This week in our Romans series Pastor Chris taught us the difference between authentic and counterfeit Christianity. Genuinely walking with the Lord brings transformation, obedience, and sincerity of heart. God invites us to give Him our whole heart and allow Him to change us.

• Authentic ~ of undisputed origin; genuine.
• Counterfeit ~ made in exact imitation of something valuable with the intention to deceive.

Authentic Relationship Leads to Transformation

Romans 2:12–13 (ESV)
12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

James 1:23-25 (BSB)
23For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, 24and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does.…

Romans 12:2 (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

• Conform ~ assuming an outward expression that does not reflect what is really inside, a kind of masquerade or act.
• Transform ~ Metamorphosis which is a change in outward appearance.

Authentic Relationship Leads to Obedience

Romans 2:14-16 (ESV)
14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Matthew 7:21–23 (ESV)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 7:24–27 (ESV)
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Authentic Relationship Leads to Honesty and Sincerity

Romans 2:17–23 (ESV)
17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.

Authentic Relationship Lives from the Heart

Romans 2:24–29 (ESV)
24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

“Heart” encompasses not only a person’s emotions but also his spiritual, mental, and physical life.

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Matthew 15:8 (ESV)
8 “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

Ezekiel 36:26–27 (ESV)
26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Luke 6:45 (ESV)
45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Authentic relationship with the Lord leads to a transformed life. What are some ways you have been transformed by the Lord? And what are some ways you have conformed to the world and still need to be transformed?
  2. Authentic relationship with the Lord leads to obedience. Are there areas you look more to the demonstrative to gauge your authenticity (casting out demons, prophesying, ect.), rather than the fruits of the Spirit (gentleness, peace, love, ect.)?
  3. In the past few weeks, we heard sermons and answered questions about hypocrisy and religious forms in our lives. It’s time for an update and a check -in! How are you doing with moving away from religious forms and toward genuine Christianity? What are some practical ways to continue moving toward sincerity of heart?
  4. Pastor Chris left us with the question, how is your heart? Are you right with God? If not, what needs to change?

Application Questions:

  1. This week, sit with the Lord and ask God to search your heart. Ask him to show you any areas that are not right with Him. For example, are you hard-hearted toward God? Are you still living in religious forms? Spend some time in repentance and thanksgiving.

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