Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, May 15
  • Who You Say I Am
  • Your Grace Is Enough
  • Made To Worship
  • You Say
  • We’re continuing our series about reaching our potential in Christ. That’s our vision, we want to reach our potential and we want to help others reach theirs (potential makers). Remember, it’s a journey, and the journey involves
    Knowing our Identity, Discovering our Strengths, and Serving our World.
    The last several weeks we talked about God’s attributes and His names because
    Knowing our true identity begins with knowing God.
    I like what David Benner says,
    “There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self, and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God” David Benner.
    Sounds rhetorical, but it’s not, because a lot of people are afraid to deeply know God …. If you want to go deep with God, you got to go deep with self ….
    Still talking about identity. Why spend so much time talking about identity? Again, David Benner -
    “As far as we can tell, in all of creation, identity is a challenge only for us” David Benner.
    True or false? Name one thing in all creation that’s confused about its identity other than humans. Penguins? Koala Bears? Capybaras? Think about it – the only living beings in all of creation who were created in God’s image are the only ones who are confused, rebellious, or resentful about their identity. Why is that? Natural rebellious nature against our Creator and a real enemy who wants to confuse us. The more humanity rebels against Go the more foothold the enemy has = more confusion (Romans 1 world). This is why we’re spending a lot of time talking about identity.
    When talked about God’s attributes and names, we stayed mostly within the OT. We didn’t talk a lot about Jesus and His names and titles. In case you’re wondering - the reasoning is that all of God's attributes and names are wrapped up in Jesus Christ.
    Remember, our identity should derive from God’s identity, meaning His identity becomes ours and that we should reflect Him. God is compassionate - we should be compassionate. God is merciful - we should be merciful. Etc. However, our identity is formed from more than just God's identity. We have talents and gifts, and we’ll get to that later, but
    Our identity is also formed by believing who God says we are.
    If I am going to reach my potential in this life, not only do I need to know the Great I AM, but I need to know who the Great I AM says I am? A little deviation here – to understand who God says I am, I must understand where I am in relation to God. The Bible is clear that there are only two groups of people in the world – saints and sinners – saved and unsaved - children of God and the children of the devil.
    Now it doesn't necessarily mean that the children of the devil are Satan worshippers. Now that can be the case, but generally it means you're not in God’s family – not saved, following the father of lies - the devil. I know we can cringe at that stark contrast, but it’s biblical. Following Father of Truth or father of lies?
    The apostle John made a very clear distinction.
    1 John 3:10 NIV
    This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
    He also says it like this -
    John 3:36 NIV
    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
    And again,
    1 John 5:12 NIV
    Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
    Very clear distinction.
    And remember the question we're asking is who does God say I am. And you must answer that question in this life – does God say that I am a saint because you have trusted in the name of Jesus Christ, or does He say I am a sinner? Does He say I’m in His family, or the devil’s family? Remember this is not about being a good or bad person - it's never about that. There are bad people in God's family. And there are good people outside of God's family. The issue is always about believing and faith - have you trusted in and put your faith in and confessed that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead and wants to forgive and give you new life?
    The Apostle Peter said,
    Acts 3:19–20 NIV
    Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
    Have you chosen Jesus? Have you invited Him into your heart?
    The whole point of that was to ask the question who does God say I am. And if he says you are a Sinner then you are a Sinner - but He also says you don’t have to stay a sinner. He loves you.
    Back to identity - when we talk about our identity in Christ, one of the go-to verses is
    2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
    Some people think or fear that when we trust in Jesus as Savior that He will completely change who we are. That's not entirely true. I was weird before Jesus and I'm still weird with Jesus. He didn’t wipe out my entire personality. This new creation is more about God working His salvation in us to reverse the effects of sin and to renew our identity- to regenerate, refine, correct, to make more alive … help us become who we were meant to be apart from sin.
    Again, Benner says,
    “This journey of knowing and living the truth of our being is not easy. Humans encounter a challenging existence. We step outside of ourselves and think of how we want to be seen by others.
    In short, we pretend, and soon lose ourselves in our persona and roles. Simple being is tremendously difficult to achieve and fully authentic being is extremely rare” (David Benner).
    True authentic being apart from sin and façade and ungodly influence is difficult.
    Don’t you think
    It would be wise to begin this journey toward true authentic identity by having a foundation for our identity that is unwavering and unequivocally true, given to us by the Creator of the universe.
    Yet, most humans build their identity on a foundation that is subjective – a foundation that changes with the whims and fads of culture or shifts with our emotional state or is influenced by what others think or say, or dependent upon our accomplishments and failures. So much of what we build our identity on is inconsistent, unreliable, and shifting sand. Why not build our identity upon but God the Solid Rock, and believe who He says we are? Why not look to the Word and believe?
    I know the pushback. I know the questions and the doubts. “Chad, I know the Bible says this about me, but I just don't see it or feel it.” Of course, you don't. The flesh doesn’t want you to, and the enemy doesn't want you to. The world doesn’t want you to. That's one reason why the Bible says in multiple places we live by faith.
    Some truths we have to make ourselves believe by faith and obey them until they become a reality.
    If you are in Christ, you are a child of God, you are a citizen of heaven, you are a royal priest, you have power and authority, Jesus is living in you ….
    In your handout are several Scriptures about identity. Meditate on these this week. But let’s take a look at one passage and see what it says about who we are in Christ.
    Romans 8:1–2 NIV
    Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
    Romans 8:14–17 NIV
    For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
    Romans 8:31 NIV
    What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
    Romans 8:35–39 NIV
    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Set aside time each day this week to reflect upon the following Scriptures.
    What do the Bible say about your identity?
    Which truths resonate most? Which truths are difficult to accept?
    What would you like to do with these truths?
    How will these truths help form your identity and strengthen your faith in God?
    John 1:12–13
    John 15:14
    Romans 8
    1 Cor. 6:9–11
    1 Cor. 6:19–20
    Galatians 3:26
    Galatians 4:4–7
    Ephesians 1-2
    Phil. 1:1
    Phil. 1:6
    Col. 1:21-22
    1 Peter 2:9–10
    2 Peter 1:3–4
      • Ephesians 2:1–2ESV

      • 1 John 5:12ESV

      • Acts 3:19–20ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 5:17ESV

      • Romans 8:1–2NIV2011

      • Romans 8:14–17ESV

      • Romans 8:31ESV

      • Romans 8:35–39ESV

  • No Longer Slaves

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