“Identity in Christ: Destined for Adoption”
Psalm 24: 1-6; Ephesians 1: 1-14; Mark 6: 30-34, 53-56
Pearl: Our primary identity to be held above all others is in Christ Jesus.
Function: To move worshippers to loosen their hold on all identities for the sake of their prime identity in Christ Jesus.
What would you say is the greatest single project of childhood and youth?
- It is argued that the greatest ongoing project for young people from an early age is to work out who it is that you are.
- Many young people enter college today without a clear sense of a vocational direction. This is very common. It might be more common today because young people’s sense of self and who they are is being attained at an elevated age even as compared to 30 to 40 years ago. It is suggested that young people had a sense of self at age 17 in 1980 which on the average is not being realized until the age of 23 today.
- The work of knowing who you are may well go on and on through life. I shared a bit of my spiritual journey last week which most definitely is an evolution and I expect the evolution to continue.
- You most likely hold many identities.
- You will note my black suit and gold tie today. On the other hand many of you are wearing various shades of purple. Yes, we hold tightly to our NFL loyalties, don’t we?!
- Are you of Irish, Italian, Indian, Asian, or African descent? While you are an American, you may well hold tightly to your unique ethnic heritage.
- People hold onto many identities. I don’t have to list all of the various labels which you use to classify yourselves. And many of those identities have sub-identities within them. You may be a biker, but there are many biker clubs within the larger identity.
- People naturally latch onto identities as they work out their sense of self.
- I beg you to hold all of those identities lightly underneath your primary identity of being a follower of Jesus Christ.
- The reason that you and I can enjoy good-natured, sporting banter back and forth as rival Ravens and Steelers fans is that our primary identity which superimposes itself over every identity is our being in Christ Jesus.
Hold tightly and tenaciously to who you are in Christ Jesus!
The Apostle Paul wrote a message in his letter to the Ephesian Church which spans the ages: everyone has a destiny.
- God wishes to know and love everyone in a relationship. Paul spoke of “predestination” in this opening chapter. Within that word “predestination” is the word destiny. God’s destiny for all people is that they become a part of his community of believers.
- Before the time that you were born God put within you a destiny to be related to him and to be a partner with him through your life. Everyone’s destiny is to be adopted by God into the community of faith.
- The second season of the very popular television drama “This Is Us” began last week. It is the story of a couple who became pregnant with triplets. At birth one died. As the couple lamented the death of this child an orphan child was also in that nursery born that same day. The couple decided to adopt this other child sort of to take the place of the one who died.
- This is a Caucasian family and the orphan child happens to be African-American.
- These parents love each of these children equally and unconditionally.
- The orphan child has the opportunity to meet and get to know his biological father near the end of his father’s life.
- Every young person must do the work of discovering who they are. It is not easy work. Think of the extra layer of self-knowledge and self-discovery that comes to those who were adopted.
- In reality all people are adopted into the community of Christ as their primary destiny in life. You are adopted into your primary identity: you are “in Christ Jesus.”
- You will search out sub-identities but your primary identity is that you are followers of Jesus Christ. You have a relationship with God. This is your destiny above all others.
Hold tightly to this primary identity. You are in Christ Jesus.
This being the case your calling is to live as it says in Ephesians 1:12 “for the praise of his glory.” Your purpose in life is to live for the praise of God’s glory.
- A very popular book a couple of decades ago was “The Purpose-Driven Life” by Pastor Rick Warren. In the opening words of the book it reads: “It is not about you.” Throughout the book is worked out the message that life is not about you and me but about God. That puts everything in perspective.
- Holding lightly all of our sub-identities but holding tightly and tenaciously to Christ is our primary purpose in life.
- Nothing should come above your loyalty to Christ.
- Nothing should get in the way of his will and way.
- Everything, for the believer, is filtered through Jesus Christ.
- The will of Jesus prevails over your will.
- Your loyalty to country pales in comparison to your loyalty to Christ.
- Your loyalty to family must come second to your loyalty to God.
- Christ is your center. Christ is your primary identity.
- If every Christ-follower took this more seriously there would be less division and polarity within the culture.
- Giving Christ first place means giving others first place.
- He said that you should seek the welfare of others over self.
- If more people sought the welfare of others ahead of their own welfare, there would certainly be less meanness and more kindness, less division and more unity.
- Giving Christ first place means giving others first place.
- You who live according to the ethic of Jesus can be trusted.
- A young woman was soaking up the sun on the beach when a little boy carrying his towel came up to her and asked her if she was a Christian. She was surprised by the question, but she said, “Yes, I am.”
- Then he asked her: “Do you go to church every Sunday?” Again her answer was, “Yes!”
- Then he asked her: “Do you read your Bible and pray every day?” She again answered “Yes!”
- At last the boy sighed and said, with obvious relief, “That’s great! Since you are a Christian, will you hold my 50 cents while I go swimming?”
Hold tightly and tenaciously to who you are in Christ and hold every other identity loosely.
If more people held more tightly to who they are in Jesus Christ the tone of popular culture would most certainly improve!
The Table of the Lord defines you! At the Table you find that you belong to the community of Jesus Christ.
- When you go to the Table and consume the elements of bread and wine you proclaim that you belong heart and soul to your faithful Creator made known in Jesus Christ.
- Communion is a repeating reminder of your primary identity: you are adopted into the community of faith through Jesus Christ.
- The Table of the Lord reveals who you are and ends the fervent search for identity. You are in Christ Jesus, your Savior and Lord.