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Series: Other Speakers
Sun am 26 April 2015 – Riaan Sinden
(Gen. 1:26); Ps. 139:13-16; Ex. 3:14-15; (John 14:6); John 18:4-6; John 17:6; 1 John 1:1-4;
1 John 4:17; (2 Cor. 5:18); (Eph. 4:15); (Matt. 16:13-16); (Luke 15:11-32)
We normally ask the question: Who are we and why are we here? Why were we born? What the world wants us to believe is that our identity is formed by circumstances and challenges that we face while we are growing up. Our identity is actually in God. From the very beginning when God created man He said, “I am creating man in my own likeness and image” (Gen. 1:26). That is who we are. Circumstances cannot influence our identity. It can only influence how we relate to what is in front of us. For example: If you had a loving father when you were growing up it is easy to relate to a loving God. If you had an abusive father you grow up thinking God is out there to punish you. All of these things make us relate differently but even that is not our identity.
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them (Ps. 139:13-16). So even before we were born God already had a purpose in mind for us. Our identity was already secured. Our spirit that is inside of us is a mature son. Our mind does not always understand this but our spirit is perfect. It is in right standing with God. When it comes to the mind we need to start unveiling what has already been done. I believe we were born with an identity and man can and will always ask the question: “Who am I?” The answer will always be “I am”. That is how you start your answer. In saying that, you are going to add more things after that. Be careful how you define yourself. What is it that you put after “I am”? Moses asked God, “Who shall I say sent me?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Ex. 3:14). Now we have a better idea of the I Am. It is not just the beginning of your sentence anymore or the beginning of a statement. The “I Am” is a person. The “I Am” is God. Jesus said, I AM the way the truth and the life (John 14:6).
To demonstrate the power that is contained in this Name: So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am.” … So when He said to them, “I am” they drew back and fell to the ground (John 18:4-6). We need to know Him by revelation in order to know our identity. It is not about just reading the Bible, going to church and going home. If we know Him we know our identity. When the enemy comes and he wants to put a different identity on us we will recognise it and know it as a lie because we know our identity in Christ.
Why is it important for us to know who we are in Christ? I believe it is to manifest Him in the earth. We need to manifest who He is, His true nature. We need to be an accurate representation of Him in the earth. Jesus was praying, I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word (John 17:6). The two important things are: I have manifested Your Name and they have kept Your Word. If you manifest, it provokes a response. Something will happen when you manifest Him. Jesus manifested the Father and the disciples kept His words. We need to be able to say, “What we have seen, what we have heard, what we have experienced and touched, this is the manifestation” (1 John 1:1-4). This is what the world needs to see otherwise we will know our identity but no one else will. Jesus is the Pattern Son, the first born among many brethren. We need to follow that example. What is expected of us is to conform to this Pattern Son. When the world looks at us they do not want to see us, they want to see Christ. Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do the people say I am?” (Matt. 16:13). Jesus was not really interested in what people were saying; He wanted to come to the crux of the matter, “Who do you say I am?” Peter having a revelation said, You are the Christ, The Son of the living God (Matt 16:13-16). As He is so are we in this world (1 John 4:17), not less, not just a little bit, but as He is so are we in this world. Our identity is definitely not found in the clothing that we wear or in our education etc.
When Jesus came He came to reconcile man to God (2 Cor. 5:18). He gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Do we think we need to be reconciled again? He came to reconcile man to God, it is a done deal, yet still we have a ministry of reconciliation. I believe we need to unveil what Christ has already done; something that has been hidden and we are unveiling it. People start recognising who they are, they find purpose, they find identity and they find that they belong. We have the responsibility to unveil the true identity in one another. We need to live our lives so that people can see this is Christ, show them who they really are.
God requires us to mature. We mature by spending time in God’s word, spending time with one another and building relationships, being one. We are the body of Christ. Individually we are unique, we have a special set of skills, yet we all form part of the Body of Christ. How important it is for us to find our place in the body! Just as I am to reflect God’s glory, so much more corporately we reflect God’s glory. Corporately we need to grow up and grow into the head (Eph. 4:15). Corporately we need to manifest Christ. It is important that we build relationships with one another. Corporately we are to relate to one another in spirit. What resonates in me should resonate in you. It must be because we are part of the same body. This identity is important to manifest, so we can start unveiling one another and start unveiling what God has already done in our lives. The work at the cross is finished, there is nothing we can add to it, but we need to live it. There is no promise that it is going to be easy, because to mature means you will go through the fire. Those things that do not represent Him will be cut away until the only thing that is left is God in our lives.
The story of the prodigal son starts by saying that a father had two sons. We know their identity. They were sons. One came to the father saying he wanted his inheritance and then he went and squandered it all. He ended up living with pigs eating pig’s food. Was that his identity? The story starts by saying that the father had two sons. He is a son yet he is eating and living with pigs. When he decided to go back he did not know he was a son anymore, saying “I will go back and I will tell my father to make me one of your servants” (Luke 15:19). He did not recognise his sonship anymore. He did not recognise his own identity, yet the father knew. How important it is to live this. There are people out there really thinking that they are sinners, they are eating and living like pigs. We need to unveil the Father’s heart to them. They are called to be sons; their identity is in Christ.
Is Christ divided? Our corporate identity is in Christ. We need to live the way He lived; we need to live His nature, love the way He loved; the standard He set, we need to follow. We were created in the image and likeness of God. We need to manifest that reality and revelation. I am convinced that we are growing very quickly and I am convinced that there is urgency for us to come to that fullness. Do not drop the baton but let us become one in Christ.