The other night, I was chatting with Marc Neuman and Harold Holland about watches.  In the course of the discussion, knock-off versions of expensive watches came up.  Why would anyone want to give others the impression they owned an excessively expensive timepiece that only cost them very little (probably purchased from a street vendor)?  There are many reasons people might have for doing it, but for many, it is always done in hopes that others who see it will not know it is fake.  And a lot of us, like me, can’t usually tell the difference.

You can’t identify a counterfeit if you don’t know what the genuine article is.

Christians are to be lights in this world (Matt. 5:14).  Our light is actually a reflection of Jesus Christ who is the “light of the world” (John 8:12).  In shining in this dark world of sin, is our light a true reflection of the Lord?  Through us, is the world able to see the genuine Savior? 

In the first century, the apostles faced a world that had been exposed to many imposters, fake saviors.  When the Sanhedrin council was calling for the apostles’ execution for preaching Jesus as the risen Lord, Gamaliel (who was no believer in Jesus as the Christ) pointed out that there had been others who had laid claim to being lords and had loyal followers.  He cautioned his fellow leaders to not hastily condemn the apostles of Jesus.  If they and their Christ were bogus, like the others before them, they would soon diminish and disperse.  However, he said, if their crusade was of God, “You will not be able to overthrow them.  You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:33-42).  As we often say, the rest is history. 

We are to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1-2) and of Paul as he also imitated Christ (1 Cor. 11:1).  This imitation is a replication, not a false image.  In this way, we show others the authentic Lord so they will be able to know the difference from the many false impressions presented to them.

In order for us to succeed in this mission, we must first know the genuine Lord.  And in knowing Him, how are we presenting Him and His message to the world?  Jesus commanded His disciples to “love one another: just as I have loved you…. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).  Does the world know we are His disciples?  Can they validate our message as being from the Lord because we love one another as He loved us?

The message itself must also be true, complete and unaltered.  Paul’s strong words in Gal. 1:6-10, are for us today as much as they were for the Galatian Christians so long ago: “If we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

Our lives and our teaching must be reflections of Christ.  The world needs to know the truth, because it is the truth which will set us free (John 8:31-32).