Summary: A sermon that suggests thay when we let Christ bu8ld our identity then we are seen to be wrapped in Christ.
Galatians 1:11-24 New International Version (NIV)
Paul Called by God
11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother¡¦s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas[a] and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles only James, the Lords brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy. 24 And they praised God because of me.
Building well = Cladding establishing your Christian identity.
In this series of building well we have looked at excavating and buiding great foundations for our Christian lives and last weekwe looked at building an Industrial strength framework for pour christian lives.
You know sometimes we go through times of pain and feel that God is allowing our foundation to be dug really deep but I was listening to Joel Osteen this week and he said the deeper God has dug into your live indicates the higher he wants to build in your lives. If you have been through hard times. Difficultys temptations, setbacks God is excavating deep so he can build high in your life. I found this a really helpful insight.
But today I want to suggest to you your cladding is both personal and important How you wrap your Christian life is wrapped around the framework of the gospel will reveal the identity of your christian ministry. Paul said 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
It is Christ in you who should establish your identity.
Recently I was doing DTS in Tonga and a couple of things that happened really made me think about my Christian identity.
1. I had to communicate the gospel in word pictures and examples because I don't speak the language. I learned that my identity in Christ can't be restricted by my culture or what I think I know.
2. We were in Patangata and probably the least attractive area and I was encouraged to share my lunch with those around me to the point where I had no pie left for myself. I learned that my identiy can¡¦t be created or governed by my appetites.
3. I was pretty busy and didn't get any spare time to buy essentials so was delighted when I found a plastic comb lying on the airport floor. I learned that my identity can¡¦t be determined by social mores of my peers. I picked up the comb - Charles Colson writes in his book, How Shall We Live, the solution to the modern day identity crisis of the American Christian. "How do we redeem a culture? How do we rise to the opportunity before us at the start of a new millennium? The answer is simple: from the inside out. From the individual to the family to the community, and then outward in ever widening ripples. We must begin by understanding what it means to live by Christian worldview principles in our own behavior and choices. Unless we do, we will interpret the biblical commands according to the spirit of the age and will therefore be conformed to the world rather than to God's Word" (307).
John Piper has this story to share:-
Doug Nichols, the International Director of Action International Ministries, made the excellencies of God known in a tuberculosis sanitarium in India in 1967 he was a missionary with Operation Mobilization and got TB. He was in the sanitarium for several months. He tried to give tracts and copies of the gospel of John away, but no one would take them. They didn't like him and assumed he was a rich American.