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About this series
Discover Your True Self
How to Silence the Lies of Your Past and Actually Experience Who God Says You Are
Who are you? Who says so? You? Your family? Your friends? From the first two chapters of the book of Ephesians, Chip helps you discover who God says you are as a believer in Christ. Understanding your position, the freedom, and the power you possess as a child of the Most-High God, enables you to move beyond the struggles and the uncertainty we all experience to living an amazing life of peace and assurance. It equips you to serve others with humility and patience and it empowers you to forgive and share with lavish generosity. People will wonder what your story is and with the help of this series, you'll be able to answer with confidence.More from this series
When we look at our life under pressure and we think about what makes us feel secure, what makes us feel safe, what makes us feel like we are in control – how do we learn that?
And the more I thought about it, I was praying through my office this morning and thinking, It’s actually in the storms of life that God allows you to get a glimpse of how you take things from your head into your heart.
I was probably a Christian over twenty years when my mother died. I was really close to her. And it happened very suddenly. And it was so painful. And I came to learn how much I actually believed, that there’s a real heaven and there’s a real God and that you will see people that you love.
I remember the biggest failure I ever experienced in ministry and resigning from a job and recognizing that I didn’t have the power or the wits or the ability to turn something around and just feeling so distraught and having an experience where the Holy Spirit literally whispered I just love you for you. And it was in that moment I realized how much of my security or my worth was in what I do, my job, or how I perform.
And I remember years later, sitting on the couch with Theresa and we had learned that afternoon that she had cancer. And I don’t know about you, but of all the fears that humanly, at least I have struggled with, is the loss of a child or the loss of your wife or a family member. And we just cried and then we prayed and then we went through months and treatments and radiation.
And we came through all that. But the moment that – I can tell you that Jesus promises He will be enough with or without your wife or one of your kids, but when you live with it every day and it’s just so vulnerable and He shows up in those moments, that’s when you know, by way of deep personal experience.
And we are going to talk today about, I think, something that is at the root of our being is God is going to tell you and me that you are secure. On the front of your notes, pull it out if you will, I want you to get a deeper understanding of even the word security. It means you are safe. There is a firm foundation. It means you’re not liable to fail. It means there is a place that is safe, that is set apart.
The verb means that it’s something you are certain of, that you have obtained, that it’s a sure deal. It means that there is no outside force that can come in and remove you, in this case, from God.
And, yet, we all struggle, don’t we? We all, I don’t need a psychologist to tell me that I’m insecure. It just takes a few circumstances and it just pops up.
But we tend to have very genuine fears about different things, but I put four categories in your notes. Because these are human. If you’re human, you’re going to struggle with some of these. And until it goes from your head to your heart, you may live with lots of fear and insecurity and doubts and then we have learned we have lots of unhealthy ways we deal with them.
The first one is the fear of physical harm or death.
I read some research in the last couple months that said the world has never been a safer place. Never been a safer place. And, yet, because of the proliferation of information, it doesn’t feel that way at all.
But something happens in India, you know about it in five minutes and the fires that are here or the flood that were there or the tsunami that went there or the, I mean, it just comes at us. Or the fear of being alone, of being rejected, of thinking, I’ll never get married. Or, This marriage is never going to get better. Or the sense that something has happened for those of us that have kids.
The fear of punishment. I got an email just this week from a young gal that we were interviewing for a job and she just talked about, she got some very bad theology and read a few verses in Scripture and was living with this idea that someday, someway, she might do something or make a mistake and God would cast her off and she wouldn’t spend eternity with Him and that every single day that she was being held over, If you mess up today, this is the worst day of your life, to the point that, in despair, she said, God, kill me. I know I’m walking with you today. Just kill me so I don’t get discarded later. Until she got some good teaching and she got some truth from here down to here.
And then our basic insecurities can produce guilt and condemnation and struggles. So, here’s the question I have for you, because this is going to be a bit of a heady message. I am going to give you some real truth that I’m going to get here, and then we’ll spend the rest of our time working hard to get it down here.
Where do you tend to feel insecure or afraid? Over eighty times, the Bible says, “Fear not.” Over thirty times it says, “Don’t be afraid.” Jesus’ last words to the disciples: “I am with you always. I will never, ever leave you or forsake you,” the writer of Hebrews says from God’s voice. And, yet, we struggle.
So, at the bottom of your notes, there’s a question I’d like you to do some real pondering and the pondering I’d like you to do is: in what or whom do you seek to find security apart from Christ? We all do this, right? But identify it. Because I am going to tell you, in a fallen world, God is going to allow some storms to come into your life, but the goal of the storms will be like Joseph. I think Joseph, when he was betrayed, Joseph in prison, Joseph’s loss of reputation, Joseph when people forgot him – each and every time if you read that carefully, it says, “And the Lord was with him.” “And the Lord was with him.” “And the Lord was with him.”
If you can identify where you tend to put security, because a test is coming and God wants you to pass the test, He wants you to know, I’ll be with you. I will never leave you. I’ll never let you down. I am for you. And down deep in your psyche, a lot of us don’t believe that.
So, let me just ask you: is your security in yourself? I have certainly had that one. Your brains? Your ability? You’ll figure it out. You can make it happen.
Is it in money? Are you fixated with, Man, as soon as I get so many zeroes and here’s my portfolio and I’ll be secure. Is it family? You know what really makes everything okay is your family, your wife, your kids, your husband, all that stuff. And when that’s okay, you’re okay, but, boy, if that gets…
Is it your work? How many of us? Here’s a test. Are you ready for this? Whatever would get taken away or challenged to the level it devastates you, that will tell you where your security is.
See, your security is like a rug. And if it gets pulled out from under you, it might hurt a little bit. If it devastates you, you know: my security is in that job. My security is in me. My security is not in Christ.
So, I want you to identify that. And now, turn your notes with me, if you will, and I want to talk about God’s plan to give you a security that can’t change by circumstances or terrorist or death or abandonment or cancer or rejection or any fear of punishment. God’s answer is in 1 Peter 3:18. It’s a summary of the work of Jesus. “For Christ also died for sins,” put a circle around the word for, and I’ll tell you why. “Once for all.” Who is He? “The just or the righteous for unrighteous or the unjust.” What was His purpose? “So that He,” Jesus, “might bring us to God.” Well, how did He do it? “Having been put to death in the flesh on the cross but made alive in the Spirit, the resurrection.”
“God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son” – God the Son – “that whoever would believe in Him shouldn’t perish, but have everlasting life.” God’s solution to your security is that you are valuable, He wants to choose you, He cares about you, He has redeemed you, and He wants to reconnect you close to Him so that no one at any time, ever, now or in eternity, can separate you from Him.
So, then the question is: what must I do to experience that security? And the gospel writer John would say, “As many as received Him,” Jesus, “to them He gave the right,” or, the authority, “to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
That little word for means in the place of, Jesus came and He died in the place of you. All that you deserve and I deserve, because of my sin and rebellion or passive indifference, God took all of that and He placed that on Christ. And now He says you are forgiven, but you must respond. “As many as,” not just intellectually believe, “as many as receive Him,” personally, “to them He gives the right,” not to be religious but to become an actual child of the living God.
Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock – of your heart, my heart.” This is the verse I heard when I trusted Christ. 1972. “If any man, if any woman hears My voice and will open the door of your heart,” the promise, “I will come into Him,” and the old translation, “I will sup with him,” or eat with him and he with Me.” And it’s Jesus saying, I want a relationship. The cross has paid for your sin. It is a free gift. Now, turn from your sin and in the empty hands of faith say, “Lord Jesus, forgive me. Come into my life. Be my Lord. Be my Savior.” And the Spirit of God enters your human body and you start a new life. In the old days, people called that, that’s what it’s called to be saved or receiving Christ or trusting Christ.
Now, what I want to talk to you about is I am guessing a great majority of you have down what I just talked about. I’m guessing that those that are watching and those of us that have been around for a while it’s like, Okay Chip, thanks, that’s very helpful. I have known this since fourth grade. Or, for some of us, When I was eighteen.
But in 1972, knowing very little, having no idea that there was a personal relationship with God and I invited Christ into my life, I want you to go back when you did that, I don’t think the average Christian has any idea what actually happened.
It wasn’t just a little experience. It wasn’t just now you are heaven-bound. It’s not just that you know Christ. What actually happened that actually is at the source of all the security and every challenge that you’ll face of all the fears that we talked about?
So, I want to walk through these. I’ll do them quickly, but I want you to get some “theology.” Remember last time I said your theology informs your thinking. Your thinking informs your emotions. Your emotions inform your actions. Your actions have consequences, negatively and positively. Bad theology always produces bad actions and then what do we do? I look for security in sex, I look for security in addictions. I look for security in money. I look for security in jobs. I look for security in all kinds of places that take me bad roads and multiply the pain in my life. And God says, No, no. Start thinking rightly.
The moment you received Christ, if indeed you have, this happened: you were justified. The word means, it’s a legal declaration that all my sins are forgiven – past, present, and future. This is God as the judge. Legally, the gavel comes down, you are before Him, Christ’s righteousness, your sin, He looks at the work of Christ, He says all of your sins are forgiven, and the righteousness of Christ is placed in your account. You were granted the righteousness of Jesus; you have a new position as His dearly loved Child.
Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And this peace, that’s not just an emotional peace. It means we were hostile to God. The word is we have the shalom of God. We have the wholeness of God. We have the favor of God. We are now in God’s family.
In the space below, I want you to write this down. Are you ready? God is my Father. I’m going to give you some theological words, but what I realized is most Christians don’t know the words anymore, but worse, those who do know them, sometimes we don’t get what they really mean. Are you ready for this? God, the One who spoke billions of galaxies into existence, He is your Father.
You might write down: I am His child. What if you started to believe that? You know what? What do good fathers do? What do good parents do? They protect and they provide.
The second thing that happened to you the moment you received Christ is regeneration. That means that I am a new creation in Christ. I have been given a new nature, fully pleasing to God. It’s different from religion. It’s different from morality. It’s you become an actual new person.
Nicodemus was a very religious rabbi, squeaky clean morally, and he came at night because he saw that Jesus was from the God – the miracles attested to it. And in this night meeting, Jesus says to him in John chapter 3, “He answered him and said, ‘Truly, truly I say to you,’” now, this is a very religious, moral man, “‘unless one is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born again when he is old?’” He is taking it pretty literally here. “‘He cannot enter again into his mother’s womb a second time, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water,’” physical birth, “and spirit,” spiritual birth, “he can’t enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh,” physical, “is flesh. That which is born of the spirit is spirit.
Jesus taught the most religious, moral man we have cited in Scripture that when you pray to receive Jesus and He enters your life, it’s a spiritual birth. You are regenerated. You receive a new nature.
Jot in your notes 2 Corinthians 5:17. It says, “If any man, any woman is in Christ, you are a new creation. The old things,” notice this, “pass away. Behold, all things,” listen to the tense of the verb, “are becoming new.”
Ninth grade biology, right? The little green caterpillar creates a cocoon, and out comes a butterfly. We call it metamorphosis. I love being with such intelligent people. That’s what it’s called, right?
The DNA in that green caterpillar and the DNA in that butterfly are exactly the same. But a metamorphosis occurs where that butterfly is no longer ugly and green and crawls. It is beautiful. It gets a new nature. It gets a new capacity.
That’s the physical picture in nature of what happens when you prayed to receive Christ. Are you ready for this? Write this down. God gave me a new nature. God made me a new person. You don’t have to live with your past anymore. God made you a new person. Do you believe that?
How many Christians are living with: Well, this is how I grew up and my dad was an alcoholic and I have been through this and then this happened. Now, I’m not saying there aren’t consequences. I’m saying what if you believed in the cocoon of metamorphosis and life change that is the Word of God and time in community and time in His Word and your openness and steps of faith – you have a brand-new nature. You can fly! Stop crawling.
We have Christians everywhere that are still crawling and you are butterflies, because you don’t believe you have a new nature. You have been regenerated! Now, it’s a journey and a process. God is my Father, number one. Number two, God made me a new person.
And as a result, guess what, you might jot down: Jesus lives in me. If something is born – that’s what it says. Jesus actually lives inside of you in the person of the Holy Spirit.
The third thing that happens is reconciliation. That means that although I was once hostile to God and alienated from Him, I am now His friend. Paul would write, inspired by the Holy Spirit in Colossians chapter 1, verses 21 and 22, “Although you,” speaking to these new Christians, “were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He,” Jesus, “has reconciled you in His fleshly body through His death.”
Do you see how all these keep coming back to what happened at the cross and when what happens at the cross gets received by faith and then this journey from your head to your heart where you actually not just know about it, but you know it, you digest it, you absorb it, you believe it. It becomes a part of your life-focus and how you see God, see the world, and see yourself. “In order to present you,” this is how He presented you, “holy and blameless, beyond reproach.”