steps onto the stage in life, there is an attraction that is hard to explain. Much of what we see in the Gospels concerning the crowdís reaction to Jesus is in response to discovering a man who was authentic, real. The crowds were drawn to the truth that Jesus spoke and lived out. Today, our world is in desperate need authentic living.

When Paul and Barnabas set out with John Mark to share the Gospel to a world unfamiliar with Jesus, their best tool was their authentic life. Yes, they had the Good News about Jesus but back in their time, the world they traveled in was flooded with all sorts of lifeís philosophy. What made the Gospel message so effective was the authenticity of heir lives before the people they met and shared time with. The Gospel is only effective when displayed through an authentic life.

Now this all sounds good and sensible, but in reality, living an authentic life is hard and in many situations, not popular, earnestly striving to live a life that is different. As we studied last week, you and I are completely free to do this, the question is, are we willing to confront the areas in our lives that have to change and then, make the changes?

True or False: A strong and healthy commitment to the Word of God can and will lead you into many dangers, toils and snares?

I asked you a question last week to consider, what has God set you free to really do? Are you doing it and if no, then what is holding you back? When you get up in the morning and you set out to live the day in front of you, what are the top priorities you plan to accomplish? How much does your calendar say about your top priorities for the day?

True or False: I donít pursue my God given ministry because I really donít know what it is?

For Paul and Barnabas, their ministry was simple, communicate the truths of the scriptures.

How many of you in this class are Christians? That fact alone defines what your ministry is. Can someone tell me what that is?

1. I agree to advance the cause of Christ by seeking daily to be like Jesus.

1 Peter 2:21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

2. We advance the cause of Christ by accepting the responsibility in the ministry of helping others come to Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting menís sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christís ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christís behalf: Be reconciled to God.

How many of you when you accepted Jesus and agreed to follow after Him realized that you were entering into ministry? Are each of us expected to fulfill our ministries the way? How does our freedom in Christ fit in here? How free are we to life like Jesus and share the Gospel with others?

There is a warning here we must be very aware of. Know what you are getting yourself into. The ministry business can be very dangerous. Satan, our enemy places you directly in the crosshairs of his scope. For him, our decision to enter into ministry with Christ make it open season for him to take shots at us and he is a very good shot. In ministry there is a ragged edge and we must be ready to experience it and know how to get beyond it.

True or False: A person truly pursuing after Jesus always knows the details regarding the their future.

That statement is false. Speak to any missionary and they will tell you right off they donít have a clue on what is coming next for them, good or bad. I think the real reason for that is, if they really knew the future, they would probably never go. I think the same is true in our lives. Ministry is something we are called to and in many situations; it can become a jagged edge experience. Whenever the truth is introduced into a world of lies and deceit (Satanís domain), two things can happen, the truth is accepted and freedom is established or attacks come against the truth with the intent to destroy the truth and often times the messenger.

Authentic Living: The Jagged Edge of Physical Demands.

Acts 13:4-5 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.

I have to stop here as Paul, Barnabas and John Mark set off on Paulís first missionary Journey. Christians donít realize the sheer magnitude of the physical strain Paul endured as he moved from town to town sharing the Gospel. By the time Paul starts his journeys, he was already in mid-life. From what we read in scripture, Paul journeyed at least 13,400 airline miles. That doesnít take into account that Paul seldom traveled in a straight line; he traveled over dirt roads and paths, over and around mountains, sailed on ships; most of his travels required walking all the distance. There are some trips Paul records that are not found in Acts so these are not included in Paulís frequent flyer miles.

The Bible records as he makes these journeys, he is beaten along the way, sought after, imprisoned, hated and cursed at, rejected and was required to flee from death plots on his life and at times beaten and left for dead. Yet his spirit never seemed to be dashed or his energy crushed so not to complete his mission. He was totally focused on the task at hand and to winning souls for Jesus no matter where the Holy Spirit took him.

How much pain, hardship, inconvenience and criticism are you willing to endure in order to give someone you know the truth about Jesus and share the Good News?

Rank from 1-10, 10 being the highest , where you think the modern Church in America is at when it comes to the physical ragged edge in authentic living? Where does MPCC rank? Where do you rank?

After a very long day of work, maybe all day in the 102 heat we had this week, when you get home, what is the first thing you want to do? What is the last thing?

Acts 13:6-12 They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, ďYou are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.Ē Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

Before Paul met with the proconsul, what were Paul and Saul doing? How excited are you about performing your ministry when completely exhausted?

Authentic Living: The Jagged Edge of Elusive Popularity

After working almost to exhaustion, how important is it for someone to recognize you for your hard work and efforts? What is good about the recognition people give you, maybe in some cases, praise? What is dangerous?

Acts 14:8-15 In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, ďStand up on your feet!Ē At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, ďThe gods have come down to us in human form!Ē Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: ďMen, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you.

Are there times when our ministry focus gets out of focus that we actually expect praise from people when we do our work? Be honest, how many of us actually like to be considered a god at times for our good successes?

Authentic Living: The Jagged Edge of Disappointing Results

True or False: Success is the mark of a good ministry.

What happens when all the hard work you perform, your focus is squarely on proclaiming the Gospel and there are no results in the end? Should you be considered a failure?

Failure is a difficult thing to define when considering the work of God. We donít know what God did with our efforts. There will be times when the message is rejected and there will be times when we wonít see the fruits of our labor. Paul had many experiences with this jagged edge but he didnít stop doing what he knew Jesus called him to.

What is the greatest danger when living out this part of authentic living?