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Categorized | From the Pulpit

The Real McCoy

Pastor Dick Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta


Did you ever wonder where that expression “the real McCoy” comes from? According to the folks at phrases.org, nobody really knows for sure. Whatever the origin of the term, we all know what it means—the genuine article, the real deal!   What does real Christianity look like? What are the tell-tale signs that distinguish “the real McCoy” from a cheap imitator?   

Some might suggest real Christianity means going to church or having perfect attendance. Obviously, I’m in favor of church attendance, but I also know that there is more than that to “the real McCoy.” You can’t tell real Christianity by how big a Bible a person carries, or how a person dresses.

The Christian “real McCoy” always produces three things in a person’s life: controls the tongue, softens the heart, and purifies the soul, and if it doesn’t, something’s wrong!

“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless (James 1:26, NIV). Now, that is quite a statement. James explains this further in the third chapter; he says the tongue is harder to control than a wild beast. It corrupts like a poison and consumes like a roaring fire. There is not a single one of us that doesn’t know that by experience—either from the effects of our own tongue or from the receiving end of someone else’s razor-sharp words.

“A pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world,” (James 1:27, NIV). The plight of such people was not a pretty picture in the ancient world. We tend to rebel at what is fake, just as Jesus himself rejected fakes. Others can be fooled, but not God; he will unmask us sooner or later.  

Even sincere people are not perfect. A young man filled out an application for admission to a university, and in response to a request to “List your Personal Strengths,” he wrote, “sometimes I am trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” Where the form said, “List Your Weaknesses,” he wrote: “Sometimes I am not trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” No one is perfect.

One thing that has limited the influence Christians have on the world is that many who claim to follow Christ are not authentic. An inconsistent lifestyle repels people from the church. So how authentic is your walk? Are the people around you drawn to faith by your life? Do people who cross your path recognize that there is a difference in the way you live?

The key is being authentic, being real, not trying to just appear perfect, and if you think you are fooling everybody, then the only person you are fooling is yourself. You can be assured you are not fooling God. What you say and what you do, influences those God puts into your life, and we must be ready and willing to be the good news, before we tell the good news. 

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