Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series
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Summary: Understanding your identity in Christ will help you live up to the level that God has placed you.

The followings are just a few points that will help us shed some light on the importance of understanding your identity in Christ, though this is not an exhaustive list.

Focus

A man with no direction is a man of many directions. When you understand who you are in Christ, it helps you to focus on what is important. The Bible says, “therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. So, put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]” (Colossians 3:1-5 AMP).

Once you realize that you are a New Creature, a person of great nationality and Christ’s ambassador, it will help you focus your attention and desire on things above just like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did. “These men of faith I have mentioned died without ever receiving all that God had promised them; but they saw it all awaiting them on ahead and were glad, for they agreed that this earth was not their real home but that they were just strangers visiting down here. And quite obviously when they talked like that, they were looking forward to their real home in heaven. If they had wanted to, they could have gone back to the good things of this world. But they didn’t want to. They were living for heaven. And now God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has made a heavenly city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16 TLB).

Brother or sister, understanding your identity in Christ will help you live for heaven at every moment of your life. It will help you to know that this world is not your real home, but that your real home is heaven. It will help you “stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love these things you show that you do not really love God; for all these worldly things, these evil desires - the craze for sex, the ambition to buy everything that appeals to you, and the pride that comes from wealth and importance - these are not from God. They are from this evil world itself. And this world is fading away, and these evil, forbidden things will go with it, but whoever keeps doing the will of God will live forever” (1 John 2:15-17 TLB)

Forbearance

Understanding your identity in Christ helps you to have self-control in order not to over-react on every little matter that arises. James and John were the disciples of Christ who after spending about three years in the school of Christ’s ministry failed to understand their identity. They had irrational temperaments, lacked self-control, and so they wanted divine judgment to come upon those who did not buy into their Master’s agenda. This account is recorded in Luke 9:51-56:

“Now when the time was approaching for Him to be taken up [to heaven], He was determined to go to Jerusalem [to fulfill His purpose]. He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went into a Samaritan village to make arrangements for Him; but the people would not welcome Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and destroy them?” But He turned and rebuked them [and He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”…” (AMP)

Jesus quickly called their attention to the realization of their identity in Him – “You do not know what kind of spirit you are.” If they had known the kind of spirit they were made of – the spirit of forbearance, - they would desire and engage in saving souls, not destroying souls.

Forbearance engraves love for others, even your enemy in your heart, thereby preventing you from rendering evil for evil, railing for railing, by thoughts, words or deeds.

As a citizen of heaven, a priest, and a salt of the earth, you would desire to follow the steps of Jesus Christ, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrew 11:2)

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