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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
Some of you have been through the very painful experience of irreconcilable differences, either in business and in marriage. You know what the word reconcile means? It means two people that weren’t getting along, in our case, we were enemies of God. We were hostile to God. The One who made us, it was either passive indifference, “I don’t care about God,” or actual rebellion. “Don’t any of you tell me what to do, even though You made me.” And it’s you become friends.
Would you write this down: God is my friend. What if this started inching its way. Maybe at least it got down to the collarbone. God is my Father. God made me a new person. God is my friend.
Sometimes we will meet someone famous and maybe we will get to know them and sometimes it will slip out. This happened recently. And we’ll sort of, “Well, he’s my friend.” Right? He plays on the PGA or he’s in the NBA or she came out with a new album or he runs this big company or they got a gold medal in the Olympics and they are my friend.
Are you ready for this? Here’s what you can write down too: I am God’s friend. The One who spoke life into existence. He is my friend. I am God’s friend. What do friends do? What do you do, okay, this is not a trick question. There’s not some, Oh, I hope I get this one right. What do you do with your friends? You hang out! You enjoy each other. You get to know each other. You do things you both enjoy. Real friends, you can share the good stuff and they are not jealous, they are happy for you. You can share the bad stuff and, Ooh, man, and they’ll even help you. You can even share the deep, ugly stuff and they don’t judge you. But they also don’t let you stay the same.
What if you actually could believe that God is not down on you? He is your friend. He can take whatever you want to share. He wants to hang out. This isn’t: I will now be religious. I’m going to church regularly. I need to read the Bible. I need to pray. I probably need to pray longer. I need to give some money. Am I okay now?
That’s how some people live. How about this? “Come unto Me all of you that are stressed out and heavy-laden and labor and just overwhelmed with life, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke,” let’s do life together. “I am meek,” power under control, “lowly of heart,” and I want to help you get through this life and I will never leave you or forsake you.
You have been justified, you have been regenerated, you have been reconciled.
And then I love this next one. It’s a big word. Propitiation. It almost sounds like a dirty word. Actually, it’s not. It means that Jesus satisfied the just wrath of God by His death on the cross and, therefore, Jesus took all my punishment forever.
Let me say that again. Jesus took all your punishment forever. Jesus took all of my punishment forever. 1 John chapter 4, verses 9 through 11, “By this, the love of God was manifested,” or made known to us, “that God sent His only begotten Son into the world” – why? “so that we might live” – well, how? “through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Now, you need to understand that God has emotions. He’s a person. He’s one essence; three distinct persons. He has feelings and emotions and a mind and a will and we are made in His image. And there is something that makes Him very, very angry. It’s called evil.
But His anger isn’t like our kind of anger that flies off the handle or just is capricious and He’s going to blow up one day. John Stott writes about propitiation and he says, “The reason why propitiation is necessary is that sin arouses God’s wrath or anger. This doesn’t mean that he is likely to fly off the handle at the most trivial provocation. Still less, that He ever loses His temper for no apparent reason at all. For there is nothing capricious or arbitrary about the Holy God, nor is He ever malicious or spiteful or vindictive. His anger is neither mysterious nor irrational. It is never unpredictable, but always predictable because it is provoked by evil and evil alone. The wrath of God is His steady, unrelenting, unremitting, uncompromising antagonism to evil in all of its forms and all of its manifestations.”
I am listening to the life of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas right now and I am in the section where the most horrific things were done to the Poles and the Jews that it’s even hard to hear of gassing people and going into villages and just indiscriminately lining everyone up and killing them and then dancing on their bodies.
The human heart, in the right circumstances, is desperately wicked. And evil and whether it’s the abuse of children or whether it’s greed or whether it’s evil of any kind, God is angry because it’s destroying what is just and good and kind and God-like. What you need to understand, when Jesus was hanging on the cross and crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” It’s in that moment that the just wrath of God took the punishment you deserve and I deserve and all people of all time deserve and He placed it on Christ, and He who knew no sin, became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.
And in that single moment, the Father turned away and He became the sin bearer and all the punishment of all time was on Christ. Write this down: God will never punish me if you’re in Christ.
I’m not afraid to die. That wasn’t always true. But I’m not afraid to die. And for those of you that have this in the back of your mind like, In college, no one knows about the abortion I had. Or, I was young in business and it was only once and, but, I had that affair. Or, That one business that I was in and I sort of skimmed some money. Or, I said some things about someone and no one really knows. Or, I have this private addiction.
And some of us have some stuff in your background and whenever things are happening that are difficult or painful, here’s what you need to understand. All the punishment that ever will occur in your life has already been, literally, the word is He satisfied. It is absorbed by Christ.
God will never punish you. He is not down on you. Now, jot down Hebrews chapter 12, lest we misunderstand. Good, kind, loving fathers, when you are moving in directions that are to be harmful to you or others, He may cause some circumstances – I call it the velvet vise of grace – to get your attention to get you back on the path that is good and holy.
Because, see, good dads and good parents don’t just say, “Oh, well, good luck, kid.” But He is never punishing you. It’s never vindictive. Are you ready for this? God is not mad at you. When you sin, you know what? His anger has been placed on Christ. Are you ready? It makes Him sad. I will tell you, what has helped me more than anything else is not being afraid of God’s punishment, it’s realizing that my Father who loves me, who gave His Son for me, when I sin and do things I know that are wrong or when He tells me to do something and I just, “Nope!” And then afterwards I look at it, I break His heart.
See, sin is fundamentally never about a behavior or a word. Sin is always relational. And so, it’s not sin management. It’s not: how close can I get to a sin? Or, how long can I do this? Or, how far can we go, sexually? Those are all the wrong questions.
Sin is fundamentally that which would make a division between me and my God. And what a relief to know I will not be punished. It has already been taken.
I remember being in the Philippines and being out in a rural area in a Jeep with one of my good friends Tom Randall in front of a drunk guard with a big machine gun that went from here right to here. And I thought, I didn’t think this is how I would die. And obviously, the good news is, since I’m here, I didn’t. But some of you have had those moments and because I know Christ took my punishment and His righteousness has been placed into my account, when I go to the Middle East or when I go to some places that I travel and do some things, I am not being stupid. But if you hear that I die, I’m immediately in the presence of the Lord. It gives me a tremendous freedom. How about you?
The fifth thing that happens is sanctification. Justification is an event at a point in time. Propitiation is an event – a point in time. Reconciliation is an event that starts a process and a relationship. Sanctification is a point in time, but it’s a journey. Sanctification is the process, underline process, by which the Holy Spirit transforms my inner attitudes and my outward actions to the character of Christ.
The first was positional righteousness. This is how God views me: justification. This is practical righteousness – living it out as I walk by faith and obedience, trust in His promises, and give and receive encouragement in the body of Christ. Jot underneath this one, are you ready? God will never leave me alone. He is in the process of changing you. He lives inside of you. The Spirit of God.
1 Peter chapter 2 talks about our part, our responsibility. “Therefore, putting aside all malice, all deceit, and hypocrisy and envy, and all slander,” right? That’s a part of the old me. But just because I have a new nature, the Bible is clear that the spirit and the flesh wage war against one another.
So, he says, “In light,” chapter 1, “of all that God has done for you, you have been born again through His Word, therefore, lay aside,” actively, take these things and put them in your past, “and like newborn babes long for the pure milk of God’s Word, so that by it you grow in respect to your salvation.”
I would suggest there are a lot of people that have been a Christian two years, five years, and twenty years that are still in diapers. And they are not mature and they don’t understand much about God and they are probably thoroughly saved and they have missed, probably, a lot of their life or if it’s twenty or thirty years, most of their life because they have never become someone who decided: I need the pure milk of God’s Word, which leads them to meat.
Your relationship with the Lord is determined by your relationship with His Word. Those are Jesus’ words, not mine. The second thing is, we can’t do this alone. I can’t walk by faith and obedience alone. I can’t say no to malice and envy and all those things alone. My motivation gets low. I need people. I need the body of Christ. You need the body of Christ. And so, around here, we talk about the pure milk of God’s Word, coming before God daily. Doing life in community. And then, being on mission 24/7, just loving people. Every single person God puts in front of you.
What would happen if, in your psyche, you went from, “Wow, God feels distant,” to, “He is my Father”? What would happen if, “I’m a prisoner of my past,” to, “God made me a new person”?
What would happen instead of, “What do I need to earn God’s favor?” “God is my friend!” What if the fear of, “Well, if I do this or I do that – is God punishing me?” to, “He’ll never punish me.” And even when some relationship or tragedy comes into your life, what if you believed, “God will never leave me alone”?
Well, I want to finish our time by sharing how you can know this for certain. It’s from Ephesians chapter 1, verses 11 through 14. And it says, “In Him,” Jesus, “also we have obtained an inheritance.” Circle the word we if you will, in your notes. Literally, in Him, Jesus, we have been made inheritance, “having predestined according to His purpose, who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we,” circle that one again, “who were the first hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.”
Paul is writing as a Jew and this word we is: we Jews have obtained or been made God’s inheritance. We are the vehicle He wants to use in all of His purposes. And that word for counsel is: deliberate, strategic choice. And that word for His will, it springs from warm, deep emotion and he is saying: we who were Jews were chosen by God to be an agent of blessing, were made His inheritance.
And then He flips it and says: what about you Gentiles? “In Him,” Jesus, “you also,” circle you and write Gentile above it, get what happened, “after listening to the message of truth,” someone shared with them: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”
“After listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation,” then what did…? “…having believed,” not agreeing intellectually, you personally turned from your sin, you believed, you received Christ, what happened? “…you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
Very interesting New Testament word. In the Roman culture, this word has to do with a transaction, a financial transaction, or the sale of something. It is finished. It has the idea of absolute ownership and security. You, when you believed, all those five things happened to you, but God sealed you with the Spirit. The Spirit of God entered your life and you were sealed for eternity, if indeed you truly repented and trusted Christ.
It's a guarantee. In fact, he goes on to say, “…who is given as a,” circle this, “a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
So, we have this inheritance. And what he says, basically, the word pledged there is our, we would use the word down payment or earnest money. I currently am, like probably many of you, some of you have your house paid off, but most of us, I have a house. It’s my house. But the bank thinks they still have a little part in it. A pretty big part, actually. But it’s in my name.
It is my home. It’s a sealed deal. And what he is saying is: heaven, your inheritance, freedom. The absolute security, there is none in this world. You’ve got that, right?
We are an earthquake, a tsunami, a car wreck, a financial downturn away from all of our lives changing like that. And what he is saying is this: when you prayed to receive Christ and He became your Father and you became a new person and He is your friend and He says, I will never punish you and I will never leave you. He says, What I want you to know that then I sealed you for Myself and this inheritance is is that one day I am going to pull all things together. That is redeeming. All the things that are My possession. And there is going to be a new you. You get a new body – inheritance.
And it’s going to be in a new place, a new heaven and a new earth. And you will be with Me forever and ever and ever. And if you want to talk about security, security, security, security that won’t change, that’s what you have if you’re in Christ.
And, see, that’s the core. And I understand, that’s a lot of theology and could I encourage you to maybe take these notes and read those big words over? But the big words: God is my Father. He will never punish me.
On the back page, I have given you what I think is the most fundamental lie that we believe. And then I want to give you the truth. And let me just ask you: okay, children, class, how are you doing on your cards? I’m really tempted to say, “If you have actually cut these out and you’re reviewing them in the morning and the night, raise your hand,” but I’m not going to, because it might be devastating. might feel rejected. No one listens to me. Why don’t they get it, Lord? So, that’s my way of saying if you’re a little behind…
I have been reviewing cards like this for over thirty-five years. And I’ve got a long way to go. But I will tell you, you can be the son of an alcoholic and marry someone who is the son of an alcoholic and you can be through all kind of trash and not believe a single thing I taught you today, and you can change because my experience is proof of that. But you renew your mind.
So, the lies are: those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished. I believed that for a long time. So, what do you do? You try and earn and prove and performance.
Doubts, guilt over past mistakes and condemnation are evidence that you’re a bad person, and unworthy of love by God or others. And so, people who believe they are a bad person punish themselves and make stupid decisions that bring more pain in your life because, psychologically, there is something weird about us that if we feel like we are bad, we should pay. And we figure out ways to make ourselves pay. And then you say: Stop! The truth: I am secure in my relationship with Christ in my daily safety and well-being and in my future outlook, whether on earth or in heaven, because I have been sealed by the Spirit. Is that awesome? I have been sealed by the Spirit.
I want you to know that if you have, by faith, received Christ, everything I have said is true of you and your responsibility is to say, No matter what, I have got to get it from here to here.
And if, by chance, you are here or you are watching or you are listening and all that I have said you realize, I am outside of Christ. I have never owned that I have sinned against a holy God. I have never turned away from myself and the sin that I know I’m in and asked Him to forgive me and come into my life so I could follow Him, today would be like the greatest day in the world.
And so, as you sit in your seat or watch or listen, and God is speaking to you, just tell Him, I want what You offered. I think the Holy Spirit might give you a Dr. Phil question: How is life working your way? And God your Father would say, Would you please turn from your sin and let Me forgive you solely on the basis of Jesus’ work on the cross and His resurrection?
It’s transferring your trust. So right now, tell Him, God, I’m sorry. I have sinned against You. Will You please come into my life right now and forgive me? Will You make me Your son? Make me Your daughter? I believe right now, in this moment, that You died in my place, You rose from the dead, and paid for my sins. I receive that right now, in Jesus’ name. Amen.