Summary: Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, believes it’s extremely important that you and I know who we are...in Christ. What we think about our identity—who we are-- can make all the difference in how live this life...in Christ and do Kingdom work.
I think we have an identity crisis in America...and quite possibly around the world.
So many young people gain their identity from the latest fashions, trends or from their friends.
Many Christians today, also, have an identity crisis.
Most of us perceive our identity more from our family, our work or our close relationships – more than we do from who we are in Christ Jesus.
Could it be that one of the greatest issues facing Christians today revolves around our ...”spiritual identity crisis?” It is so easy to forget who we are...in Him.
The dilemma of an unclear sense of personal identity was illustrated by an incident in the life of the famous German philosopher Schleiermacher, who did much to shape the progress of modern thought.
The story is told that one day, as an old man he was sitting alone on a bench in a city park.
A policeman, thinking that he was a vagrant, came over and shook him and asked, "Who are you?" Schleiermacher replied sadly, "I wish I knew."
--Paul Fritz, Sermon Central “Appropriating Our Identity In Christ”
Anyone ever feel like that?
Maybe so...but I hope you never act like the executive at an airport who was very displeased with his flight being delayed...
...he went to the boarding station... and after he very dramatically made a scene in front of the flight attendants and crew... he shouted at the ticket taker...
“Do you know who I am?”
She said, “No sir!”
Then she promptly went to the microphone and over the PA system said...
“I have a man who does not know who he is...if anyone knows him, please come to the ticket booth.”
Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, believes it’s extremely important that you and I know who we are...in Christ.
Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.”
What we think about our identity—who we are-- can make all the difference in how live this life...in Christ and do Kingdom work.
Listen to how Paul begins: Ephesians 1:1-2
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,(Paul knows his identity-which is the reason he is writing) to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” NIV
I. Notice first he calls believers, “saints”.
Anyone call you a “saint” lately?
This is Paul’s greeting to the church, and it is very similar to the usual greeting he gave to all churches.
Note the depth of meaning in what he says: he is actually covering the scope of God’s call to a church and its believers.
God calls believers, Saints and to be saints...that’s you and me.
In the Bible the word "saint" does not refer to just a few people who have done great works for God.
It refers to all believers...all who are “in Christ”, God’s Son.
In fact, Paul uses this word to describe believers 9 times in the Ephesian letter---more than any new testament book.
The word "saint" (hagiois-GRK ) simply means, set apart, consecrated,sacred, and holy.
I Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
A saint is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ who has been set apart to live for God and his purposes.
Eph. 4:23-24 “you are to be made new in the attitudes of your minds, and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Wonder what people would think if they saw a bumper sticker on your car that reads: “A saint is driving this car.”
OR A sign on the door of your place of work saying, “A saint works here.”
OR On the door of your home: “A whole family of saints live here.”
The saint has given himself/herself to live a consecrated, sacred, and holy life—all for the glory of God.
1. Believers are saints in two senses:
Believers are saints in the sense that they have been given a new heart by God: a heart that is renewed and recreated in righteousness and true holiness. God has made us holy – he is the one who chose us and set us apart for his purpose.
II Cor. 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come.”
2. Believers are saints in the sense that they are set apart to live consecrated and holy lives in this world.
Romans 12:1-2 “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God---this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will is.”