Monday, September 16, 2013

IDENTITY: "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Here are the notes from the message yesterday at New Life Community Church.  This was the first of the 6-part series IDENTITY: Finding the Real You.  It is entitled: "Who Do You Think You Are?"  If you would like to listen to this message, you may do so by going to our website at  God bless!

IDENTITY: Finding the Real You, Part 1                                                    Sun., Sept. 15, 2013
 “Who Do You Think You Are?”

The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.  Isaiah 62:2 (ESV)

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’  Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  II Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, very first lines: 
“Our wisdom, is so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two part: the knowledge of God, and of ourselves.  But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes, and gives birth to the other.  For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts toward God in whom he lives and moves…and indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves.”

Who do you think you are?

The answer to that question is         IDENTITY-SHAPING
Please note, I did not ask, “Who are you?”
I asked, “Who do you think you are?”
Our world is taken with pop psychology’s answer to this question:


How do you answer the question:
“I am _______________.”
Rich                 Poor
Young             Old
Smart               Stupid
Loved              Unloved
Single              Married
Married           Divorced
Desirable         Undesirable
Successful       Failure
Hope               Hopeless

This starts when you’re little. 

CHILDHOOD:  From the earliest age. 
First-born?       Baby of the family?    Middle child?
What were you like?   Funny kid?      Chubby kid?   Athletic kid?   Quiet kid?

TEEN YEARS.  Jr. Hi and High school.  Teen years.
Jr. hi.  Met with all new challenges.  New schools.  New relationships.        Everyone trying to tell you who you are.             Your body starts changing.     If you’re a boy your voice changes.    Or maybe everyone else’s body is changing and yours isn’t.  Clothes become important. Hair. Hair products.  Time in the bathroom.             Growth spurts or lack thereof. Am I staying up with my peers?  Are they leaving me behind?        

COLLEGE.  Chance to completely reinvent yourself.  New freedoms.  You move out of the house, maybe away.  Fresh start.  How do I want people to perceive me?  What kind of person do I want to be?            Will I go to church or not go to church?    Will I drink or not drink.  Will I sleep around or not sleep around?  Will I go where friends are?      What kind of friends do I even want?
Bigger: what kind of degree will I get?  What do I want to be?  Life choices start being made.  What kind of job do I want?  Will I make enough money?  Will I be in a relationship?  Or will I be single forever?

CAREER:  You get the job and it consumes your identity.  Follow a career path.

MARRIAGE:  Suddenly your identity becomes very conflicted.  You thought they were going to marry you to help you become who you wanted.  But they were thinking the same thing.  Suddenly two selfish people with separate identities come together expecting something that the other cannot provide.  They collide into misery.  We call this marriage. 
The Bible says, “Two become one.”  Two what?  Two IDENTITIES.  Whereas you once asked “What is my identity?”  Now you ask “What is our identity?”
Young woman must go from career-minded, self-sufficient, self-determination to being a WIFE.  Must learn to allow her husband to lead their home.
Man must learn how to be a HUSBAND.

CHILDREN:  a new center around which the family orbits.  Soaks up all the identity around it.  It determines where you go, what you eat, what you spend, when you sleep, if you sleep, how you plan vacations, how the house is organized, what car you buy.

EMPTY NEST:  Kids get older and don’t need you like they used to.  They start moving out.  When the empty nest hits you, there’s another identity crisis.  Sometimes the kids held the marriage together.  The marriage can crash into divorce when the idol moves out.

WIDOWED:  Alone.  Spouse is deceased.  Kids grown up and gone.  Grandchildren only call occasionally.  WHO AM I?

1.     Who do you think you are?
2.     Who does God say that you are?
3.     Who does Satan say that you are.

Who do you think you are?

The answer to that question is         IDENTITY-SHAPING

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.  Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)

Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Who does God say you are?

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…  Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV)

1.     You are a REVELATION Receivers

You don’t have to figure out who you are.  God already knows it.  He made you and He SPEAKS.  You are to seek it and receive it. 
No need for SPECULATION; instead we get REVELATION.

2.     You are the IMAGE BEARER.

Made to mirror.  Not a matter of how you look, but how He looks on you.
Not a matter of what you do, or how you look, but of what you carry.  You carry the image of God.

3.     You are OVER and UNDER.

What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?  Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!  You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, Psalm 8:4-6 (NASB)

This cuts directly against the current evolutionary understanding of man.
We are not just the product of CHANCE AND NECESSITY.  Light hitting some primordial ooze.
We are not just lucky animals with thumbs.
You have a God-given place in creation:  over and under.

4.     You were BIRTHED for BLESSING.

Doctrine of ORIGINAL SIN. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)

Who does Satan say you are?

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, … Genesis 3:1 (NKJV)

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