So, we're 3 weeks into our 9 weeks Sunday series on IDENTITY! How's it going for you?
The series comes in 3 parts, each of 3 weeks:
We've concluded 3 weeks looking at God the Father, and how we find our identity as His children, in relation to Him. He has adopted us and wants us to see ourselves as He sees us.
We're about to start 3 weeks looking at God the Son, and how His momentous death and resurrection was a pivot-point in world history, changing how we relate to God. We're going to see how to walk in forgiveness and the dignity of who we are in Christ.
We'll end with 3 weeks talking about God the Holy Spirit, and the freedom and power He brings to our lives.
In a previous blog about the series we said "we're expectant that God will do stuff with us, changing us as a community, as we walk through this new series. We want it to not just be a teaching series but also a changing series!" So, we've planned space for encounter and prayer ministry, as well as rich teaching and worship.
For some of us, that idea that God wants to change us needs a bit of explanation. As Christians, doesn't he just love and accept us as we are?
Well, yes - and yet…!
It is absolutely true that God welcomes and accepts everyone. Whoever you are, whatever you've done, and whatever you've become inside, the heart of the Christian good news is that Jesus has made it possible - through His life, death and resurrection - for anyone to accept that offer of new life, and walk in restored relationship with God. Jesus calls each of us to repent (that means to turn around, or change direction), and follow Him.
This change that Jesus has made possible is so huge, so complete, that it takes time for us to grasp the whole truth about who we are in Christ - our new identity. The Bible speaks of this transforming our minds, our hearts, our thoughts, and our actions (Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 2:10). This series is about our minds, our hearts, our emotions, and our actions being transformed, to live in the new identity that God has won for us in Jesus Christ.
And, it doesn’t stop there… it gets even better than that! As changed people, we get to play our part in God's new creation, His redeeming of all things to new, untainted, and perfect design. In the words of author John Mark Comer, we get "to be with Jesus, to become like Jesus and to do what he did."
In the words of the apostle Paul, writer of much of the New Testament: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith … it is the gift of God … we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2) and "God chose his people to become like his Son." (Romans 8:29)
If this idea of change in the Christian life is new to you, why not listen again to our talk "Forged to be followers" from 2019.
How do we change?
Having established that change/renewal/becoming like Jesus is a good thing, and part of God's plan for us as followers of Jesus, how does it work?
There are several things that help us live out that change. To name a few:
- Teaching and preaching that helps us understand who we are in Christ
- Personal time with God, where we ask and listen as He speaks words of truth, affirming who we are in Christ
- Community that brings companionship, encouragement and nurture, reminding us of who we are in Christ
- The Holy Spirit who helps us to live as changed people - sometimes in a moment and sometimes over time
So as we journey together in this IDENTITY series, can I encourage you to keep close to God, and let him change you? Whether in a moment of encounter, or in walking into greater freedom on a daily basis. He has better version of you in His heart, and wants to help you flourish, as we together find our place in His family and His purposes!