Summary: God has given to us a wonderful identity in Christ; but the Accuser will attack our thinking and try to rob us of the full realization of it.
Identity Theft Prevention
This morning I want to talk with you about “Identity Theft”. According to the Federal Trade Commission, last year alone, approximately 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft. The cost was nearly $ 50 billion. There are a number of government web sites on the internet training people on how to protect themselves from this kind of assault. As we speak thousands of people are being harassed and robbed because they did not know how to protect themselves from this terrible crime.
Do you know how to protect yourself from identity theft? I want to talk about an identity theft that can cost you more than money and reputation. There is thief who works night and day trying to rob Christians of their identity in Christ. The robbery takes place in the believer’s mind and the damage not only affects that Christian but it also affects a whole lot of other people. When we are confused about who we are our families suffer, our church suffers, unbelievers suffer because of what they don’t receive from us. Most of all we suffer all kinds of turmoil, anxiety, and loss of joy. Has the Devil tried to rob you of your identity in Christ? Has he tried to convince you that you are not what God has said you are?
I want us to see from our text this morning just how prominent the issue of identity was for our great forerunner, Jesus Christ.
I. Identity Confirmed Let’s begin at His water baptism back in Luke 3:21-22, “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”
Focus with me for a moment upon what the Father said, “You are my Son...” What is the Father doing? He is confirming identity! “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus is unique in that He is the only divine Son of God. There is no other to compare with Him and there never will be. We are partakers of the divine nature but we are not divine and never will be. But having said that let me also say this: every born again believer needs to hear something like this in his spirit from the Father. “You are my child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” The Father is pleased with us because we are “in Christ”, covered by His precious blood and sanctified by His Spirit. I can think of no better therapy for the human soul than to hear from God, “You are my child, whom I love; with you am well pleased.”
Those words from heaven prepared Jesus for the fierce battle he was about to fight concerning his identity. Nothing will equip you better for spiritual warfare like a word from heaven reminding you of who you are in Christ, reminding you of the Father’s love and acceptance toward you. That’s the kind of thing Paul was reminding believers of in the first chapter of Ephesians. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph 1:3-6 NKJV)
For our own good, for our own emotional health and spiritual well being, we need time in our heavenly Father’s lap hearing His words of love and assurance. When we neglect intimacy with God we deprive ourselves of much needed identity affirmation. It’s tragic when we try to get it somewhere else because that is always insufficient. Only God has the ultimate right to tell you who you are. He will connect your identity with family, with local church, with the Body of Christ. But our identity is defined by the Father and by our relationship with Him.
Why is water baptism so important? It is important because it is our public identification with Christ. When we go down into the water we are declaring that our old life is over, our old man is dead, we will no longer live according to that old identification. We will now live according to our identity in Christ. Your water baptism gives you a specific point in time to look at in your history and be reminded that the life you know live is defined by your new relationship in Christ. Old things have passed away. You now have an identity which you have been born into. It’s not a status you earned it was feely given to you in Christ. For any of you who have not been baptized in water I encourage you to do so as soon as possible and do so with an understanding of how important it is in confirming your identity in Christ.