1 Cor 12:27
INTRO: Identity is one of the great needs of humanity. If one is not secure in his identity, he is bound for insecurity and discontent. If one is not secure in his identity, he is without the foundation of history or a sense of profound purpose. To Christians I would say that not knowing who we are contributes to spiritual instability and doctrinal gyrations. Knowing who we are and appreciating who we are goes far to promoting faithfulness. I propose that one of the causes of ancient Israels repeated unfaithfulness was her failure to remember who she was! Who are we?
I. WE ARE SAVED PEOPLE
A. Mk 16:16 We have believed and have been baptized
1. here is something I can know
2. I can know it because scripture confirms it
3. I do not live my life wondering ... or waiting for some sign from God ... its in the book
B. Saved people need to live like it
1. Rom 6:1,2 makes the issue clear!
2. knowing we are saved people removes all other life options ... specifies our lifestyle
3. Titus 2:11,12 here is my course of life because of who I am!
II. WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD
A. Rom 8:16 What His Spirit instructed we have done
1. here, again, is something I can know
2. the Holy Spirit of God has given us the scriptures - words have meanings - by comparing what I have done to the God breathed scriptures I can know
3. I have no doubt, then, who my Father is ... God
B. That certainly brings responsibility as a child
1. I cannot justify misbehavior, folly on the basis of my being uncertain about my parents identity
2. I know, thus, I act, behave: Eph 5:8,10
3. my Father has not left me to guess His expectations
III. WE ARE THE BELOVED OF GOD
A. 1 Jno 4:8-11 I know it because of the cross!
1. words are so easy to say ... the real meaning is in the actions behind them
2. so, behind His words is the cross and Jesus death
3. He has proven beyond any doubt His love for me
B. His loving us has constraints on us
1. 1 Jno 4:19 here is how John put it - reasonable!
2. 1 Jno 5:3,4 now, he tells us that loving God in return is constraining
3. no identity crisis ... I know He loves me ... but am I living to the potential of a beloved child of God?
IV. WE ARE SERVANTS OF GOD
A. Rom 6:22 I know this because of scriptures affirmation
1. notice Rom 6:17,18 I obeyed; I was freed; I became
2. I have no reason to wonder to Whom I owe allegiance
3. so many people seem unclear about their purpose, their mission ... to whom they owe loyalty
B. My being Gods servant has attendant obligation
1. note the last part of Rom 6:22 - ye have your fruit ...
2. Gods servants are not known by uniform or flag ... but by the manner of their lives ... righteousness
3. we cannot be Gods servants and choose a life disloyal to His expectations
CLOSE: There is no reason to wonder who we are. And there is every reason for the knowledge of who we are to guide and direct our lives. If there is any confusion here, it is truly inexcusable. 2 Cor 5:14,15.
Cecil A. Hutson
23 December 2001
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)