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Take Off That Mask

Good Morning Family,

It's so good to have you with us today.

Heavenly Father,

It is so good to be together today, 
in this place, with our church family,
together listening for Your still small voice.
In this time of worship, fill this place with Your Holy Spirit
reveal to us Your message of love and gentle kindness toward others
so that we can seek it.
Show us Your grace, mercy and justice.
As we humbly walk with You,
Teach us how to better serve You
Amen.


"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?"
Matthew 7:15-16 

We need to see people the way God sees people...
In our human minds, we see tall people, short people, fat people, thin people, dark people, fair people and so on. When we put on the mind of Christ, we will see the image and likeness of God, the image and likeness of God, the image and likeness of God, the image and likeness of God… real human persons, not another statistic in the crowd.
The mind of Christ enables us to treat people fairly, without discrimination. We will seek what Christ desires, and love what He loves!

So I've entitled this message: Take Off That Mask

Go ahead, look at the person next to you and tell them,
"Take Off That Mask!"
 
Inwardly:

Who they really are…
They say they are one thing but, they turn out to be something else.

There is a danger in aligning yourself with someone who is not who they say they are.

Jesus said watch out for these people because who they really are is something far different then who they appear to be.

I understand that a sheep is a harmless animal.
They do not prey on other animals.
They eat grass and not meat.
A wolf on the other hand is something that kills and eats whatever it can, whenever it can.
The wolf is obviously something that is very dangerous.

You can be injured very quickly when you hang around people who appear to be one thing but turn out to be something far different.

Jesus told us that there are some people, who appear to be very religious,

They look like they are one of the sheep.
They dress the part.
They look the part
They may even sound like a sheep.

 But given time and opportunity, who they really are will be revealed and you may not like what you see.

"Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
Mark 12:38-40

When you read the Gospels, you will find a common thread with Jesus.

He does not like people who say they are one thing but are actually something else.
Jesus didn’t like people who wore masks.
And here’s why,
People who wear masks create confusion in the Church.

They misrepresent to the world who Jesus is and what living for Him is really all about.

 This confusion causes those people who need salvation to be turned away from the Church because they find there something worse than their own situation.

 Hypocrisy.
Jesus told a parable one day…  He said….

"And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye."
Luke 6:41-42

Can you imagine a person walking around with a beam in their eye, trying to help other people get the little splinters out that they may have.

I can almost hear Jesus saying to us today.
Take off that mask!

Stop pretending to be something that you are not.
It is better to be real.
It is better to be honest.

This is why you hear Jesus over and over telling people to not judge one another.

He knew that if people in the church were to judge one another that the person being judged may start acting like nothing was wrong in order to keep other people from judging them.

Listen church,  if we keep pretending, acting like nothing is wrong, we’ll never get healed.
If we pretend like everything is 'honky dory' in our live when really we need the church to pray for us and support us, then we will never be benefited by the love of the family of God.

Can I say to each of you today, “There is a beauty in being who you really are.”?
You are beautiful, just as God created you!
Turn to the person on your right and say
You are beautiful, just as God created you!

When you are genuine, God can use you.
And if who you really are would prevent Him from using you, then at least He now can work on you and heal you to the point that He can then use you.

Hear me out…your life doesn’t have to be perfect for God to use you.

It just has to be honest.
It just has to be real.


When I read the scriptures, I find God using some pretty savory individuals.

Some of them are liars.
Some of them thieves.
Some were drunks
Some adulterers.
Some murderers.
One man who God used to write most of the New Testament had actually been a murderer and torturer of Christian men, women and children.

Church, I’m not sure it gets any worse than that!

But in the day that Saul had a coming to God moment where he took off his mask of religious piety, God said, “Now I can use him.”

You see, at some point it’s time to take off the suit and tie and show them who Jesus really is.

Or maybe for you it’s not a suit and tie.  Maybe it’s your pride.
Or maybe it’s your pain.
Or your prosperity.
Or your education.
At some point it’s time to take off the mask that the real you hides behind so the Holy Spirit can heal you and clean you up so you can show your family and your neighbors who Jesus Christ really is!

I don’t know about you, but I want to be real.
I want to be honest with God and with you.

I don’t know if everybody knows this or not, but 1 Timothy 3:16 tells us that the Great God of the Universe, stepped down off of the throne of Heaven, took of His royal robes and clothed Himself in the weakness of human flesh so He could reach people.

We want this church to be approachable.
We want to be accessible to anyone who would walk through those doors.

Masks you see come in many forms.
Jesus mentioned the scribes and their long clothing…

They loved to dress up and put on the image of religion.
They thought what they wore made them Holy.
They thought how they looked told people who they were.

Inwardly Jesus said, “they devour widows houses”, but outwardly they pretended to represent the Kingdom of God.
That’s what I love about Jesus; I don’t have to put on some mask in order to be loved by Him.

He loves me just the way I am.
He died for me when I was at my worst.
He cared for me when what I looked like and what I acted like was completely reprehensible to Him.


That’s why I love Him,

You don’t have to put on some act to be accepted by Him.
You don’t have to wear a mask for Him to love you or use you.

You just have to be real.
You just have to be honest.

You see if we are not real, we never will reach people with the love of Jesus.

 You can’t wear pride and show people Jesus,

And I’ll tell you something else, you can’t wear a mask that Looks Like Jesus and pretends to represent Him if you really don’t and I’ll tell you why…

People’s needs are too great.
A false image of God cannot heal the broken hearted.
A fake persona that tries to be religious cannot minister to people whose lives are falling apart.

If we’re going to be used to reach this world the way Jesus intended for us to reach it, we are going to have to take off the masks and be vulnerable to the criticisms of those who would judge us.

I’m putting down the piety and picking up the cross that Jesus died on so I can show the people I love how much He loves them.
It’s time to be real.
It’s time to be honest.

I have won more people to God.
I have baptized more people.
I have prayed more people through to the infilling of the Holy Spirit in the last 3 years than I have in my entire ministry and I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing differently.


I’ve stopped acting the way I think people expect me to act and I’ve started loving people the way I know He wants me to love them.

Can I say today, “It’s important to be real.”?

It’s ok to be common
It’s ok to authentic.
It’s ok to Take Off That Mask.
It’s ok to be someone who people can relate to.
Because if they cannot relate to us how will they hear us when we tell them about our God.

I know today that you have loved ones you would really like to introduce to Jesus.
I know today that there are people in your family that you would like to see come to church.

The people around us need to feel what we experience when we come together on a Sunday morning like this.
I wonder today if you would consider spending some time this week with someone you know and love and inviting him or her to be your guest here next week.

Folks, let’s take off whatever it is that is separating us from the ones that we love.
Let’s show them that we love them.
Let’s show them that we care about them.
 

Let’s Take off that mask and show them Jesus.

"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the Lord."
Psalms 134:2

And now
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen
Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved
Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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