November 8, 2022
You Are Known – Ephesians 2:1-10
Listen to last week’s message on You Are Known – a sermon about our identity in Christ.
Pastor Eric began his sermon today by stressing the importance of discovering our identity in Christ.
Read Proverbs 23:7 KJV
Who am I? Why am I here? Though not always voiced, these two questions are frequently asked. As we observe the world around us, it is evident that many different voices are trying to define or redefine who we are and who we are meant to be. In light of this, it is essential that we discern what voice we will allow to influence our lives, for our own sake and for the sake of our children. Youngsters are subjected to voices both within the school system and on the playground. During our childhood, how many of us made decisions about our lives based on peer pressure? Peer pressure, the media, social media, YouTube, Tiktok, and Netflix all seek to influence our decisions and the way in which we perceive ourselves. Furthermore, posters and billboards depict what a woman ought to look like. Currently, a great deal of effort is being made to define or redefine who we are, which is why we must be cautious, especially when it comes to our children. In choosing which voice to listen to, we must exercise a high degree of discernment; otherwise, we may lose sight of our true identity. As stated in Proverbs 23:7,
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…
According to a study published by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre earlier this year, one out of five Canadians will be victimized by identity theft. Thus, we, too, could very well fall victim to a fraudster who will impersonate us, resulting in the destruction of our credit rating, reputation, and identity. In fact, our credit rating and reputation may be so severely damaged that we may be forced into bankruptcy as a result.
Listening to the wrong voice may imprison us, as it can undermine and distort our perception of ourselves. Although we may not be incarcerated physically, we could be imprisoned in our minds. Listening to the wrong voice has led to the imprisonment of many people.
As a result of Satan’s lies, some of us here today are incarcerated psychologically, intellectually, or spiritually, or our sense of identity is unclear. We have been indoctrinated with falsehoods by the enemy, and our thoughts today are simply a repetition of what he has already planted in us many years ago. As long as we continue to repeat the same lies in our minds, the devil has no reason to harass us, for we are believing and declaring his falsehoods. A parent, boss, co-worker, classmate, or neighbour may have said something offensive to us that is untrue, yet we insist on repeating it, imprisoning ourselves as a result. False beliefs about ourselves have a significant impact on our actions, thoughts, relationships, behaviour, and decisions since they are influenced by the way we perceive ourselves. Jesus is the only means by which we can be set free. Pastor Eric prays that today will be a day of freedom for some, marked by the opening of jail cells and the release of prisoners.
Read Ephesians 2:1-10
Read Ephesians 2:1, 2:12, 2:3, 2 Corinthians 4:3, Romans 6:17, John 3:19; Mark 2:17, Luke 15; and Galatians 1:13
Paul presented an initial description of who they were. In order to properly understand their identity in Christ, he reminded them of their past. “Once you were under God’s curse, doomed forever for your sins.” The bad news is shared before the Good News is revealed. Sometimes, when we become aware of how sin has separated us from God, and the consequences that follow, the gospel becomes easier to accept. It was for this reason that Paul conveyed the bad news to them, reminding them of their past. They had no purpose, no identity, and no life. This is not a reference to physical death, but spiritual death. Following a broken world ruled by broken people, they gave in to their sinful desires. They were blind. This is the kind of people they used to be.
Read Romans 3:23
The Bible states that every individual, without exception, has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard. In the absence of a new birth, we are dead in our trespasses before God.
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, committed a sin for which we now bear the consequences. It was passed down to us from generation to generation. Therefore, we are now guilty of sin. Sin is not the result of any action: It is merely the result of being born. In our sinful state, we are prone to engaging in sinful behaviour such as stealing, lying, slandering, rebelling, using the Lord’s name in vain, and committing adultery. Due to our sinful nature, we neglect to heed God’s warnings. In spite of this, there is good news: Jesus was born of a virgin, not through Adam’s line; therefore, the curse was not passed down to Him and His death on the cross atoned for our sins. As a result, we are able to become righteous through God’s grace through faith in the finished work of Christ.
Read John 3:3 and 14:6
Nicodemus, a Pharisee and an important Jewish leader, was informed by Jesus that he would not enter the Kingdom of God unless he was born again. The problem we faced at the time of our first birth necessitated our rebirth. Only through our rebirth can we find the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In other words, only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour will access heaven.
Read John 10:10
To sum up, when we are born physically, we are born into sin, which results in death, spiritual blindness, and eternal separation from God. Consequently, we are cursed, awaiting the judgment of His wrath. Furthermore, it is essential that we recognize that while there is a holy, awesome, loving, and forgiving God, there is also a devil, a spiritual enemy, who attempts to deceive and persuade us to turn away from Christ. His mission is to kill, steal, and destroy. Not only does he make our lives miserable, but he also seeks to destroy us. It is his goal to destroy our faith, devotion to the Lord, and our marriages.
Read Ephesians 2:2
There is no longer any excuse for us to indulge in our sinful desires. We lived that way before we were reborn, so now that we are in Christ, we should strive to live a different life. Ephesians 2:2 makes it clear that those who disobey the Lord are susceptible to Satan’s influence. The fact of the matter is that there are many people today who do not follow God and who are nothing more than puppets in the hands of the devil, whether they realize it or not. Previously, we were in a similar position. In spite of the belief we hold, the devil exists and if we do not follow the Lord, then we are following the enemy.
Read Ephesians 2:3
In the above passage, Paul informs the Christians of Ephesus that they were once full of sin and under the influence of Satan. In a similar fashion, we too committed sins which deserved nothing less than God’s wrath. If we are believers, however, our old nature has been crucified with Christ.
Water baptism symbolizes the new nature that we have been given in Christ. John the Baptist submerged those being baptized, including Jesus, under the water. In Greek, the word baptizo, also spelled baptismos, means to immerse, to plunge, to submerge. Baptism is a public declaration that we have repented of our sins, accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, and committed ourselves to God for the rest of our lives. Our statement indicates that we now identify with the risen Christ. Taking this important step of obedience also signifies the end of a life without God. The old nature has been shed and the new has been embraced. As Paul says, we are no longer the same people that we once were.
Read Romans 3:23, 8:37
Some Christians today view their lives through the lens of Adam, rather than through the lens of Christ, the second Adam. Thus, they still perceive themselves as being under a curse: They live in fear, are burdened with guilt, and perceive themselves as failures. They are manipulated by Satan and deceived by his lies. As stated in Romans 8:37, “…everyone has sinned and we all fall short of God’s glorious standard”. Our status as descendants of Adam has left us hellbound, powerless, enslaved by sin, and responsible for our inequities. We also violate the Law. Life is miserable; we fear death and the afterlife; and we turn away from God. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is the second Adam, and those who are born again are no longer guilty, condemned, bound, or enslaved to sin. Despite the fact that Jesus has removed the curse from us, so many believers today act as if they are still under its influence. There is no peace in their lives; their minds are filled with anxiety; and they are consumed by fear. In the midst of their suffering, the Lord invites them to enter His rest, enjoy His peace, and delight in His joy. Due to the fact that we are not in Adam, but in Christ, we do not have to live a defeated life. According to
Romans 8:37, …we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Emotions and feelings can betray us at times. It was said that
emotions make a great passenger, but a terrible driver.
Emotions are terrible drivers as a result of their inconsistency. They fluctuate continuously; therefore, it is imperative that we allow God’s Word to define who we are.
Read John 15:15
Though we strive to provide the best for our children, we occasionally fall short. Pastors, church leaders, and godly individuals are also prone to making mistakes from time to time. In light of this, it is imperative that we return to the Word of God and discover who we truly are in Christ. The Bible teaches that through the blood of the Lamb, we have been made righteous, and no longer need to feel spiritually filthy or distant from God. Despite the Holy Spirit’s ongoing purification and sanctification, the blood of Jesus has made us righteous and free. Our status as slaves has changed to that of children of God, and as such, we are able to boldly approach His Throne. No longer are we victims, but overcomers. Jesus stated in John 15:15, He no longer calls us slaves but friends.
Through our relationship with Christ, we can experience true freedom, grace, mercy, purpose, and life in abundance. As a result of our new identity, we are now free.
Pastor Eric then shared the following story: In Asia, a woman who had just completed her grocery shopping walked down the street carrying a heavy basket of groceries on her head. Suddenly, heavy rain began to fall. Seeing this woman’s plight and wanting to shelter her from the rain, a taxi driver stopped by the side of the road and invited her into his vehicle. She politely declined and was soon on her way. Upon reaching the end of the street, the cab driver once again offered her a ride. This time, the woman accepted. The woman sat at the rear of the cab and closed the door. Next, the driver asked her where she would like to go. She provided him with the address. When he glanced in the rearview mirror a few minutes later, he noticed that the heavy basket was still on the top of her head. The taxi driver then suggested that she place the heavy basket on the car seat next to her. Although he suggested that she allow the taxi to carry her load, she refused, and the heavy burden remained on her head. This is an excellent depiction of people who are still burdened by their sins despite Christ’s payment for them at the cross. We should entrust Jesus with the issues we face since He has already paid for our redemption. We do not have to bear our burdens.
Read Ephesians 2:4-5
Despite the fact that we were spiritually dead and condemned by our sins, God gave us a second chance at life when He raised Christ from the dead. Moreover, our salvation has been obtained solely through His undeserved kindness. He loved us even though we were unlovable. As dead as we were in our transgressions, He loved us nonetheless.
Read Romans 5:8
According to Romans 5:8, God displayed His great love for us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die as a sacrifice for our sins. Our Lord did not die for us when we were at our best: He died for us while we were still sinners. He is the very essence of love.
Read 1 John 3:1
First John 3:1 states, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us…” The word lavished actually means to pour onto. This is not a mere sprinkle. He poured His love on us.
Many other passages of Scripture speak of God’s love for us. Pastor Eric shared a few of these with us today.
1 – I am washed, sanctified, and justified by the blood of Jesus.
2 – I am regenerated, renewed by the Holy Spirit.
3 – I have been forgiven.
4 – I am born again into a living hope.
5 – I am a child of God.
6 – I have been set free by the Truth.
7 – I am eternally secure in Christ.
8 – I am free from condemnation.
9 – I am a temple of the Holy Spirit.
10 – I am an ambassador of Christ.
11 – I am more than a conqueror in Jesus Christ.
12 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
13 – I am raised with Christ and seated in the heavenly realms.
14 – I am protected by the power of His name.
15 – I walk in victory.
16 – I am chosen.
17 – God is working all things for my good and His glory.
18 – I have a heavenly calling.
19 – I am God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus for good works.
20 – I was knit together in my mother’s womb for a specific Kingdom purpose.
Reading the above enhances our sense of righteousness. We also feel a sense of relief and well-being knowing we have been freed from debt, condemnation, and guilt. It is vital that we address the identity issue since it has a direct bearing on everything else.
Read Ephesians 2:6-9
There are many people today who repeat what they were told by the enemy when they were young. This has led them to believe that they are trash. As Pastor Eric explained today, God does not create trash, nor does He die for trash. We must never forget that we are infused with the breath of God and He paid the price for our redemption. Our value is unquestionable!
Read Ephesians 2:10
Ephesians 2:10 states,
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The Greek word for handiwork is poiema. We are a poem composed by the Lord. Each of us is a unique masterpiece created by God, designed with a specific purpose in mind. The value of our lives cannot be denied.
This led Pastor Eric to recount his story and reveal some of his greatest regrets. His fear of rejection led him to make some of the worst decisions of his life. Based on his own statement, he was not born a pastor, and his first words were not Praise the Lord! Halleluia! Had we seen him in the first 19 years of his life, we would not have considered him to be a suitable candidate for the ministry. In his early years, he was a non-believer and his strong desire to be accepted caused him to make some poor decisions. The fear of rejection and isolation plagued him. This resulted in him hanging around the wrong crowd. This, in turn, led him to drink his first drink, smoke his first joint, and commit his first offense, all in an effort to gain acceptance.
As some of us here today may be in the same situation Pastor Eric found himself in, he wishes to provide us with this advice: If we are hanging around so-called friends who are pressuring us to conform to their ways, it is best to run for our lives. It is not because we fear them that we should run, but rather because they are unbecoming of our friendship. Despite our obligation to love them, pray for them, and share the gospel with them, we must let them go. There are too many people today who compromise their values and beliefs in order to fit in.
There are multiple voices out there, and we need to decide which one we will listen to. Will we be guided by the devil, our peers, the culture, Netflix, or social media, or will we find our meaning and purpose through the written Word of God? We are, without a doubt, who the Bible portrays us to be.
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