ephesians-identity

I am excited that you have chosen to come along side me and join me for this Ephesians blog post series (Explanation here: Ephesians: Your Identity In Christ – Blog Post Series)

Let’s start way back when you were a child. What did you want to be when you grew up? I’ll give you some time to think about it. (Begin “Jeopardy” theme music now)

A lawyer? A fireman? A doctor? A teacher? A Veterinarian?

Now that you are an adult, are you actually doing what you wanted to be as a child?

Some of you may be, but for the vast majority, I would say that we are not doing what we wanted to be as children. But either way, if you are or if you are not, we all have our own identity. It’s what makes you – well, you!

Our identity is who we are, or who we think we are.

Merriam-Webster describes the word identity as the following: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual.

As Christians, we must understand that when we asked Jesus into our hearts we were bought with a price and we are no longer our own (I Corinthians 6:19-20). And because we are no longer our own, we are to take on the personality or identity of Christ.

Tony Merida (instructor for this series & pastor of Imago Dei Church) makes this statement:

If your identity is not in Christ, you will be dissatisfied. You were made for a relationship with God through Christ. When you become a Christian, you become a new person. You get a new identity.

So the question for Christians is this, “Who am I in Christ?” I am so glad you asked because chapter 1 of Ephesians lets us know exactly who we are and what HE has done for us.

“Titles” are everywhere we look. President or CEO of a company; Pastor of a church; Executive Secretary to the President and so on. Titles give us a form of identity. This title describes who we are. In case you don’t know, Paul wrote this letter to Christians. In verse two, he calls them – AND US – saints! How cool is that? Right off the bat, we begin to find out our identity in Christ. Every Christian is giving the title of “Saint”.

Merida says the following about our title of a saint:

The word “saint” has its root in the Old Testament, which speaks of God choosing a people from among the nations to be “My kingdom of priest and My holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). Christ has made us into a holy people (Ephesians 5:26). Positionally, we are holy because we are united with Christ. Now we must live in a manner that is consistent with this position. Personal holiness is about becoming in practice what we are in the position.

I want you to notice something very important about the next few verses in Ephesians (and other times through the entire book). Over and over again, we see the words “In Him”. This is very important for us to understand. Why? Because we must remember that we can do nothing without Christ. It is only IN HIM, that we can have salvation and it is only in Him that we are saints. It is in Him that our true identity lies. We can do nothing by ourselves.

John MacArthur makes the following statement in his New Testament commentary on the book of Ephesians:

Only by being “in” Christ can one has access to “every spiritual blessing.” In you are in Christ, then “Christ’s riches are your riches, His resources are your resources, His righteousness is your righteousness, His power is your power. His position is our position; where He is, we are … what He has, we have”.

ephesiansSo now that we understand that it is only “In Him” we have anything, let’s look at exactly who we are in Him. In the first chapter, we begin to find out more about this new identity we have in Christ:

  • We have been chosen & adopted by the Father (1:4-6)
  • We have been redeemed by the Son (1:7-12)
  • We have been sealed with the Spirit (1:13-140
  • We have been given resurrection power (1:19-20)

How incredible is this list? As Christians, this is who we are IN CHRIST! We are blessed, chosen, adopted, redeemed, sealed and forgiven!

Your identity, therefore, is in Christ, not in your performance, your popularity, your productivity, or your prominence.

As I finish this post, I want to leave you with one of the quotes by Tony Merida that really made me think:

If you love Jesus deeply, it will change your behavior dramatically.

As Christians, our title is “Saint”. Let’s walk worthy of this title and “live in a manner that is consistent with this position”!

ephesians-identity

This past Sunday evening, I had the privilege of starting and conduction a new Bible study at my church. I selected a study on the book of Ephesians, which is one of my favorite books of the Bible. The study is called Ephesians: Your Identity In Christ, by Tony Merida.

Over the next few weeks, I would like you to join me, and well as this class, for a journey through the book of Ephesians. We will be looking at some of the great truths of this book in regards to who we are in Christ.

Let’s begin with this: This world that we are living in tries its best to point out that if we don’t have fame, fortune or incredible looks, then we are a nobody. But for the child of God, that is so far from the truth!

Our TRUE identity comes only through Him and in Him!

Join me as we journey through the book of Ephesians and let’s see how God uses this for His glory!

Quotes from my readings banner

david-plattJust recently, my church went through David Platt’s Bible study entitled “Counter Culture”. It is an excellent study that shows how Christians should be countering our culture when faced with things like poverty, same-sex marriage, racism, immigration, abortion, pornography, and orphans.

A description of the book is as follows:

Everywhere we turn, battle lines are being drawn – traditional marriage vs. gay marriage, pro-life vs. pro-choice, personal freedom vs. governmental protection. Seemingly overnight, culture has shifted to the point where right and wrong are no longer measured by universal truth but by popular opinion. And as difficult conversations about homosexuality, abortion and religious freedom continue to inject themselves into our workplace, our churches,, our schools and our homes, Christians everywhere are asking the same question: How are we suppose to respond to all this?

David Platt (current president of the International Mission Board & former pastor at The Church at Brook Hills) tackles these subjects head-on and takes us to God’s Word for the answers. Each subject is looked at through the lens of what God says in His Word vs. what the world is saying.

Each chapter is excellent and brings out some great points but I want to focus on several quotes from the last chapter entitled “The Most Urgent Need: The Gospel & The Unreached”.

David opens the book with asking three questions that each of us must answer for ourselves.

  1. Are we going to choose comfort for the cross?
  2. Are we going to settle for maintenance or sacrifice for mission?
  3. Will our lives be marked by indecisive minds or undivided hearts?

Platt is urging the church and Christians to answer these questions. He makes the following statement:

Are we going to follow Jesus? Not, are we going to bow our heads, say a prayer, read the Bible, go to church, and give a tithe while we get on with the rest of our lives? But, are we going to follow Jesus with all our lives, no matter where He leads us to go, how countercultural the task is, or what the cost may be for us, our families, and our churches?

He goes on to talk about choosing comfort over the cross:

When we observe our churches today, do they look like groups of people who gather with one another as they give their lives to spread the gospel among unreached people, impoverished communities, abandoned orphans, lonely widows, dying babies, sex slaves, and suffering brother and sisters around the world? Sadly, I don’t believe that’s the picture we portray. Instead, we spend the majority of our time sitting as spectators in services that cater to our comforts. Even in our giving to the church, we spend the majority of our money on places for us to meet, professionals to do the ministry, and programs designed around us and our kids.

I can’t help but wonder what might happen if we put aside our personal preferences, let go or our extra biblical (and in some cases unbiblical) traditions, lay down our cultural comforts, and organize ourselves solely and sacrificially around God’s Word and gospel mission.

David Platt then talks about are we settling for maintenance or are we willing to sacrifice for the mission:

Over the course of the book, we have considered massive physical needs in the world. Yet as we contemplate these needs, if we are not careful, we run the risk of ignoring people’s most pressing need. That need is not for water, food, family, freedom, safety, or equality. As urgent as all of these things are for men, women, and children around the world, they are surpassed in urgency by a much greater need. That need – the most urgent need – is for the gospel.

The central message of the church in the world, then, is proclaiming the gospel to the world.

Jesus Christ gave us marching orders, and they are clear. Proclaim the gospel – the good news of God’s great love for us in Christ – to every people group on the planet.

Platt concludes the chapter by explaining that too many people are marked by indecisive minds. He pleads with each of us to have undivided hearts toward the work of spending the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Following Jesus doesn’t just entail sacrificial abandonment of our lives: it requires supreme affection from our hearts.

What must be consistent for all of us, however, is that we pray, give and go as He leads, and as we do, that we proclaim the gospel with conviction, compassion, and courage.

My favorite quote from this chapter and one that I hope and pray that I live out is the following:

For if the gospel is true, and if our God is worthy of the praise of all people, then we must spend our lives and mobilize our churches for the spread of Christ’s love to unreached people groups all around the world. Jesus has not given us a commission to consider; He has given us a command to obey.

I love listening and singing music from Bob Kauflin & Sovereign Grace Music. They have been writing God-exalting songs for over 30 years that the church enjoys singing.

Bob Kauflin is the director of Sovereign Grace Music and has been writing music for most of his life. He spent several years touring with the group GLAD. He has also written several books entitled Worship Matters & True Worshippers.

One particular song that Bob has written is entitled “O Great God”. It is a beautiful ballad of worship to God. This song was birthed from the prayer “Regeneration”. The words to this prayer go like this:

Occupy the throne of my heart, take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust, let no vile passion resist they holy war;
manifest thy mighty power, and make me thine for ever.
Thou art worthy to be praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul served with my every act of life.

Bob wanted to set this prayer to music because of how often he asked God to do whatever he needed to do to make him love and glorify God more.

This is a great song for all of us to sing that would help remind us to love and glorify HIM more. Take a look at the words and then click on the link at the bottom to watch and listen to the song. I am excited to introduce this to my church!

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me

Lord, let this be my prayer – that I would love and glorify You more and more each day!