Download... March 7, 2010. Sunday Morning Service. Bro. Richard Lehman.
TEXT: Acts 19:13-16
13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
This group of Jewish exorcists are claiming Jesus identity for their power, but the possessed knows Jesus and Paul, yet does not recognize their identity with Christ. A real identity crisis is going on here,.. just as today.
Paul was known by whom he identified with (Christ), spiritually. Who are you? Who do you identify with? Satan is after you, and all souls. You need to know who you identify with, now more than ever. This is not about your identity, but who You identify With! It is a serious and necessary crisis of Jesus needing to be your first love. Then you will identify with His suffering, shame, and cross. Paul could identify with it, therefore the man in the above scripture claimed his acquaintance with him.
In this country, around the early 60's, it became more a time of a "me" generation. People have lost touch with the early sacrifices it took to become the great nation we once were. It was not always about mine, or "me" in those earlier times. Often, when a couple first comes together in marriage, the attraction is overwhelmingly special. Then when the honeymoon is over, they "settle down." They began to wonder what really is love, and how to attempt to identify with their companion, not just the attraction, but with the problems, sufferings, heartaches, etc. Then a "distance" often comes, in where each looks how at to identify with each other. Similarly the newness of being saved, is special. Then through the trials of life, come the identity crisis,.. spiritually. Do you know how to identify with Christ? Who are you? Life can be an identity crisis.
Children identify with their parents. Then whatever are those influences, it affects the child's time of identity crisis. When children are in grade school, it is often 30-60 children with one teacher, in one class. Then when they go to junior high, they often have approximately 6 teachers, and 6 classes, "300" students, all while at the same time their bodies are changing in addition. Emotions are turbulent. This really creates for them a true identity crisis. Sin during this time starts to make more of an impact. Those youth began to identify with sinful surroundings, more.
Increasingly people are not identifying themselves with the sin as a curse in their life. They don't relate to the cross and of Jesus sufferings of death, to their everyday actions in life. People need to identify with the curse of sin, which Christ died for, and them. Therefore often people are not getting their life in order with Christ example. They often do not take responsibility for their sinful actions. They do not see themselves with the curse that put Jesus on the cross. They do not see themselves as guilty. Mere religion does not identify their need to forsake that sin that brought the crucified Jesus. I need to identify my condition.
31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed;
32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [but] the Son abideth ever.
36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Jesus wanted to free them.
21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
22Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
23And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
24I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.
Jesus is underscoring the difference in our identity based on whether we identify with Him through real belief by forsaking our sins or being after the world. If there is a distance between us and Christ, it is because of sin. So it was in the garden of Eden, it was sin that cast Adam and Eve from God's presence. A distance because of sin's identification.
1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
verse 2 You used to "run with Satan" because of your identity with sin. Verse3 We all used to identify with sin. Verse 5 God reached down and quickened us together in Christ. Jesus although pure, identified with sinners in order to reach them. He suffered the reproach that we caused. He went a long way to identify, to reach all souls.
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
20Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
21From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
We need more than to "identify",... but identify "with" Jesus and the purpose of His sufferings. Peter began to go through an identity crisis, while learning more about Jesus. verse 22 Here, Peter did not correctly identify Jesus' purpose. Peter at this moment was a reproach. Jesus does not identify with casual, lukewarm, self-centered purpose in religion. verse 23 Peter was saved, yet in the midst of his own identity crisis. verse 24 Jesus identified self denial a necessary identity to serve Christ.
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat:
32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
33And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
34And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Peter under pressure and while in his identity crisis, would deny Christ as Christ predicted.
What do you do when your companion, parents children, etc, backslide? You need to then know who you identify with, (not with just a pastor, teacher, close friend.)
Only through Christ identity can we have victory. Consider how the cross was put on Christ, our example. If you serve God, people will "put" pressure on you, making it "hard." Being willing to go through those oppositions, must be your identity if you are to serve Christ. Those who do identify with Christ are who He will identify as His Church. Too many seem willing to identify with Jesus, but not with the suffering and self denial, etc. We need to identify with the cross with Jesus, and therefore identify our self as the Church, who love in depth.
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Have you risen with Christ to identify with Him? It is no wonder many are having an identity crisis that hold on to their self -ideas, as opposed to Christ identity of the cross. If you are not settled, beware you will meet head on with Satan. You need to be secure in Christ identity of the cross. Dealing with souls will bring to the forefront your identity, as you meet those in Satan's clutches. The way of the cross will cause you to quit seeking after self's ideas, and instead reaching for souls.
11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
12As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
13For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
14But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
verse 12 A fair show of the flesh (identity crisis). The world wants you to conform to their stipulations of the flesh, rather than suffer for the cause of Christ.
It is still important we submit to local laws and authority, yet not conform to fleshly ideas. verse 15 Only what Christ shows us by His sacrifice will make us a new creature.
Are you still in your sins? Do you identify with Christ? Are you willing to identify with Christ? Who are you?