Who are you? How do you know that? (overcoming our identity crisis in the church)
We are defined many ways by many different things or people
We can be know by very quick judgments like who is that fat guy or the skinny lady
By more detail who is the blond or the guy with the beard
We can be known by what we do…is that the mechanic, engineer, teacher, nurse
Terms of endearment…mom, dad, honey, babe
Who we believe we are sets the tone and attitude of our lives. If it is rested on how people define us then people can quickly change their attitude like the wind instead we should define ourselves by the Lord’s definition
I would like to challenge your thinking today that you really will define yourself not by who God says that you are but instead who you believe God is
Let’s look at a familiar story
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Who Jesus is to us, defines us!
If as the disciples were saying, Jesus is merely like one of the prophets of old Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the others or even a revived John the Baptist.
That would mean that we are merely believing in a very good man, a very wise man, a very gifted man which is all well and good until we come to the cross.
If we define Jesus as simply a gifted man then he is nothing more than a miracle worker
Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.
All they were interested in was a sign they wanted to maintain the status quo and keep their positions and power and relegate Jesus to simply being another prophet miracle worker.
There is no need for a change if Jesus is merely a monkey on a chain doing your bidding answering your every whim
The best that we can attain to is to be just like Him and flow in that power but to what end?
If we are not changed then we can not change others. There is no saving grace in the miracles signs and wonders they are merely drawing cards for the real deal
Like the prophets of Old is he merely a guilt tripper here to make us feel guilty about all of our failures.
Matthew 16: 5-12
Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” 8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Because they were looking at Jesus as one of the prophets of old they assumed he was there to condemn them. Because of their point of view of who Jesus was they lived in guilt and waiting for the condemnation because that is what the Pharisee’s did to them
We tend to worry about the wrong stuff…we look at ourselves and others through the eyes of judgment because we see Jesus as judge thus condemn ourselves and others very easily
We feel shame when in reality he is protecting us. Knowing really who Jesus is sets us free to believe this Romans 8:15-17
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
When we begin to realize who Jesus is then we are able to get a revelation of who we are let’s look at the verse we started with to see what I mean.
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Did you see what happened here? As soon as Peter got a revelation of who Jesus is, Peter’s identity was made clear
Once Peter got a revelation of who Jesus is Peter then got a revelation of who he was
When we recognize Jesus as the Christ the son of the living God then all of a sudden we are no longer living under condemnation but freedom no longer living with a chance of hope but instead with real hope
When we recognize Jesus as Lord, savior King of the world, then we are given the keys to the kingdom
Once we know who Christ is then we get the revelation of who we are and we begin to function in Kingdom authority
The gates of hell will not prevail against someone who understands who they are because of who Christ is Jesus was referring to a promise made to the seed of Abraham
God promised this to Abraham’s descendants of which we are in Christ. Genesis 22:17
In blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.
The word seed here is singular referring directly to the Messiah.
Our view of who we are is skewed or enhanced by our understanding of who Jesus is
If he is just a good man then what can he really do for us
If he was just a prophet of old then his words no longer have life
If he was just a miracle worker what can he do for us now
If he was just to make us feel guilty and condemned we already feel that way we don’t need help there
But if he is the Son of God and we profess that then
His teaching is alive because he is alive
His miracles can still happen because He is the son of the living God
He has made us free from sin and death
He said to Peter the gates of hell will not prevail and God promised to us through Abraham that we would possess the gate of our enemies
The gates protect, they keep bad things out, they are passage way of commerce but the also keep people captive and in bondage
As Peter recognizes who Jesus really is revelation comes alive in him that he no longer needs to be trampled on by the enemy he now has control of what comes into his life.
He see Jesus as son of the living God and so himself as a joint heir with Jesus
He sees Jesus as conquering King (Revelation 17:14) and so himself as more than a conqueror.
He sees Jesus as the almighty one (Revelation 1:8) so he can see himself as never being defeated
He sees Jesus has the deliverer (1 Thessalonians 1:10) and he can see himself as always being free.
We must see Jesus for who he is or we will never be able to see who we are.
How do you see yourself? Your view may be limited by how you see Jesus!
50 Names and Titles of Jesus:
- Almighty One –“…who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev. 1:8
- Alpha and Omega – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Rev. 22:13
- Advocate – “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” 1 John 2:1
- Author and Perfecter of Our Faith – “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2
- Authority – “Jesus said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matt. 28:18
- Bread of Life – “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6:35
- Beloved Son of God – “And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:17
- Bridegroom – “And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Matt. 9:15
- Chief Cornerstone – “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.” Ps. 118:22
- Deliverer – “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thess.1:10
- Faithful and True – “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.” Rev.19:11
- Good Shepherd – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
- Great High Priest – “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Heb. 4:14
- Head of the Church – “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church.” Eph. 1:22
- Holy Servant – “…and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29-30
- I Am – “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58
- Immanuel – “…She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’” Is. 7:14
- Indescribable Gift – “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” 2 Cor. 9:15
- Judge – “…he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:42
- King of Kings – “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” Rev. 17:14
- Lamb of God – “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
- Light of the World – “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
- Lion of the Tribe of Judah – “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Rev. 5:5
- Lord of All – “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:9-11
- Mediator – “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Tim. 2:5
- Messiah – “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).” John 1:41
- Mighty One – “Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” Is. 60:16
- One Who Sets Free – “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
- Our Hope – “…Christ Jesus our hope.” 1 Tim. 1:1
- Peace – “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,” Eph. 2:14
- Prophet – “And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” Mark 6:4
- Redeemer – “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25
- Risen Lord – “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
- Rock – “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” 1 Cor. 10:4
- Sacrifice for Our Sins – “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
- Savior – “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
- Son of Man – “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
- Son of the Most High – “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” Luke 1:32
- Supreme Creator Over All – “By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.…” Colossians 1:16-17
- Resurrection and the Life – “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25
- The Door – “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9
- The Way – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
- The Word – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
- True Vine – “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1
- Truth – “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
- Victorious One – “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Rev. 3:21
- – 50. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Is. 9:6