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Who Are You Really? Finding Our Identity In Christ

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Our current sermon series is titled, “Who Are You, Really?” In this series we’re walking through Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus, as he reveals the life-changing message that, for followers of Christ, our identity is found in Him. We’re five weeks into the series now, and we’ve just worked our way through the second chapter of the book.

This past Sunday we looked at Ephesians 2:11-22. The amazing truth that flows from this passage, among other things, is that Jesus’ sacrificial death brings peace to all the relationships in our lives. In the church we naturally focus on the peace that Jesus’ brings in our relationship with God – while we were still in rebellion against God, Jesus Christ gave His life, He took the penalty of sin for us so that we could be reconciled to God. This is, of course, all true and glorious. But Christ also died so that we could be reconciled to one another. Listen to these words from verses 14-16:

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

I love the picture this passage paints! One new humanity – what a beautiful picture! Paul was speaking to a group of Christ-followers that were struggling because they still identified as Jews and Gentiles, and he challenged them to think outside the confines of the world’s constraints. He said, in essence, you’re no longer Jew or Gentile or anything else. You need to see yourselves as one new humanity, because of Christ – a new humanity defined by nothing more, and nothing less, than the fact that they belong to Christ. One new humanity.

That’s what God desires for us, too. It’s one of the last things Jesus prayed for before He was crucified (Jn. 17). It’s part of the reason Christ died. As followers of Christ, it’s time for us to lay aside all the things that the world and satan use to divide us, and run toward the unity that Christ bought for us with His blood. It’s time to stop identifying according to politics, or race, or culture, or gender, or ethnicity, or anything else. It’s time to find our identity in one place – in the fact that we belong to Christ! Won’t you join us as we grow into this new humanity together!

God bless you all this week as you seek to serve Him!

Pastor Mark

Being All In – Sermon Series Recap

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Throughout the course of the “All In” series, we’ve looked at a whole lot of topics together – The Bible as God’s Word; Who God Is – The Trinity; The Gospel; The Kingdom of God; The Church; Church Membership; Baptism; The Lord’s Supper; Stewardship; and Outreach. Throughout all of these topics, we tried to answer the question together – what does it look like to be all in, to be wholly devoted to God in this area?

While at face value all these topics may make following Christ seem complicated, it truly isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, when Jesus calls us to follow Him, He’s calling us to forsake all else in pursuit of Him, to lay everything else aside because He is better than anything else we could ever desire. It’s not easy; but it is simple. It’s as simple and as profound as Jesus’ words in Mark 12:30-31:

30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

This past Sunday, we unpacked the idea that God calls us to be deeply devoted in three directions – Upward, in our relationship with God; Inward, in our relationships with other followers of Christ, and; Outward, as we seek to share and show Christ’s love wit ha lost and dying world around us. At the end of the day, this is what being “All In” comes down to. It’s all about loving God and loving people. Let’s be all in, let’s refuse to hold anything back. Let’s discover together what God does through a group of people who are totally sold out for Him.

Be blessed this week!

Pastor Mark