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BY Lahry Sibley

1 Cor 9:27 But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline
it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the
Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand
the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].

What is a counterfeit? Isn’t it something made to look like the genuine

article, but is not? It is a phony, and it has little or no value. The one who
owns it knows it is a cheap imitation, yet will flaunt it as if it were the real
thing. Why? They hunger for the approval of man. They want to fit in with
the crowd. They want to appear to be successful, even though they are “not
all that”.

I remember some years ago, I bought my wife a 5 kt zircon stone solitaire

ring. All the women in church spotted that thing on her finger when she
came through the door. They were slobbering all over it like it was the real
deal. See, it looked so real, that they actually thought it was a diamond. I
don’t think neither my wife nor myself told them any different, though we
were careful not say it was in fact a diamond. We just presented it and let
them draw their own conclusions. They were easily deceived because they
wanted to believe it was real. They themselves had a desire for something
like it that was real, and they were envious to some degree that my wife
owned such a ring. It was a “counterfeit”.

The whole thing made me feel counterfeit inside. There was no way I could
even afford a diamond ring of such grandeur and beauty. And just because
this ring looked like the real thing, it did not bring the personal satisfaction
that would have been mine, had I the funds and so forth to afford and give
my wife such a gift. We were as phony as the ring. It was beautiful, it
sparkled and dazzled, but it was not the real thing. It was a “counterfeit”.

Today, we live in a world of counterfeits. The insatiable appetites for the

riches of this world is so great, and so few can afford them, that shrewd
marketeers began producing counterfeits to make the poor look rich.
Synthetic diamonds are but one of this kind. They attempt to make their
products look expensive, yet deprive them of value and quality of the real
article by every means possible. Even our food is saturated with synthetics,
and we love it so. Why? Because it makes us feel like we have the expensive
stuff, and that calms the appetite for greed. Whether it satisfies or not, is
often immaterial, as long as it appears to others that it is real. We compare
ourselves to ourselves. We dress like, talk like, act like, whatever is the
current fad or whoever is famous and/or successful. We are a nation of
counterfeits and counterfeiters.

Tragically, our churches have not escaped the “sin”sation. As long as a

person acts pious, attends so called church regularly, and especially if they
give their tithes or better, we think wow, they are a “good chrisitian”, they
are somewhat satisfied. They may even sit on committees, or be a deacon,
lead the praise team or even pastor. They adorn themselves like what is
currently well received in the commercial and entertainment arena, and they
present what appeals to the flesh, and call it “God’s salvation plan”.
Entertainment, amusement, emotional hoopla are presented as the
“manifest power of God”, yet there is no more real power than man can
muster. Nothing is spared to attempt to deceive. Laser lights, smoke
machines, loud music, screaming singers, clothes that advertise debauchery
with no shame. When it comes to deliverance and healing, a cheap imitation
is all they can muster. And they call themselves “angels of light”.

People then run around all over town telling their friends about their
“STARBUCKS” church and call that witnessing. They talk about the “music”,
they talk about all the “perks” available at their “church”, who’s who in
attendance, the children’s programs, Super Bowl party night, youth mission
trips to Disney world, everything man can imagine except the CROSS. Why?
Because the CROSS puts an end to all this foolishness.

The CROSS makes genuine Christians out of genuine hellions. The CROSS
kills the self life. Those who have been there to die, know that they are to
deny themselves daily and they willingly do so, because dead people don’t
need the glitz and glitter of this world. They are dead to it. It means nothing
to them. They don’t compare themselves with anyone but Christ and their
hearts desire is to be like Him; humble, meek, righteous. Keeping Him the
center of attention in their own lives and in the lives of those around them is
all they think about, all they want, all they do. It’s all about Christ. They are
spirit filled because they understood what genuine repentance is and they
have presented themselves as a living sacrifice. They are dead to this world.

Since they have repented and set their heart to obey the One Who died for
them, no matter what the cost, they are filled with the Holy Spirit. How do
we know that they are filled with the Spirit? Because they speak In tongues?
Because they prophecy? Because they say they cast out demons? Because
they work miracles (which are really illusions at best)? No, beloved. They
OBEY God, and they testify of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Let me tell you about
Jesus” is the burning passion of their soul. Everything that the world loves
pales in comparison when you hear these folks talk about Jesus. Their
tongue is anointed, with POWER. You see, Jesus said that when the Holy
Spirit comes, He will testify of me. You can be sure that when you meet
someone who only wants to talk about Jesus, give Him glory, honor, and
praise, that person is filled with HIM. FILLED TO OVERFLOWING WITH HIM.
Every time they bump into someone, Jesus spills out. Jesus. JESUS!!! Glory
to God!!!!!

Acts 5:32 And we are witnesses of these things, and the Holy Spirit
is also, Whom God has bestowed on those who obey Him.

Who does God fill with the Holy Spirit? The tongue talker? The sea walker?
The best dresser? The “comedian preacher”? No, beloved. The Holy Spirit is
lavished upon those who OBEY GOD. It’s a simple test, beloved. You say you
love God? Do you? Do you keep His commandments? All 10 of them? Is He
your every breath? Has your character suffered some dramatic changes from
being changed from selfish to selfless?

See, obedient children are God’s children. The nature of disobedience and
selfishness and all the rebellion that goes with it, has been crucified with
Christ. It is no longer themselves that live inside their bodies, but the Master
Himself. He is their Lord, therefore He is their Savior. He is all in all, and for
all, who have genuinely presented themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and
acceptable unto God.
God accepts no substitutes, no synthetics, no counterfeits. You either come
to Him through what Jesus did on that Cross, and you reckoning yourself
dead with Him, or you cannot come to the throne of grace at all.

Are you a real genuine dead unto sin and alive unto God Christian? Or, are
you in truth, just a counterfeit? Selah - Lahry