Friday, 4 November 2011

Knowing Your Identity in Christ

Here is the latest “spirit food” message. You may wonder why it is not the next in the series of Romans, but I have felt somewhat bogged down with this and want to share with you something that is so much on my heart right now – taken from Ephesians, Paul’s writing on who we are in Christ! Thank you to several people who have asked me when this next blog message will be written and have prompted me to continue writing.  

KNOWING YOUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST

In Colossians Paul says that we are complete in Christ [Colossians 2:10]. We are to walk in Him [Colossians 2:6]; We are to be rooted and built up in Him [Colossians 2:7]
We used to sing a song, “He is my everything, He is my all….” and this is exactly how Paul sees Jesus – He is everything!

Our identity is in Christ and if our identity is in anything else then when difficult times come we will be shaken and will find it hard to stand! Our families, job, hobbies or ministry may be wonderful and may reflect our identity they may all fail and be lost. In Christ alone is our identity and security.
Our identity is not first in our job, our family, our ministry, however good and important these may be. but in Christ! When we know who we are in Christ we can reject the lies of the enemy; we can speak out with confidence and we do not have to grovel in fear about the future!

IN EPHESIANS PAUL POWERFULLY DECLARES WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST

WE ARE BLESSED [Ephesians 1:3]
Every blessing that God wants us to enjoy we have in Christ!
All the promises of God are available to us – they are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus!
In Ephesians 1:3 Paul says, “Every spiritual blessing” – there is no dichotomy in Christ between the secular and the spiritual – all things are spiritual in Christ, including material things!

WE ARE CHOSEN [Ephesians 1:4]
Jesus said that many are called but few chosen [Matthew 20:16]
This does not mean that He chose us but rejected others – the Gospel is for the “whosoever.”
We make the choice when He calls us!
Paul says that God chooses the foolish and the weak things to put to shame the things which are mighty [1 Cor.1:27] – the people who recognize their helplessness!
He chose us to bear fruit that would remain [John 15:16]
We do not serve Jesus to be accepted but we serve Him because we love Him

WE ARE ADOPTED [Ephesians 1:5]
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption
by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” [Romans 8:15]
Notice from Romans 8:15 that the adopted have:
[a] A deep sense of intimacy – “Abba, Father” – “Abba” is the most intimate word for father!
[b] Freedom from fear – we now belong to a family of love and perfect love casts out all fear!
[c] Become joint-heirs with Christ [Romans 8:17] – all that belongs to Jesus also belongs to us.

WE ARE ACCEPTED [Ephesians 1:6]
Jesus Christ was the most rejected man who ever lived, and because He was rejected we can be accepted!
Rejection is so often the root cause of fear, aggression, isolationism, and low self-esteem. It is the denial of love, acceptance and approval. The opposite of rejection is to be loved, accepted, approved, and affirmed!
In Jesus we are totally accepted – just as we are. The hymn writer Charlotte Elliott wrote about this in her great hymn, “Just as I am.”
“Just as I am without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God I come!
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome pardon, cleanse, relieve, Because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God I come!”
When the prodigal returned to the Father in Jesus’ wonderful parable he was totally accepted. The father ran to him and hugged him. He put a robe on him that covered his shame, he put a ring on his finger that said, “You are mine,” and shoes on his feet. Servants did not wear shoes but sons do! Here is total acceptance. Our heavenly Father totally accepts us.

WE ARE REDEEMED [Ephesians 1:7a]
To be redeemed means “to be bought back.” The picture comes from the slave market! A price has been paid for the slave and the slave becomes the possession it the one who bought him. Jesus paid the price to buy us back from the slavery of the devil!
Because He bought us back we want to give myself to serve forever!
“Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left its crimson stain; He washed me white as snow.”

WE ARE FORGIVEN [Ephesians 1:7b]
A part of being bought back is being set free! We are no longer in bondage. Our sins have been removed! Here is freedom, joy and peace! The joy of sins forgiven, hell subdued and peace with heaven!
“As far as the East is from the West so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
[Psalm 103:12]. According to Micah 7:19 – He casts all our sins into the depths of the sea!
When the Egyptians were covered by the Red Sea they were totally destroyed. When God forgives our sins they are put into the depths of the sea, totally destroyed, and never to be seen again! Hallelujah!
A songwriter wrote:
“Gone! Gone! Yes my sins have gone!
Buried in the deepest sea;
Yes that’s good enough for me,
I shall live eternally,
Praise God, my sins have gone!”

WE ARE SEATED TOGETHER WITH CHRIST [Ephesians 2:6]
Jesus is in heaven and our position is that we are “seated together with Him in heavenly places.”
Christ is seated above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named….everything is under His feet – and we are with Him!
According to Ephesians 6:12 the principalities and powers are demonic forces.
Seated together with Christ is our VICTORY – we share in His triumph!
Seated together with Christ is our AUTHORITY – He has given us His authority - we speak from authority and with authority!
To be seated together on the throne with Christ means that we also are reigning with Him. We are destined to reign with Him!

WE ARE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT [Ephesians 1:13-14]
Following hearing the Word of Truth, trusting in Christ and believing in Him, Paul tells the Ephesians that they were sealed with the Holy Spirit!
The word ‘sealed’ means to set a mark on something and this denotes that it is genuine, authentic and approved. It was also used in the sense of closing [sealing] a book or document so that it may not be opened or read, and is thus protective. We have the seal of acceptance, approval and protection and even more than that it is also the guarantee that one day we will receive everything that God has prepared for us – this is the deposit or down payment!

This is who we are in Christ – Blessed, Chosen, Adopted, Accepted, Forgiven, Reigning, Sealed!