After 14 months of painstaking research to determine authenticity, the Getty Museum paid $10 million for an ancient Greek statue.
A entire team of experts examined the statue. A geologist had determined that the marble came from an ancient quarry on the island of Thasos. The statue was covered with a thin layer of calcite, a substance that accumulates on statues over hundreds or thousands of years. Letters and bank accounts tracing its history since being excavated were investigated. It was looked at from every angle before the Getty paid $10 million.
Fourteen months of research!
But it was a forgery sculpted in the early 1980’s.
It was only after the $10 million was spent that the museum did a deeper check of the references and letters and bank accounts, discovering that some of the bank accounts never existed and the people who had held it earlier were non-existent.
What made them take a deeper look?
It was the reaction of a series of art historians and specialists in ancient Greek sculpture who took one look and instantly doubted its authenticity.
Many of them couldn’t exactly explain why they doubted its authenticity, but they said things like, “Anyone who has seen Greek sculptures taken from under the ground knows this isn’t the real thing.” And one expert said he immediately wanted to throw up when he saw it.
Jesus told a story similar to this, except in his story the forgeries are professing believers who by most measures are genuine, but they’re not. And the expert detecting the forgery with just one look is Jesus.
It’s a chilling story.
The fakes cry out, “Lord, Lord.” They cite the evidence of their faith. They seem pretty confident of their standing with God. But Jesus is repulsed.
It’s actually kind of easy for this to happen.
So how can we know our faith is genuine—the real thing, authentic?
That’s what we’re going explore this weekend in the sermon. We’ll look at 5 necessary elements of authentic Christian conversion.
Conversion is necessary. You don’t become a Christian by enlisting, registering, or signing up. You convert. It’s central to Christian faith and theology.
The 5 elements can give the genuine Christian confidence and assurance.
But they can also help some professing Christians realize that they need to be converted so they don’t end up repulsing Jesus.
And these elements are, of course, crucial for an explorer of Christianity. Here you have what it means to become a Christian and how to become one.
We’re going to identify these 5 elements of authentic conversion by looking at what is arguably the greatest conversion story told in the Bible.
This might be a great week to invite a friend who is seeking God.