YOUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST
This session is about who you are in Christ, how you know this and what it means for your life.
There is a Powerpoint to go with this
Who are you?
Ask someone in the room who they are and how they know. For example, ask someone what their name is. Then ask them how they know that's their name. Bring it round to the fact that their parents named them that.
God’s Word says who we are. It says many things about us. Just as we know our name because that is the name we were given, so we know who we are in Christ because of what God says about us.
You can draw these out of a hat, or give a question to everyone in the room - or let this inspire you to think of your own questions. Most of these questions are very 'straight' as we didn't want to offend anyone or have anything unexpected said. You could make it a lot more 'fun' or 'spiritual'..
Why are you?
Let’s look at God’s Word again in just 2 of the places we could look.. From The Message
- Ephesians 1.3-8: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
- Psalm 139.13-16:Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God--you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration--what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.
So we know that if we are Christians:
1. We were pre-planned. Not only this, but it happened before the creation of the world, you were the first thing God sorted!
2. We are adopted as God's sons through Jesus Christ. The Bible also says we are brothers and sisters of Jesus. We are in God's family.
3. In Christ, we have been saved by his blood, we've had our sins forgiven - all in accordance with God's riches which he has lavished (that means masses of riches poured out undeservedly and amazingly). We have been blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing.
4. We were individually crafted and shaped (intimately and lovingly sculptured), in physical appearance and giftings and everything else. before we even ended up in the womb.
5. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ACCIDENT WITH GOD. YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT!!
6. God knows how you were made, why you were made, planned, even down to the days of your life.
7. God is intimately involved in your life, watching you grow, involved in every stage of your life.
So we know who we are, where we come from, why we were made, that God paid the ultimate value for you, created you, wanted you, has plans for you, looks out for you, loves you, wants you to succeed, wants to be in relationship with you and has everything under control in our lives.
I don't know about you, but this blows me away. Awesome. How can we not praise God if we understand this.
Read the Bible verses out loud, then apply them to yourself, cos faith comes by hearing. So for example, 'Praise be to God.. who has blessed ME in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing..
What’s your history?
Your history does not define you. (Eg of caterpillar to butterfly). When you are saved (accept Jesus in your life), you become a new creation. The caterpillar changes into a butterfly. When he is a butterfly, there's no turning back, the old has gone, the new has come. This is exactly what happens when we truly choose to follow Jesus..
- 2 Corinthians 5.17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
What’s your future?
There's 2 parts to this. First up, is the plans for your life. Note that although God has plans for you, it is also dependent on you seeking after God and obeying him. If you are friends with someone, to hear from them you have to listen to them and spend time with them. This is the same with God. The more we look for him, the more we will find him.
- Jeremiah 29.11-14: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
Secondly, we have a future hope. A hope that is not for this world. You see, this is our true hope, the one main hope. God is making everything new (it's got a posh word called 'redemption'). So, he's making us new - new creations. He's also sorting out his true church, making us more holy and Godly as a body of Christian believers. And then one day, the earth and heavens we see will be made new - as they are so full of sin and mess they'll need to be restored - just like us. We'll throw off our human bodies for heavenly bodies, totally purified and clean and holy. But it won't be boring, it will be the most awesome thing. So awesome, God hasn't / can't even fully reveal it to us yet!!
- Revelation 21.1-3: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
How do you find yourself?
If you find who you are in God, then we need to seek God and get right with God to find out what he wants us to do with our lives. Makes sense huh? So, the Bible goes even further. The key to finding out God's will is to offer your body (and heart / mind) as a living sacrifice to God. Nope, it doesn't mean slicing yourself up as some weird sacrifice. But it does mean obeying God more and more, giving more of you to God, submitting more to God. Allowing God to change you through his Word and Spirit. As we do this, we become more holy as God changes us to be more like Jesus. As we do this, the Bible promises we will then be able to test and approve what God's will for our lives is. This will be a perfect and pleasing thing.
- Romans 12.1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
How do we move on?
The next stage is up to you. Having heard all these Bible verses, you may want to hand out paper and get people to write down certain things..
1. What do I need to do to move on with God?
2. What has God said to me today?
3. Are there any other Bible verses or visions God has given me I'd like to share with other people?
PRAYER TO END
Dear Jesus, thank you that you chose me and that I find my identity in you. Please make this real to me and help me to live in this reality, becoming more like you and finding out what your will for my life is. I thank you for all you've done in my life, thank you for dying on the Cross for me. Thank you that you hear and will answer my prayers. Amen.