Identity Crisis (2)

Back To Basics  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We must first realize who we are before we can comprehend what we are capable of.

Notes
Transcript

Context

Good morning everyone!
Last week, we began a new series titled, “Back To Basics”! With Valentines Day being right around the corner, we started this new series on the topic of love. We looked at 1 Corinthians 13 and we spoke on the constant identifying characteristic of God’s Love. As I pondered this week on that thought, I finally came to the conclusion that we needed to go deeper on that thought process.
Paul speaks about God’s love in 1 Cor. 13 as something that is supposed to be portrayed by us. As the church, the body of Christ, the Word says that we are supposed to live in Christ.
1 John 4:9 NKJV
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
What does that mean? What does that look like? By setting the standard of our actions with God-like character, is that not asking humans to be Godly? After all, to do what God does is to be Godly, isn’t it?
John 15:12 NKJV
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Can we even do that? I mean, Jesus was God. How am I supposed to do what God does, the way He does it? In all honesty, though we rarely ask questions like this out loud, I think they need to be answered. After all, if I doubt that I am able to do what He does, even though He has commanded me to do so, then I will not be surprised, or even disappointed, when I miss the mark that God has set before me.
This is what we are going to look at today.

Content

What Happens When You Get Saved?

To bring all of this fully into perspective, we must start at the beginning. What exactly happens when someone gets saved? What does it even mean to be saved? This is where we start.
Salvation is a supernatural work of Almighty God Himself, in which He forgives all of the sins against an individual through divine grace. Grace is a gift of God and nothing else. It cannot be earned, nor deserved. Romans 3 plainly tells us that “All men have come short of the glory of God”, and therefore are all sinners.
Wait a minute. What does that mean? The Bible defines sin as anything that goes against the will of God. Plainly stated, it is doing wrong according to God’s standards. I think it is safe to say that we have all done something wrong at some point. I think it is also safe to say that anything less than perfect is considered imperfect, regardless of the degree of imperfection. Simply stated, we are all imperfect because we have all done wrong.
Ok. Why is this such a big deal? Why does it matter anyway? We have already stated that God has a standard. We have also stated that to go against that standard is sin. If God’s standard is perfection, and there is no one that can live up to that standard, then who can be in the will of God? Who can please God? Who can meet this standard?
Only one! Out of every single person that has ever walked the face of this earth, there has only been one person to ever meet God’s standard: Jesus Christ. Jesus was the only man to live a perfect life without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 NKJV
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
“That’s great”, you might say. “I’m glad that someone was actually up to the challenge, but what does what He did, have to do with me?” That’s a good question, but listen closely.
God wants all men to go to heaven. God does not want anyone to go to hell.
1 Timothy 2:3–4 NKJV
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Then why set the bar so high? Why demand perfection from a people that is incapable of being perfect? He did not set the standard as perfection, God is perfection. God is perfect.
When you take someone with a very high IQ and put them in an environment with people that have very low IQ’s, the relationship can naturally only go so far. The person with a very high IQ will inevitably get aggravated at some point with the others. God is perfect. There is absolutely no way that a perfect being, such as God, and imperfect beings, such as ourselves, could coexist together in perfect harmony. It simply wouldn’t be heaven for very long.
God is light and we are darkness. Light always drives out darkness. When light is present, darkness has to flee. To stand in the presence of God, one must be free of darkness. If not, then the person themselves would be driven away from the presence alone.
Fact is, there are so many different reasons of why we cannot stay in heaven in our natural sinful state. The most important reason of all being that God simply won’t allow it. Enough said.
So that creates a problem, because I am not perfect, nor can I ever be in and of myself, so now what? You go through Jesus!!!
Listen to this verse:
Romans 6:23 NKJV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Those who are sinners deserve to die, but Jesus, a perfect man without sin, did not. He did not deserve to die, but He decided to die in our place. What?
Hebrews 9:22 NKJV
22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
God has deemed that in order for something tainted by evil to be purified, something else had to be sacrificed first. Without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sins. Something has to die in order for something else to go on living. In the OT, people used animals as these sacrifices. They would bring an animal sacrifice before God as a sin offering. When sacrificed, the sin would be forgiven, but then when another sin happened, another animal had to die. That is why the law was so important. The law was God’s standard. If people lived loosely and did not obey the law, thousands of animals would be slaughtered for no reason at all. These sacrifices were costly and therefore took seriously. With that being said, it was still only temporary relief. It was a sacrifice that had to be repeated.
Jesus, on the other hand looked at humanity and realized that he could stop it all. With a perfect sacrifice, there would be no more need for imperfect sacrifices. He decided to be obedient to the will of God and give His life. He was crucified on a cross for no reason and therefore became the absolute perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind. He died in our place so that we might live. We deserved to die for our sins. Remember, the wages of sin is death. That was our punishment. He hung in our place so that we might have eternal life. Through His death, we can obtain eternal life. He loved us that much.
Romans 5:8 NKJV
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Romans 10:9–10 NKJV
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
This is how one becomes saved by God’s grace.
John 3:16 NKJV
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
In order for one to be saved, they must admit that they themselves are sinners in need of God’s grace. They must believe that Jesus died in their place so that they might receive this salvation, and then they must totally and completely surrender themselves to God.
What happens next? If one believes all of these things but there is no change, they will simply continue their life of sin, against the will of God, and therefore will still be as much in need of God’s grace as they were before. There must be a change.
John 3:6 NKJV
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
When someone accepts all of this as truth and truly surrenders their life to God, a transformation takes place. Their heart is transformed into something new.
Ezekiel 36:26–27 NKJV
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
You get a completely new heart! This is important to know. We must understand this if we are to fully understand how to live the Christian life for God.

The Gateway To A New Life

See, because we are human and we think we are at the top of all of creation, it is difficult to admit that we are faulty. It is hard to admit our imperfections. This is why we constantly look for the imperfections in other people’s lives. It makes us feel better about ourselves if we can find someone else that is a little worse than we are. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, God says that our fleshly hearts are the source of our evil.
Mark 7:21–23 NKJV
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
The heart determines the man. If a man’s heart is spiritually wicked, his lifestyle will follow. If a man’s heart is spiritually pure, his lifestyle will also follow. Who we are in our hearts is our true identity.
Luke 6:45 NKJV
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Whatever is in the heart, is what eventually comes out. The identity of our heart is who we really are. The heart is the spiritual gateway to life. If the spiritual condition of my heart determines the spiritual condition of my lifestyle, then it goes without saying that our naturally-born sinful hearts need to go so that something better can be placed within.
John 3:6 NKJV
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Most people have this idea that salvation is simply turning over a new leaf, but that is not the case. Salvation is not just making a decision to change what we do, but rather to change who we are.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
I am a completely different person all-together. God has removed my stony, hardened heart and replaced it with a heart that has a whole new capacity. The new heart that God puts within us is actually a vessel. It is a vessel for God Himself to dwell within us.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, dwells within us. He is there day in and day out. This new us is driven by the Spirit that now lives within us. It pushes us towards Godliness. We are literally born again with a new heart and are changed from the inside out. This new us will produce a new lifestyle, and this new lifestyle will even be proof that a new us actually exists, but what we do externally is driven by the internal transformation of our hearts. We are new beings in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:14–16 NKJV
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Romans 5:5 NKJV
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Back to the original question. How are we supposed to live our lives by doing what Jesus did? Because He lives within us and He is love.
The love of God is not an emotion that is triggered by certain circumstances or situations. The love of God is a characteristic of who we are. Because we have received a new heart that allows Christ to dwell within, Love dwells within us. It is part of who we are, not just something we do.

Conclusion

Ephesians 3:14–19 NKJV
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.