“Remember Who You Are!”
3:1 If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.
3:2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth.
3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
3:4 When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory.
About nine years ago, I slipped into a coma on a Saturday evening. But that story is a bit of a bore and not really important. After a couple of days in hospital, I woke up and there was a face of a pretty woman peering down at me, smiling and asking "Do you remember who you are?" My response was "Of course I do!! But who are you, and what have you done with my wife". And that is the same for us as Christians. If we are listening, we are constantly being reminded by God the Holy Spirit, of our status before God if we are His children. The Holy Spirit is always there behind us, reminding us, that we are now His children and not His enemy, and therefore to stop living as if we were His enemy. In these verses, Paul reminds us of our identity. This morning we are going to look at primarily our new identity and five facts about our Christian identity...
Doctrine and morality
What we believe, is intrinsically caught up with how we behave. When at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the last century, the church started questioning the central core of our beliefs about Jesus, that was the beginning of a long slide into moral decay. If the synods back then had stamped out doctrinal decay, then the synods today would not be discussing the moral decay within the church today and whether something is right or not. If the 5 facts before us in these 4 verses weren't watered down by the church itself back then, and in some segments now, then perhaps we wouldn't be asking the moral questions that are now being asked of us.
1. What are we to do with this Jesus if we claim to be his followers and in relationship with him?
These five things are fact. They are not hypothesis. They are not theory. They are not merely symbolic. They are existent facts about us. We are not marked as Christians because we go to Church regularly, though its a good idea if we do. We are not marked as Christians because we were baptized, though I hope that we are. We are not marked outwardly as Christians because we go to a Bible College, though its a good place to be, and none better than Moorlands. We are marked as Christians, not because of any outwardly visible mark, but here Paul tells us what marks us out as Christians.
a. We died with Christ (3a). Paul expounds this fully in his letter to the Romans. Jesus not only died for us, but we died with Him. Christ not only died for sin, but died unto sin to break its power. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we are in Christ. We died with Christ. We can conquer our old sinful nature if we want to. Our new identity is Christ and we have died with Him. You have died with Christ.
b. We are raised with Christ (1a). Just as we died with Christ, we are also raised with Christ. It is a fact that we are raised with Him and we rule with him, seated at the right hand of the Father. Our new identity is Christ and we have been raised with Him. You have been raised with Christ.
c. We live with Christ (4a). As Christian people, Jesus is our life and our eternal life, is Jesus. We are dead to sin, yet alive to Christ. Our new identity is Christ and we live with Him. You live with Christ.
d. We are hidden with Christ (3b). For those of you who like a good mystery, here is one for you. We are hidden with Him!! We no longer belong to this world, but we belong to Christ. We are hidden with him in heaven. That is not to say we are to neglect our earthly duties and responsibilities, but that our motives and strengths come from heaven. Our new identity is Christ and it is hidden with Him. You are hidden with Christ.
e. We will be glorified with Christ (4b). When Christ comes again, we will see Him face to face. When Christ comes again, He will take us home. We shall enter eternal glory. So, we will not be hidden with Christ perpetually because when Christ is revealed in glory, we too shall be revealed in glory. We already have some of this glory, but one day the full extent of this glorification will be revealed. Our new identity is Christ, and we will be glorified with Him when He comes to take us home... You will be glorified with Christ when He comes again in glory to take you home.
These five events... These five facts cover all three tenses in time - past, present and future... In the past, we died and were raised with Christ. In the present, we live with Christ and we are hidden with Him. In the future, when He comes again, we will be glorified with Him.
And because we share in Jesus' death, resurrection and future glorification, we are to stop sinning. We are to stop thinking about ways in which to sin. This is what Paul says in verse 2. Our feet are to be in this world, but our minds are to be with Jesus, focusing on ways in which to serve Him, day in and day out. Look at the list of things we are to put to death in verses 5-10. That list is not conclusive. Don't sin is the message, and yet we continue to do so...
I long for perfection. I yearn it. Even when as a child, being dragged up irreligiously, I longed to be perfect. Yet, every time I succumb to temptation, and therefore disobey God, and sin, I forget who I am. I forget my new identity. I forget that I am a child of the Living God. I forget that I have died with Christ. I forget that I have been raised with Him. I forget that I live in Him. I forget that I am hidden in Him. I forget that one day He is coming again and that I, Dave Roberts, will be glorified with Him. When we sin, it is as if I am telling the Holy Spirit to rack off and leave me alone... Instead we should be telling our three enemies to rack off... Tell old hairy legs Satan to depart from you. Tell the world to get lost. Tell your old nature, that it is dead and you have a new nature to which you seek to serve.
By keeping our minds and hearts set upon Him, talk to yourself. Talking to yourself is actually a sign of maturity. Tell yourself these five things to help you in your Christian life. You have died with Christ. You have been raised with Christ. You live with Christ. You are hidden in Christ. You will be glorified with Christ. Paul elsewhere in his other letters, says "Have you forgotten who you are?" Immerse yourself in the Bible.
Steinbeck - "obsolescent religion." Travels with Charley.
Only use, if there is a great deal of time... Who is this Jesus we worship. Was he just a man? Was he just a god? Or was he both? Lets look together and find out.
2. Jesus - fully human.
That Jesus was a man is not really disputed. Scripture says that he was born of a woman which in itself tells us that prenatally he was nurtured and formed in the womb as any other male baby was and is. His genealogical line is given. He grew into manhood as any young Jewish boy did. With his humanity, he exhibited normal human emotions such as love, weeping, sadness, anger and anguish. Jesus ate and drank. He had a body and a soul. He undertook the baptism of John, just as others had done. Jesus grew tired, he slept & perspired. Religiously, he worshipped as a Jew. Jesus died, just as all mortal people do. He was human in every way that we are - physically, mentally and emotionally. The only exception is that he was sinless. His humanity is beyond question, though unlike us, he was sinless.
Jesus needed to be fully human for various reasons.
a. so that his death could sacrificially atone for us.
b. so that he can empathize and pray for us.
c. Jesus exhibited true and perfect humanity.
d. due to his perfect humanity, Jesus is to be our example to follow.
e. true human nature is good.
f. Jesus shows that while God is transcendent, He is not so far removed from us that He can't interact with his creation.
3. Jesus' deity
Jesus' deity and the Incarnation are central and basic teaching of historic Christianity as it is central to God's eternal plan of salvation. God's salvation plan for humans involved triumphant victory over sin, death and the grave. However no person could be found that was eligible or capable to do this. Because of this, God stepped into human history, so that this victory could be achieved. This God-man would be fully human, so as to live every facet of humanity, including suffering and death. This God-man would also need to remain fully God, so as to defeat sin, death and the grave. Jesus, being sinless (Heb.4:15), was this God-man, consisting as he was of two complete natures: the God nature and the human nature.
Anselm the church father observed that God had formed Adam without mother and father and had formed Eve without mother and father but from a man. So he could certainly form Jesus, without the usual sexual reproduction process, from a woman.
- Remember who you are.
- Remember your identity.
- Remember you have died with Christ,
- Remember you have been raised with Christ.
- Remember you have new life in Christ - NOW!!.
- Remember you are hidden with Christ - NOW!!.
- Remember you will be glorified with Christ when He comes again.
Therefore let us conclude. We are to focus our minds on Him for heavenly reasons. We are to let heaven fill our thoughts. In another translation, verse 2 reads "habitually set your mind on things above".
Jesus was fully-god and fully-man. It is this Jesus we claim to follow. Be assured of your identity. Remember who you are. Stop sinning and remember who you are - a child of the living God. Cast off all that hinders your Christian growth. Live for Him and make a difference in a world that is dying without knowledge of Him. Most of all, as a motivation to aspire to live a perfect life in honour of Him - remember who you are, and I don t mean just your name!! Remember....
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