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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Do You Know Who You Are?

I was going door-to-door sharing the gospel several years ago when I asked a young man if he knew if he was going to heaven. He said yes so I proceeded to ask, "If you were to die today, why do you think God would let you into heaven?"
He stood behind the screen door, opened it up a bit and spat his snuff on the hedges. The door closed and he said, "Because I'm making the world a better place."

I wondered if he knew what he was saying. What was he doing that was making the world a better place? I asked but he was very vague.  Was he really making the world a better place? I suspected he was merely a legend in his own mind.

I hear people tell me things that they think I want to hear. They tell me of their work for the Lord. They speak of their benevolence and love for others. Their neighbors tell me a different story. They tell how mean they have been. They tell me that they don't want to have anything to do with church because of these people who "work" so hard for the Lord.

People delude themselves. They believe that they can simply wish they had virtue and this virtue will exist. They say they believe in honesty but will often lie to you. They talk of how they love the Bibles but can't tell you where their Bibles are. Their voices crack as they tell of their love for the Lord but they haven't been in church for weeks.I honestly believe that they think they are the people that they say they are. Maybe this is why they are so duped by others. If they don't know who they are, how can they know who others are?

The only way to know who we are is to look at what we are doing. In other words, if you want to be a man who loves his wife, you need to show love to your wife. If you want to be honest, you need to always tell the truth. If you want to be someone who loves Jesus, you go to church on Sundays and worship Him with others as well as worshiping Him during the week.

Our church has a couple of AA groups. I have been to their meetings. I am refreshed in the honesty that I often hear. Each one of them admitted that he or she was an alcoholic. They did so because they could not control their drinking. They realized that they couldn't by assessing what they were doing. The first step toward health is often admitting that you have the disease. The next step is to change what you are doing so that you can become something else. They call themselves recovering alcoholics.

What if an incredible honesty hit all the people in church? People would say, " I am a person who has been hateful for I have treated people with hatefulness," or "I am a person who doens't trust in God because I refuse to tithe."

Would people knowing who they really are radically change the church? I think so. It could be a very healthy thing for people to simply examine what they are doing. Thus, they could change their doing if they didn't see what they liked. Then, they would be who they really wanted to be.

James 1:22-24 (NIV) 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.


Anonymous said...


But I want you to know that I do so know where my Bible is! snicker.


Anonymous said...

Indeed, it is you have to live out who you are, to be who you are. 

The James text quoted is one. 1 John 3:10 is another - it means you are children of God, and not children of devil, if you are practicing righteousness, and are loving your neighbors. Are we not already the children of God when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour? Yes, we are, and yet unless you die immediately after your entry into salvation, there is the on-going test of whether or not, one is truly the child of God; that is what that 1 John 3:10 is saying.  In other words, there is the test of the pudding is in the eating.  We can even be as illegitimate children (not true sons and daughters) if we are not submitted to the discipline of the father. In Hebrew 12:8, it is said so, and as a child of God, we can fall into the illegitimate category when we are not willing to be the subject of discipline of God.  God does want to discipline us, yet if we are not willing, we are under discipline yet not being disciplined!

If we are paying enough attention, in our study of the Word, such pattern as implied in "indeed you are to live out who you are, to be who you are",  is written in the core expectations of God. For example, in the book of James, we read that James said, "show me your faith, and I will show you my faith by what I have done". Faith is no faith unless the faith is of action or alive, and not dead; "faith" without action is dead.

Be careful of sermons centered on standing. It is not that there is no such thing as standing being accorded to us; there is such, and it is important we know the standing accorded to us, like we are a child of God upon entry into salvation, we are righteous in standing upon the same, and we are citizens of the Kingdom of God upon the same; yet if all you hear is pointing to "God owes you a living", so to speak, and nothing else; you have to be alert that you are in the vicinity of "Did God really say you cannot eat of the ...." - a putting forth of a deception wrapped around a truth.


Anonymous said...

Cont. From above

The main point of God stating the accord of status or standing to us, is like we tell a person, "you are the chief financial officer or you are the warehouse manager or stock controller, or even, you are the barber"; it is to tell us what we are coming into - what we are to do, what is available to us, who we can turn to, to back us up in what we have to do, who are under our authority, who we can command, etc. It is not to just tell us who we are, so that we can think, "see, no one can touch me, not even God!" Really, some people speak like God is so gullible that God had turned the table on Himself, making us God, instead, over Him! Fat hope!

Years back, when I was a little child, and was at a barber shop having my hair cut,  the Indian barber posed me a question, "Can you tell who a king must even listen to? Who can tell the king to bow, and the king will bow, or even bow lower, and the king will do it!?" I was a smart boy, yet at that moment I could not answer him. The answer he gave was, the barber!  In those days, because of the cutter that a barber used, he would ask us to bow so that he could press his cutter against our head to have our hair cut, and if we responded not, the barber would press down on our head forcing our head to bow.  And so, if the king were at the barber, he too, must bow to the dictates of the barber! 

The barber sharing illustrates the point of the purpose we are told of our standing or position in Christ.  For example, knowing our standing in Christ Jesus, we could command against evil spirits. It is important to note that the king will only bow to the Indian man in his position as the barber, i.e. the man was in the capacity of being the barber; if he is not, the king will not bow; even you and I will not bow to him or allow him to force us to bow our heads!  In other words, when the barber is not wearing the shoe of a barber, so to speak, he is nobody.  Get what I mean; you are no doctor, even if you are qualified as a doctor, when you are not carrying yourself as a doctor - you are no doctor if you are not doing what  a doctor does! Simply put, you are not child of God if you live not, as a child of God; you  are no citizen of the Kingdom if you live not, as one; and you are not righteous if you practice not, righteousness.  Scripture said, "Don't be fooled. It is he who does righteous is righteous, even as he is righteous". 


Anonymous said...

Cont. From above

Now, if you are the CFO, and you just say, "I am the chief financial officer", and function not as one, you know what will happen to you! You will no longer be one, am I not right? Yes, sooner or later, you will be out of that standing! "Brother Anthony, come on, God is not like that; surely He does not strip us of our standing as a child, a citizen, and our righteous standing." Yes, He does not strip us, like we so easily would strip the CFO of his position, but you want to test God's patience, profane His grace, and ignore, ultimately, the demand of His holiness must prevail and be satisfied!? Scripture is full of warnings against offending the holiness of God; I will not list them here.  It suffices to say that if we are bent on being disobedient, and that too, epitomize evil, we are not going to develop with purity of heart, and without that, we cannot see God, said Scripture.  If we cannot see God, do you think we can dwell with God? Is there no limit to the grace and long-suffering of God? Is there no cut-off? Can God not spew us out of His mouth?

If you are the stock controller, and instead of guarding over the stocks entrusted to you, you steal the stock; or as the CFO, you steal and cheat the resources entrusted to you, instead of stewarding them; do you expect the Company to be nonchalant about it when she knows about your deeds and character? Sure, many like to quote that Scripture said that because of our standing, we have everything needed for living, in Christ Jesus, but it begs also, the question of what you do with them; are you like the corrupt and dishonest stock controller, or are you a good steward? Increasingly, preachers are not preaching stewardship, they only preach standing; that is wrong.  There is nothing wrong with standing, but when there is the standing and therefore what is available to us, there is the expectations, and so, there is the stewardship; there has always been; it is wrong to remove that, stewardship, from God's scheme of things. Even our very life is to be stewarded for God, not just things available to us.

Indeed, it is you have to live out who you are, to be who you are. It is not enough to know who you are; we need to live consistent with who we are, which Ps Prentis rightly pointed out.  Are you a good pudding? God will know when He bites into it. Why don't we self-taste; Scripture exhorts that, self-examine to ensure you are still "in and not out"; there is such a text, go find it!

Anthony Chia, high.expressions