Mississippi News

The marks of genuine Christianity

By Lynn Jones

A man returned from a visit to New York City and showed a friend a Rolex watch that he had purchased on the street near Times Square. His friend asked, “Is that a real Rolex?” The man said, “It’d better be, or I’ve wasted a good $25.00.”

Of course, this problem is not limited to products that we buy. It is also a problem in the Christian life. Some carry the name, but they lack the commitment and dedication that are marks of the real thing.

While this is a persistent problem, I am grateful that we see the opposite modeled in the New Testament. Philip had the name, and he also demonstrated the character. He had the marks of authenticity about his Christian life.

Lynn Jones

Philip was selected as one of the leaders of the church in Jerusalem who helped solve the crisis over equal distribution of food among the church members (Acts 6). He not only helped deal successfully with that problem, but soon he blazed a trail in the pioneer advance of the gospel into Samaria (Acts 8).

We do not hear of Philip again until probably 20 years later. It is recorded in Acts 21:8-9 that Philip had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. There was evidently something so compelling about the authenticity of their father’s faith that they had made it their own. Do the ones who know us best, our families, see the marks of authenticity in our faith? Is there something about the genuineness of our walk with the Lord that makes them want to know Him?

Another mark of genuine Christianity is endurance. Anyone can make a good beginning, but we need more than good beginnings. We need the kind of steadfastness that marked the commitment of Philip over many years.

In his old age, Patrick of Ireland carried a pagan leader into the river to administer Christian baptism to him. It was Patrick’s custom to take an iron standard shaped like a cross into the water with him. Before the baptism, he would drive the standard into the bottom of the river and let it stand as a reminder of the One in whose name the baptism was being performed.

Patrick baptized the leader, and then they came out of the water. As they did so, everyone noticed that the man who had been baptized was limping. It was only then that they discovered that the iron rod Patrick had thrust downward had hit the man’s foot. Patrick asked, “My son, why didn’t you cry out?” The new Christian said, “Why should I cry out? I thought it was part of the ceremony.”

To follow Christ means to plant your feet, take your stand for Him, and never move from that commitment. How about you? Is Christianity just a name you bear, or does your commitment show the marks of the real thing?

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: kljones45@yahoo.com

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