Four12 article image for 'Without Masks' about living out true Christian community.

Without Masks

True Christian community is a beautiful thing. There is nothing that quite comes close to being part of a group of people whom you love and who love you. It is something we can easily take for granted, yet it is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

John understood the joy that true community gives. He writes to fellow believers saying, “Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 12).

I’ve met many Christians from all walks of life and often experienced an immediate connection and camaraderie with them.

Jesus, Our Reason for Community

It has to be stated that the only reason we are able to experience this joy is because we share the same King and His kingdom values. The early church members were able to devote themselves to the fellowship and to living out community in each other’s homes because they had met Christ and encountered the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2).

I’ve met many Christians from all walks of life and often experienced an immediate connection and camaraderie with them. For some, after spending only an hour with them, it feels like I’ve known and loved them my whole life. This is the work of the Spirit of Jesus. He binds us together (see 1 Cor 12:12-13).

Sincerity, a Mark of Community

However, I’ve also seen Christians struggle with relationships within church life. Some do not experience the joy of community, even though they know the Lord. Paul in Romans 12 gives an important truth which can help us experience true community. He says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves” (Rom 12:9).

In the original Greek, Paul uses the word ‘anypokritos’ to describe sincerity. The word has its roots in the theatrical world of acting, where actors would wear masks and pretend to be someone else.

Paul says that true love is not like that. It is without hypocrisy and play-acting. It is sincere.

..putting on a mask undermines my capacity to love others and for others to really love me.

It is fascinating to see where the word ‘sincere’ comes from. It comes from the Latin ‘sine cera‘, which means ‘without wax’. In later Roman times, the words sine cera would often be stamped at the bottom of clay pots or marble sculptures. The stamp meant that the pot or sculpture had not been covered over with wax to hide its cracks or defects. The words sine cera came to be a guarantee of truthfulness, of ‘what you see is what you get’. The genuine article. The real thing. Without wax.

Love and Live Without Wax

God gives us a simple key here to walking in closer community: be yourself. Love and live without wax. I’ve realised that putting on a mask undermines my capacity to love others and for others to really love me. I’ve had to learn to open up my life to others. It hasn’t been easy, as I’ve struggled with feelings of insecurity over the years. What has given me assurance is in knowing that my validation and affirmation comes from Jesus. He loves me! From this place, it has been much easier to live a genuine and transparent life.

The liberating truth is that when we choose to live honestly and allow people into our lives to see who we really are, cracks and all, it creates an opportunity for true Christian fellowship and love to develop. This doesn’t mean it will be all sunshine and roses. Conflict will happen, since we are not yet perfect. But if we honour one another and deal with conflict in a godly way, true Christian community can prevail.

God’s will is for us to share our lives with one another and to “love one another with brotherly affection” (Rom 12:10). The world is attracted to this kind of genuineness. A bunch of Christians living without wax will be a powerful testimony to the world of God’s love and forgiveness.

Michael serves on the eldership team in Joshua Generation Church and is the Dean of Timothy Ministry Training. He is married to Adrienne, and they have three children. Michael loves to teach, write, train up future leaders and play tennis. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more.

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Cheating
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Selling Out
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honour
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Children
Forgiveness
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Tithes
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Recalibration
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Taiwan Churches
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Pastor
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resilience
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uncompromising
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Healing and Miracles
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Youth
Death
Tribulations
Partner
Overcoming
Humbleness
Immorality
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Christian Leaders
Debt
The Word
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Condemnation
Bear Fruit
Complacent
Recalibrating
Teaching Kids
Partners Relief Fund
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Netherlands
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Church
Apostolic Field
Administration
Racism
Church Partnering
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Christian Authors
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Heaven and Hell
Obedience
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Caring for Others
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Online Church
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Conflict
Meekness
Lust
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The Gospel
Purgatory
Control
Finances
The Word of God
Modesty
Judgement
Bearing Fruit
Comfort
Divorce
Teaching Children
Four12 Partners Relief Fund
Pastors Training
The Poor
Letting Go
Values
Partnering
Heart of God
Justice
Church Partnership
Great Commission
Existence of God
Christian Literature
Old Testament
Romance
Apostles Teaching
Apostles
Evangelism
Holiness
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Caring for People
Doubt
Church Involvement
Wife
Reconciliation
Overseers
Lying
Deception
Hell
Raising Children
Godliness
Miracles
Word of God
Ordained
Equality
Breakthrough
Defending My Faith
Covenant
Teenagers
Four12 Churches
Training Pastors
Needy
Rastafarian
Translations of the Bible
Preaching
Authentic Community
Relationship with God
Faith and Works
New Christian
Creation
Reading
Worldviews
God's Love
Presence of God
Apostolic
Faith
Holy Spirit
Pastoring
Suffering
Brotherly Love
Eternity
Community
Wives
Bishops
Shepherd
New Believer
Greed
Immaturity
Raising Kids
Parenting
Poor
Bible
Ordinance
Unforgiveness
Refreshing
Defending The Gospel
Matrimony
Teenage Years
Four12 Church
Youth Leaders
Ireland
Redemption
Godly Leadership
Disciple
Church Discipline
Church Health
False Teachers
Fatherly Love
Tongues
Goats
Fear God
Godly Love
Body of Christ
God's Presence
Authority
Faithfulness
Holy Spirit Baptism
Patience
Teaching
Character of a Deacon
Grief
Compromise
Blueprint
Character
Addiction
Pornography
Signs
Christening
Starting A Church
Parents
Poverty
Study the Word
Stewarding
Punishment
Being Hospitable
Sharing The Gospel
Restoration
Training Kids
Malawi
Leading Youth
Surrender
Testimonies
Christ
Delegating
Servant
Social Gospel
Character of God
Worth
Gift of Tongues
Godly Elders
Big Churches
Salvations
Sacrificial Love
Potential Leaders
Baptism
Fear of God
Hospitality
Peace
The Bible
Church Leaders
Hardship
Fellowship
Holy Living
Character of an Elder
Adultery
Rebelling
Signs and Wonders
Baptise
Infant Baptism
Power
Possessions
Study the Bible
Steward
Hatred
Hospitable
Spreading The Gospel
Relationships
Training Children
Health
Youth Training
Counting the Cost
Healing Equip
books
Raising Leaders
Shepherds
Contentment
God's Character
Affirmation
Judaism
Enlightenment
Building Deep
Prostitution
Godly Team
Footholds
Breaking Bread
Festivals
Idolatry
Prayer and Fasting
Theology
Foundations
Heaven
Fellowship of Believers
Leading Church
Diversity
Church Accountability
Rebellion
Witchcraft
Baby Christian
Kassie du Plessis
Protector
Tithing
Envy
Quiet Times
Retaliation
Lessons
Spreading The Word
Cheating
Training Teenagers
Cancer
Youth Ministry
Following the Call
Four12 Equip
Eldership Training
Community Leading
Pastors
Rest
Sacrificial Serving
Sonship
Jewish
Reason
Selling Out
Prostitutes
honour
favour
Devil's Schemes
Children
Forgiveness
Income
Prophetic
Tithes
Helper
Illness
Principles
Living for Christ
Government
Discipling
Sancti
Words of Knowledge
Babies
Prayer
Sexual Purity
Christmas
Jealousy
Meditation
Promises
Loss
The Cross
Persecution
Unfaithfulness
Sacrifice
Brazil
Prophetic Training
Healing Conference
Identity
Small Group
Biblical Pattern
Systematic Theology
False Gospel
Testimony Apostolic
Jews
Reasoning
Watering Down
Reaching Out
Expectancy
Christian Character
Generosity
Jesus
Purity
Trust
Helps
Mortality
Christian Family Values
Lukewarm
Home Group Leaders
Exhort
Sanctification
Dominionism
Beliefs
Praying
Celibacy
Fathers
Comparison
Training
Bible Study
Tests
Cross
Fear of Man
Find Forgiveness
Sacrificial Service
Brazil Churches
Prophetic Equip
Voice of God
Team
Home Group
Change
Servant Leadership
Apostolic Leaders
Authentic
Religions
Intellectual Pride
Ambition
Fruitfulness
God's Favour
The Church
Christian Living
Gentleness
Joy
Repentance
Unity
Loving People
Infirmity
Family Values
Righteousness
Leading
Exhortation
Self-Righteousness
Kingdom of God
Commands
Provision
Sex Before Marriage
Mothering
Women in Leadership
Halloween
Honesty
Testing
Crucifixion
Conversion
Guilt
Sacrificial Giving
Church Merger
Equipping
Saints
Leadership Team
Priesthood
Jehovah's Witnesses
Women In Ministry
Fruit of the Spirit
Womens Ministry
Messiah
Mind Idolatry
Megachurch
Biblical Paradox
Honouring God
God's Manifold Wisdom
Church Leadership
Church Life
Giving
Kindness
Revival
Water Baptism
Servant Heart
Living for Jesus
Covenantal Relationships
Division
Accusation
Flesh
Sexual Sin
Scripture
Customs
Provider
Living for God
Mothers
Female Leaders
Calling
Christian Fellowship
Backsliding
Easter
Witnessing
Infidelity
Biblical Culture
Merging Churches
Prophetic Equipping
Gift of Prophecy
Apostle
Priesthood of All Believers
Finance
Servanthood
Biblical Church
Praise
Atheism
Church History
Living the Gospel
Paradoxes in the Bible
Honouring People

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