We begin our walk through the book of Ephesians this week, a message series which will carry us through the summer. Pastor Chris vibrantly opens our eyes to the truths of our God-given identity. Laying the groundwork, he reminds us that in the beginning, God created man and woman in His image. In Genesis 1:26-28 our origin story is from the divine nature of the Trinity, “Let us make humans in our image to be like us….Then God blessed them….” With that powerful underpinning, Pastor Chris shares three insights integral to our identity.
Three Identity Truths about Us; We Are:
1. Identity Receivers (Eph. 1:1-2) …to the saints who are faithful)
2. Blessed to be a Blessing (Eph. 1:3 …Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing)
3. Partakers of His Divine Nature (Eph. 1:3 …in the heavenly places in Christ)
That brings us to Ephesians, a letter written by the Apostle Paul from prison in Rome to the church in Ephesus, a city mired in demonic dark arts, sexual deviancy, and worship of the false Roman god Diana (Artemis to the Greeks). Paul reminds the Ephesian believers of their identity right from the start with his greeting, “To the Saints who are at Ephesus who are faithful in Christ Jesus; grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.” In this “identity statement” we are encouraged to remember that we are saints, holy and set-apart for the good work of God, we are faithful, believers committed to the cause of the gospel and we receive grace and peace, freely given God’s unmerited favor!
Questions for Discussion
1. When someone meets you for the first time, what do you share when telling them about yourself? Occupation? Family? Religion? Athletics? Generation? Hobby? Education? State? Country? Ethnicity? Politics?
2. How do you present yourself to others on social media? Would people who know you best confirm that your profile and posts truly identify the real you?
3. What are some ways that our identity might be shaped by the approval or disapproval of others?
4. Read aloud the powerful passage 2 Peter 1:2-4. Explore what it means to be a “partaker of the divine nature.” Based on these verses, how should we see ourselves as “made in God’s image?”
Questions for Application
1. When you think about how you see yourself, what are some of the lies you’ve believed or been told by others? How have these labels robbed you of your godly identity?
2. What declaration can you make that affirms your identity in Christ? Ask the Lord, “Who do you say that I am?” Listen for His response and consider writing it down and posting it in a prominent place in your home or car to keep the truth of your identity in front of you every day!