Summary: We are to be Christ's presence in this world. This requires identification with sinners, demonstrating His love, and affirming the truth of the Gospel.
1. "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world" (John 17:18).These words are part of Christ’s high priestly prayer in John 17. Jesus is about to die and He looks back over His life and work. A most intimate moment between Father and Son which Jesus allows His disciples and us to hear. In this prayer He says we are to complete the work He has begun. (Also John 17:4-6,9,15-16,20).
1. Christ became a human for our salvation. This meant He had to die on the cross to pay the debt of our sin, but also that He spent 33 years teaching us and bringing the good news and the call to repentance.
2. By examining how He carried out His work, we can see how we also can be effective in our mission.
3. David Augsburger says there are 3 dimensions to Christ becoming man.
4. Today we consider IDENTIFICATION. Christ took on a human nature which enable Him to identify with us (Phil 2:7)
5. Heb 2:17-18 gives us two reasons why Christ was made like us:
a. "That He might make atonement for our sins". Only a man can pay for mankind’s sin.
b. "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Christ understands what temptation is and He suffered when He was tempted.
6. Christ was tempted in every way, yet was without sin. He therefore "sympathizes" with our weaknesses" (Heb 4:15)
a. Christ’s temptation was greater than ours. The only trees that know the full power of a storm are the ones which remain standing, since they fell and did not experience the complete storm.
h. When church leaders gets caught in sin, we are shocked and we should be. We must not react publicly that we are surprised Christians sin. It sends a message of us being holier than others (on own strength) and holier than we really are.
8. Failure to identify sends out the following messages to unbelievers:
a. We are hypocrite because we show our sins and weakness, even if we try to cover them up.
b. We make some think they could never measure up because they think we don’t have same struggles as us.
c. We don’t really care for the lost because of our judgementalism.
d. We see them as the enemy rather than victims of the enemy.
e. Reveals the sin of spiritual pride we have. This makes us forget or at least not appreciate the grace of God.
9. Challenge to congregation - Do you identify, do you admit your weakness, are you gentle?