Sermons

Summary: Are you SURE you have the correct Christian identification?

PROTECTING YOUR IDENTITY IS BIG BUSINESS AND OF PRIME IMPORTANCE, ESPECIALLY ALL OF US WHO SERVE IN UNIFORM. PHISHING SCAMS, COMPUTER HACKING AS WELL AS ALL FORMS OF TECHNOLOGY WILL BE USED TO STEAL YOUR IDENTITY.

IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 8.1 MILLION PEOPLE THIS PAST YEAR WERE VICTIMS OF IDENTITY THEFT AT A WHOPPING $631 PER INCIDENT ON AVERAGE. IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT HAVING CREDIBLE IDENTITY IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THESE DAYS!

THE SAME IS TRUE FOR US IN THE MILITARY WHO CARRY WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE “COMMON ACCESS CARD” OR “CAC CARD.” NOT ONLY DOES IT CONTAIN YOUR IDENTIFICATION, BUT YOUR ABILITY TO ACCESS EVERYTHING FROM GETTING THROUGH THE “FRONT GATE” TO LOGGING ON TO GOVERNMENT COMPUTER NETWORKS.

THIS SIMPLE PIECE OF PLASTIC THE SIZE OF A CREDIT CARD IS A CRUCIAL IN AUTHENTICATING NOT ONLY WHO WE ARE, BUT TO WHOM WE BELONG. ALONG WITH OUR PICTURE, THE CARD CLAIMS US AS A MEMBER OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S “UNIFORMED SERVICES” OF THE AIR FORCE, ARMY, COAST GUARD, MARINES, OR NAVY. THE “CAC” CARD SAYS A LOT ABOUT YOU AND TO WHOM YOU HAVE WILLFULLY CHOSEN TO BE IDENTIFIED AS ITS MEMBER.

THE SAME IS TRUE FOR THOSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES A CHRISTIAN. OUR SCRIPTURE PASSAGE IN JOHN TODAY CLARIFIES FOR US HOW WE CAN BE RIGHTLY IDENTIFIED AS A CHRISTIAN.

THE REASON I SAY THIS IS BECAUSE THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE OUT THERE TODAY CLAIMING TO BE A CHRISTIAN ALTHOUGH THEIR LIFESTYLE WOULD SAY OTHERWISE.

SOMETIMES IT ISN’T THEIR LIFESTYLE AS IT IS MORE OF A RANDOM LIST OF “WORKS” THAT THEY CLAIM “MADE THEM” A CHRISTIAN SUCH AS BEING A MEMBER OF A CHURCH, CONFIRMED IN A CHURCH, RAISED IN THE CHURCH OR EVEN RAISED IN A CHRISTIAN HOME OR WHATEVER ELSE IT MAY BE.

I BELIEVE ONE OF THE POINTS THAT JOHN IS TRYING TO STATE HERE IS THAT OUR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY DOESN’T COME ABOUT THROUGH THESE THINGS THAT WE DO AS IF GOD CAN BE COERCED, BRIBED, OR CONVINCED TO GRANT US SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE SOLELY BASED ON OUR ACTIONS, REQUESTS, AND GOOD DEEDS.

JOHN SAYS IN VERSE 13¸THAT SALVATION AND OUR IDENTITY AS CHRISTIANS “…IS NOT A PHYSICAL BIRTH RESULTING FROM HUMAN PASSION OR PLAN – THIS REBIRTH COMES FROM GOD.”

OUR IDENTITY AS CHRISTIANS IS A GIFT FROM GOD. JOHN IS MAKING IT VERY CLEAR TO LET US KNOW THAT NOTHING OF HUMAN ABILITY, HOWEVER GREAT OR EXCELLENT IT MAY BE, CAN BRING ABOUT THE “NEW BIRTH” OF SALVATION FOR OUR IDENTITY. ALL HUMAN INITIATIVE IS RULED OUT.

THAT’S WHY I WANT TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT WE SECURE OUR TRUE IDENTIFICATION TODAY. THE TRUTH MUST BE TOLD THAT REGARDLESS OF ALL THE THINGS WE HAVE DONE RELIGIOUSLY, EVEN WITH THE GREATEST OF INTENTIONS, WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH TO “EARN OUR CREDENTIALS” TO BE A CHRISTIAN.

IF THAT WERE SO, IT WOULD BE LIKE ME TELLING EVERYONE THAT I AM A QUALIFIED DOCTOR FOR ALL THE HOURS I SPENT VISITING PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITAL AND THAT I AM A WORLD-CLASS CHEF FOR ALL THE MEALS I’VE EATEN IN A RESTAURANT.

ONE DOES NOT BECOME A DOCTOR SIMPLY BY SPENDING TIME IN A HOSPITAL NOR DOES ONE BECOME A WORLD-CLASS CHEF SIMPLY BY EATING MULTIPLE TIMES IN A RESTAURANT. SO, IT CAN ALSO BE SAID OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH. YOU DON’T BECOME A CHRISTIAN NOR CAN YOU RIGHTFULLY CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN SIMPLY BY GOING TO CHURCH, SAYING PRAYERS, GIVING, SERVING AND DOING RELIGIOUS THINGS.

THIS IS WHY I WANT TO BE CAREFUL TO MAKE SURE WE KNOW WHAT IT TRULY MEANS TO IDENTIFY ONESELF AS A CHRISTIAN AND WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO BE IDENTIFIED WITH JESUS CHRIST.

JOHN MAKES IT VERY CLEAR IN VERSES 12-13, HOW ONE RECIEVES THEIR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY WHICH STATES, “BUT TO ALL WHO DID RECEIVE HIM, HE GAVE THEM THE RIGHT TO BE CHILDREN OF GOD, TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIS NAME….”

FIRST, IT SAYS “TO ALL WHO DID RECEIVE HIM.”THE ROOT WORD FOR “RECEIVE” IMPLIES ONE WHO “WELCOMES” OR SHOWS ONE WHO “ACCEPTS” WHAT IS OFFERED.

WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT THOSE PEOPLE WHO RECEIVE JESUS ARE NOT ONLY WELCOMING HIM INTO THEIR LIVES, BUT ACCEPTING HIM FOR WHO HE IS: LORD AND SAVIOR.

IN OTHER WORDS, WHEN A PERSON “WELCOMES” AND “ACCEPTS” JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND LORD, IT WILL BE GOD WHO GIVES THEM THEIR TRUE IDENTITY. IN VERSE 12, “…HE GAVE THEM THE RIGHT TO BE CHILDREN OF GOD.”

THE WORD “RIGHT” MEANS “AUTHORITY” OR “PERMISSION.” ONLY GOD CAN GIVE US THE RIGHT TO IDENTIFY OURSELVES AS HIS CHILDREN. WHAT THIS MEANS TO ME IS THAT I HAVE NO RIGHT TO CALL MYSELF A “CHRISTIAN” APART FROM GOD AND WITHOUT ACCEPTING AND WELCOMING JESUS CHRIST INTO MY LIFE.

AGAIN, TRYING TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN NAME-ONLY AND ON MY OWN MERIT, OWN ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR EFFORTS NOT ONLY PORTRAYS A FALSE IDENTITY, BUT PRESENTS A DANGEROUS FAÇADE THAT MIGHT MISLEAD SOMEONE TO THE POINT OF GETTING THEM ON THE WRONG PATH FOR ALL ETERNITY.

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