Archives For John MacArthur

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”!

Points To Ponder

Joseph: His Role in a Bigger Story – Grace To You (John MacArthur)

Joseph’s sudden and shocking promotion to the right hand of Pharaoh was neither karma nor compensation. The betrayal of his brothers, the indignity of slavery, and the injustice of his imprisonment were all experiences ordained by God in preparation for a monumental rescue operation.

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How Your Church Must Be Unique -www.vergenetwork.org

No matter the denomination, socio-economic makeup, ethnic mix, city, or geographical region, a church must have Jesus as her foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11) and her chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-21). At the same time, a local church is a unique expression of God’s Church. Tim Keller speaks of the local church’s uniqueness in his book, Center Church:

Church models are in one sense unavoidable. The spiritual gifts and callings of a congregation’s leaders, together with their social context…will necessarily mean every church tends to be naturally better at fulfilling some metaphors [of the church] and doing some kinds of ministry.

While the foundation of a church must not be unique, the culture and ministry practice must be for at least three reasons.

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On The Common Beliefs of Teenage Americans – Christianitymatters.com

Christian Smith, professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, oversees a continuing studying of the religious beliefs of teenagers called the National Study of Youth and Religion. After interviewing hundreds of teens about religion, God, faith, prayer, and other spiritual practices, Smith and his colleagues have identified the common beliefs that the average teenager holds.

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Re-Examining the Divorce Controversy – The Recovering Legalist

I will never forget the phone call I got from a church in Rome, GA about 16 years ago. Someone on the other end of the line was part of a search committee looking for a new pastor. They had gotten my resume and were impressed enough to give me a call. Everything was going well until they asked a very pointed question, “Bro. Anthony, does your wife have a spouse that is still living?” I responded coldly, with squinted eyes and through clinched-teeth, “Yes, ME.” Unfortunately, this would not be the last time something like that happened.

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‘Frozen’ characters are Disney’s hottest ticket – Foxnews.com

Editor’s Note: I’m posting this because I am a father of a nine year old girl who just can’t get enough of Frozen!

Six months after the premiere of “Frozen,” Disney’s Oscar-winning, blockbuster animated film, an adoring public just can’t get enough of the princess sisters from the icy kingdom of Arendelle.

The success of “Frozen” swelled Disney’s second-quarter earnings to four times what they were last year, thanks in part to stellar home video sales and a chart-topping soundtrack. “Frozen” merchandise flies out of Disney stores as quickly as it arrives; a “Frozen” skating spectacular from Disney on Ice is set to tour rink arenas in the fall; and a Broadway musical is in the works.

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