Steven Furtick - Tired of Fake
This is an excerpt from: Keep It 100
As much as I hate the expense of exposure, there's something I hate much more. I'm going to tell you this: I hate fake. Maybe it's because a guy made me a custom suit one time, and I found out it was fake. A custom suit off the rack. The way I found out was I looked at the belt, and it said "Kenneth Colk" with a K. So, if the belt is fake… I looked into the suit. "What were you doing all that measuring for"? It was off the rack. I hate fake. That watch I bought in New York City… That thing broke in two weeks. I bought 10 of them. I was going to give them out as Christmas gifts. When mine broke I threw them all away. I hate fake. Do you hate fake? I don't even really like small talk. Holly said to me the other day, "You are so bad at small talk. You have got to get better at small talk". I'm like, "Teach me. I want to know how to do it".
There's just something about me. I want to connect with the deepest part of you. I want to know what you struggle with. I want to know what you dream about. I want to know what you're tempted by. I want to know what you think about when there's nobody but you and God and a pantry full of food. Let me in! I hate fake! I hate fake friends. Just tell me you're my enemy, because the Bible says, "Love your enemies". At least I know what to do with you if we could get the relationship established. I hate fake! Don't smile at me. Just flip me off. I'll turn the other cheek. Just slap me. I hate fake. In fact, my life can be divided into the years before and after I found this out.
I remember the day one of my family members told me, "You know professional wrestling is fake, right"? That ruined my childhood. That took my innocence. They ought to put people in jail who tell you stuff like that too young. "You mean Hulk Hogan is fake? The Ultimate Warrior is fake? The Big Boss Man is fake? Dusty Rhodes? That's the American Dream! Are those polka dots fake too"? She said, "You know it's fake". Gene Haynes took us to a wrestling match. I said, "Man, I don't even really want to go anymore. I found out it's fake". He walked me up to the mat, and he goes, "Stomp your foot on that". It was hard. Then he said, "When you see them slamming each other on that hard floor, does that feel fake"?
Now, I don't know how I remember this, but he said something like this. I've probably changed it a little bit. I'm going to keep it 100. I don't know if he said it exactly like this or if I'm just morphing it to be the perfect sermon quote. Got that? Keep it real. He said something like, "Just because the ending is scripted doesn't mean the impact isn't real".
So I took this from it: it's fixed, but it's not fake. You still have to pick up 280 pounds over your shoulder. You still have to do the Boston crab. The Boston crab still feels funny. Just because the ending is predetermined… I remember the day I found out it was fake. Do you remember the day you found out that a lot of what happens in churches and faith circles is as fake as big men on steroids covered in oil wearing Spandex underwear? (I'm just trying to make sure you're not hungry so you can listen to me. That's why I went into so much detail. I saw you get a little disgusted when I said that.)
There's something about finding out that a lot of the people who were telling you, "Oh, we've been happily married 35 years…" You don't know they've been married 45 years, happily married for 35. Do the math. They don't tell you about those 10, those hidden 10. "Oh, we just trust God". I never set out to be this real preacher telling embarrassing stories on myself, but I couldn't stand the fakeness I sometimes experienced. I mean, come on. We all have moments where we aspire to one thing and live another. That's not called hypocrisy, by the way. That's called humanity. "Oh, I thought that preacher was a man of God. Then I found out they were a fake". Not necessarily. They might have been really sincere in their faith, just weak in their humanity and flesh, just like you are.
Let's keep it 100. We all need the grace of God. None of us want all of our business on the front page of anything, ever. So, part of me, in reading Romans 4, was realizing that we are hearing about a hero of the Jewish faith and the Christian faith. He's an interesting guy, and his name is Abraham. You've heard of him. He is nicknamed… If he had a WWF, the "worldwide worship federation"… (This stuff just comes to me. The Holy Spirit gives it to me on the spot. I just say it. Put that on the list for "Did I say that out loud"? That was so corny.) It said Abraham is the father of many nations. Some call him the father of faith. Not just for Jews, speaking from a diasporic or a genetic or even a religious position, but everyone who believes in this God (Yahweh), revealed in the person of Yeshua (Jesus), can trace it back to Abraham's faith. That's what the passage is about.
One thing I want to show you in verse 16… He says the promise, speaking of the promise God gave to Abraham… What was the promise? The promise was "I'm going to bless the whole earth through you. I'm going to give you a boy. Your boy is going to have boys. Those boys are going to have boys. There are going to be women who give birth to the boys, and it's all going to result in a nation called Israel that will bless the earth". Now we find ourselves in Romans, chapter 4, where the apostle Paul is basically having to challenge these believers who want to be circumcised. Do you know what that is? I'm not going to keep it that real to break that down all the way. You can Google stuff. Okay? And saying, "All right. Since God told Abraham when he was 100 that he had to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant, if you put your faith in Christ, you have to go back and be circumcised".
Now, keep it 100. If that was the membership protocol for this church and you weren't yet circumcised, all of the men who would join the church at this stage in your life, stand up. No anesthetics. Right. That's what was happening to the Gentile believers. They were being told, "You have to do this to belong. You have to look like this". It's a contrast you'll see over and over again in the Scriptures, maybe the main contrast in the New Testament, of the external signs of salvation and the internal reality of the kingdom of God. One comes from the works of the law, or the works of the flesh (they're used interchangeably). One comes from the grace of God. I love that it says it so clearly. Follow me in verse 16. "Therefore, the promise comes by faith…"
The promise comes by faith. Oh, thank God! If it came by works, if it came by effort, if it came by gold-star behavior, I don't think I'd get it, but the promise comes by faith. Settle down. That's not the good part. The promise comes by faith. Why? "…so that it may be by grace…" Ah, it gets better. It comes by faith (that's the vehicle) so that it may be by grace (that's the basis). Faith is the box it comes in. Grace is the basis it is built on. In order… This is the part that got me. "…[that it] may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law…" The religious system for being right with God. "…but also to those who have the faith of Abraham". So, it comes through faith. What does? The promise.
I should clarify here. God keeps 100 percent of his promises. Let me stand right here and say it. Even though people die too early, even though people get sick in their bodies, even though abuse that should never happen happens… I'm saying it like the Bible said it. God keeps 100 percent of his promises, but God does not keep 100 percent of our preferences, our plans, or our desired positive outcomes. I have to keep it real. I could make you shout over that first part: God keeps 100 percent of his promises. All you have to do to get the whole room to shout is substitute positive outcomes for promises. People will shout, because they'll be shouting over stuff they think God is going to magically do because I said a word that hit a button called promise. We don't know any better than to think that God promised us everything in our lives would be positive as it happens.
So, we start shouting about stuff we want to happen without ever consulting whether God ever said it would happen, and then we blame God and walk out of his house and walk away from our faith and walk away from the family of believers and stop praying and stop praising when we're asking God to keep a promise he never made. Y'all told me to keep it real. I'm keeping it real. God did not promise you no bumps and bruises. God did not promise you no bee stings or breakups or broken hearts. I don't want to spend too long here because I don't want to bring it down too negative. I want to keep it positive. This is a faith message, after all. But I want to point out that the basis of Abraham's faith should be the basis of our faith because he is the father of faith. This is so profound: the basis of true faith is grace. "In order that it may be guaranteed".
I love that. It takes the same grace to save everybody in this room. You think grace is like a custom suit. No, no, no. Grace is one size fits all. You need God to cover all of you. Let me tell you how I know that. The Bible says even our righteousness is as filthy rags to him. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The faith of Abraham is enough to know that this has to be by grace. By faith, by grace, in order that it may be guaranteed, because if the promise depends on me… Now, this is what I believe. You have to come to your own conclusion. If the promise of what God wants to do through my life depends on me, we'll see. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe Monday, maybe not Wednesday, if it depends on me.
But if it's by grace, if this whole thing called Steven Furtick started in the mind of God, if this whole thing called your life started in the heart of a Father… If this whole thing was part of the blueprint God created before the foundations of the earth to be a blessing to the world…not just to be blessed yourself, but to be a blessing… If it starts with grace, it's guaranteed, and that's why I praise God for the guarantee that wherever I go, grace will beat me back home. Wherever I go, grace will beat me to the boardroom. Wherever I go, grace will beat me. Grace will meet me in the mistake, pull me out of the mistake, turn it around and make it a miracle.