Summary: This sermon is an introductory sermon for a series in Ephesians. If focuses on the beleiver's identity and meaning this has on our lives.
Who In The World Do You Think You Are?
Ephesians 1:1-2 September 28, 2008
Open: Everyone one of us struggle from time to time with the issue of forgetfulness. We forget little things – where we placed our glasses and our keys, etc. Have you ever the experience where you are driving down the road and you suddenly become aware that you might have missed your exit. You realize you’ve driven 8 miles and you don’t remember how you got there! Forgetting little things is a normal part of life - particularly the older you get. Perhaps more serious is loosing memory that provides us with self-identity.
Occasionally that happens because of disease or perhaps an injury that is so severe that a person can't access that part of their memory. It’s not that they don’t have the memory of who they are – it’s that they can no longer access that portion of their memory. We call that amnesia. They can forget their names, who they are – their friends and other significant relationships. As devastating as those kind of situations can be it’s not as scary as what happens sometimes to believers who forget their identity. And that’s what we want to deal with today as we begin a study through the book of Ephesians.
Ephesians is one of the greatest books in the New Testament. Written by Paul somewhere around the years 60-62 from a Roman prison cell. When Paul wrote this letter he was going through some of the most uncertain times in life. Whether he would live or not was very uncertain. – When you are going through uncertain times you might begin to doubt whether the things you’ve committed yourself to were actually worth it. Paul doesn’t fall into that – he uses the time to write to believers to remind us of who we are in Christ.
The issue of identity is one of the most important issues you will deal with in life. Everywhere you go people want to know who you are. Walk into a bank for any kind of transaction – they are going to want to know your identity. Get pulled over by a policeman – the very first thing he/she wants to establish is who you are. Go into an airport - you can’t even move through it without having some form of identity. Or a hospital – every time you get a shot or some medicine you will have your identity checked several times– and that’s a very good thing.
Ill of being asked to get an ID badge at a hospital – identifying me as a pastor. The chaplin of the hospital saw me carrying a bible and asked if I was a pastor. He said I could have an official ID badge identifying me a clergy - everyone will know who I am as I’m walking around the hospital and it will get me access into all the departments and once a month I could get a free lunch. Generally I haven’t had much trouble getting access to anyone the hospital. Most of the time when I tell them I’m a pastor and I’m visiting I can get right in see someone. I didn’t think it was all that necessary but hey – I’ll go along with the system – and besides, that free lunch thing had some appeal to it. So I’m given this form to fill out with all this personal information and told to take it and get a picture ID down to the security department, where they will take my picture and make my official I.D. badge. (It occurred to me as I was taking my driver’s license out - you know the one with the picture on it – that I already had a Picture ID) - but I nonetheless fill out the form and after searching through all the halls of the hospital I finally find the right department and knock on the door. A security guy is sitting in there eating a sandwich. I tell him why I’m there and he says’ you’ll have to come back at 3:00 - I don’t take pictures until 3:00 for security badges. I tell him I don’t live in the area and I’ve driven a long way to get here and I really can’t come back at 3:00. He says, “sorry – I don’t take those pictures until 3:00 PM." I tell him I was sent down there by one of the hospital administrators and He says, Sorry, I don’t take those pictures until 3:00 PM. I ask him where he takes the pictures – he says right here in this room. At that point I see a camera sitting on the shelf. Is that the camera you use? Yes it is. And this is the room where the pictures are taken? Yes it is. How long does it take to take this picture? About 20 seconds. Can’t you take the picture right now? – I have the paperwork the hospital gave me to fill out. No - I don’t take those pictures until 3:00 PM. At that point I thanked him and walked out and tossed the official paperwork into the official trash can and went home. I guess I’ll have to take my chances on not having the official ID badge in that hospital.