Our Spiritual ID

Services

Sunday - 8 AM & 10 AM, Wednesday - 6:30 PM

Oct. 07

Text:Revelation 21:22-27.

Introduction –

In the OT times, the “book of life” was the register of those living in the theocratic community of Israel. According to pastor and author Dr. Sam Storms, “To have one’s name written in the book of life implied the privilege of participation in the temporal blessings of the theocracy, while to be erased or blotted out of this book meant exclusion from those blessings.”Put plainly: this book had reference to the rights of citizenship for the Jewish people (see Isaiah 4:3).

What an intriguing basis for reference to an even greater work mentioned multiple times in the OT and introduced in the NT(Revelation 21:22-27; cfs. Exodus 32:31-33; Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:1-6; 13:8; 17:8; 20:11-15; 21:22-27).

Scripture describes the heavenly city of residents whose names are already inscribed on its rolls: they may have been liars, thieves, sexually immoral, covetous, blasphemers, idolaters, and those who practiced other sins for even a long stretch in their lives, but after meeting the Savior they weren’t/aren’t anymore. They began living as inhabitants whose identity is tied to that city because its Ruler now inhabits them.

There are so many yet to hear and believe the gospel, we’ve a great deal of work to do for the Rescuer of Our Souls; there are so many disciples to make of those now-found; we’ve lives to lead to bring glory and honor to our King. Whether or not we’ll engage in the work and live lives that honor God depends on understanding our identity in Jesus Christ.

The struggle most face regarding their identity: the clash of two worlds.

  • Author Kyle Winkler teaches we’ve two identities: one that’s temporal – quite possibly twisted and skewed – and one that’s spiritual and eternal.
    • The first he calls a perceived identity, the definition of who you are as characterized by how you feel; what you fear; the ways you fall; what others have said about you.
      • And this is where, as Winkler says, that Satan wants you: believing that perception is reality.
      • So, Hell’s forces use every negative experience and destructive opinion against you to whisper, "This is who you are."
    • The second identity Winkler refers to is our spiritual identity– and, as he so aptly puts it, it’s “inked in heaven” (the Lamb’s Book of Life)
      • It’s the identity ordained for us by God long before we were born and despite the difficulties of life’s road.
      • This is the essence of what Paul described to the Ephesian church, “…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:3-6).
  • In his book Relational Being,Christian psychologist Kenneth Gergen confronts the notion through which we most understand ourselves.
    • He calls it bounded identity, viewing ourselves as individuals first; that we’ve a core identity independent of our relationships to other people or to our respective societies.
    • In other words, Gergen says, essentially: we tend to think about self in one category and our community in another.
  • And if John 10:10a and I Peter 5:8 teach us anything it is this:
    • Q: Do you know why Satan loves Christians who don’t know their identity in Jesus?
    • A: Because confused, deceived, and isolated sheep are easy to devour.

Satan’s attack on our spiritual identification is as old as history itself.

  • Consider The Devil’s track record:
    • It began in the Garden of Eden: “…Your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4).
    • At Jesus’ temptation: “If you are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).
    • And he’s still doing it to this day, standing before the throne of God tattling on you for things already judged at the cross (Revelation 12:10)!
  • Ways and means Satan attacks our spiritual identity:
    • He attacks our name: Satan wants to hang labels and titles on us that God doesn’t intend.
      • For those wounded by others, he wants to denigrate our names
      • For those vaunted by their pride, he wants to elevate our names.
    • He attacks our nature: Satan wants you to avoid manifesting the character traits of Christ.
      • He wants us to misunderstand God’s grace and live according to our own carnal preferences (Galatians 5:19-21; 6:7-8).
      • On the other hand: Satan is happy to leave us alone if we prefer prioritizing looking religious on the outside but completely unable to live up to the standards we hold everyone else to (Matthew 23:1-36).
    • He attacks our “next”: Satan wants to keep or get us off God’s mission.
      • He wants us to misunderstand grace, so we might adopt sinful lifestyles or live in bondage to legalism.
      • He wants to you to be so tied up in either that your gospel message is compromised by unholiness or so uninviting that no one would want to follow the “Jesus” you believe in.

Applying it all.

  • The Don’ts:
    • Don’t allow the social and mental pressures of worldly people to influence you to be whom they want you to be (John 17:9-16).
    • Don’t allow your feelings to define who you are (Exodus 3:11-14).
    • Don’t allow your circumstancesto define you (I Samuel 9:19-21).
  • The Dos:
    • Let your identity with God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth guide your thoughts(Romans 6:1-6; cfs. John 15:18-25; I Peter 4:12-16).
    • Profess with your mouth what these scriptures inform our faith of:
      • God knew me from before time and values and loves me as His child (Psalm 139:16; Jeremiah 1:5; John 3:16; Galatians 3:26-29; I John 3:1-2a; Revelation 2:17).
      • God has taken care of my sin problem, making me a new and righteous person (II Corinthians 5:17, 20-21; I John 4:12-16).
      • In God, I am being completed as His masterpiece (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 2:8-10; Revelation 2:17).

Conclusion –

New Yorkers; Floridians; Minnesotans, et al – all are known by their respective ways. In fact, their thinking defines their cultural identity.

We’ve this very thing in common with a man whose name changed from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude) and it relates directly to our ultimate citizenry (Hebrews 11:8-10):

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.


When Satan attacks your name, new nature, and your next, remember – think – who you are in Christ:“I’m already a citizen of Heaven!”