Summary: With people "Identifying" as belonging to this, that or the other groups within our society. I thought it important to know how we "Identify" with Christ.
Message from Sunday February 7th 2016
I Identify as a Christian
Our Identity is in Christ - 1 Peter 1:17-25
Today people are "Identifying" themselves with this, that or some other category of people in our society.
I find it kind of strange since I thought we were all part of one big family - the human family.
There seems to be some pressing need to shout out an individual's distinctiveness instead of proclaiming what makes us all one.
With that in mind I wanted to review just how we as Christians can "Identify with Christ" just in case it becomes necessary to inform folks of our distinctiveness from the rest of society.
What is a Christian?
How can you identify them?
Is it by their fingerprints?
Or is it by the kind of Bible they read?
Can you tell by the denomination that they belong to?
What makes someone distinctly Christian?
The Bible explains how to identify a Christian this way;
John 1:12 (NIV)
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
You must believe in the name of Jesus. That Jesus name is the name above all names that Jesus is the Messiah the Promised One of God.
Romans 6:6 (KJV)
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
A Christian is someone who has buried their old self, their old nature. They have put their body on the cross with Jesus. Christians do not serve the desires of the flesh. They are born again to the Spirit of God.
Galatians 3:26-28 New International Version (NIV)
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Christians come to Jesus by faith. They do what Jesus did by being baptised a kind of death and resurrection. They wear the character of Christ like a garment. It can be clearly seen and identified. There is no distinction between Christians, they are not distinctive by race, social status or by gender. Anyone can be a Christian who has repented and has been baptised.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Christians keep their distance from sexual immorality. Christians realize that their bodies house the Holy Spirit and so they do not abuse their bodies or subject them to sexual sins. They realize that even their bodies belong to God and that God is free to do with them whatever He wishes. They consider the price of their freedom from sin. Jesus took the cross for them.
3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Christians have a spiritual conscience as well as a moral conscience and that awareness helps them to purify their lifestyle so that it reflects the kind of life that Jesus lived. In many ways Christians are a curiosity to the rest of the world because they are so different from the rest of the world.
4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
Someone is a Christian if they have turned away from sin in their life. It may not be anything that you can see outwardly it may be something that a person has wrestled with inwardly. It is called repentance. A Christian willingly stops sinning because they know it is an offence to God.