Living an-authentic-christian-life

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Living an-authentic-christian-life

  1. 1. LIVING AN AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN LIFE by Ray Stedman W hat does it mean to live a real Christian life? According to pastor and author Ray Stedman, it isn’tcontents about about trying to live up to the teachings and example of Jesus. It’s about a life-changing relationshipthe Real thing(2 cor. 2:14–3:3) . . . . . . . 2 with Christ—at the very core of our being.the secret In this excerpt of his classic(2 cor. 3:4-6) . . . . . . . . . 20 bestseller Authentic Christianity, Stedman reflects on how the apostle Paul relied on such a heartfelt awareness for his own strength, and how he used it to encourage others. This is the spiritual secret that can renew and refresh any of us as we also learn that we are not sufficient, in ourselves, for the real challenges facing us. Mart De HaanManaging editor: David sper cover Photo: istockphotoUnless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, newInternational Version®, niv®. copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permissionof Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.this booklet is excerpted from Authentic Christianity by Ray stedman, published by Discovery HousePublishers, a member of the RBc Ministries family.© 2011 RBc Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan Printed in UsA
  2. 2. THE REAL being Christian for awhile, thenTHING abandon the whole thing. But surely the most subtle stratagemI t has always seemed unfair to ever devised by Satan to deceive me that many churches (and and mislead people is that of some individual Christians) causing genuine Christians tokeep careful records of how many practice a sham Christianity beforeconverts they make to Christianity the world. You can’t detect andbut never keep any record of guard against this kind of shamhow many they drive away from Christianity by making peopleChrist. Fairness would seem to sign a doctrinal statement or bydictate that both sides of the having them recite a creed. Thisledger should be maintained. The type of phony Christianity isfact is, many churches turn far always orthodox. It is frequentlymore people from Christ than they very zealous and feeds uponever win to Him—and frequently consecration services andthe most zealous and orthodox dedication meetings. It uses allChristians are the very ones who the right terms and behaves in thedrive the most people away! The proper, orthodox manner, but thereason is that while they may net result is that it repels peoplebe true Christians themselves, from Christ rather than attractingthe life they manifest is false people to Christ.Christianity—as phony as a $3 In sharp contrast to thisbill. is the “real thing”—authentic True, there is a false Christianity as its founder, JesusChristianity that is practiced by Christ Himself, intended it tothose who aren’t Christians at be. Authentic Christianity neverall. There are many religious needs advertisement or publicity.frauds who have never been real It gives off a fragrance and aChristians, and there are apostates fascination that attracts peoplewho give every appearance of like flies are attracted to honey.2 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  3. 3. Is everyone attracted to authentic He drew supernatural power toChristianity? Absolutely not! Many resist evil and achieve great thingspeople are antagonized and even in a way I could never do.”outraged when they discover what Yes, Jesus was fully God—butChristianity is truly about. But we must never forget that Hein general, the initial character was also fully human, with allof authentic Christianity is one the limitations that go with ourthat attracts crowds and compels humanity. We can live our livesadmiration. as He lived His. We can base our lives on the model He has setThe ChRiSTianiTy before us. This is practical, livableof JeSuS and Paul truth, and the Scriptures are veryThere is, of course, no clearer clear on this point. Here are a fewdemonstration of real Christianity passages which commend Jesusthan Christ Himself. Today, there to us as an example we can andare many varieties of Christianity, should follow:but the most attractive form Because He Himself sufferedof Christianity of all is the when He was tempted, He isoriginal—the Christianity of Jesus able to help those who areChrist. This was the authentic being tempted (Heb. 2:18).Christian life in its purest, most We do not have a high priestconsistent form. Many people who is unable to sympathizehave a problem understanding, with our weaknesses, but weapplying, and identifying with the have one who has been temptedChristianity of Jesus because they in every way, just as we are—feel He, being the Son of God, yet was without sin (Heb. 4:15).had an edge over the rest of us. To this you were called, because“Not fair, comparing me to Jesus!” Christ suffered for you, leavingthey protest. “Sure, Jesus was you an example, that youundoubtedly human—but He was should follow in His stepsalso God. From His divine side, (1 Pet. 2:21). ©2011 RBC Ministries 3
  4. 4. How is this possible? How Note that key phrase: Jesuscan we hope to pattern our lives “emptied Himself.” He set asideafter the life of a perfect Person the prerogatives and powers ofwho was God in the flesh? Isn’t Godhood in order to identify fullythat like trying to high-jump the with us. He lived the same kindEmpire State Building or broad- of life we live, facing temptation,jump the Pacific Ocean? Isn’t that suffering pain and sorrow,asking the impossible? Well, yes enduring frustration, just as weand no. Yes, it is impossible for do. He approached life the sameus to live perfect, sinless lives; but way you and I must approachno, it is not impossible for us to life: living in dependence on Godset a goal of Christlikeness. Every the Father, seeking guidancetime we fail in our pursuit of that and strength through continualgoal, we simply go back to God prayer, trusting God and listeningfor forgiveness and restoration, to His leading, and being humblyand He puts us back on the road obedient—“not My will, butto our goal once again. The key Yours.” That is why we are toprinciple is found in Philippians “let the same mind be in [us]2:5-8, that was in Christ Jesus” (nrsv). Let the same mind be in you That is authentic Christianity, the that was in Christ Jesus, who, Christianity of Christ; Christianity though He was in the form of in its truest, purest, most distilled God, did not regard equality form. That is the Christianity with God as something to be which you and I are to follow, the exploited, but emptied Himself, only Christianity worthy of the taking the form of a slave, being name. born in human likeness. And The apostle Paul lived his life being found in human form, He by the same principle, patterning humbled Himself and became his life after the example of Christ. obedient to the point of death— He wrote, “Follow my example, even death on a cross (nrsv). as I follow the example of Christ”4 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  5. 5. (1 Cor. 11:1). That is why the favorite tricks is to brand the truthapostle’s ministry was so attractive as a big lie, and that’s exactly whatto the people around him. That is was happening at Corinth.why his preaching was so effectivein changing hearts and minds. He five unmiSTakablewas an imitator of Christ. As we maRkS ofexamine a selection from Paul’s auThenTiCsecond letter to the Christians ChRiSTianiTyat Corinth—one of the most Paul’s response to these charges isbiographical of all Paul’s letters—to describe for us the nature of hiswe will gain insight into his own ministry. As we shall see, Paul’sexperiences as an imitator of ministry bears five unmistakableChrist and of His ministry. There, qualities of ChristianityPaul reveals to us in the clearest that cannot be successfullyterms the secret of his own great counterfeited. These qualities haveministry. nothing to do with personality The first 1½ chapters of or temperament, so anyone who2 Corinthians indicate that Paul discovers the secret of authenticwas being challenged by certain Christianity can attain them. TheyChristians at Corinth. They had are timeless, so they are just asbeen affected by some Jewish genuine now as in Paul’s day.Christians from Jerusalem who We begin our journey ofsuggested that Paul was not a discovery in 2 Corinthians 2:14.genuine apostle at all because Here we find the first three marks(1) he was not one of the original of authentic Christianity: “ThanksTwelve, and (2) some of his be to God, who always leads us inteachings went beyond the law triumphal procession in Christ andof Moses. Claiming he was not through us spreads everywherea real apostle, they insisted his the fragrance of the knowledge ofbrand of Christianity was not real Him.” Let’s examine the marks ofChristianity. One of the devil’s authentic Christianity. ©2011 RBC Ministries 5
  6. 6. mark #1: unquenchable often seen in Christians today.optimism Some people think they areThe first mark is found in the expected to repeat pious andvery first phrase: “Thanks be to thankful words, even when theyGod.” One unmistakable evidence don’t feel thankful. They assumeof radical Christianity is a spirit that’s the way Christians areof thankfulness, even amid trial supposed to act. Many haveand difficulty. It is a kind of settled for a form of Christianunquenchable optimism. The world stoicism, a grin-and-bear-it attitudeoperates by the gloomy principle which even a non-Christian canof Murphy’s Law: Whatever adopt when there’s nothing muchcan go wrong, will go wrong. he can do about a situation.Authentic Christians operate by But that is a long way from truea belief in God’s grace, love, and Christian thankfulness. To listen toultimate control. You can see some Christians today, you wouldthe unquenchable optimism of think God expects us to paste onauthentic Christianity clearly in a smile and go around saying,the book of Acts, where a note of “Hallelujah, I’ve got cancer!”triumph resounds despite all the That’s not what our unquenchabledangers, hardships, persecutions, optimism is all about.pressures, and perils that the early Authentic Christianity is rootedChristians experienced. The same in reality. It feels all the hurt andcontinual note of thanksgiving is pain of adverse circumstances, and does not find any pleasure inreflected in all of Paul’s letters, aswell as those of John, Peter, and them. But authentic ChristianityJames. does see the result being The attitude of thanksgiving produced—not only in heavenevident in these passages is someday, but right now here ongenuine and profound. There is earth. That result is so desirable and glorious, it is worth all thenothing artificial about it. It is a farcry from the imitation thanksgiving pain and heartache. That is why6 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  7. 7. it can do nothing but rejoice! An a good front just to keep up theirauthentic Christian is confident spirits. They were genuinelythat the same Lord who permitted thankful to God. They began tothe pain to come will use it to praise Him at midnight becausebring about a highly desirable end. they knew that, despite theThat is why we can be genuinely apparent rebuff and lack ofthankful—even in the midst of success, their objective had beenperplexity and sorrow. accomplished. Now, the church There is an outstanding they longed to plant in Philippiexample of the unquenchable could not be stopped! That factoptimism of authentic Christianity inspired them to break out inin Acts 16. There, Paul and Silas praise and thanksgiving. Howfind themselves at midnight in could they have known whatan inner dungeon in the city God had planned for them—jail of Philippi. Their backs are an earthquake that would jarraw and bloody from a terrible their chains loose, topple theirflogging received at the hands prison walls, and set them free?of the Roman authorities. Their They couldn’t! They had nofeet are fastened in stocks. The premonition at all of being setfuture is uncertain and frightening. free. They were simply manifestingAnything could happen to them marks of authentic Christianity:in the morning—even torture and unquenchable optimism anddeath. There is no one around thanksgiving.to be impressed by a show ofcourage, and no one to intervene mark #2:and rescue them. Yet, despite unvarying Successall these reasons for pessimism The second mark of authenticand hopelessness, Paul and Silas Christianity is closely linkedliterally break into song! to the first. It is found in the No one could accuse them next phrase in 2 Corinthiansof being phony or of putting up 2:14, “who always leads us in ©2011 RBC Ministries 7
  8. 8. triumphal procession in Christ.” not given to thrill and entertainNote how strongly Paul puts the Sunday morning audienceit: Jesus “always leads us” in but to embolden and encouragetriumph. Not occasionally. Not those who were literally riskingsometimes. Always. The apostle their lives and their families’ livesmakes perfectly clear that the every day for the cause of Christ.Christianity he has experienced These words were written by apresents a pattern of unvarying man who bore on his body thesuccess. It never involves failure wounds of a servant of Jesus.but invariably achieves its goals. He had endured much difficulty,It involves, as we have seen, endless disappointments, andstruggles and hardships and tears. bitter persecution with great pain.Sometimes, as on the cross at Yet he could write with ruggedCalvary, the moment of triumph truthfulness that Jesus alwaysmay even look like complete leads us in triumph.failure. But our triumph is always This certainly does not meanassured. Though the struggle may that Paul’s plans and goals werebe desperate, it is never serious. always realized, for they were not.It issues at last in the complete He wanted to do many things thatachievement of the objectives God he was never able to accomplish.has set for us. Even the opposition In Romans 9:3, Paul describeswe encounter is made to serve the how he hungered to be used as apurposes of victory. minister to Israel—“my brothers, We must remember that those of my own race.” He eventhese high-sounding words of expressed the willingness to be cutPaul’s are not mere evangelical off from Christ if only the Israelitespep talk. They were not uttered would be delivered. But he neverby a well-paid, highly respected achieved that objective. It is notpastor to a well-dressed suburban his plans that are in view here, butcongregation in a modern God’s. The triumph is Christ’s, notmegachurch. These words were Paul’s.8 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  9. 9. The invariable mark of many churches he has founded.authentic Christianity is that once What a time forwe have discovered its radical discouragement! Yet no Newsecret, we can never fail. Our Testament letter reflects greaterwill, our dreams, our goals, our confidence and rejoicing thandesires may be thwarted—but Philippians. The reason for thisGod’s will and plan? Never! He confidence, Paul says, is twofold.can even weave our apparent He writes, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what hasfailures into His overall design forultimate triumph. In the life of anhappened to me has really servedauthentic Christian, every obstacleto advance the gospel” (1:12).becomes an opportunity. Success Then he lists two evidences tois inevitable. prove his point. The Liberty Of Prison. First, he says, “As a result,The unquenchable optimism it has become clear throughoutof genuine Christianity shines the whole palace guard and tothrough chapter 1 of Paul’s letter everyone else that I am in chainsto his friends at Philippi. Writingfor Christ” (v.13). The palaceas a prisoner in the city of Rome, guard (or, in some translations, theconfined to a private, rented praetorian guard) is the imperialhome but chained day and night bodyguard. Since he is a prisonerto a member of Caesar’s imperial of Caesar’s, he must be guarded byguard, Paul faces a very bleak Caesar’s own handpicked guard.future. He must soon appear The guard was largely made upbefore Nero to answer Jewish of sons of noble families whocharges that could result in his were commissioned to spend adeath. He is no longer allowed few years in Nero’s palace guard.to travel freely about the empire, Later on, this select group wouldpreaching “the inexhaustible become the kingmakers of theriches of Christ.” He cannot even empire, responsible for choosingvisit his beloved friends in the succeeding emperors. They were ©2011 RBC Ministries 9
  10. 10. impressive young men, the cream Empire was brought in, chainedof the empire, in training for future to Paul, and forcibly exposed topositions of power and leadership. the life-changing gospel of Jesus Anyone who can read between Christ!the lines a bit will see what is I suggest that if you want tohappening here. It is clear that the feel sorry for anyone, don’t feelLord Jesus, in His role as King of sorry for Paul. Feel sorry for thethe earth, has appointed Nero to young Roman bodyguard. Here hebe the chairman of the Committee is, trying to live a quiet, pagan life,for the Evangelization of the and every so often he is orderedRoman Empire. Nero doesn’t out and chained to this disturbingknow this—but then emperors man who says the most amazingseldom know what is really going things about someone called Jesuson in their empires. Remember of Nazareth, who has risen fromthat when the time came for the dead. As a result, one by one,the Son of God to be born in these young men were being wonBethlehem, His mother and her to Christ. It is what you might callnew husband were 70 miles a chain reaction!away, living in Nazareth. So God If you doubt that this wascommissioned Emperor Augustus happening, just look at the nextto get Joseph and Mary down from to the last verse of the PhilippianNazareth to Bethlehem. Augustus letter: “All the saints send youfelt strangely moved to issue greetings, especially those whoan imperial edict that everyone belong to Caesar’s household”should go to his hometown to be (Phil. 4:22). Here is a band oftaxed—and that did the trick! young men, the political center of In this case, Nero had given the empire, being infiltrated andorders that his imperial bodyguard conquered for Christ by an oldshould have charge of the apostle man in chains who is awaitingPaul. Every 6 hours, one of the trial for his life. It is not at allfuture leaders of the Roman unlikely that some of the young10 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  11. 11. men who accompanied Paul on fellowship and excitement. Yethis later journeys came from this it was all contained within thevery band. city walls. When God wanted to This incident is a magnificent spread these good things amongrevelation of God’s strategy—and, the nations, He permitted sharpby contrast, of the weakness of opposition to arise. As a result,human strategy. No human mind the early Christians were drivencould have conceived this unique throughout the empire—all exceptapproach to the very heart of the the apostles.empire. We humans are forever I have learned to glimpseplanning strategies for fulfilling God’s hand in these acts ofthe Great Commission, but what opposition, and I now readwe come up with is usually missionary reports from abanal, routine, unimaginative, different perspective. In recentand relatively ineffective. The years, I have seen many reportsnoteworthy thing about God’s in missionary magazines saying in one way or another, “Terriblestrategy is that it is ingenious andtotally unexpected. things are happening to our Aided By Opposition. The country. The doors are closing tostrategies of God are so powerful, the gospel. Opposition is rising.compared with human plans The government is trying toand strategies, that He is able suppress all Christian witness.to take man’s most vicious Our missionaries must soonopposition and turn it to His pack up and get out.” Withoutown advantage. That is what is question, these missionaries andrecorded in the early chapters of the national Christians in theseActs. The church in Jerusalem was countries are being oppressedgrowing by leaps and bounds. and threatened, and they greatlySome 2,000 to 5,000 Christians need our prayers and support.were gathering together weekly Yet, when I read such reports, Iand enjoying the tremendous have learned to say, “Thank God. ©2011 RBC Ministries 11
  12. 12. At last the missionaries are being official Roman persecution againstforced to relinquish control of the the Christians was beginning.churches and the national church Many, therefore, were afraid tois taking over.” speak of their faith. But then In Ethiopia, before World War they saw that God—not Nero,II, the missionaries were driven not the Jewish leaders—was inout for 20 years, but when they complete charge of matters. Withcame back in they found that the God in charge, they becamegospel had spread like wildfire, emboldened to proclaim theand there were far more Christians gospel. As a result, there was farthan if the missionaries had been more effective outreach going onallowed to stay. We have seen in Rome than if Paul had beensimilar stories in other trouble free to preach at will. This factspots around the world, notably has always suggested to me thatChina. perhaps the best way to evangelize Paul makes a second point a community would be to start byin his letter to the Philippians to locking all the preachers up in jail!support his claim that the things Other Christians might then beginthat happened to him had only to realize that they too have giftsserved to advance the gospel. He for ministry, and would begin tosays, “Because of my chains, most exercise them in effective ways!of the brothers in the Lord have Living Letters. Looking backbeen encouraged to speak the on this incident with the benefit ofword of God more courageously 20 centuries of hindsight, we seeand fearlessly” (Phil. 1:14). a third proof of Paul’s claim—aBecause Paul was a prisoner, the proof that even he could not haveRoman Christians were witnessing seen at the time. If we had beenfar more freely throughout the with Paul in that hired house incity than they would have done Rome and had asked him, “Paul,otherwise. what do you think is the greatest It was at this time that the first work you have accomplished in12 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  13. 13. your ministry through the power of mark #3:Christ?” what would he have said? unforgettable impactI feel sure his answer would have The third unmistakable markbeen, “The planting of churches follows immediately. After saying,in various cities.” It was to these “Thanks be to God, who alwayschurches that his letters were leads us in triumphal processionwritten, and it was for them that in Christ,” Paul continues with thishe prayed daily. He called them beautiful statement of the impact“my joy and crown” and spent we have as authentic Christians:himself without restraint for them. “and through us spreads But now, looking back across everywhere the fragrance of thethe intervening centuries, we can knowledge of Him” (2 Cor. 2:14).see that the planting of these God tells us that our lives shouldchurches was not his greatest be spent giving off a fragrance, awork after all. Every one of the perfume, a pleasing bouquet—notchurches he planted ceased its only to other people, but to God.testimony long ago. In most cases,Enlarging on this thought, Paulthe very cities in which they adds: “For we are to God theexisted lie in ruins today. The aroma of Christ among those whowork of Paul that has persisted toare being saved and those who arethis day has been the letters thatperishing. To the one we are thehe wrote when he was locked up smell of death; to the other, theand could do nothing else! Those fragrance of life. And who is equalletters have changed the world. to such a task?” (vv.15-16).They are among the most powerful Most men have had thedocuments known to men. No experience of being in a roomwonder Paul could write, “Thanks when a strikingly beautifulbe to God, who always leads us in woman enters. Before she cametriumphal procession in Christ.” in, she applied a touch hereIt is an unmistakable mark of and there of White Diamonds,authentic Christianity. and as she passes through ©2011 RBC Ministries 13
  14. 14. the room, she leaves behind a Christianity. Those who arelingering fragrance. Consciously seeking to live are helped on intoor unconsciously, all the males life. Jesus certainly had this qualityin the room are affected by that about Him. No one ever came intofragrance. Weeks or months later, contact with Him and went awaythey may catch a wisp of that the same.fragrance again—and immediately, Many commentators on thisthe image of that beautiful passage conclude that Paul hadwoman flashes into their minds. in mind here a typical RomanThe fragrance has made her triumph. When a Roman generalunforgettable. returned to the capital after a That is the picture Paul gives successful campaign, he washere. Authentic Christianity leaves granted a triumph by the senate.an unforgettable impression on A great procession passed throughthose who encounter it. Christians the streets of Rome displayingare responsible for the enduring the captives taken in the courseimpact they make. As Paul of the conquest. Some peoplesuggests, the impact may be in went before the chariot of theone of two directions. Christians conqueror, bearing garlandseither increase opposition to of flowers and pots of fragrantChrist (death to death) or they incense. They were the prisonerslead toward faith and life (life to who were destined to live andlife). If your life is one that reflects return to their captured country toradical, authentic Christianity, govern it under Roman rule. Otherpeople become either bitter or prisoners followed behind thebetter through contact with you. chariot dragging chains and heavyBut one thing cannot happen: manacles. These were doomedpeople will never remain the same. to execution, for the Romans feltThose who are determined to die they could not trust them. As theare pushed on toward death by procession went on through thecoming into contact with authentic cheering crowds, the incense pots14 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  15. 15. and fragrant flowers were to the of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before Godfirst group a fragrance from life tolife, while the same aroma was to with sincerity, like men sent fromthe second group a fragrance of God.” Remember, that is not adeath to death. description of Christian pastors but of all Christians. It has great This is the effect of the gospelas it touches the world through application to pastors and othersthe life of an authentic Christian.in the ministry, but its primaryAuthentic Christianity leaves reference is to common, ordinarya lingering fragrance to God of Christians who have learned theJesus Christ, no matter what—but secret of authentic Christianity.to human beings, it is either a Christians can be describedfragrance of death to death or of in two ways, negatively andlife to life. positively. Negatively, they are But what about phony not peddlers. The word meansChristianity? That’s another mattera huckster, a street salesman.altogether—it’s just a bad smell! Occasionally I hear ChristianYou’ve certainly heard the old witnessing described as “sellingone-liner: “Old fishermen never the gospel.” I cringe when I heardie; they only smell that way.” that because I don’t believeThe same can be said for false Christians are meant to be salespeople for God. The idea hereChristianity: It never dies; it onlysmells that way. is that of a street hawker who has certain wares that he considersmark #4: attractive and that he peddles onunimpeachable the corner as people are passingintegrity by. He makes his living byThe fourth mark of genuine peddling his wares.Christianity is found in Much Christian preaching2 Corinthians 2:17: “Unlike so and witnessing can be describedmany, we do not peddle the word that way. People select certain ©2011 RBC Ministries 15
  16. 16. attractive features from the people. We must mean what weScriptures and use these as say. The world admires sincerity“selling points.” Healing is a and feels it is the ultimatecase in point. It is a legitimate expression of character—butsubject for study and practice, but according to Paul, sincerity is justwhen singled out and harped on the beginning of character, God’scontinually—especially when a minimum expectation of authenticpitch for large, sacrificial offerings Christians. The very least weis linked to it—healing can quickly should expect from ourselves aslead to hucksterism. Prophecy Christians is that we thoroughlycan serve the same purpose. I am believe and practice what we say.troubled by anyone who is known Second Quality Of Integrity:only as a prophetic teacher, Paul says we are “sent fromfor that person has picked out God” or “commissioned by God”something that is attractive (and (rsv). This speaks of our purposeeven sensational) from the Word. as authentic Christians. We areIf that is all he ever teaches, he is not to be idle dreamers with nonot declaring the whole counsel definite objective in view. Likeof God. He is a peddler, making military officers, we have beena living by hawking certain wares commissioned. We have beenfrom the Scriptures. Paul says given a definite task and specificauthentic Christianity does not assignments that constitute ourhawk its truth like a peddler purpose in life and in ministry.selling goods in the street. We are purposeful people with an Our integrity as authentic end in view, an object to attain,Christians is characterized by a goal to accomplish. And we dofour qualities, according to this not merely preach or witness aspassage. though that were a goal in itself. First Quality Of Integrity: Third Quality Of Integrity: We speak “with sincerity.” In Paul says we do all this “beforeother words, we are to be honest God” or “in the sight of God”16 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  17. 17. (rsv). This indicates an attitude Authority! Paul states it clearlyof transparency, of openness to in 2 Corinthians 5:20—“We areinvestigation. To walk in the sighttherefore Christ’s ambassadors,of other people permits us to hide as though God were making Hisour sins and contradictions behind appeal through us.” Ambassadorsa facade. But to walk in the sight are authorized spokesmen. Theyof God requires total honesty with have power to act and makeHim and with ourselves, because covenants on behalf of others.nothing can be hidden from God’s Authentic Christians are notsight. This does not mean we can powerless servants. We speak words and deliver messages thatlive sinlessly, but rather that theremust be no cover-up or evasion of heaven honors.the facts of our sin when it occurs. All of these qualities add up toIt means there are no areas of unimpeachable integrity. People ofdenial. All is evaluated and testedsincerity, purpose, transparency,by the purity and knowledge and and authority are utterlywisdom of God—and what is trustworthy. You can ring a goldsinful, we confess and we repent ofcoin on their conscience. Theirbefore God. A man who walks in word is their bond, and they canthe sight of God is more interestedbe counted on to come through.in his inner reality than his outerThey are responsible and faithfulreputation. He can be completely individuals. That is the fourthtrusted. You can even believe his great mark of real Christianity.golf score and the size of the trout At this point in the Scripturehe caught. If you can teach your text, we come to a chapter division. This is unfortunate,young people to live in the sight ofGod, you will even be able to trustbecause it divides two chaptersthem in the backseat of a car. that belong together. The apostle Fourth Quality Of Integrity: has not finished his line ofWe speak “in Christ.” What reasoning, so it’s best to ignorequality does that indicate? the division and read right on to ©2011 RBC Ministries 17
  18. 18. find the fifth mark of authentic the result of our ministry, writtenChristianity: “Are we beginning to not with ink but with the Spiritcommend ourselves again? Or do of the living God, not on tabletswe need, like some people, letters of stone but on tablets of humanof recommendation to you or from hearts” (2 Cor. 3:2-3).you?” (2 Cor. 3:1). He is saying, in effect, “You want letters of recommendationmark #5: to prove I have authority asundeniable Reality a messenger of God? Why,Paul is aware that he is beginning you yourselves are all theto sound arrogant. He knows recommendation I need! Lookthere are some in Corinth who what has happened to you.will immediately take these Are you any different sincewords in that way. Indeed, it is you came to Christ through myobvious from his words that some word? Your own hearts will bearhad even suggested in previous witness to yourselves and beforecorrespondence that the next the world that the message youtime he came to Corinth he bring heard from us and which hasletters of recommendation from changed your lives is from God.”some of the Twelve in Jerusalem! In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul madeThey were thinking of Paul as reference to “the sexually immoralthough he were a man entirely . . . idolaters . . . adulterers . . .like themselves. So because they male prostitutes . . . homosexualsaw him as continually praising offenders . . . thieves . . . greedyhimself, no one would believe him . . . drunkards . . . slanderers . . .without confirmation from more [and] swindlers” he had found inobjective sources. But Paul says Corinth. “And that is what someto them, “You yourselves are our of you were,” he added (vv. 9-11).letter, written on our hearts, known But now they had been washed,and read by everybody. You show sanctified, and justified by thethat you are a letter from Christ, name of the Lord Jesus Christ.18 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  19. 19. These changes validated Paul’s that story about Jesus changingmessage. water into wine?” He said, “I sure The Corinthians had written do.” The other said, “How canto Paul about their newfound you believe such nonsense?” Thejoy and the hope and meaning Christian replied, “I’ll tell youthat had been brought into their how; because in our house Jesuslives. They described to him their changed whiskey into furniture!”deliverance from shame and That is the mark of authenticity.guilt, their freedom from fear and Such a marked change occurs onlyhostility, from darkness and death.under the impulse of a powerfulSo he says to them, in effect, relationship that substitutes the“This is your confirmation. You love of Christ for the love of drink.yourselves are walking letters from These are the fiveGod, known and read by all men, unmistakable signs of genuine Christianity: unquenchablewritten by the Spirit of God in yourhearts.” Here is the final mark of optimism, unvarying success,genuine Christianity: undeniable unforgettable impact,reality, a change that cannot be unimpeachable integrity, andexplained by any other terms than undeniable reality. They areGod at work. Paul did not need always present whenever the realletters of recommendation when thing is being manifested. Merethis kind of change was evident in religion tries to imitate thesethe lives of his hearers. marks, but is never quite able to I once heard of a man who pull it off. By comparison withhad been an alcoholic for years these marks, phony Christianityand then was converted. Someone is always exposed as a shabby,asked him, “Now that you are shoddy imitation that quicklya Christian, do you believe the folds when the real pressure ismiracles of the New Testament?” on. The remarkable thing is notHe answered, “Yes, I do.” The that men seek to imitate theseother man said, “Do you believe genuine graces, for we all have ©2011 RBC Ministries 19
  20. 20. been hypocrites of one kind or you. Paul talks about it inanother since our birth. The truly 2 Corinthians 2—and it’s not forremarkable thing is that becoming sale at any price. It is absolutelya Christian does not of itself free!guarantee that these Christiangraces will be manifest in us. The SouRCe ofIt is not being a Christian that ouR SuffiCienCyproduces these, but living as a Remember the five marks ofChristian. There is a knowledge we authentic Christianity we justmust have and a choice we must examined: unquenchablemake before these virtues will be optimism, unvarying success,consistently present. The secret unforgettable impact,awaits us in the next section. unimpeachable integrity, and undeniable reality. These marksTHE SECRET came into focus for us as weT urn on the radio or TV, read Paul’s description of his and within minutes own experience and ministry in you’ll be bombarded 2 Corinthians 2. Yet Paul alsowith advertising. Each of these raised an important questioncommercials has a different look in that chapter—a question Ior a distinct sound, but all of deliberately bypassed in order tothem promise essentially the same save it for now. After listing thosething: the secret of fulfillment, marks of an authentic Christian,satisfaction, success, or happiness. Paul asks the reader, “And who isYou won’t find the secret, however, equal to such a task?” (v.16).by purchasing a product at the Let’s take that question verydepartment store, taking a cruise, seriously. Try to answer it! Who,or calling a number at the bottom indeed, is equal to such a task?of your TV screen. Who among us demonstrates the Don’t despair! The secret can kind of unquenchable optimism,be found. It truly is available to unvarying success, unforgettable20 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  21. 21. impact, unimpeachable integrity, new covenant—not of the letterand undeniable reality that is but of the Spirit; for the lettersupposed to mark the life of kills, but the Spirit gives life.an authentic Christian? Who He puts the great secretis a consistent model of these before us in unmistakable terms:qualities? Am I? Are you? “This confidence is ours through Are you equal to the task Christ! Our sufficiency is fromof continually, unfailingly, God!” Lest anyone miss theconsistently manifesting a implications of that, he puts thecheerful, confident spirit? An same truth negatively: “Not thatability always to come out on top? we are competent or sufficientA powerful, positive influence on in ourselves! No, our sufficiencyothers? Complete trustworthiness? comes from God alone.” NothingAnd such a reliable, realistic coming from us; everythingdemonstration of these qualities coming from God! That is thethat no one is ever in doubt about secret of secrets—the secret ofthem? Who is equal to such a true fulfillment, satisfaction, andtask? success. The question hangs in theair, waiting for an answer. Paul, live iT—don’Thowever, does not leave us groping waSTe iTfor an answer to his searching To live in this way, drawing ourquestion. In 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 sufficiency from God, is whathe gives us his forthright answer: it means to be “competent as Such confidence as this is ours ministers of a new covenant.” through Christ before God. He sharply contrasts this way of Not that we are competent in life with the old covenant, the ourselves to claim anything for dead written code, the “letter” ourselves, but our competence that “kills.” To live with nothing comes from God. He has made coming from us and everything us competent as ministers of acoming from God is to live in the ©2011 RBC Ministries 21
  22. 22. Spirit. The Spirit continually gives brings us nearer to death,Life with a capital L. This is the But nearness to deathsecret that produced the confident no nearer to God.spirit that characterized Paul Where is the lifeand empowered him to spread we have lost in living?the fragrance of the knowledge Where, indeed? We areof Christ everywhere he went. forced to honestly admit that weThe language he uses reminds us deliberately waste a good deal ofimmediately of the words of Jesus our life in useless dreaming andto His disciples: “I am the vine; profitless activity. But not all of it!you are the branches. . . . Apart At times we give it the old collegefrom Me you can do nothing” try, sometimes we are earnest and(Jn. 15:5). Neither Jesus nor Paul serious and do our level best tomeans to imply that no human act as we ought and do what weactivity is possible without reliance should. The results often appearupon God. Both the world and the very impressive to us, and even tochurch are full of examples to the others, but when we think of ourcontrary. approaching death, it all seems But both Jesus and Paul teach rather vain and futile. That’s whenthat activity dependent upon we ask, “Where is the life we havehuman resources for its success lost in living?”will, in the end, accomplish The apostle indicates that thenothing. It will have no permanent secret of an effective, meaningfulvalue. Men may praise it and life lies in what he calls “the newemulate it, but God will count it covenant.” Jesus referred to thisfor what it is—wasted effort. Just “new covenant” when He passedsuch a life is described in the the cup to His disciples at theplaintive question of T. S. Eliot: institution of the Lord’s Supper: All our knowledge brings us “This cup is the new covenant in nearer to our ignorance, My blood, which is poured out for All our ignorance you” (Lk. 22:20). This cup, taken22 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  23. 23. with the bread, is to remind us all obstacles till death. Nationsof the central truth of our lives: sign treaties with one another toJesus died for us in order that determine the conditions underHe may live in us. His life in us which they will work together.is the power by which we live a All these examples are forms of covenants, and it is apparenttrue Christian life. That is the newcovenant. from these that a covenant is It is important to understand fundamental and essential to allthe meaning of the word covenant. human endeavor.There are, according to Paul, two But the most fundamentalcovenants at work in human life. covenant of all is the one thatOne is the new covenant, which forms the basis of human lifePaul would describe as “nothing itself. We may not often think ofcoming from me, everything from it in this way, but no activity isGod.” This is in direct contrast topossible to us that does not restthe old covenant, which could be upon an underlying covenant.described as “everything coming We could not talk, sing, walk,from me and nothing coming from speak, pray, run, think, or breatheGod.” The root idea of covenant, without that covenant. It is anboth in Paul’s day and ours, is arrangement made by God withthat of an agreement essential to the human race, whereby we areall further relationship. furnished the life and energy we If two men go into business need to perform what God wantstogether, they form a partnership. us to do. We do not provide ourThe terms of their relationship areown energy. We are dependentcarefully spelled out so they will creatures, needing a constanthave a framework within which supply from God the Creator into work. Marriage is also a type order to live and breathe.of covenant in which a man and Now the great thing that Paula woman agree to share all they declares to us in this passage—have and to stick together against confirmed in both the Old and ©2011 RBC Ministries 23
  24. 24. the New Testaments—is that this kind of life he has in view, it willfundamental arrangement for be helpful to trace how he cameliving comes to us in one of two to learn this transforming truth forways. There is an “old” way that himself. If you think it all came tois linked inextricably with the Old him in that one dramatic momentTestament law of Moses—the in the dust of the Damascus Roadwritten code, the “letter” which when he discovered the truekills. identity of Jesus Christ and yielded But through Jesus Christ, himself to His lordly claims, thenthere is a “new” way that results you are far from the truth. It isin life that is unquenchably true that Paul was born again atoptimistic, is characterized by that moment; it is true that heunfeigned success, makes an understood for the first time thatunforgettable impact, operates Jesus was indeed the Son of God;with unimpeachable integrity, it is true that the center of thisand confronts the world with ardent young Pharisee’s life wasa testimony of undeniable forever changed from living for hisreality. Having discovered the own advancement to desiring theimplications of this new covenant, eternal glory of Jesus Christ. Butthe apostle finds himself qualified it may be of great encouragementto live as God intended him to to many of us who struggle inlive, and it is through discovering the Christian life to learn thatthese same implications for Paul also went through a periodourselves that we shall find of probably 10 years after hisourselves qualified by God to live conversion before he began toas God intends us to live today. live in the fullness of the new covenant. And it was during thishow Paul found time that, from God’s point ofThe SeCReT view, he was an abject failure inSince the apostle uses his own living the Christian life!experience as the example of the We can piece together24 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  25. 25. from Acts 9 and several other Damascus. Then Luke, withoutScriptures the full account of giving any indication in the textPaul’s conversion experience and whatever, goes on in his accountwhat happened to produce the to something that did not taketremendous change in his life. place for at least several monthsHere is a description of what took after the above events and whichplace after the experience of the may not have occurred for as longDamascus Road: as 3 years afterward: “Yet Saul Saul [Paul] spent several days grew more and more powerful with the disciples in Damascus. and baffled the Jews living in At once he began to preach in Damascus by proving that Jesus the synagogues that Jesus is is the Christ” (v.22). the Son of God. All those who Note that Paul’s (or Saul’s) heard him were astonished message is here said to be in the and asked, “Isn’t he the man form of “proving” that Jesus is the who raised havoc in Jerusalem Christ. There is a great difference among those who call on this between proclaiming Jesus as the name? And hasn’t he come here Son of God and proving that He to take them as prisoners to the is the Christ. Luke only hints at chief priests?” (Acts 9:19-21). what made the difference in his It is clear from these words phrase, “Saul grew more and morethat it all happened within a very powerful,” but Paul himself tellsfew days after Paul’s conversion us in more detail what happenedand his baptism at the hands of in his life. We find his descriptionAnanias. Paul began immediately, of that time in his letter to thewith characteristic vigor, to Galatians.proclaim (herald, announce) thedeity of Jesus (“He is the Son of fRom PRoClaimingGod”). This truth he had learned To PRovingin the glory of the light that Many scholars consider theflamed about him on the road to Galatian letter to be the earliest ©2011 RBC Ministries 25
  26. 26. of Paul’s epistles. Whether it is or how his discovery of the truthnot is uncertain, but it is clear that about Jesus of Nazareth relatedin it Paul defends his apostleship to the revelation of the prophetsand describes what happened which he had trusted ever since heto him after his conversion. He was a child.writes: As a Pharisee and based on When God, who set me apart what he knew of the Scriptures, from birth and called me by he had been convinced that Jesus His grace, was pleased to reveal of Nazareth was a fraud. Now His Son in me so that I might he knew better—yet somehow, preach Him among the Gentiles, somewhere, he must work out I did not consult any man, nor the mental confusion this new did I go up to Jerusalem to see discovery produced in him. Arabia those who were apostles before supplied the opportunity. So into I was, but I went immediately Arabia he went, the scrolls of the into Arabia and later returned Old Testament tucked under his to Damascus (Gal. 1:15-17). arm. As we might well surmise, We learn from this account he found Jesus on every page.that what served to greatly How the old, familiar passagesstrengthen young Saul at this must have glowed with new lighttime was that he went away as, beginning with Moses and allinto Arabia and then returned to the prophets, the Spirit of GodDamascus. What did he do in interpreted to him the thingsArabia? Scripture doesn’t tells us, that belonged to Jesus. It was nobut I don’t think it is difficult to wonder that when he returnedfigure out. We need only imagine to Damascus he came “greatlythe shock to this young man’s life strengthened.” And no wonderthat his conversion produced to too that Paul went into the samerealize that he desperately needed synagogues, armed with histime to go back through the Old newfound knowledge, and beganTestament Scriptures and learn proclaiming for the first time that26 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  27. 27. Jesus is the Son of God. In the conquest in the name of JesusJewish houses of worship, he were brought to this sudden andturned from passage to passage of degrading halt. How humiliatingthe Jewish Scriptures and “proved” to be let down over the wall in a(Greek: “to knit together”) that basket like a common criminalJesus was the Christ, the Messiah escaping from the reach offoretold by the Old Testament. the law! How shameful, how discouraging! Once over the wall,a baSkeT CaSe he slips off into the darkness ofThen things took a turn for the the night, bewildered, humiliated,worse. To young Saul’s chagrin, and thoroughly discouraged. Hethe Jews of Damascus were not stated later that it was both theat all responsive to his powerful lowest point in his life and thearguments. Luke tells us what beginning of the greatest discoveryhappened: he ever made. After many days had gone by, Where does he go from there? the Jews conspired to kill him, Luke tells us immediately, “When but Saul learned of their plan. he came to Jerusalem, he tried to Day and night they kept close join the disciples, but they were all watch on the city gates in afraid of him, not believing that he order to kill him. But his really was a disciple” (v.26). Paul’s followers took him by night own account agrees with this and lowered him in a basket exactly: “Then after three years, through an opening in the I went up to Jerusalem to get wall (Acts 9:23-25). acquainted with Peter and stayed What a burning humiliation with him fifteen days. I saw noneto this dedicated young Christian! of the other apostles—only James,Paul had become—quite the Lord’s brother” (Gal. 1:18-19).literally—a basket case! How How he managed to break throughconfused and puzzled he must the fear barrier to see these twohave been as all his dreams of men is given us by Luke: ©2011 RBC Ministries 27
  28. 28. Barnabas took him and brought preached to the Jerusalem Jews. him to the apostles. He told But knowing his ambitious and them how Saul on his journey dedicated heart, it must have been had seen the Lord and that one of severe discouragement. the Lord had spoken to him, Years later, he mentioned this and how in Damascus he had event in his great defense to the preached fearlessly in the name Jerusalem mob when he was of Jesus. So Saul stayed with arrested in the temple precincts them and moved about freely in and saved from certain death only Jerusalem, speaking boldly in by the timely intervention of the the name of the Lord. He talked Romans. In Acts 22 he tells us, and debated with the Grecian “When I returned to Jerusalem Jews, but they tried to kill him and was praying at the temple, I (Acts 9:27-29). fell into a trance and saw the Lord It is a familiar pattern. Once speaking. ‘Quick!’ He said to me.again the ardent young Christian ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately,is determined to persuade the because they will not accept yourGreek-speaking Jews that Jesus testimony about Me’ ” (vv.17-18).is the promised Messiah of the It is surely understandableOld Testament. Once again a plot that young Saul would seek theagainst his life is set in motion. comfort of the temple at thisIt is the Damascus story all over discouraging moment. Againagain. his efforts to bear a convincing witness for Christ had failed,geT ouT! once again men were seeking toAt this point there occurs another find an opportunity to kill him,gap in Luke’s account that we and he had no positive resultsmust fill in from Paul’s own with which to encourage himself.account elsewhere. Luke does not No wonder he went into thetell us young Saul’s reaction to the temple to pray. And there, to thisopposition he received when he discouraged disciple, the Lord28 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  29. 29. Jesus appeared—yet His message I understand their background.was anything but encouraging. I too am an Israelite, a Hebrew“Get out of Jerusalem,” said of the Hebrews, circumcised onJesus. “They will not receive your the eighth day, of the tribe oftestimony concerning Me.” At this Benjamin. I was a Pharisee likepoint Saul began to argue with they are. I walked before the lawJesus: “ ‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these blameless. I even persecuted themen know that I went from one church, as they are now doing.synagogue to another to imprison Why, when the martyr Stephenand beat those who believe in was killed, I even kept theYou. And when the blood of Your garments of those who murderedmartyr Stephen was shed, I stood him! Lord, don’t send me away. Ithere giving my approval and have what it takes to reach theseguarding the clothes of those who men. Don’t miss this opportunity!”were killing him’ ” (Acts 22:19-20). Jesus’ answer is abrupt and In these words Saul gave to the point. Paul tells us himself,himself away. We can now see “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go;what he was depending on for I will send you far away to the Gentiles’ ” (Acts 22:21). What asuccess in his witnessing efforts. Itis apparent that he saw himself as shattering blow! How crushedthe one person who was eminently young Saul must have been!qualified to reach the Jews for But to indicate how the church agreed with the Lord at thisChrist. His argument says in effect,“Lord, You don’t understand this point, Luke tells us, “When thesituation. If You send me out of brothers learned of this [the plotJerusalem You are going to miss to kill Saul], they took him downthe opportunity of a lifetime. If to Caesarea and sent him off toanyone understands how these Tarsus” (Acts 9:30).Jews think and reason, it is me. Tarsus was Paul’s hometown.I was one of them. I speak their There is no tougher place to golanguage. I know how they react. as a Christian than back home. ©2011 RBC Ministries 29
  30. 30. Paul had tried his best to serve his his plans dissolved in despair.newfound Lord with all the ability For 10 years he is not heard ofand energy he could muster. But again—not until an awakeningit amounted to exactly nothing. breaks out in Antioch of Syria andIn fact, at this point, Luke records the church in Jerusalem sendsa rather astonishing thing after Barnabas down to investigate.Paul’s exile to Tarsus: “Then the When Barnabas finds “a greatchurch throughout Judea, Galilee, number of people [are being]and Samaria enjoyed a time of brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24),peace. It was strengthened; and he knows help is needed.encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it In verses 25-26, we read,grew in numbers, living in the fear “Then Barnabas went to Tarsusof the Lord” (Acts 9:31). to look for Saul, and when he The record shows that at first found him, he brought him tothe apostle Paul was not so much Antioch. So for a whole yearthe dynamic history-changing Barnabas and Saul met with themissionary he later became. No, church and taught great numbersinitially the apostle Paul was of people. The disciples werereally something of a “consecrated called Christians first at Antioch.”blunderer”! In his earnest, It was a different Saul whofervent, good-hearted way, he came to Antioch with Barnabas.went about preaching the gospel Chastened, humbled, and taughtand stirring up all kinds of anger by the Spirit, he began to teachand hostility among the Jews! the Word of God. And fromWhen this “dedicated disputer” there he launched into the greatwas eliminated—sent away to his missionary thrust that wouldhometown of Tarsus—the church eventually take him to the limitsfinally had peace! It began to of the Roman Empire, spreadinggrow! Isn’t that amazing? the gospel with explosive force Saul goes off to Tarsus to nurse throughout the world.his wounds, his ego shattered and30 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  31. 31. aRe you a guarded in order to arrest me. ButbaSkeT CaSe? I was lowered in a basket from aWhat made the difference? window in the wall and slippedWriting to the Corinthians through his hands” (vv.32-33).many years later, Paul makes “That,” says Paul, “is myone brief reference to the event boast. That is the greatest eventthat triggered a line of teaching of my life since my conversion.that would culminate in a clear When I became a basket case,understanding and acceptance then I began to learn the truth thatof what he came to call “the has changed my life and explainsnew covenant.” The Corinthian my power.” What was that life-church had written to Paul and changing truth? Let Paul put it inbrazenly suggested to him that his own words, from his letter tohe would be more effective if he the Philippians:would boast once in awhile in If anyone else thinks he hashis accomplishments. To this the reasons to put confidenceapostle replied: “If I must boast, I in the flesh, I have more:will boast of the things that show circumcised on the eighth day,my weakness. The God and Father of the people of Israel, of theof the Lord Jesus, who is to be tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrewpraised forever, knows that I am of Hebrews; in regard to thenot lying” (2 Cor. 11:30-31). law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, What he is going to say will be persecuting the church; assuch a shock to them that he takes for legalistic righteousness,a solemn vow that he is telling faultless. But whatever was tothem the truth, otherwise they my profit I now consider lossmay think he is joking or playing for the sake of Christ. What iswith them. Then he tells them more, I consider everything awhat his boast is: “In Damascus loss compared to the surpassingthe governor under King Aretas greatness of knowing Christhad the city of the Damascenes Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I ©2011 RBC Ministries 31
  32. 32. have lost all things. I consider is to be utterly bankrupt before them rubbish, that I may gain some demand of life, and then Christ” (3:4-8). to discover it to be a blessing The word he uses for ‘’consider because it forced you to dependthem rubbish’’ refers to common, wholly upon the Lord at work inbarnyard dung. What he once you. That is where you learn theregarded as qualifying him to be truth of the new covenant, anda success before God and men nowhere else.(his ancestry, his orthodoxy, hismorality, and his activity) henow regards as so much manurecompared to depending upon theworking of Jesus Christ withinhim. He has learned how to shiftfrom the old covenant (everythingcoming from me, nothing comingfrom God) to the new covenant(nothing coming from me,everything coming from God), j this booklet is excerpted fromwhich gives life. He is no longer Authentic Christianity by Ray stedman,highly qualified to be utterly which is published by Discoveryuseless but is able to say: “My House Publishers, a member of thesufficiency is from God, who has RBc Ministries family. Ray stedman (1917–1992),qualified me to be a minister of a a graduate of Dallas theologicalnew covenant.” seminary, was pastor of the Peninsula Have you become a basket Bible church in Palo Alto, california,case yet? Have you reached that for 40 years. He is the author ofplace which Jesus described as more than 20 books, including Adventuring Through The Bible, Reasons“blessed”? “Blessed are the poor To Rejoice,The Way To Wholeness,Whatin spirit, for theirs is the kingdom On Earth Is Happening?, and his classic,of heaven.” To be “poor in spirit” Body Life.32 ©2011 RBC Ministries
  33. 33. More than 200 differentbooklets available FREE CATALOG! Visit us on the Web or write for your copy of the Discovery Series Resource catalog today.www.discoveryseries.org/catalogUSA: PO Box 2222, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2222Canada: Box 1622, Windsor, ON N9A 6Z7

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