Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ P49 (07-04-22)
Rest From Our Works
So many times, whether lost or saved, people get of the mindset, that they need to work for God. For the lost person, it is simply part of who they are. They are out there trying to perform for God in order for God to do something for them. But the Christian is in a similar mindset also. Especially in light of all the teaching of error that is going on in the pulpit today. However, we are told to enter into the Sabbath Rest. And that is what the book of Hebrews talks about.
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
Just as a person’s physical growth is based on proper diet and exercise, so is the Christians’s spiritual growth dependent on regular feeding upon the word of God and application of its principles. With more false teaching, shifting opinions and general confusion in the world than ever before, Christians need a solid foundation upon which to base their beliefs and build their lives. The word of God declares that Jesus Christ is that foundation of truth. With that in mind, let’s now take A Closer Look at Your Identity in Christ.
We’re in chapter 7 of our book, on a closer look at the believers identity. And this chapter is involved in what it means to be redeemed. In other words, bought back, it’s all a part of this very, very Important part of what true discipleship is really all about.
I thought so many times that if you kind of look on a page there and you see the lost and then next to that is saved, and in many instances that’s the Christian Life. That’s all, that’s all it is involved to him. You’ve lost or you’re saved, and then what do you do with them after that? Well I don’t know but you know but there’s lost and saved, and then if you just kind of go across a page for a moment and just kind of paint in your own mind, a gap, and then on the right side of the page where you’ve got works, you got working for God, committing to God, promising God, then recommitting to God and promising some more than recommitting more and you got all of that activity taking place over there working for God. The interesting thing about that is that there’s very little difference between a lost man, and a saved man in that particular mindset. Because to the lost man, he is working for God in order to hopefully get something. In other words, so God won’t be totally mad at him. He is committing to God constantly. God, if you get me out of this jam, why I will, you know, I’m going to dedicate my life to you. We’re doing that as a lost person. In other words to the lost person, it’s kind of a perception of an unloving reluctant God. But if you will do enough, why then he may accept you. Then you get saved, and you carry that same mindset over and you go immediately from salvation over to the same things committing to God, recommitting to God, how many times do people walk down the aisles to rededicate their life? Did you ever do that? But of course. And rededicated and rededicate again and again and all of this is promising God to do something, for his acceptance.
Well, ultimately you come ultimately to the results of that almost become the same thing to the lost person. He ultimately comes to the conclusion that first, of all, all of these promises that we are making don’t seem to be working. And ultimately, you’re going to say there really is a guy that hates my guts, and we end up in rebellion, whether it’s passive rebellion, or active rebellion, that’s not the issue in our hearts. We’re mad at God because we don’t think he loves you, loves this or exceptions to the saved person, he kind of thinks well, I’m now forgiven, I hope. And then of course in the Christian world, much of Christian teaching, that’s annihilated as well by you’re forgiven, but so it’s the billy goat forgiveness and so, you really don’t know what that is. So ultimately you again, go from being saved, a brand new baby, into this works orientation. I’m going to work for God. I’m going to commit to God, I’m going to promise God. And ultimately you fall flat on your face in that particular realm and so you go back to denying your acceptance that you have with God. So whether you think God has rejected you totally and there’s no way that he would ever accept me into heaven. That’s where most people want to get accepted. Not down here, but in heaven and reject that. And then to the saved person who says, well, I know I’m going to heaven, but in the meantime why he’s rejecting me here on earth. In both cases you’re in your mindset, you’re being rejected by God.
And so that the whole realm that we are dealing with, in a book such as we’re studying in the Believers identity, is to me, what true discipleship is. Now discipleship used to mean, to me. I mean, the organizations and everything I was involved in, boy, they believed in discipleship. Discipleship was teaching how to work for God. So, you know, so and so, but what discipleship is, is teaching you who you are in Christ and who Christ is because once you come to grips with this, then if you understand in the depths of your soul, that it is Christ who is alive in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Then I don’t need to be concerned about what to do for God. What I need to do is to yield to the God who wants to do something through me. World of difference in those two. And so what we’re trying to do in this study is to enable believers to get into the depths of their soul what their inheritance is in Christ Jesus so they stop spending their life begging God for what they already have, thinking that faith is getting sort of a thing that you don’t already have. So I’m going to add something new into this equation. Instead of what true faith is is walking by faith in which you already have not walking by faith in getting what you don’t have. That’s not faith, that’s supposition.
And so we’re dealing with getting all these things together so that we are truly experiencing our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, to walk in a newness of life. And so as Paul said this was my goal is to present all of, each and every one of you, perfect in Christ, complete in Christ. Not just to present you saved but complete to see your completeness in Christ. Now, until we see our completeness in Christ and see that we have been made perfect in the sight of God, if I don’t see that, even though it’s happened what is there a difference between me, who have something that don’t see it, then to the Israelites, the leadership of Israelites before? And I’m not saying that as a Israelite remark. That’s who God came to was the Israelites, who had atonement, who had sacrificial systems. But the Bible says that that atonement could never make anyone perfect in the sight of God. In other words, the problem with the law is the law can never make anyone perfect in the sight of God. So here were people who did not have perfection that never been made perfect in the sight of God because the only one who could do that is Christ Jesus. And so here they were trying to make themselves perfect, but unable to achieve it. Here’s a Christian, if he’s truly a born again Christian, who has already been made perfect and doesn’t know it, but still trying to achieve. And so what is the difference in actual experience between the person who has not been made to perfect the sight of God, trying, and the one who has already been made perfect but doesn’t know it, and still trying? What’s the difference? Two people trying desperately to get something that they won, that they don’t have and the other that they have, but don’t know it. And those are frustrating, that’s a frustrating position to be in.
So, what the purpose of all of this, quite frankly, the entire ministry of People to People is to get people to see the number one that they need Christ. That they don’t happen to get into a relationship with Christ and teach you who you are in that new relationship. In other words, what is your identity in Christ Jesus? So what we’ve been talking about and we’ll pick up again immediately after the break is your redemption, who you are in Christ Jesus.
We’ve been through a terrific series of teaching a person as this brand new creation that we have, number one is a brand new creation that is now under a New Covenant in comparison to the old covenant of law. Now, under the New Covenant of the grace of God, and in this new covenant, that he now stands encircled by all of these things that are part of our inheritance, is we are totally a forgiven person. We don’t get forgiven anymore. We are a forgiven being. It’s a part of our being in the New Covenant, and said their sins and lawless acts I remember no more. Now for sins and lawless acts aren’t being remembered anymore, it’s because they’ve been forgiven. They’ve been taken away and that’s what Christ did on the cross. So, in Him, we’re told if you are in Him, no longer in Adam, in Him, Christ we have something: redemption, the forgiveness of sins. So if I have redemption, it’s kind of stupid to ask to get redeemed every day. And if I have forgiveness, it’s kind of stupid to be asking to be forgiven every day. It’s not that that’s bad. It’s just, it just doesn’t make any sense if you already are. Now, if I am already redeemed, it makes all the sense in the world to be thanking God for my redemption. And it certainly makes sense to be thanking God for my forgiveness, that was mine when I just blew it. But to be asking him to give me what I already have is an insult to the one who gave you something.
And that is why it is spelled out in Hebrews 6 and 10 that we’re trampling, underfoot the grace of God and making a mockery of the Cross when we are going back to her sacrificial system for forgiveness. Had they had confession booths back in those days, he would have been talking about going back to there for forgiveness, and then in the Evangelical Protestant community, everybody says you can go direct and get forgiven. And God is up in heaven. saying, what in the world do you think I did when I was at that cross? It’s finished. It’s been over. And so as a child of God it isn’t the case that I am going to get more forgiveness because forgiveness never did come from confession. Forgiveness came from the shedding of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. So it isn’t the case that I ever did get forgiven because of asking God to forgive me. There was no one at the cross that asked God to forgive him. Christ, just initiated, Father, forgive them they don’t know what they’re doing. And so we have now, because we’re so self-centered instead of god-centered, we have reversed that process and instead of our forgiveness being based upon what He did, it becomes based upon what we do.
Well, quite frankly, there was nothing in your salvation that had anything to do with what you did, it had everything to do with what He did. And so again, as I said, because we want to be God, we want to reverse this, we want God to get down here, and us to get up there. And for God to be some kind of a Heavenly vending machine, who is up there, just wanting to give us whatever. We put our quarter of faith in, and pull the knob, and that is not God. God has not been reduced down to us. We’re supposed to be elevated up to Him, not vice versa.
So here, I have this inheritance that we are talking about. I have forgiveness, I don’t deserve it, I certainly didn’t earn it, it is just something that I have that if I’m going to walk by faith, I have to walk by faith in what God has already given me. Faith is not trying to get something that God might want to give me. Faith is resting in what He’s already given. That’s what’s called a Sabbath rest, rest from your works. What kind of works? Working to try to get God to do something for you. He’s already done it so I can rest from that, glory in it, rejoice in it, walk in it and experience peace in it. But there is no peace. There’s no peace of God until you experience peace with God, and I cannot experience peace with God until I realize He’s done it all. Now, that’s exciting when you stop to think about it, it’s even exciting when you don’t think about it. But it’s even more exciting when you do.
Now we’re totally forgiven. We’ve been made righteous in the sight of God, we’ve been reconciled in the sight of God. That’s what He did at the cross. Now, we’re talking about being redeemed, how all that took place, He bought us back. We talked about Colossians 1:13 and 14 where He rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us, said, we didn’t climb in there, crawl in there. He brought us. He delivered us from darkness into the kingdom of the Son that He loves in whom, Colossians 1:13 and 14, we have what? Redemption. What else do we have? Well, forgiveness of sin. Isn’t that nice?
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Now, it says in Galatians 4, when the time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so what? That we might receive full rights as sons. So we have been named a son of God. And as a son, we have full rights as a son, the same way that the prodigal son, when he walked away, never ceased being a son, he was behaving like a pig, but he was a son behaving like a pig and that’s why he didn’t stay in the pigpen. The reason the son came home was because, he was a son, the reason the pig stayed in the pigsties was because he’s a pig. And so we have to understand that, our identity is what determines where we’ll be living. Now, if I am a child of the Living God, then my home it says, is in heaven. In other words, my citizenship is in heaven. I see the world now is what the world is. First of all, it’s an enemy of God’s kids. It is a temporary existence. It’s going to go someday. It is not our home. We’re called ambassadors here in a foreign land and that’s why it says if you’re in love with the world, the love of the father is not in you. Folks. That’s a by-product. If you’re going to be in love with the world there’s a byproduct of that, the love of the Father isn’t going to be in you. Now when the love of the Father is in you, you’re not going to be in love with the world, why? Because you’re no longer preoccupied with a world that is decaying your preoccupied with God who came to give you life and an inheritance, that is so much more glorious than any inheritance that you could get down here that it isn’t even worth thinking about, it isn’t even worth the comparison. But when you’re in love of the world and unfortunately Bob we have brought these things of the world into the Christian Life, as if they’re acceptable. They’re just wonderful. We become in love with the world. We’re much more interested in getting a political candidate nominated and elected than we are getting people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We had a political figure who came into Dallas last night and raised four million dollars in one night. We can’t raise that in 20 years it seems like, you know, that’s what I’m getting at. Why? Well, because people are more interested in politics than they are in salvation. That’s the reason more and love of the world and I want to guarantee you a slug of those people were people who name the name of Christ that if you ask them for a dime to help save people. They don’t have it, but they’ll give all kinds of money to get America saved. Why? Because we’re more interested in America than we are in salvation. We’re more interested in getting America cleaned up, then we are in getting lives changed. Our focus has gotten totally off in the Christian world. For the lost world to be involved in those things, man, I don’t blame them. If I did not have Christ, and I would certainly have to be involved in those, you have to do something, but when you are totally preoccupied with with all of these issues, how to world are you going to be preoccupied with the main issue and that is, are you in Christ and darkness, lost dead, or have you come to understand His life living in you? And that’s why it says if you love the wiew, you love the world. There’s a byproduct. The love of the Father is not in you. We don’t see that, we don’t, we ignore those things, but that is a truth. You can’t serve two masters.
What if we got America cleaned up overnight folks? In fact, if you want to get rid of and live in a place where you don’t have any pornography, probably don’t have any R-rated movies. Where you absolutely probably don’t have any bars as far as I know. I’m not sure about that one. Just go live with Hussein, because it was Arab Nations they don’t have any of that stuff, If any of it. Do you want to live there? So you can get all of these things cleaned up. I want to tell you back, when I was a boy, we didn’t have any of those things. If you ever wanted to go out and find a dirty picture someplace, you had to look for a long time to have found something like that, because it wasn’t there, it was hard to get a hold of. Somebody wanted to do that in movies. You never saw sexual scenes in movies. Never, they faded away with a kiss. That was it. Not like today that that was what it was back then. We’re people still lost? It’s that group of people that were there, then, who produce kids, who are producing what we’ve got today.
So was the world saved? See that the issue is, it wasn’t the issue as to whether there was bad movies there weren’t and to believe me, I’m not advocating bad movies. I believe all of this stuff is absolutely a contributing factor to the degradation, the increased segregation is taking place today, they contribute to that increased degradation, but the fact of the matter is, if you got rid of all of that, you still have a bunch of lost people. Just looking at a nice movie, Lost people not looking at pornography. Nice, lost people not doing this. Nice lost people not going to the bars. So what, you are still lost. And so as long as our focus in the Christian community is on, trying to get the symptoms cured, instead of going to the cause, why that’s what the Bible says that when we who are called by God, the salt of the earth, have lost our saltiness, what will happen to the world? We see what’s happening to the world. It’s lost its saltiness because we’ve lost our saltiness and the result of Is what we see going on in the world today. And so when our focus gets off our goal, gets off our purpose, that’s a better word, our purpose, our purpose, as a child of God is to walk in the newness of Life, under the control of the Holy Spirit of God. And it says, when we don’t do that, the byproduct of that product is that we’re going to be walking controlled by our flesh. And the results of that is what we see going on in the world today. So I guess what I’m saying, through all of this, is the fact that we have to see the importance of things like redemption and I have been transferred into a new kingdom and that is not the kingdom of England. It’s not the kingdom of the United States. It’s called the Kingdom of God. And we are representatives, in an alien land, the Kingdom of God that we are a part of, if indeed we are born again.
I’m picking up on page 49. This, the question that always takes place now, when uou are being taught and what the leaglist will always come at you with is a now, what are you talking about If you have all of these things of yours, you’ve been redeemed, you’ve already been forgiven all these things. Why what’s going to keep you from going on sinning? And so the question that is asked in Romans 6: 15 to 18 is, what then shall we sin, and other words continue on in sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? Well, folks, the first thing that we have to realize is what sin is from God’s vantage point. And what God said sin was with that, which is not of faith, he defined it that, which is not of faith is sin. Jesus said that the world’s sin is unbelief in Me. Now, sins are produced as a result of the sin of unbelief. So are you going to continue on in unbelief because you’re not under the law, but under grace? It says by no means. Now if I am going to exercise faith as an example, in Christ, what am I doing? I’m offering myself to Him for His control in my life. We are to be controlled. We are set apart by the Holy Spirit of God, which means to be controlled by God and His love for you. So, I’m offering myself to be controlled by the one who made me, which was paramount to true humanity, because God in the man indispensable to the humanity of them and means that when God created man, He created him in such a way to be under the volitional control of the God, who lives in him. God in the man is indispensable to his humanity. Take God out of the man, and you got a light bulb without electricity, a car without gasoline, and a pen without ink. You’re not functioning, you’re there, but you don’t function. So sin of not walking by faith, that is what the normal life is, that is what is normal for someone who is a Christian, who is someone who has been restored to true humanity from God’s vantage point. That’s what a Christian is who’s been restored to the true humanity, transferred from darkness to light, redeemed. That’s what we’re talking about. So when I offer myself to someone to obey him, it says to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey whether you’re a slave to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness.
So when I give myself to God, remember when it talks about in Romans, I beseech you, therefore, brother to present your bodies, a Living Sacrifice. So I’m presenting myself to the God who owns me to the God who bought me, the God who loves me, to the God who redeemed me, to the God who forgave me, to the God who has given me eternal life. That’s real tough to yield to someone like that [sarcasm]. Imagine that when I offer my/ourselves to Him now, become a slave to the one, that offer myself to. Now we always think a slave is something bad but that’s volutional slave. In other words, it’s saying Lord, I am here for you to use me for the divine purpose that you have in mind. We think of slavery, of course, obviously, as we perverted the word as the slavery that was man-to-man slave to another man. Well you don’t, I don’t want to be a slave to another man. I want to present myself as a volitional available person to God to do in and through me what he wants to do. Is there anything wrong with that? In other words, yielding yourself to the God of this universe, to live His life in and through you to become a volitional slave to a living God by, why that’s normal Christian living. But on the other hand, I can present my body over here as a slave to my flesh to unrighteousness. And I become a slave to whoever I present myself to. What does that mean folks? That means this, and it gets right back to realistic thinking that God created man to be controlled by something. Did man, when he stood not at, when he stood at the tree of the garden, in the Garden of Eden to the tree of knowledge of good and evil say, That I don’t need you God to determine right from wrong? In other words, I want to be independent. God did not create man to be independent. God created man to be dependent, because a created being left on his own is nothing. So God created a created being to be led, instructed, taught, loved by something outside of himself. See we don’t mind being loved by God. I just don’t want him to tell me what to do. You see? Now in other words, I can’t create God’s love in myself. I can’t sit down there and make up my own God love in and of myself. That has to come outside of me. So right there alone, that lets me know that something outside of me is there to do something inside of me. And so God created us that way.
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Stand on the firmness of truth. Don’t keep going back and forth. Thank Him that the forgiveness issue is settled.
Let’s pray together:
- Lord Jesus,
- I thank you for taking away my sins on the cross,
- never ever to see them again.
- Having done that, I now thank you for giving me eternal life,
- through your resurrection.
- I now receive that life.
- And I am going stand in the fact that I am a child of the living God.
- In Jesus Holy name I pray.
All believers are now brothers and sisters in Christ.
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
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