Monday, September 5, 2011

Identity Crises !!


This is a summary of a sermon preached at Word of Grace church by Bill Berry who has been instrumental  in  bringing the pastors of the city ( across many cities) together  for an annual  2 day Prayer Summit with the intent of building unity in the body of Christ. He was the lead pastor of his church for 31 years and has now handed over to a younger man to take the work on. He speaks with much humility and experience of a man who has walked the walk.


As Christians we need to answer two very important question viz? Who is Jesus? And “Who am I?” Sometimes we spend  our whole life trying to figure it out or trying to prove it by making a name.

Matt3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Jesus submitted to the Father’s will and only did and spoke what the Father and Spirit did. We are to be responders to the initiatives of God. We have to learn to live that way.

Jesus was baptised by John and the Holy Spirit comes upon him. Jesus needed the Holy Spirit to do the ministry God had called him to do. The Holy Spirit is your enabler too.

Jesus lived under the Father’s authority and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. All 3 persons of the Trinity are in view at one time at the time of Jesus’ baptism. This is one of the critical points in Jesus’ life on earth. The Father is reminding the son of his identity before he goes into ministry i.e “the beloved son”, even before he can do anything.

Often we are trying to prove our identity. We are trying to get recognition and importance in the world.
You don’t have to prove your identity in ministry. You prove who you are by your belief. You are God’s beloved children.
Is 53:10 -Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, 
   and though the LORD makes[
a] his life an offering for sin, 
he will see his offspring and prolong his days, 
   and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
Matt3:17 – This is my Son

 Jesus is tempted in three areas in the desert : His identity, the need to recognition and the need for glory/power. We as Christians and those in leadership will be tempted in these three areas as well. We need to watch out for these.

1st Temptation:
Matt4:3 – The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
If you are the son of God – the Devil challenges His security in his identity. “God has not done anything for you so you cannot trust Him. Seek security in your own way. Provide for yourself, chase wealth, promotions, financial security because you cannot trust God.”
Abraham and Sarah – Tells the king that Sara is his sister.  Ananias and Sapphira sold property and held some back – they were insecure about their provision.
The Rich young ruler-
We must be able to find security in Jesus alone.
God wants you to trust his promises and His word.

2nd Temptation :
V6: “If you are the Son of God” he said, “throw yourself down...”
Satan took Jesus to the highest point in the temple and challenged him to do something spectacular that would make him famous. We face the temptation to do something spectacular to again the approval of people – to make a name for ourselves. We all want people’s approval. Why do I act humble? – is it in my heart or am I looking for people’s appreciation. What is the motive?
One of the basic needs is to be loved. If you are not secure in God’s love you will keep seeking love. When you seek love you cannot love.

3rd Temptation:
v.8 “ All this I will give you,” he said, “If you will bow down and worship me.”
Power and control: Leaders particularly fall for this. I’ll be recognized and will get my sense of value from the power I have.
The Pharisees are a perfect example : if we don’t get it, the Romans will take our position. Jesus never sought for a position of power. He in fact practised downward mobility – he became nothing, he humbled himself. Therefore God exalted Him and gave Him a name above every other name.
We strive for this because we want glory. We need to realize we already have a position of glory because we are sons of God.
John17

Live out your life out of the fact that God loves You.
Ask yourself about the three areas of temptation – for security, approval and power – Why am I tempted to do any of these?
Don’t live your life to prove who you are, but live your life out of who you are.