Who Do You Think You Are? – Ps Kerrin Wallis [26/01/2020 AM]

Episode Notes

John 8:48-53 (NIV)

48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”

49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honour my Father and you dishonour me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”

52 At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”

What a great question!

  • Others will ask this of us, but sometimes we even ask it of ourselves
  • Who are we?
  • It seems that plenty of people ask this and have a whole bunch of different ways of trying to find the answer.

However it’s an important question that if we don’t answer, we will end up on some silly quest, looking in all the wrong places because we have never done the digging to settle the question in our hearts.

But equally,

  • Others
  • Life
  • Trying challenges and difficult times
  • The devil
  • This world
  • The culture we live in
  • Popular opinion
  • Religious people will ask this question and we need to be able to answer it.

So what does Jesus respond?

John 8:54 (NIV)

54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.

1. It’s not about us!

Firstly, for a Christian the answer is not about them.

If I make my identity about:

  • My physical appearance
  • My achievements
  • My past wins or failures
  • My past full stop.

All of a sudden our identity is not really very sure or stable!

  • If it’s based on my physical appearance or attributes and skills, what if something happens? Then my identity is shaken or up for grabs
  • If it’s our past wins and successes then what if I fail tomorrow? I am now really unstable
  • If it’s our past, well that can be good or bad but not secure, because soon our tomorrow will be our past and we can’t predict that.

We learn from Jesus that who we are wasn’t answered by a list of any of these things. That is how people get held back by confusing their past mistakes or wins etc., for who they are!

  • I may have made a mistake, but that does not make me a failure!
  • I may have some great achievements in the past, but that does not mean I am a good person!

Gal 2:20 (NLT)

20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

If it’s about me, then one of two things will happen!

  • I will become proud – because look what I have, what I’ve done and therefore what I am etc
  • I will become insecure – because look what I don’t have, what I haven’t done, therefore I am unworthy.

Jesus came to remind us that all we are and have, come from God. Any of these things are not really any measurement of self, or worth or purpose! Without God I am nothing!

Christianity, in dealing with identity, says it’s not found in our natural body, circumstances, past, achievements, failings, etc. It’s not where we turn.

So where is it found then?

John 8:54 (NIV)

54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.

God speaks to our identity.

2. God defines our identity!

This is probably not the first time we have broached this subject here, but neither will it be the last, because continually we need to be reminded not to look in the natural, but define ourselves as God defines us!

The very first point to notice is exactly what Jesus says, “God is the one who glorifies me!’

NOT:

  • ‘God is the one who pushes me down’
  • ‘God is the one who crushes me, depresses me, keeps me low and humble, wants me to stare at my failings.

God is in the business of raising people up! Glorifying people!

This is so important and it’s why we need to learn our identity isn’t about ourselves.

Because God wants to glorify us, lift us up  and if we think our identity is about us and not Him, then His glorifying us will make us proud!

1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honour. Approach life like God is the one who will lift us up.

Provided we don’t make the mistake of thinking our identity is about us, then we can keep a humble heart before God, but He will raise us up before people!

Isaiah 45:13 (NIV)

13 I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.”

Psalm 3:3 (NIV)

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

If we want to know who we are, then we had better know that God firstly wants to:

  • Glorify you
  • Honour you
  • Lift you up
  • Raise you up.

Our job is to call out the greatness of others.

You might be surprised to hear that, but if Galatians 2:20 is correct, then God can and will do that because:

It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus in us!

Gal 2:20 (NLT)

20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Who we are is about who God is in us!

Let’s look at what Jesus says about us.

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus teaches that He wants our lives to be on display, to shine, to give light to others, so that people would see us and our lives and glorify God!

This means our identity as Christians must be found in who Jesus is!

  • Not what the world says
  • Not what my appearance, skill set, or bank account says
  • Not even what my self esteem and self assessment says
  • Not what other people say.

It’s about what God says!

Hebrews 10:32-39 (NIV) puts it like this:

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

(Things in life working against us to try and bring us down, cause us to doubt God, His plan, His goodness, His power)

35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

This year there will be all sorts of things that try to challenge you and ask – who do you think you are?

  • Life will do it with circumstances
  • The devil will do it with trials and tribulations
  • Your mind will do it
  • Our own insecurities or pride will try to rise up and ask it
  • Other people offended at Jesus in you will try.

But my hope today is that you can learn, like Jesus taught, that it’s not about you, but it’s about Him and what He says about you!

This is one of the reasons we do prayer and fasting in February each year as a Church. It is so powerful.

  • To start the year surrendered and humble ourselves before God, committing our year ahead to Him!
  • And in doing so we set ourselves and our year ahead up for the power, blessing, favour, the lifting and the glorifying of God in our lives!
  • Surrender something to God, put Him first.

But it’s also why we encourage every believer to:

  • Read the Bible – learn what God says about your identity
  • Be involved in prayer and fasting and set your mind on God. Make a commitment to Him
  • Join a Connect Group and surround yourself with others who will encourage you and build you up
  • Serve God in your community and make sure you live with His purpose and calling as your highest priority
  • Believe God for more not less
  • Have a personal experience of God
  • Let Him shape who you are.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss who you think you are?
  2. How easy is for people to get held back by confusing their past mistakes or wins etc., for who they are!
  3. Discuss why we need to remind ourselves that all we are and have, comes from God!
  4. What does it mean when it says our identity as Christians must be found in who Jesus is?