Summary: If we are Christians our STANDING irrespective of how we fall REAMINS that of a Child of God. Hallelujah!! However our STATE may change when we make wrong choices and refuse or neglect to follow Jesus.
Who am I in Christ
Intro: When Maddy and I led a pilgrimage to Israel in January this year, we met a Roman Catholic priest at the Parable house in Taybeh, the only Christian village in the Occupied Territories.
The priest started his talk to us by saying:
I am, first of all, a Palestinian
I am then an Arab
I am then a Christian and
I am an Israeli
Which got me thinking
How would you have described yourself?
Imagine, if you would - if you had never met me before and I was to get on the train with you at Watlington and have to get off at Downham Market 10 mins later. We strike up a conversation and I ask you about yourself
What would you tell me about yourself?
I would if asked the same question start off I hope by saying I was a Christian, then that I had become Swiss and finally that I was also British.
The most important thing for me is that I am a Christian.
And so I am an adopted Son of God.
I have heard preachers expound on the story of the Prodigal Son explaining that the Prodigal Son relates to a person who finds Christ for the first time and so becomes an adopted Son of God.
But actually the story is about two Sons of the Father.
In a sense King Mannesah whose story with God is reported in 2 Chronicles 33 is an OT version of the Prodigal Son.
When he repented and changed his ways, God was gracious and restored his State. His standing remained that of being one of the Children of God.
Please note that the Prodigal Son in the story does NOT become a son by returning to the Father.
Throughout the story he has been a son of his Father.
That was the one thing that didn’t change in the story
In other words, his STANDING never changed.
His standing was that HE IS A SON OF HIS FATHER. Who am I in Christ?
His state was that he was so hungry he would have eaten pigs swill!!
HIS STATE was fallen.
Jesus original audience would primarily if not exclusively have been 1st Century JEWS – and the Jews at that time were the CHILDREN OF GOD.
So I would like to suggest to you today that the Prodigal son teaches us two things
i. FIRSTLY that if we have received Christ into our lives WE ARE SONS OF GOD.
Jesus said this in John 1:12
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
If you have done that you are and you will remain a Child of God regardless of the STATE you get into.
YOUR STANDING remains that of a Child of God.
ii. SECONDLY, being a Child of God does not mean that if you sin there will not be consequences.
Your State may change.
Story: At the end of the 2nd World War, Joachim von Ribbentrop became a Christian as he awaited trial for War crimes for his role in starting World War II and enabling the Holocaust.
On 16 October 1946 he became, due to Hermann Göring's suicide moments before, the first of those sentenced to death to be hanged.
His Standing was that of a Child of God but his State led to his execution.
In other words, the story of the Prodigal Son is all about our Identity
And based on the letters of the word Identity, I would like to suggest we have eight responsibilities CHILDREN OF GOD
1. The first letter of the word IDENTITY is the letter I.
I stands for
Identify with Christ Mt 10:32
"Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
Identify is I think more than simply saying: I am a Christian.
It is allowing the Holy Spirit to change our lives DAILY.
2. The second letter of the word IDENTITY is the D
D stands for
Devoted to Christ Luke 16:13
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the
one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one
and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and
Only you can really tell if God is number one.
It is a decision not an emotion.
3. The third letter of the word IDENTITY is the letter E
E stands for
Eternal Life Jn 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but