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1213. The Believer’s Identity

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
March 23, 2022 7:00 pm

1213. The Believer’s Identity

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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March 23, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Seeking Things Above” with a message titled, “The Believer’s Identity,” from Colossians 3:1-4.

The post 1213. The Believer’s Identity appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from chapel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day, students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from The University Chapel Platform. Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a study series entitled, Seeking Things Above, which is a study of the book of Colossians. This study explores and applies the timeless truth that Christ is our sufficiency in all relationships, responsibilities, and circumstances. If you would like to follow along in the study booklet, you can order a printed copy from the Bob Jones Store website, Let's listen to today's message from Chapter 3, Verses 1-4, which includes the title for our series, Seek Those Things Which Are Above. Today's message is titled, The Believer's Identity.

At a few Walmarts in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Now, since I've never been to Jacksonville, Arkansas, I realize we have a problem. So I called the credit card company and the police station in Jacksonville and quickly discovered that I had become a victim of one of the greatest crimes of the 21st century. And that's called identity theft. Well, the book of Colossians was written to deal with the crisis of identity theft in the church there in Colossae. What had happened is certain teachers had come into the church and they were attempting to rob the believers of their identity in Christ. And so Paul writes this letter to deal with first century spiritual identity theft.

And here was the scenario. This certain group of teachers came to the church with a message. And the message was that the gospel that they had received from Epaphras was sufficient enough to save them. In other words, it could get them into heaven. However, it was not sufficient enough to spiritually mature them. They needed something more. They could not reach their full potential spiritually on the basis of the simple gospel message. They needed Jesus plus. And so the teachers promised that their message would give them an experience of a fuller spiritual life and a greater freedom from sin. And I think if we look back even on the messages of last week as we talked about sanctification, at the end of the week, it should have been in all of our hearts that we want to be closer to God and we want to overcome the struggles of our own sin nature. That's a part of spiritual growth. However, the problem was the emphasis in the church of Colossae. And that is they would have to do other things like seeking mystical experiences. Following certain rules and regulations.

Perhaps giving, starting to live a very strict ascetic lifestyle where you would deny yourself of some of your bodily appetites. And the problem is that the message that was being preached was not true. And the false teachers could not lead them into a greater knowledge and freedom, but in reality it would lead them into ignorance and bondage. So Paul writes this letter to a group of people that he's never met. And he emphatically asserts that the gospel that they had received was an all-sufficient message and that Jesus is an all-sufficient savior and they are complete in Christ. And what is his point?

What is his challenge? Don't let these spiritual thieves rob you of your identity as a man or as a woman in Christ. And so we come to chapter 3. And it is here that we have one of the most important statements in the entire Bible concerning our identity with Jesus Christ. And let's read Colossians 3 verses 1 through 4. And this morning we will see it from three perspectives. He says, if you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above and not on things of the earth.

Why? For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.

What is Paul doing? He is showing the believer's identity that is found in Jesus Christ. Your identity is who you are. Here is who we are in Christ. And we see this identity from three perspectives. Number one, he shows us how believers are identified with Christ's past. Look at what he says. If you're risen with Christ, seek the things that are above.

Why? He says in verse 3, for you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory. What is Paul doing? He is connecting believers to the two main events of Christ's life. His death and his resurrection. And here's what Paul is doing. He is pressing this connection home by using the preposition with. You are risen with Christ.

You are hid with Christ. And with has the idea of coming together, a togetherness. Probably I saw this so clearly on Saturday when I went to the inaugural game of our Bruins baseball team as they played against Montreat College. I'm telling you what, I told our baseball players, we don't pay you for playing, but we sure make you look good. Man, those guys were like, they had like the coolest uniforms on. Coolest baseball hats.

I mean, I mean, you know, you look good, you eat good and you sleep good. That's what you get from the Bruins. And you know what I really, really loved? I really loved it when they all came together, sort of in this massive huddle. Twenty one of them. And they were, you know, you know, your basic males, man, they were like, you know, making all kinds of noises. And they were all together.

And then they went out on the field, the nine starters playing together. That's the idea of the word with. And what Paul is saying is, first of all, we are so connected to Christ that we have actually died for our sins.

Let me say that again so it's really clear. We are so connected to Christ that we have actually died for our sins. Listen to Romans six. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein? Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

What Paul is saying is that we actually have already died. Have you ever seen the movie The Wizard of Oz? I remember watching it as a kid. And the movie has Dorothy in her house. When what happens? A tornado picks it up. And it falls eventually in the land of Oz.

And it also lands on the Wicked Witch of the East killing her. And of course all the munchkins from Munchkin's Land comes out and they sing the great hymn of the faith, Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is Dead. Well, the mayor and the lawyer and the coroner of Munchkin Land come out and they confirm her death by the following conversation.

As mayor of the Munchkin City in the county of the land of Oz, I welcome you most regularly. But we've got to verify it legally to see if she is morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably, and reliably dead. As coroner, I must aver, I thoroughly examined her and she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead. And then the mayor says, this then is a day of independence for all the munchkins and their descendants. Let the joyous news be spread, the wicked old witch at last is dead. At the moment you and I believed, we were so connected to Christ through God's work that we actually died for our sins.

Would you think about that? You don't have to pay for your sins because you already did. You don't have to live with a sense of guilt and condemnation because the guilt and the condemnation has already been satisfied through Jesus' death on the cross. And as a result of that union, I no longer bear any guilt for my sin because I've already paid for what I've done. I have already died for my sin with Christ.

Now why is this crucial? Because Paul's message contrasted the false teachers who were trying to literally kidnap Christians and bring them into a man-made works-based religion that focuses on what a believer must do in order to experience spiritual life in its victory over sin. And the problem is that human self-effort can never free you from sin. The only thing that can deliver you from sin is you have to die. And this is what Paul is saying, that we have literally died with Christ. Then secondly, if we died with him, what happened? We're so connected to Christ that we actually have been resurrected with him.

At the moment of your union to Christ, you were raised from the dead if you then be risen with Christ. And what was the result? What did God do in your heart? He made you a new creation.

Colossians 2 12, you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God. You ever had an operation? I had an operation 12 weeks ago this coming Friday. I went into surgery and they rolled me into the operating room. And as soon as I went in, I knew I was in a different room than what I had been staying in. And they rolled me in and so my nature, I just started asking questions. And the nurses and the people that were working in there, they were of a different spirit than the nurses on the hall. They were like, they were like down to business.

And so I started asking all kinds of questions and maybe if I think back about it, maybe they got tired of me asking questions. Because they said, we're going to put this mask over your face and that's all I remember. That was 7.30 in the morning. I woke up at 1.30 in the afternoon in what they called the recovery room.

It's just like, you know, this flat thing you're laying on and I mean you're just laying there. And I wake up and I knew something had happened. I'd gone through surgery. Do you realize that when you get saved, you actually go through an operation?

What is the operation? You are literally risen from the dead. And a new life has been imparted unto you. You have become a new person in Christ. No wonder Paul prayed for the Ephesians to understand the immense power they had in Christ. Listen to what he says in Ephesians 1.19.

That we would know what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead. When you got saved, you experienced a resurrection that is exactly like the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. That's why every Christian is a miracle. We're a new creation.

So here's what Paul is saying. You have died. Your old life is over. You are now alive. You are now being animated by resurrection power. This is who you are. This is your identity and don't let anyone rob you of this identity. Then secondly, he says believers are not only identified with Christ, with Christ's past, but believers are identified with Christ in his present. Listen to what he says in verse 4. For you are dead, your life is hidden with Christ in God.

What is our current identity today as believers? Well actually, we are hidden. The word hidden here is the Greek word krypto. It's the word we get from encrypted. And it's written in the perfect tense.

That is, it's something that's happened at a point in time, but it presently affects me right now. In other words, when you and I got saved, we were encrypted in Christ and there is something that is hidden at this very moment. And the idea of the word encrypt means to convert a message into a code. Back during World War II, the Japanese were regularly intercepting and decoding American military messages. So the United States needed an unbreakable code.

So what did they do? They chose 29 Navajo Indians living on their ancestral lands to come and be what they call code talkers. And that is, they would communicate back and forth in the Navajo language.

And the Navajo language was of such a nature that the code was never broken and the Japanese ended up working against them as they won vital battles, major battles in the Pacific. So here's what Paul is saying. Our life is encrypted in Christ.

What does that mean? It means that we're hidden just like Jesus. I mean, think about it. Is Jesus not hidden today? I mean, who has seen Jesus?

Now I've had people tell me they saw Jesus and I thought, no, you ate too many hot dogs with onions on them before you went to bed at night. You didn't see Jesus. But one day he is going to be unveiled. He's going to be revealed. That's what the last book of the Bible is about, the revelation of Christ, the apocalypses, the unveiling of Christ.

And just like Jesus was hidden, so we are hidden. When Jesus resurrected from the dead, who saw Jesus in his resurrected body? Who saw him? He was only the disciples. Listen to Acts one, verse one, until the day he was taken up after he had given commands to the Holy Spirit, to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during the 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

While staying with them, he ordered them to not depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father. And when he had said these things as they were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. Only the disciples saw him. Jesus ascended into heaven, sat down at the Father's right hand.

Today he presently rules over everything from a position of power and preeminence. Yet it is hidden to the world. The world is blinded to Jesus, but he is not blinded to us. We see him who is invisible. And our life is hidden with Christ in God as he is hidden. What does that mean? It means the world is incapable of seeing who we are.

They don't understand us. I remember when I got saved in a secular college and I began to share the gospel and I just thought that everybody would believe what I was telling them because it was so wonderful. Jesus died for your sins. You're a sinner. You can spend eternity with God.

I mean, come on! But as I began to share the gospel, I found instead of receiving it, not only did they reject it, but they rejected me. And then I found out that they would begin to make fun of me like I was a Jesus freak or something like that. And suddenly I began to experience what Paul says we all experience as believers and that is our identity is hid with Christ in God. We're like Joseph in the Old Testament who suffered at the hands of his envious brothers and later kept his identity hidden from his brothers until he revealed himself to them at the appropriate time. The world cannot see what has happened in us. They can't see the resurrection in us.

Nor can the world perceive what is going to happen to us. They may think that we are odd, strange, and deluded, but brothers and sisters in Christ, it is no dream. Beloved, now are we the sons of God. And it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. So as believers, how do we live our lives? We live our lives with the sense that though we're hidden with Christ in God, our identity is found in him. So let me ask you a question this morning. What defines you as a person?

Where do you find your identity? During the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the American gold medal winners in men's pair diving were two fellows named Steel Johnson and David Bodea. When the TV reporter asked Steel about his reaction after winning a place in the US Olympics, he answered, I've been working for this dream for a long time. He said, I honestly never thought the day would come and I just blinked and now I'm on the 2016 Olympic team. He said, it's cool because this is exciting, this is fun, but it's not what my identity is going to be the rest of my life.

And then he made a statement and I remember hearing him make the statement and it's like he dropped a hammer on the floor. He said, yeah, I'm Steel Johnson the Olympian, but at the same time, I'm here to love and serve Jesus Christ because my identity, who I am as a person, is rooted in Jesus Christ. What ultimate security? Where do you seek for identity?

Is it in something that can be taken away? Is it found in your appearance? You know, let me assure you, you're at the best looking time of your life.

For some of you, that's scary. Physically, you're probably in the best shape more or less, say more or less, you're going to be in the rest of your life. If your identity is maintaining the way you look today for the rest of your life, you all have a rude awakening. Is your identity in your abilities, in your accomplishments or your achievements? Is your identity found in your approval rating or your acceptance from people or from peers? Does your past define you? Do your failures define you? Where is your identity?

Insecurity is putting your trust in something or in someone that can be taken away. Ultimate security for the believer is found in Christ. We are hidden in Him, accepted in the Beloved. And one day, the world will discover who the real believers are because that leads me to my last point. And that is the believers are identified with Christ in the future.

Verse 4, when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory. When Jesus comes back, the world's attention will be captivated by the magnificence of His person and by the brilliance of His glory. They will recognize Jesus as Lord.

He will come as a mighty conqueror riding on the back of a white horse with eyes of flaming fire and a head with many crowns and with Him will be the whole church radiating with His glory. And the world will see us as believers for who we really are. They will see the power that energized our lives and they will understand the values that motivated our lives. It will suddenly dawn on them who it really is, who Christ is, and who believers are. They will see why we lived the way that we did and they will see how we lived as we did. And in the present, Christ may be belittled and rejected and likewise, believers will be misunderstood, persecuted, maligned, and rejected.

But if we suffer with Him now, when He returns, we will reign with Him. So as believers in our identity, we are connected to Christ, we are concealed in Christ, and one day we will be revealed in Christ. And therefore, what should we do? We should adjust our own self-perception.

That's like one of the hardest things to do. That we should do exactly what Paul said. We should seek the things that are above. Because what you can't see is actually what's real.

And what you can see is actually, in a sense, not real in that it will one day pass away. So what should we build our lives on? The things that are eternal. There are only three things that are eternal. God, His word, and the souls of men. And everything that God does will be eternal, whether He builds an eternal city or an eternal new heaven and a new earth. But those are the things that we find our identity in, our security in, and what does this do for us at the end of our life?

It gives us a sense of stability and strength so that even facing death, we can live without fear because we know in whom we are hidden in that we are in Christ. Father, thank you for your word. Thank you that our identity is found in Jesus. Thank you that you love us, Lord, and help us to continue to recognize who we are in Christ in Jesus' name.

Amen. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. I'd like to invite you to attend one of our summer camps for both middle and high schoolers. BJU has over 50 camps to choose from, so there is one for you. Here's just a few. Aviation, astronomy, cinema, computers, culinary, criminal justice, media, music, nursing, theater, robotics, soccer, basketball, volleyball, golf, and there's many more. Come explore your future during a week of what we call EduCamp. For more information about our camps, visit our website. Go to EduCamp, that's E-D-U-C-A-M-P dot B-J-U dot E-D-U. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in Colossians on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-18 18:24:01 / 2023-05-18 18:32:55 / 9

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