What Life Looks Like When Our Identity Is In Christ
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good morning C3 Church how are you guys doing this morning have we gotten over the food coma from Thursday is that over are there still leftovers in your fridge that's the question they're not mine I have three boys that finish those off rather quickly but here's the thing man it's it's good to be here I hope there is joy in the house of the Lord today I hope you're excited to be here just as much as I am as you can tell I am not Pastor Gene if you are new I am not the lead Pastor my name is Tony I'm just a volunteer here Pastor Gene and his family are on vacation um they are getting geared up for Christmas I can tell you as a former pastor of a large Church Christmas time was tough we at one point in time were running like 12 services on Christmas and it was insane um so uh he is going to get recharged and ready for that and so he gave me the honor to speak today um I got to tell you I love our church um I there's times we used to have like an 8 30 service and it's about this size and you could sit on the stage and talk to people and I love that about the fact that we have a family atmosphere if you you notice today are children's ministry is not open it's because it's a family day we want everybody in here and here's the deal if you feel like you have to take your children out you can there is a room where the message will be played on screen but if you think it's distracting me not possible well you can distract me but not that way okay so I was a student Pastor for a long time and led the children's ministry and then I have three boys and now I'm a cop and so I'm used to a lot of distractions so don't worry about that okay stick in here I used to tell my students when I was a student Pastor if you listen fast I talk fast and we will get through this rather quickly so today we're going to talk about something that I love to talk about today I'm kind of a geek for those of you that don't know I am a superhero freak if you will like if you walk into my room and I'm a grown man if you walk into my room my wife has allowed me I have like six Iron Man pictures paintings posters in my bedroom when you walk in it comes with a name Tony a lot of people call me Stark it's true I lack the money I lack the money the suit and everything else except the name all right so uh so you walk in my room there's superhero posters and superheroes have this cool thing where they have different identities right in one instance they're this way and another instance or another way so they're normal everyday run-of-the-mill person and then they become a superhero when they need to they change into a suit if you're Superman you unslick your hair and take off your glasses which still haven't figured that out right so they change their identity and they become something different and so identity is important to them sometimes we can treat the Christian Life as if we're a Christian superhero so on Sundays we put on our Sunday clothes we put on our Sunday attitude after we get out of the car because sometimes on the way to church let me tell you it the Sunday Christian starts when you walk in the church it never started in the car when I was growing up um my we're a family that argued on the way to church and then we loved Jesus when we got there and then when we left my mom was like this is what you did wrong in church I'm like did you not listen to forgiveness mother she's watching this message right now I'm in trouble already well sometimes on Sunday we put on a different identity we go from being our normal self we go from being who we are and we jump into Super Christian mode and that's who we are on Sunday and that's our identity and then throughout the rest of our lives we put our identity in different things we put our identity on things like our family we put our identities on things like our job we put identities on things like our significant other we put identity on things like our kids and that's who we are that's what we're about right that's our identity you'll see it a lot this time of year you'll see and there's nothing wrong with this family portraits are great so don't take this the wrong way but you see the perfect family portrait this year right Instagram and Facebook is full of these well-dressed families with well-behaved kids their hair is perfect they got this they got the perfect clothes on and they got these perfect poses great framing because that's that's family is who I am that's my identity when you know behind the scenes it didn't get that way to get to that photo was terrible mom's making sure you're dressed correctly Dad if you're me you're making sure mom's making sure they're dressed correctly and you're like wait until the last possible me like yep I got three minutes I can be ready um so you know that's the thing right but the identity to everybody else looks like this is the perfect family so the problem with these things these identities is none of them are wrong but they're all very temporary the themes that I just mentioned are temporary they're not permanent and so temporary things can fail they can fall apart they can change and it will impact your life drastically So today we're going to go to Paul surprise I love Paul we're going to go to Colossians 3 1-17 and we're going to look at what Paul says our identity should be as Christians okay so Paul Colossians 3 1-17 says this since you've been raised to New Life with Christ set your sights on the realities of heaven where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand think about the things of Heaven not the things of Earth for you died to this life and your real life is hidden with Christ in God and when Christ who is your life is revealed to the whole world you will share in all his glories so put to death the sinful Earthly things lurking within you have nothing to do with sexual immorality impurity lust our evil desires don't be greedy for a greedy person as an idolater worshiping the things of this world because of these sins the anger of God is coming you used to do these things when your life was still part of this world world but now is the time to get rid of anger rage malicious behavior slander and dirty language don't lie to each other for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its Wicked Deeds put on your new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become more like him in this new life it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a gentile circumcised or uncircumcised barbaric uncivilized slave or free Christ is all that matters and he lives in all of us since God chose you to be holy people he loves you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted Mercy kindness humility gentleness and patience make allowance for each other's faults and forgive anyone who offends you remember the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others above all clothe yourself with love which binds us all together in Perfect Harmony and let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts for as members of one body you are called to live in peace and always be thankful let the message about price in all its richness fill your lives teach and counsel each other with all wisdom he gives sing Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts and whatever you do or say do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to him giving thanks to him to God the Father let's talk about this this is a large passage we're going to break it down we have a lot to cover but like I said we're going to do it quickly the first thing we need to cover is there's a caveat to this message the first thing is it's only for those who accepted Christ this identity that Paul talks about only exists if you have accepted Christ that means in verse 1 he says this since you have been raised to New Life with Christ this means you are saved it means you accept the fact that Jesus Christ was the son of God came down from Heaven to Earth died on the cross for our sins rose again three days later and is in heaven right now if you have a question about what that means or you have a question about what that is do not leave this room today without getting that question answered you can see me you can see Ed you can see anybody in back and we will be happy to answer any questions that you have about the true message of Christ so don't leave without making that decision Christians what it means for us is this we can't expect for those who live apart from Christ to have this identity we can't expect for those who live in the world and who are not saved to be a Christian we must accept the fact that they are lost we are not to come at them with judgment and condemnation because they know not what they do and so this thing not only establishes our identity but it actually establishes how we should treat other people so we're going to look further into this instantly we are reminded that our thoughts should not be on Earthly things verse two and three think about the things of Heaven not the things of Earth for you died to this life and your real life is hidden with Christ in God listen once again family friend spouse job not bad things but temporary if we put our mind to those things and we make those things our identity what happens to us when those things fail what happens to us when our job lays us off our changes what happens when our spouse or significant other does something that we didn't expect what happens when our kids turn out to be complete opposites of the way we raise them when these things are our identity and they go wrong they have a substantial impact on not only our life but possibly how we're growing spiritually so when we put our identity on temporary things we have temporary results our identity should be permanent the reason why this hit so close to home to me is my first message I told you guys I went to um I went to Bible College I studied to be a pastor I got out of Bible College at 22 I was arrogant I knew everything about the Bible you can know after just four years including people that knew way more than me I thought I knew more and the ministry didn't work out so I went to work for the world I went to work in a secular uh job I went to work in sales for a cell phone company shortly after because I had left God's plan for my life I end up divorced my whole identity growing up you don't understand I was raised independent fundamental Baptists my mom has a red phone to the Holy Spirit when it rings she picks it up and then she tells me what he said so here's the theme the expectation I had placed on myself and the expectation from everybody else was that Tony is going to do great things for God I surrendered through the ministry at the age of 13. I then went to a Christian School for most of my time I was a chaplain of our Christian school I went to a Bible College I won preaching competitions which is an oxymoron that's ridiculous and that's the expectation the expectation was Tony's going to be a pastor he's going to do great things for God and I bought into that and that was my identity and the minute that was no longer the minute that I was no longer in the ministry there was already questions like oh what is my purpose I've spent my entire young adult life studying to do this and now I don't understand what I'm supposed to do and then ended up divorced which in independent fundamental Baptist language is a death sentence you never speak from stage again you are to be seen and not heard and so once that happened I totally lost who I was I lost my purpose I was no longer doing what God wanted me to do and here's the deal I walked away from church I walked away from church for probably seven to ten years I went here randomly luckily I met a very uh great young lady who went to church even when I didn't who encouraged me to go to church but I didn't know who I was I didn't know my purpose because I'd put my identity in being a pastor now there's nothing wrong with being a pastor surrender to the ministry he's great we want people to surrender the ministry right the problem with it is is what happens when that's more important than the god you're serving what happens when that's your identity and it doesn't work out the way it's supposed to it changes who you are and what you're about right as Christians our identity is to be found in Christ and this should impact our our actions which demonstrates Christ to the world so here's the deal when your identity is what it should be other people identify you as Christians right when your identity is what it should be other people will be able to identify Christ through you when our identity is not what it should be it's a little murky sometimes what people see what do they think is important in your life what do they think is the most important thing what do they think you are and so when we move on we look at what Paul says here the first thing is I like how Paul starts out Paul starts out the greatest way and we're going to look at that and Paul starts out with the things you're not supposed to do right this is that's how you teach your kids when when you first time you leave your kids at home alone you don't give them the list of what they should do you don't sit down and go you should brush your teeth you should make your bed you should do all these things you give them the list of what they should not do you're like first of all don't leave the house you're not old enough to leave the house second of all don't open the door even if they have puppies and candies don't let strangers in third thing don't use the stove It's the funniest thing because that's the that's that's always in there don't use the stove we need this house don't burn it down rule number four don't use the stove you have to reiterate and then you call on me like what are you doing I'm making ramen that's on the stove yes you can burn the house down making ramen but so Paul does the same thing Paul starts out the same way in verse 5-9 he says so put to death the sinful Earthly things lurking within you have nothing to do with sexual immorality impurity lust and evil desires don't be greedy for a greedy person is an idolater worshiping the things of the world because of these sins the anger of God is coming you used to do these things when your life was still part of this world but now is the time to get rid of anger malicious behavior slander and dirty language don't lie to each other for you have stripped off old sinful nature and all its Wicked Deeds the language here put to death does not simply mean that we control or suppress Paul is telling us we eradicate these things from our life they should not exist it's not that every once in a while we allow them to come out it's not that we control these things it's that they're supposed to be eradicated on these things now once again this list I'm still working on this list just just flat out I'm still working on this list as I've gotten older things have gotten easier you're supposed to get more patient as you get older that hasn't happened but my tempers went away uh for the most part don't see me at work during a bad day all right but for the most part my kids when they were younger they used to be like you don't want to see my dad when he's angry and now they're like yeah that's cool he's mellowed out so we're always constantly working on eradicating these things from our life not controlling suppressing hiding on Sundays we don't get angry at our kids we don't get angry at each other we don't have fights at church we hold those until we get home no no that's not what Paul's saying Paul's saying eradicate these behaviors your identity should not have any of these scenes in it if your identity is through Christ you are working on stripping these things out of your life completely not just on Sunday not just when there's people that we know around but all the time our identity is in Christ look at the extensive list here not only should we not be walking in these scenes if we identify with Christ we should not be encouraging this Behavior to others either look at some of the things that are on this list and think about what is my identity relaying to people what am I encouraging others to do social media is the biggest thing and I was a student Pastor for a long time and so being a student Pastor social media was like we were in I became a student Pastor again after 10 years we went to church just to finish that story off real quick we went to a church we happened to walk into the church where my student Pastor when I was a kid was the executive pastor we walked into church God completely changed my life again that day and we surrendered to be in church and then somehow my student Pastor talked me to come in on staff he's like hey give up your banking job and work for God and I'm like I don't know about that but he got me to do it and God God touched Our Lives used this in a special way it was exciting Good times but again it was not my identity at that point in time I learned that this was no longer my identity my identity was in Christ it's not what I'm doing for a living and so the thing about it is this listen what are we doing in courageous Behavior so what does our social media say because that's the easiest thing that's the easiest thing to pick on social media everybody does it right what's on your social media what is your social media reflecting your identity to do what is your social media reflecting others to do so like am I posting something that's going to make somebody jealous am I posting something that's going to make somebody get angry what am I posting that I could encourage these behaviors in people's lives what am I saying that I could encourage these behaviors in somebody's life I've got to eradicate those things we talked about divisions the last time I spoke Paul's very serious about divisions and the reason why he's listening to these things is because he doesn't want divisions and so these are things these are behaviors that our identity should not possess we move on so Paul likes to compare all these to clothing and so he says put to death he said he uses three phrases here put to death you used to do these scenes and you have stripped off the old sinful nature there's his clothing reference and he'll use it again when we identify Christ we cannot identify with sin you can't do both you cannot identify with Christ and sin at the same time it's not possible their contradictions they don't exist so we are not to live in continual sin listen the Bible goes so far and it's not me it's the Bible the Bible goes so far as to say that somebody lives in continual sin that walks away they never even were with Christ not that they not that they just stumbled and we used to call backsliding that's what we used to call it back in the day but if you walk away from price and you live in continual sin the Bible says you were never even really with Christ that's not me that's the Bible so we cannot live in sin and live with our identity being in Christ moving on no matter how we used to identify once we accept Christ we are to become more like our creator we're to become more like our creator verses 10 and 11. put on your new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him in this new life it doesn't matter if you are Jew or Gentile circumcised or uncircumcised barbaric I love that word uncivilized slaver free Christ is all that matters and he lives in all of us notice once again if you're saved your identity is in Christ look what it says put on your new nature pick up your new identity and part of that new identity Paul's going to get to in a minute he's going to get to the things we should do but he's still touching he's like Hey listen become more like your creator if you don't know who your creator is you can't become more like him and coming into church and sitting for 45 minutes and listening to a speaker is not enough to know who your creator is we've got to begin to get to know who our creator is so the whole thing about it is this is like a sitcom when you come in on Sunday morning you get 45 minutes 50 minutes if if I go long we're going to try not to but that's if that's all you get throughout the week and you're just watching this episode once a week you can't know who your creator is you've got to live in it you've got to live in this word you've got to listen to it you got to read it now listen I am I reading is hard for me I went to college I read a lot and I was like man I really don't want to read anymore so I listen to things so I'm in the car a lot in this new role that I'm in and I listen to things I listen to the Bible in the background I I listen to it as I can pick up things I'm like oh man that's a great point oh man I did I don't remember even studying this scripture but in order to know our creator we have to get to know our creator when you get to know the person you're with listen when my wife got to know me she dated me she wanted to know everything about me it's very skeptical she was like I don't know she didn't like me at first believe it or not I know that's hard to believe I've I I feel like I'm a very likable guy and she's like no no you're not I had to woo her which if you don't know what that word is that's old school man there was a lot of wooing going on but how how am I going to know that I'm in love with my wife or my wife's in love with me if I don't know who she is if I don't know who she is if we don't know who our creator is how can we become more like him if our creator if we do nothing to study who our creator is how do we become more like them so I want you to notice something else here there is no respecter of race or person when we identify with Christ listen back in the day when I went to when I was at church when I was little and I'll go back to this because a lot of my experience is just me and we used to the pastor used to be like the guy like the pastors like the guy he stood up on stage he spoke every once in a while he went out to lunch with your family right afterwards and that was like he was Untouchable like the spiritual demonstration of everything you wanted to be existed here on stage and that's kind of what we put pastors on that pedestal for a long time and then what's happened recently in the news right we have some pastors that have failed because again they're humans they're temporary they're not Christ and so we do that but notice that in our identity with Christ we're all equal there's nobody better there's nobody different we're all equal I like the fact that it's barbaric uncivilized even if you're barbaric and uncivilized Pastor Gene even if you don't eat pineapples and Ham on your pizza Christ still loves you he's watching right now there is no respecter of race or person when we identify with Christ when somebody who is saved walks through that door they are family and they're to be treated as such and that's that's the beautiful thing we're trying to do here right we're all gonna just quick advertisement you'll hear about it later but right after the service we're all going to go up to the cafe there's food up there in case you're still hungry from Thanksgiving there's food up there I will eat with you we all eat together we all share stories about what's going on in our life what's happened this past week I'm really loud so you'll hear all of mine um but the thing about it is it's a great time to be a family it's a great time to let loose and be who you really are right there's no I'm playing church this Sunday no no we want to know who you really are you're going to get to know who I really am this is me all the time I am wired I am back and forth listen I am literally I would think I went to bed at like 4 30 last night I got off duty at like 3 45. so this is me all the time can you imagine being married to me it's crazy I know you can't but here's the deal no respecter of person so we want to be a family we want to get to know who you are we want you to know who we are and we want to love on you and you love on us and the way we do that is one of the ways we do that is we meet up here after service so we encourage you to stay for that so moving on because Paul finally gets to how we should act right he's told us what not to do He's listed out these things and I wish I could have gone into greater detail I encourage you to go study those scenes figure out what they are and where they fit in your life but Paul's going to go into what we should be doing he says now in the NLT it says since we'll read it verses 12-17 says since God chose you to be the holy people he loves you must must close yourselves with tenderhearted Mercy kindness humility gentleness and patience make allowance for each other's faults and forgive anyone who offends you remember the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others above all clothe yourselves with love which binds us all together in Perfect Harmony and let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts for as members of one body you are called to live in peace and always be thankful let the message about Christ in all its richness fill your lives teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives seeing Psalms hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts and whatever you do or say do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus giving thanks through him to God for the father listen Paul once again he gives you the list it says since since but in the KJV it says therefore therefore is like my favorite word because what it means is finally okay you haven't gotten it so far so listen I told you what you shouldn't do now therefore it's a very strong sturdy word like hey pay attention because I'm about to tell you what you should be doing this is what you shouldn't be doing now I'm going to tell you all the stuff that you should be doing how your identity should be so Paul Compares this to like changing the clothes or identities like a superhero you think about it when Tony Stark changes in Iron Man he puts on Armor right Armor of God Ephesians 6 maybe a future message there I don't know um but he puts on Armory changes his identity his identity is com someone completely different Paul says the exact same thing when you are saved you become somebody totally different you're changing your clothes you're stripping off the old rags that are sin torn and battered by the world and you're putting on the new garments of Christ I wish I could go through each one of these actions and attitudes that Paul list in Greater detail because they're important in the world today I see it a lot you look at the first four things that Paul lists tenderhearted Mercy kindness humility gentleness and patience you do not have to look far to see a lack of these things today you don't have to you don't have to change the channel too far to see a lack of Mercy to see a lack of kindness see a lack of humility see a lack of patience but Paul is telling us our identity in Christ we should demonstrate these things consistently now can you imagine in a world where something lacks when you see something that has it when something is taken out of the equation and then you see it over here it grabs your attention when the world sees somebody that's full of mercy and kindness and humility and patience and gentleness they look at it and they go that's different why why are they different why are they so kind they they don't they don't want to argue about politics they don't want to argue about sexual orientation they don't want to argue about abortion they're kind they're they have mercy they have a humbleness about them the world's going to pick up on those Saints and let me tell you the people that I deal with they're looking for those things they're looking the world is looking for those things actively they're trying to seek out those things there are people in this world that listen for all the thing I can describe some people's circumstances almost dictate what their life is until they meet somebody that possesses this identity can you imagine having parents that possessed none of these identities we've seen it happen I've seen people in homes where the parents do drugs they don't care about the kids deplorable circumstances I've taken kids out of those positions and I've seen what the world has to offer and I think that's why Paul starts with these call starts with these four because if we demonstrate those we are the opposite of what the world is demonstrating and we will reflect Christ our identity reflects Christ and that person who has not had these things who has not had a true helping of these sins in their life will look at it and say I want what you have and there is no greater difference you can make in this world than to be the christ-like example that brings somebody else to the Lord and savior there's nothing more impactful there's no job there's nothing you can do that's greater than being the light that brings somebody to Christ and let me tell you it is amazing to watch life change it is amazing to see somebody come to Christ and begin to explore who Christ is and begin to experience the things the true things that they've never got to experience in their life before to begin to experience true love true forgiveness to have true joy for the first time in their life that's why these things are important that's why our identity who we are matters because we're to be reflecting the Lord and Savior who died on the cross for our sins so we can direct others to him so he goes from these four attitudes actions to how we treat each other and the first thing he says it's hard we have to make allowance for each other's faults so I'm married my wife oh I was not gonna go the other way I do not make a lot my wife doesn't have any faults I'm just going to tell you right now just perfect but I have faults and she has to overlook them I'll tell you one of my favorites and it's funny that we're joking about this I'll hear about it later here's the deal we have a laundry basket in my room it is a nice laundry basket it's tall it is Big it can hold multi it can hold a lot of clothes you walk into my room you walk to the hall you look to the left there is a laundry basket right there you would think I would get my clothes in this basket but it does not happen no there is a line from the laundry basket to either my side of the room or the bathroom where I have stripped off all my clothes and they're all over the floor and this poor woman is coming and going I put a sign on that did you see the sign that says place close here I did not see that sign I maybe did but I just didn't pay attention to it so she has to deal with that and then you have to deal with somebody like me who talks way too much so here's the deal it's oftentimes are you Tony's wife that's what she gets identified as because this poor woman takes a back seat to all of my stories she sits there and smiles of that story she's heard three or four times she makes allowances for my faults now this is difficult to do I promise you and some of us know about our why we're in this room we have somebody in our lives right now that we can think about and it doesn't take very long to be like oh this person drives me nuts for this reason but Proverbs 19 11 says sensible people control their temper temper they earn respect by overlooking wrongs we are to overlook each other's faults again it comes with you come in your family now not the type of family at Thanksgiving I probably shouldn't tell a story my mom's watching but we're better than the family that comes in in Thanksgiving the ant you haven't seen a long time fight happens mashed potatoes get thrown against the wall that's never having anybody else that's just me all right just checking we're a spiritual family found in Christ and we're to overlook each other's faults we all have flaws we all have faults and our our identities are the first thing is to overlook those we also have to overlook the world's faults see for some reason and I don't know why Christianity all of a sudden became about judgment and condemnation and we started judging people by this standard that they can't be held to and we actually pushed people away from Christ and instead of making allowance for faults we replaced it with judgments for their deeds Paul tells us no your identity the first thing the first thing so you got to realize that's Paul he's dictating to this to some guy poor guy who's writing this down Paul's walking through the room he's pacing he's walking back and forth he's like you know what this church at colossi I need them to handle this and the first thing that he thinks about with the new identity is Overlook each other's faults you got to think he probably had somebody in mind right he had somebody that attends a service and he's like man that guy doesn't look over you know he's never overlooking people's faults he's always judging and that's the first thing we got to overlook each other's Falls he goes further the next thing is forgiveness forgiveness what God what has God forgiven you from and why would we not offer that same forgiveness to each other again it goes along the lines of making allowance for each other's faults you've got to offer forgiveness I know what God has forgiven me from on a daily basis I can do nothing but offer that same forgiveness because I am Unworthy of the forgiveness I have been given we all are there's not one of us worthy of God sending down his only son to die on the cross for our sins in excruciating death we don't deserve it that forgiveness is eternal and sometimes we struggle with forgiving somebody over something they said we've got to begin to forgive one another Ephesians 4 32 says instead be kind to each other tenderhearted forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you move on how can we identify your size ourselves in Christ if we don't love each other as Christ loved us sacrificially he talks about clothe yourself in love so the first three things making allowance for each other's false forgiveness and loving each other is there a theme yes how we treat each other matters our new identity dictates make sure that we Overlook each other's faults we forgive one another and we love one another sometimes loving people's heart it's work Christ loved sacrificially look at John 13 35 says so now I'm giving you a new commandment love each other just as I have loved you you should love each other your love for one another will prove to the world you are my disciples your love for one another will demonstrate your true identity as a disciple of mine we must love each other must love each other what else he goes on we are to live in peace not quarreling amongst each other I like the word quarreling it's great but that's the thing right because again we live in a world where fighting seems to be the way to talk we can no longer come to the table and have a good conversation and walk away from that no no we've gotta you've got to understand my view and I you and we pound heads that's what we do it's demonstrated to our children through everything right now on TV if you watch any news fighting is demonstrated right it's not a doubt there's no question and so what are we demonstrating that the world is not we are not to be fighting we are not to be causing Division and sometimes that means taking our Uber thought out opinion of a matter and not expressing it publicly and for some of us we're like whoa whoa whoa you're impeding on my freedom of speech I hear that quite often you're impeding on my first amendment well I got news for you the Bible existed before The Constitution and what God tells us is we're not supposed to war against each other and sometimes that means shut up it's not just with this though it can be with these these fingers are deadly right they type things you uh anonymously or they type things in Anger listen there's no greater fight than a text fight right when you're texting I don't know if you've been there I have my wife types A lot faster than me so when we fight via text and it happens we're adults advice the fights happen but I have to be like referring to paragraph one or two point a this is what I meant to say and this is my response to you referring to paragraph four point B because we type fast and we type aggressively and we type our opinions we must be with our identity in control of this and these we must not cause fights and we must not be in the middle of them Paul says the only stumbling block he wants somebody to have is the gospel of Christ and we talked about that last time what was Paul willing to do to relay the message of Christ we look in uh Second Timothy 2 4 2 14. remind everyone about these scenes and command them in God's presence to stop fighting over words such arguments are useless and they can ruin those who hear them not only can it destroy our relationship with Christ or our relationship with others it can destroy others relationship with Christ and other people as well it affects all those around us what else are we to do we are to be filled with the message of Christ the scripture he says we're to be filled we're supposed to know what Christ's word says in Psalms 1 1-3 says oh the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked or stand around the Sinners or join in with the mockers but they Delight in the law of the Lord meditating on it day and night they are like trees planted along the riverbank bearing fruit each season their leaves never never wither and they prosper in all that they do can you imagine whoever wrote this I wish I had the ability to come up with something like that if listen here's the deal if you Delight in the law of the Lord you are like a tree planted by a river that's always absorbing the nutrients of that River that's always getting all those and always producing fruit fruit always green always healthy as in comparison if you're a tree that stays away from the river you're struggling to gather what little bit you can you're not always producing fruits you're not always green God wants us to be the tree that's always green it's always producing fruit if we Delight in the Lord the roots are in the river all the time how can you be like your creator if you don't know him well this is how we know him we know God's scripture we are to teach and counsel each other without fighting or judgment and and with love but with the wisdom of God so here's the thing right I'll let you in on a little secret uh when we were in church when we're in the mega church some of the meetings we would have in the back there were intense um we had a staff we had a staff meeting and there was one thing that was always said it was always said that you don't beat the sheep that the pastor does not beat the Sheep actually that's wrong biblically the pastor does beat the Sheep if you read Paul James if you read those verses it's like hey we're going to go you into what's doing what's right all right we're Shepherds we're going to guide you we are to leave that to the pastor he's the head of the church he's going to do that job we are to love each other and counsel each other out of love I don't know that it's loving to walk into somebody open your Bible hey man 7-0 you don't do this right I don't know if you know this this is in the Bible and you're not doing this correctly so I'm going to give you the opportunity to correct and repent right now right that's not the way we're supposed to do it we're supposed to counsel with wisdom and with love if listen if somebody needs to hear something you walk up and put your arm around him like Hey man I love you what's going on what's Happening talk to me let's walk through this it's not a superiority complex it's not oh I got to tell you what you're doing wrong it's I want to love you back to Christ difficult but doable we are to be thankful in everything and have such joy we worship constantly Psalms 30 95 1-3 says come let us sing to the Lord let us shout joyfully to the rock of our Salvation let us come to him with Thanksgiving let us sing psalms of praise to him for the Lord is a great God and a great king above all gods we should be shouting the Praises of the Lord all the time now I have a favorite Christmas movie it's elf and they say the bestest way to spread Christmas cheers to sing aloud for all to hear that's what it says so the bestest way to spread Christmas our Christians here is to sing aloud for all to hear now I got to give you a quick thing to that I cannot sing um I try it doesn't sound good and it's not on Rhythm it's totally off if I clap to a song the reason why you don't see me collapse your song is because it doesn't go well like I'm all off Rhythm everybody's looking at me and I'm like okay I'm gonna stop now you know my biggest fear when I have this mic on is that it's going to be on while we're singing worship I'm like somebody's going to leave the church because they're going to hear that back what is wrong with their worship team somebody should find that cat that's being gutted alive right now let me tell you but we're to sing constant praises to the Lord we're to have such joy that we are worshiping constantly listen the Christian Life is not the easy Road by any means it's not the Bible tells us that It's A Hard Road but we are to always be joyful because again this is temporary we have something permanent we have somebody that died on the cross to give us Eternal salvation we should be filled with joy I never understood living life not being happy about it it's not fun like I don't want to live life mad about things now I'm not a morning person my wife is again I don't know how she loves me because in the morning I'm not as joyful as I should be I don't like to talk to anybody and have you ever had that like feeling inside we're like I just need everybody to go away just for a little bit just just let me gather myself I don't drink coffee so that's not it right it doesn't start after the coffee does whatever the shirt says um for me it's got it I gotta wake up but we're to be filled with joy all the time we're to enjoy life we're not to sit here and think about oh man I've got to obey all these rules I've got to be this person I can't do this like no no no I get to be this I get to do this it's not I have to this is the life that God blessed me with let me tell you I I've seen the other side of it right now this morning you're not in jail positives right there are people last night that went to jail and they are still there today you are not there's one reason to be joyful you are alive and you are not in jail there's two things you can be happy about that right we can wake up and be happy about that everything else we can work out right but at least those two things I can wake up and I'm alive and I'm free all right listen we're to be joyful even when we're in trials and tribulations first Thessalonians 5 16-18 always be joyful never stop praying be thankful in all circumstances for this is God's will for those who belong to Christ Jesus were to always be joyful our identity demands us to be joyful can you imagine being on the outside so let's think about this let's put the non-Christian hat on for a minute you have a Christian friend you're not a Christian you're not going to church anywhere and this person's always complaining always upset always negative never Smiles are you gonna look at that person go man I really want to be that person that's who I want to be you're not you should have fun if you walked in this morning we were having fun I was sitting on the stage we're having conversations somebody's gobbling like a turkey I mean there's some things going on that is a lot of good time because why we're Christians Christ died for us we're to have joy we can come in here and have some fun so that's the thing right we don't have to be upset about things bad things happen there's times that we're the in Ecclesiastes my favorite book there is a time to mourn there's a time to mourn there's a time to be sad about certain things but we are to live with joy constantly listen I know what you're seeing this is a lot we've covered a lot but we must remember that when we place our identity in temporary things of this world when they fail we begin to question we begin to look to God we begin to lose faith we end up doing sometimes with depression and just struggle with life if our identity is not based on these things that Paul just told us and it's based on temporary things you're gonna struggle you're going to struggle because temporary things fail temporary things make mistakes temporary things change there's one thing that we know to be permanent that's Christ Jesus these things are not suggestions or life goals that's always the new thing right they're not life goals this is how we identify as Christ we do these things to bring glory to God and to point others to the savior these behaviors are the opposite of the world and hence will grab the attention of the Lost and the broken don't just think about lost people as lost people think about them as broken individuals searching on how to be mended back together I don't know I've been in a place where I felt pretty broken when I was no longer in the ministry when when I was divorced I had a son that I was not seen every day still don't see every day see them every week and missed a lot of things broken couldn't step back into a church because I felt such guilt and shame about the fact that man I was supposed to be serving God that was who I was going to be and I was overlooking the fact that Christ he was my identity and the thing about it is this I wasn't reflecting Christ during that time Christ is our permanent identity it's not temporary and he's gonna he's gonna use that identity to help heal some broken individual you're going to be an example to somebody else that brings them to Christ and you may never know it and it may be the smallest thing Pastor Gene mentioned tipping last week that we're Christians we're to tip right if some if a waitress is given is having a bad day tip more why because you don't know that by you leaving that extra tip her picking that up and going man I didn't treat these people I didn't deserve this what do they have why would they give this to me I don't understand what if that questioning begins her quest to find Christ it's those small veins it's our identity matters we're going to close with scripture because there's no better way to close right First Corinthians 5 17-21 says this means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person brand new identity the old life is gone a new life has begun and all of this is a gift from God who brought us back to himself through Christ and God has given us this task of reconciling people to him our identities should bring people to him for God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself no longer counting people's sins against them he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation so we are Christ ambassadors God is making his appeal through us through our identity we speak for Christ when we plead come back to God for God made Christ who never sinned to be an offering for our sin that we could be made right with God through Christ amen