Summary: If we can be proud of being Native American, African American, etc., why can't we be proud of being Christian American?
a. Over the past years, the equal opportunity and affirmative action programs have pushed the concept of the importance of ethnic diversity.
b. We have been told repetitively that we are a richer nation, a richer world, and richer as individuals, because of what a close identity with our ethnicity and its cultures brings to the table.
c. If the world at large can find such meaning and identity in being Native-American, African-American, Mexican-American, Chinese-American, or any other of a multitude of ethnic identities, why can’t we as followers of Christ, find identity and pride in being Christian-American?
d. Much as the world wants us to see and respect in individuals their ethnic heritage, does the world see in us our spiritual heritage? Do we even give credit to our spiritual homeland for being who and what we are?
At the bottom of many of his musical manuscripts, the great organist and composer Johann Sebastian Bach often wrote the letters "INDNJC." Those letters stood for "In Nomine Domini Nostri Jesu Christi" — in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
INDNJC. They did not appear on Bach's manuscripts by accident or without purpose. He put those letters there for a reason. Considered a genius in the field of music, Bach recognized the one true Genius. Known for his extraordinary talent, Bach realized the source of all human talent. Praised for his musical gifts, Bach was aware of the primary giver of all gifts. He could affirm with the New Testament writer James that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above." So at the bottom of his manuscripts he wrote INDNJC.
Most of us will never compose a Bach-like musical manuscript (or any type of musical manuscript for that matter). But each day of our lives we do compose "living" manuscripts of sorts. Each day we have opportunities to use God-given time, talents, skills, and gifts as we write the notes that collectively compose the songs others "hear" when they listen to us.
Each day we make music with our lives — composing and performing the measures, verses, and stanzas that combine to form a "living symphony" of who we are and what we are about. (Robert Baker – www.preaching.com).
f. Read Colossians 3:1-17
g. Before we can begin sharing our heritage, we have to…
2. Know Where and What We Came From
a. We have to recognize where, and more importantly, what we came from.
b. Re-read Verses 5 - 10
As a young boy, theologian Alister McGrath enjoyed experimenting with chemicals in his school's laboratory. He liked to drop a tarnished coin into a beaker of diluted nitric acid. He often used an old British penny bearing the image of Queen Victoria. Because of the accumulated grime, Her Majesty's image couldn't be seen clearly. But the acid cleansed away the grime and the Queen's image reappeared in shining glory.
We know, to be sure, that we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), but that image has been defaced by our sin. We are still His image-bearers, however.
Once we invite Jesus to enter our lives as Savior, He goes to work to restore the original image. He transforms us to make us like Himself. This process is described as putting off some behaviors and putting on others. For example, we are to "put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language" and to "put on love".
Unless, and until, our sin-tarnished souls are cleansed by Jesus' forgiveness, God's image is obscured in our lives. But when we trust Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, we are forgiven and the restoration begins (Vernon C Grounds).
d. The image of God is not seen in the shape of our bodies, but in the beauty of the renewed mind and heart. Holiness, love, humility, meekness, kindness, and forgiveness—these make up the divine character.
e. Being redeemed at such a great price, we should now shed all our earthly vices and unholy lusts (verse 5) like dirty clothes.
f. We must also rid ourselves of all forms of wicked hatred:
(1) Anger—a strong spirit of dislike or animosity, a vengeful spirit, a settled feeling of hatred.
(2) Wrath—an intense form of anger, probably involving violent outbursts
(3) Malice—wicked conduct toward another with the idea of harming the person or their reputation; an unreasonable dislike that takes pleasure in seeing others suffer.
(4) Blasphemy—strong, extreme language used against another person; scolding in a harsh, rude, or disrespectful manner
(5) Filthy language—shameful speaking that is lewd, indecent, or corrupt
Profanity and crude language are becoming more common on prime-time television programs. Many writers and producers seem to be intent on pushing the limits of how much immoral and offensive speech the public will allow.