What to expect

A traditional church that is passionate about loving our community to the gospel.

Grace in Identity

An examination of a believer's identity in Christ

Transcript

Hey, man, well, good evening. Welcome to the Baptist Tabernacle. We're going to get started tonight by singing page number 260 for the Solid Rock. Let's all stand.

And you ready for that, brother Jimmy? Not yet. All right. Rhythmic Macci Could you get that projector there in the back for me? All right.

Let's see how nice and loud together my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. Sweetest friend, Ron Paul, kneeling on Jesus name on a solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand on the second when darkness fails his lovely face. And every high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil on Christl, solid rock and other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand when he shall come with trumpets sound. Oh man in and be found in his righteousness alone.

All this to stand before the throne on crisis solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.

All other ground is sinking sand.

Hey man, we're going to sing a song with you up on the screen. We're going to sing worthy of worship. Worthy of worship, one that we've been singing for a while, should be pretty familiar to you.

Here we go, worthy of worship, worthy of praise, worthy of honor and Lord.

Worthy of all the great songs we can sing, worthy of all of the offerings, we bring you our word.

The father creator, you are worthy, save your sustainer, you are worthy, worthy and wonderful, worthy of worship and praise.

OK, who I'm going to have to talk to Brother Matt about these high songs. This is tough for me. You all doing great? You sound wonderful. I feel bad for the people watching live stream, though. They can't hear you, they just hear me and it's it's rough. You can leave in a minute. That's fine. I can handle it if you're watching the live stream. All right. Let's try to sing the second verse on there. Worthy of reverence, worthy of hear you sing it out. Nice a not. Here we go.

Worthy of reference, worthy of fear, worthy of love and devotion.

Worthy of boughey and bending dean of these, worthy of all this and added to these, you are worthy for their creator you are worth. The save your sustainer you are worth.

The worthy and wonderful, worthy and great.

His a good job singing Let's go to law and order a prayer, ask his blessing on our time together. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day. Thank you for the folks who are here tonight. Lord, I pray that you bless them and bless our time together. May we only do and say those things that bring honor and glory to your name and may speak to us from your word. And it's in Jesus name. I ask these things. Amen. All right, thank you, may be seated, a couple of announcements for you. Some things coming up mainly just this weekend. Thank you to all those of you that made it out yesterday morning to help us with the the garden out front and sure to appreciate the gym short or the Raymond Misleader or the Mike Morgan.

And, of course, for the and brother Matt being there. I didn't miss my.

I don't think so, coming out and helping us to dig out all the old mulch and pull out all of the groundcover that grows back every year for new mulch, new flowers, hopefully tonight they don't get frozen.

Who would have thought, you know?

Anyways, but it looks great, they did a wonderful job and we're so excited to be able to have that done and re revitalized for the upcoming spring and summer. And we were reminiscing about it just a little bit three years ago. We moved in to the parsonage on a Monday. We preach that first Wednesday and then the next Thursday we were out there with almost the same crew doing the gardening.

And so that was a good memory and just had two kids back then, not not the three and so but fun times. And it was a good time together yesterday as well.

Some things coming up this weekend for you to know about. First on Saturday, we do have our annual Easter egg hunt and that'll begin at 11 o'clock and go to about one o'clock. Registrational start at ten. Forty five, of course, lunches provided we're going to have the hot dogs, chips and a drink for everybody. But in addition to that, we're also going to have a food truck that's going to be here and they're going to be giving away a little snow cones and little bags of kettle corn to everyone that comes. And then if you want extra, they'll also they'll sell you a large bag of kettle corn or a larger snow cone or even cotton candy and anything that they sell above what they're giving away for free. Percentage of that will come back to the church. So that's pretty cool. And so we'll have that there something we haven't done before. I think we're getting close to about 4000 eggs, which is going to be. A lot of eggs, and so that's great, more of you brought some in today, and that is a huge, huge blessing. So thank you to every single one of you who helped not only to donating the eggs, but then in filling those eggs so that we wouldn't have to fill them. That was awesome as well. And so that'll be going on. We'll also have bounce houses in here. So it's just there's me a lot going on, a lot of different things to take part in. And it'd be a great opportunity for our members to get to know some folks that don't go to our church. So if you are here, take it as an opportunity not just to be served, but to serve and to try and make some connections in the community for many of you. No doubt there will be all kinds of folks that you recognize, you know, from here, there, wherever. And so just make sure that we're all there friendly and welcoming to the people that come on Saturday and then on Sunday, we'll have a couple of different things going on. First, we're going to have our early service at nine o'clock and they'll be right here in the auditorium. It's going to be exactly the same as the late service. The choir is going to sing. I'm going to preach the same message. We'll sing the same songs. It's just going to be two hours earlier. And so I'm pretty confident, especially after this past Sunday, we had two hundred and twenty two on Sunday morning. And if you were here, you know, it gets kind of full in here once you get we had one hundred and sixty five in the auditorium. There isn't copious amounts of space left after that. And so with Easter Sunday being the high attendance day, we think splitting it into two services will enable us to accommodate more people in the services and then also give people who are in children's ministry a chance should they desire to come and hear the service before they go into their ministry. Anyways, we'll have nine o'clock service, no child care unless you're in the choir during that service. But then there'll be a breakfast at 10 a.m. out in the gym and possibly fellowship hall combined. And that's a really great breakfast. The ladies have already put together a great menu. So you're going to be there for that. And then the second service begin at 11:00 a.m. That will be the same as the early service. But we'll also have our children's churches going. So if you do have children, nursery aged kids, that's probably the service that you're going to want to attend. Our children's workers do a wonderful job of putting on a very special service for our kids. And so you can guarantee that they'll come home having had a great time if they're here for that second service. So there'll be no Sunday school and then we'll have our normally scheduled service at five thirty that night.

Um. That's it. So those of us is going on plenty, plenty, plenty. Coming up, how many of you guys got to see the new mower out there? It's like a beast, isn't it? We've got 13 acres to take care of, and so we needed something that was able to do it. And really, Jim Schwartz said it looks like a tank. And I said, well, hey, we could mount some guns to it. We might need it. Who knows?

But anyways, we're going to get that into operation probably tomorrow even. And so we're very grateful to all those of you that are faithful to give grateful for your willingness to to do these type of things. The business meeting on Sunday night was very easy. No drama, just. Yeah, let's get this done. And so we're very grateful for that. So anyways, those are all my announcements this time. We're going to see. And once again, we're seeing one last song. And at the end of this song, we'll have our men come forward to take up the offering.

All I am I'm sorry I messed that up.

Here we go. All I ever want to be is what you want of me.

Lord, I give my life to you and all my hopes and dreams and plans I place with in your hands, Lord, and give my life to you here.

My Lord gives me take my life and more.

All I ever want to be is what you want to me.

I give my life to you all my hopes and dreams and plans I place with in your hands, Lord, and give my life to.

Every day you give me grace, I find my strength.

I give my life to you, though, it seems that I will fail through you, I will prevail or I give my life to you.

Hey. And my lord gives me.

Take my life and mold me. That's what you want to be bored.

I give my life to you all my hopes and dreams and plans.

And give my life to.

Amen, as our men come forward to receive tithes and offerings here tonight, we're going to ask God's blessing upon the offering this evening and trust that he'll continue to use it to further the work of the ministry, both here in our area and around the world, where the Mike Morgan of his mind to pray ask God's blessing on the.

Thank you may be seated.

And then.

Great job. Thank you for that, Hesston sounds like we'll have another second pianist before too long. All right, take your Bible study and turn to the Book of Romans. Romans chapter number one is where we're going to be tonight. Romans chapter number one. As you find your place, sir, if you would mind, join me in standing in honor of reading God's word. Romans chapter number one. Ordinary down to verse number seven. The Bible says Paul. Servant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle, separated under the gospel of God.

Which he had promised before by his prophets, the holy scriptures concerning his son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. By whom we have received Grace, an apostle ship, for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name. Among whom are also the called Jesus Christ.

All of it being wrong, beloved of God, called to be saints, grace to you and peace from God, our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Let's pray. All I asked that you help us now is we look into your word, you give me the word you have to say of the folks that are here to listen, to hear their lives, words in Jesus name, I pray. Amen. Thank you may be seated.

Well, I wouldn't turn the lights down on the platform areas, folks can see the screens a little bit.

More clear. All right.

So. A quick poll, how many of you would say, Pastor, you have to raise your hand so. You need to stretch your shoulders and some of you maybe aren't as limber as you used to be anyway. Go ahead. How many would say basketball? You know, there were some times I look back at my Christian life. I was experiencing more victory than loss anybody there was there times where I experienced more victory than loss, spiritual, spiritually, spiritually? OK, how many of you would say earlier there were times in my Christian life where I experienced more defeat than victory. Experience this time as well. Yeah, we all do, we all experience times in our Christian life where everything seems to be going well. We're walking with the Lord. We're spending time in his word. There's this closeness to God that we we enjoy. And in the moment, we we thrive spiritually because of that walk. But then things kind of begin to grind to a halt and our spiritual life grows stale. And before you know it, we feel like we're defeated. We feel like we're far from the Lord. We're distant. We feel like things aren't the way they used to be. And it's very easy in those times of defeat to get discouraged, to even get depressed because of our spiritual life. Now, I haven't done this in a long time, but how many of you know who your is?

You know yours?

Yes, I am referring to the Winnie the Pooh character. When I was in the youth group growing up, they assigned Winnie the Pooh characters to everyone in the youth group.

Can you guess which one I was assigned? Well, since I was just talking about it, you're probably pretty safe to assume it was your. And so, you know. It was obvious that everyone thought that I was a bit of a downer. And, you know, maybe they were right, I don't know. I don't know.

Let me ask you this. Does a child of God? Does a Christian. Does somebody who has been forgiven of their sins?

Do they have a legitimate reason to live a defeated life?

Does a child of God, Christian believer, do they have any legitimate reason to go through life carrying guilt and being discouraged all the time? I understand that we all go through difficult times, we all just admitted that. We all face discouragement, and if we were honest, we would probably all have to admit that we all face depression. But is it right for a Christian to live the majority of their life acting like poor Old Yeller over here?

The answer is no.

It's not right, it's not what God intended. It's not why Jesus came and gave his life for us so that we could live discourage defeated and downcast lives.

Man, this is some of that feel good preachin.

You're going to tell us to reach deep down inside and find the champion, aren't you?

No, I'm not. There is no champion, a new. I'm sorry.

But there is victory available to you. There is joy available to you. Paul begins his letter to the Romans by introducing them to his understanding of his identity, identity, you, if you will follow the news, is a big deal these days. What do you identify as? I don't typically we were talking about this before. The service actually don't really like listening to the news all that much. I don't like reading the news. Because it's one of those things that discourages me. You may have seen CNN put out an article this week saying it is impossible to assign gender to a baby when it's born. It's impossible. We don't know what this baby is. There's no way to tell. I can think of a way. You have to wait till the child is old enough to decide what they're what gender they identify with. We're so wrapped up in identity these days that we fail as Christians to realize that we have an identity. And identity that supersedes all other classifications that you may put on yourself.

I am a I'm a Texan. Waiting for my other Texans to say. Yeah. I'm a Texan. That's not the main identifier for my life, though.

I'm a boy. And our church growing up, there was four of us, and so we became known as the Boyd Boys, is back there in the days of the show Cops and you remember the theme song for cops was Bad Boys, Bad Boys. Well, there was a couple of deacons who thought it was real funny to whenever we walked up. Go, boys, boys, boys, boys.

So I'm a void, but that's not my main identifier. I'm a Cowboys fan. But I try to suppress that identifier doesn't go over so well with a lot of people, they just that at best they feel sorry for you.

My main identity is not found in the state I was born in, the country I was born in, it's not found in the family that I was born into.

It's not found in the sports teams that I root for. And if I can take it a step further and hearken back to Sunday morning, my main identity isn't even found in my occupation as a pastor.

My identity is found in Jesus Christ. And that's what Paul is starting off his book with here in verse number one, because first of all, when we see him say, listen. I'm Paul. I am among things, I am a servant of Jesus Christ, I am called to be an apostle, I am separated unto the gospel of God. You see, Paul was identified by his new life. Now, we had the privilege of having Paul's past life well documented for us in the Bible, don't we? And we can all go back to the early chapters of Acts and read all about Paul before he got saved, before he met Jesus, before Jesus gave him a new identity. Aren't you glad your past isn't as well documented as Paul's?

Oh, you guys must been a bunch of angels before you got saved, I suppose.

I used to think, man, you know, I got saved when I was four years old. What what great big sins that I have that I could claim, you know, what big change was made in my life. But now I have children. And you know as well as I it doesn't take that long before they are pagan's. Carter's vocabulary is like 50 words, but a lot of them are give me my me first.

You learn these things.

Paul's life was interesting. He was a he was a he was. He was a servant. Think about this of Jewish spiritual tyrants. He was a fierce Pharisee, the Pharisees, the Pharisees were spiritual dictators, I mean, they were harsh. They would they would use you up and toss you aside when they were done with you. Even with Paul, think about what happened to Paul after he stopped doing their bidding, after he was no longer useful for them, what did they try to do? Twice, really soon. Not only was he a servant to these Jewish tyrants, it was also commissioned to oppress the followers of Jesus. No doubt you have some things in the back that that live in your memory of things you've done that you regret things you wish you could forget. But but you can't. They play over in your mind over and over and over. They they they pop up when you're trying to go to bed. Images, sounds, smells, places trigger these memories of things that you used to do, places you used to go, activities you used to engage in before you met Jesus. For Paul, he had to live with the screams and pleas of an unknown number of believers who had been hauled off to prison because of him.

How many screams of children yelling, Mommy?

Did he have in his memory banks?

Probably a lot. He had to live with the memory. As he stood there holding the coats of the men who stoned Stephen as they came by and grabbed their coats back from him, he could look over and see the bloodied, mangled body. Of this man who refused to recant his faith.

Paul had to live with these things.

Things, leftovers from his life before Christ. He had lived a life. That was separated, set apart, completely devoted. To keeping the law. No, the problem with trying to base your righteousness off of keeping the law is. You're you're always striving, but never arrive.

Always striving to keep the law. I got to keep the law going, to keep talking to people. There's all these rules and regulations and things that I have to observe to do. And it doesn't matter how much you strive to observe all of it, something's going to slip through.

So always striving, but never arrive, you mean you put all these things together and you can start to understand why Paul's life pre Christ probably was a pretty rough life? You know, you know. The way of the transgressor is hard. We know that. But when you live a rough life, it doesn't just affect you spiritually. It affects you physically as well, doesn't it? You've seen the pictures, people of the same age, maybe even twins, one who lives a clean life and one who lives a life with drugs, alcohol, partying, just rough. And you can see the physical toll that it takes on them. Can't you? And I don't know how people live that way. I would be discouraged, a slave to my sin. How do you ever experience victory just seems like a life of of perpetual defeat as you are powerless to overcome sin. There is pleasure in sin. As many times as you engage.

There's pleasure and sin for a season. Pleasure and sin season.

But then it ends, there's the law of diminishing returns. You always need more. Also, look, I'm not I'm not identified as a Pharisee of the Pearcey anymore. I am not identified as an oppressor of Christians anymore. I am not identified as a as one who strives and fails to keep the law. I have a new identity. Aren't you grateful for your new identity? Listen, you may be tired tonight, you may feel beat down because it's the middle of the workweek, but spiritually you and I can rejoice because if you are in Christ, you have a new identity. You are a new creature, old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new. Paul's new life stood in contrast to the old life that he had lived. He is a servant of Jesus. Can I tell you something? Jesus doesn't need servants. Jesus doesn't need anything. He doesn't need your money. He doesn't need you to to go out and witness. He doesn't need you to sing praises to him. He doesn't need any of that. How foolish of us to think that somehow we're supplying God's need when we serve him. Jesus doesn't need servants. Jesus doesn't force people to be his servants. You've got some of our children and teenagers in here with us tonight. I'm pretty sure I didn't see any of you guys coming in with your hand behind your back and your parent holding on to you and forcing you through the door. Now, there might have been some mental gymnastics going on, but physically, no one was forced here tonight. We don't force anybody to serve in the nursery or the children's wing, we just took up the offering. I don't know if you noticed none of our men had a gun under that plate, said Buddy.

Come on. Don't make us get nasty.

Doesn't happen. Jesus doesn't force people to be his servants.

Well, then, how does Jesus get servants if he doesn't need them?

He was forced them. All quoting the Bible, Jesus said, taste and see, the Lord is good. I believe the servants of Jesus, the people who willingly serve the Lord, are those who have tasted and seen what. His way, his good.

McAtee made a cabbage dish a couple of weeks ago. Now, some of you might have looked at that and said one like Kabbage. That doesn't look like something I would. In my past life, I would have done them, as I said, no thank you.

So you want to try some of this, I said, yeah, try some of it. It was good. I enjoyed it. Add some crispiness to it mixed in with that cabbage. Some people look at you and say, yeah, for me. Have you ever tried it? No. Well, then how do you know that for you?

Now, I don't want any of that give me indigestion. We tried it now and how do you know? The people who served Jesus are the ones who have tasted and seen here what is good. The servants of Jesus have taken his yoke and found it to be, as he said, easy. His burdens are. White serving Jesus is one of the best things that you could one of. Serving Jesus is the best thing you could do with your life. Servants of Jesus, according to the Psalmist, are daily loaded with benefits.

The jury ordered a dumpster for us to get rid of some of the garbage and some of the garden trash, so we threw it away.

You know, when you pay for a dumpster, you want to get your money's worth out of it.

Right, so, I mean, at first you're just throwing things in there because you've got all this room, the same is true with a moving truck. At first you're kind of not really concerned about what's happening. But then as you get closer and closer to the end, where all of a sudden this becomes the most intense game of of adult Tetris that you've ever played. And you're shoving things into spots that are the size of a melon and you're trying to shove your couch in there. Let's kind of the idea of what Jesus does to us, he loads us with benefits. He's like, oh, you've got a little space for a blessing there. Let me see if I can squeeze this in there. Those who have tasted, those who have tried his load, carried his burden and have experienced the loading down with benefits, those servants of Jesus like Paul Hillenburg, No one, they wouldn't do anything but serve Jesus. A lot of us, we're very interested in experiencing pleasure, some of you don't like pleasure, you would prefer to be in pain and suffering. But most humans are looking for pleasure. Now, I'm not saying serving Jesus and following Jesus is going to be just. Lollypops, sunshine and roses for the rest of your life. But it's a whole lot easier than the way of the wicked.

The blessings, the perks are amazing.

He's a servant of Jesus, but he's also called to be an apostle. This was a distinct office. During the early years of the church history, there were qualifications for this position that are no longer able to be fulfilled. So if somebody says I'm an apostle and they've got to capitalize on that, they're not being true to what the Bible says. There were some qualifications you had to meet. But the word apostle, if you were going to take it in a general sense, the word apostle means I sent one a representative. And this is pretty cool because we're going to see more about this later, but Paul went from someone who opposed the work of Jesus to someone who promoted the work of Jesus.

That's a 180.

Who is capable of causing such a drastic change in someone's life? Jesus.

Jesus can take the oppressor and turn them into the promoter. Number three, he says, I am a servant, I am called, I am separated under the gospel. As an unsafe Jew under the law, Paul was constantly trying to live up to an unreachable standard. You're watching cartoons of Bugs Bunny or something, and they start climbing the ladder and it's real zoomed in, and so you think, OK, he's making a lot of progress, he's getting to the top of the ladder, and then it zooms out and you find out the ladder is just a wheel. And it doesn't matter how long he tries to climb that ladder, he's never going to get to the top. That's a pretty good illustration of you and I or Paul or anybody else trying to climb the ladder to our own righteousness, trying to climb the ladder to be good enough. You're never going to reach the top. It's impossible. All our righteousness is as filthy rags there is good and righteous. No, not one. Something happened in Paul's life to where he went from constantly trying to live up to now someone else meets that standard for. That someone, be Jesus, Jesus, came and lived a completely sinless life. He he met the standard for perfection for for all of humanity. And so Paul, having placed his faith in Jesus, is now free. Paul is now free. To serve God, not in an attempt to earn God's favor. What do we call God's favor, in other words, for God's favor, especially when it's undeserved? That is grace. Paul isn't serving God. Paul isn't an apostle. He's not spreading the gospel, hoping that if I just do enough that God will be happy with me. I mean, a lot of places, but a been a few places, we went to Costa Rica, we went to Panama on missions, trips. Brother Arnie has probably seen a lot more of this and I will ever see. But the things that they will do in those Catholic churches there in those Latin countries to try and earn God's favor. I mean, it's incredible. They'll they'll walk on their knees down a church aisle that is five times as long as this one and it's not carpet, it's rough concrete. And there are stains on the floors from the blood of their knees, from them walking and walking on their knees, praying to to marry or a saint the whole way, hoping that if I do this, God will be happy with me.

Pulses, I'm not about that life. I have received God's grace.

God's favor is upon me, not because I've earned it, but because Jesus has I threw my coat in with his. You see, God takes Jesus righteousness and applies it to your life so that you are then free to serve God, not to earn his favor, but because you've already received it, he's already happy with you.

Not because of you, but because of his son.

This new life, this new identity that Paul is talking about, all of it was made possible by the gospel. We didn't have cable when I was growing up, we just had the the rabbit ears and, you know, sometimes you take the tin foil and you'd wrap the rabbit ears and tin foil because that helped write.

You'd stand there and you'd do this, you know, with the ears and they're going all over the place and, you know, one person is doing it, the other person's watching. No, no, no. We go back. You had no.

All the tales that came in clear were the Spanish channels. And PB's.

All my friends, they're talking about all these cartoons, I had no idea even existed, I mean, until the time I was a teenager, we were watching Magic School Bus and Arthur.

Wishbone, you might remember Wishbone. All right, yes, we got our millennials represent.

You remember if you watched PBS, this program was made possible. By viewers like you.

Thank you.

Paul's new life, his identity was made possible by Jesus Christ and what Jesus did, and he goes through a brief summarization of the gospel, you see, the gospel is something that God had promised many, many, many years ago. In verse number two, through the prophets in the holy scriptures. It was a promise that God had fulfilled. And that's just thrown in there to remind you of God's promises will be fulfilled. They will be you can count on it, Jesus said he's coming back. He will come back.

We don't know when, but it'll happen.

Version number three, verse number four, give us the gospel of Jesus, the gospel is Jesus, the son of God became flesh version number three. He proved his relationship with God through the many displays of power that God did through him, the greatest display of that power was his resurrection. On that very special Sunday morning, we're going to celebrate it. And it even magnified, multiplied way that we normally do this coming Sunday. But really, every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Why do we celebrate it all? Because of what he did. We have new life. We have a new identity. See through Jesus, Paul, receive all the benefits of salvation, of course, one of those benefits was grace. Undeserved favor belonged to Paul because of Jesus. So it's not that God might show Paul Grace, you look at verse number five, he says, By whom we have received grace. It's already been shown to him, if you are a child of God, if you have accepted God's free gift of salvation. And you already are a possessor of God's grace. It's already been applied to his favor has already been shown to you. The other thing that Paul received is that word apostle ship again. I believe this is a different. A different category, a different connotation than than the Office of the Apostle Ship, I believe this is the idea of that person that is sent to represent someone else. And as I said before, Jesus changes our lives to the extent that we go from being God's enemies. To be in his ambassadors.

I should have wrote it down.

But we were sometimes far off from God. We were at enmity with God. While we were yet sinners. Christ died for us. Was a time maybe the time is still going on in your life. There was a time that I was at war with God. I was a rebel. Against him.

And yet he still loved me. He still love me enough that he died specifically for me. Don't think for a second that you weren't on Jesus mind, Jesus infinite. Wonderful. Much more powerful mine than yours and mine, you were on his mind when he died. He was thinking of you. You knew what you would do. You knew what your life would be like, and he loved you enough to die for you, he loved you enough to die for you to purchase your salvation, not so that you could just get saved in Mishaal and live your life however you want. But you could be transformed from a rebel, from an enemy, someone who is at war with him, to someone who was his ambassador, someone who was his friend, someone that he is we're going to see in a moment. Loves.

This is Paul's identity. Because of Jesus in the gospel. But in number six, Paul transitions.

To the identity of the believing reader. Now, Paul's initial audience was people of. Rob, it's the name of the book Romans, so he's originally writing to the believers in Rome, but you and I are reading this, so we are also by extension.

Included in some of this, right, so we can take this in and apply it to our lives.

Look at some of the things that Paul says about his readers who have believed in Jesus. First off, he wants them to understand that they are called of Jesus, they are called of Jesus. Now, what are they called to be? We'll look at version number seven. He says, called to be.

ST's. They are called to be saints.

This is something that God is working on in my life right now. I grew up with songs, you know, that we love that are always the most theologically correct. Like this whole idea of crossing the Jordan as being like death and going into the promised land is going to. I mean, you're still like. You know anything about what it was like in the promised land when they crossed the Jordan? It was war, it was violent, it was victory, yeah, but there was also a lot of failure. I bet you that's not what am I liable says about heaven? Of course, right? So there's another song, very good song, and I think there's there's a place for it. But it's a song, I'm just a sinner. Saved by grace, and we've heard that song, if you like that song, I like the song, too. What's the problem with that phrase? And just a sinner. Well, that doesn't really match with the identity that Paul is. Not boasting about, but is presenting. Why say you're a sinner? What confrontation does that have? My standing. My identity is still as a sinner. According to this. And many other verses we could point to.

We are called to be saints. What is the St..

It's a holy one. Gary, if you had seen me earlier today, you you wouldn't make the mistake of calling me a holy one. The words I was saying weren't holy, that's for sure.

We're not talking about your Holiness, are we? We're not talking about your righteousness, are we?

When you get saved, you get his righteousness. You see, I am a St..

I am a saint. I'm not going to be a saint, I am a saint.

Maybe I should try again. It's not am I a. A St..

You don't seem too excited about that. Sainthood isn't something they earn. It's something they become when they accept Jesus offer of forgiveness.

I'm a saint who still sins, not a sinner in need of salvation. My sins were wiped. Washed away. So why do I keep trying to claim them as part of my identity?

We have a we have a theory, philosophy and youth ministry. Really bugged me. When adults would treat a teenager like they were already a lost cause.

Several teenagers in our ministry that people would treat as if they were a lost cause, it's their stories already written, it might as well clean out the jail salen and prep it for them. Because that's where they're headed.

That young man, that young lady, you better just mark it down, they're going to end up on the trash heap of life.

And sometimes they'd say it straight to the teenager's face. You tell somebody that they are something long enough, eventually they'll start believing you.

They'll start believing you. I mean, we're seeing it right now and in the world we live in. You're a racist, you're a racist, you're a racist, you're a racist. Guess what some people are saying? Wow, I didn't know it, but I guess it must be true. I am a racist.

You're homophobic, you're homophobic, you're homophobic, you're homophobic. Oh, I guess I am.

You tell somebody something enough times, they'll start to believe it about themselves, you're a sinner, you're a sinner, you're a sinner, you're a sinner. Yes, I'm still, in my sense, oh, you are a saint. Your sins have been washed by the blood of the lamb.

Called We Saints.

They are, according to verse number seven, beloved of God. It's like the mournful. Back porch song of some hillbilly nobody loves me. God loves you.

And it's not just Jesus loves me, the cyno.

I don't know about you, but loved and he loved just sound of. It just hits a little bit different when you say beloved. Right.

All a bunch of romantics, I can tell this is really some of you. OK, so I'm not not to not to out any of our admissions committee, but we were trying to think of some things to do. Nice. For for an outreach project project coming up, I was like, come on, OK, what are some things that you would want to get for your wife? Cricket's.

Like, come on. One of these days, we're just going to start putting women on the mission committee.

OK. Uh.

Beloved. That is a term of endearment. You are beloved of God, who knows more about these people than God? Nobody. But who loves them more than God, nobody. They're called of God to be saints, their beloved by God they are they are possessors, according to the universe, number seven of gracian peace. Where does grace and peace come from? From God Almighty. From God, our father. You have an opinion, says law lord, like master and commander know like, no, we're servants to this very generous, benevolent, easy master. It's kind of I mean. We read these things and we have bad images on our mind of God and Jesus, and it just doesn't it doesn't fit with what we see in the Bible. Is what Paul is trying to do is Paul is trying to strengthen. His Roman audience, by reminding them of the benefits they have received from the gospel. Some of us live discouraged, defeated gloom and doom Christian lives because we have forgotten all the benefits that come from being a child of God.

We think, oh, yes, I'm going to heaven, whatever that means. Oh, yeah, I'm going to miss her on whatever that is.

And all of our ideas of why we get saved are something that'll happen in the future. But there are contemporary benefits to serving the Lord. It just means right now. There are benefits right now to serving Christ. Do you agree or not? Yeah. You see, if we were to look at what this all means for us. Or what this means for you.

Then there should be some easy application here.

So you are special to guard.

You are special in the eyes of the Lord. The God who created the entire universe cares uniquely for you. Jesus, who died for the sins of the whole world, had you specifically?

In his mind, on his mind when he died.

He died for you. He wanted to save you. He loves you, he wants to be reconciled to you, God wants to have a close relationship with you.

You all said earlier, most of you said there were times where I was walking close to the Lord, we were having victories, it was sweet, it was awesome. It was one of the best times my spiritual life.

Yeah, God wants to have that all the time with you. We're the ones who say, oh, ho hum, this is boring, God, I'm done with you for a while until I need you. Then you better be right there. But God wants to have that close walk with us all the time. Why? Because he loves us.

There is nothing God hopes to gain from you and me.

It doesn't need anything you have to offer.

He doesn't need your service, he doesn't need your money, he doesn't need you to be at church. He wants you to be here.

He wants to see you. He wants to talk to you. He wants to empower your life so that you can serve him. Why? Because he knows that that will bring fulfillment to your life, that will bring purpose to your life. Isn't that what we want?

People turn to all sorts of junk so that they can find purpose and fulfillment.

I saw this video the other day about this that I think it was a joke, I hope it was a joke because it was really close to reality. He's standing there at the baseball game.

Oh, yeah, Junior. He's on, like three different leagues. And I mean, you know, he's only 13. He's playing with 15 year olds and we're traveling to Jacksonville for a tournament. And, you know, is it ever too early for college scouts to start looking at the kid?

I mean, there are some people whose purpose and fulfillment comes from their children's sports. There are people whose purpose and fulfillment comes from all the stuff they've got locked away in their garage that your kids will sell for half price.

Or give it away.

But Jesus knows that he can bring true, lasting purpose and pleasure and fulfillment to your life. He wants those things for you. He loves you so much. You are beloved to him, you are special to him, your life, if you will follow Jesus, if you'll get saved and and accept the forgiveness that he is offering to you, your life will never be the same.

Some of you got saved later in life and you know the difference that he made.

You are a saint, you are no longer identified by your sins because in God's eyes, you are a holy one, he looks at you and all he sees is the righteousness of Jesus. This is the change that the gospel brings. It enables you to make the transition from enemy of God to representative of God. Service to God is not something we do for him, as if we are filling his needs service to God is something that God allows us to take part in. It is how we enjoy. The new relationship we have with him. I said this on Sunday, I've been thinking about it ever since, whether or not I really should have said it, I'm going to say it again, which means I think I should have. And it bears repeating. But if your service to God is joyless, joyless and unfulfilling. Then you're doing it wrong.

And you should probably take a break. What does that mean? Take a break, take a break from reading my Bible, take a break from tithing.

Yeah, buddy.

But if you are go, go, go, go, go for God and there is no joy in your service.

You should probably take a break. You should probably let some things. Be done by somebody else. So that you can stop, rest, recover and strengthen your relationship with your very loving savior.

Too many Christians are unaware of the benefits of being God's child, too many Christians are unaware of the benefits of having a new identity in Christ. We think the benefits of being a Christian are all in the future, but they are real and they are right now. For example, we're not hoping to receive grace, we have received it. It's not something we hope to attain, Hopetoun. No, no, no, it's already real in your life. I hope I shall receive mercy. You've already received mercy. I hope God will show favor to me. He's already showed favor to you. God's relationship with us is not based on what we've done in the past, it's not based on what we've done for him. God's grace can be ours because of Jesus. We're not hoping to find peace. Peace is ours and Jesus, if you're a believer, living without peace, have you experienced times where there was peace was hard to find. There was this anxiety, there was there was depression, there was just just upheaval in your life and peace was was very foreign to you. I can almost guarantee. That the reasons for the times where we experience a lack of peace can be boiled down to two issues almost all the time, almost all the time, it's these two things. Number one, you're experiencing anxiety over sin that God is trying to help you overcome and you are resisting him. It's not that you have to overcome your sin, Jesus will overcome your sin, but you have to be submissive to him. You have to let him work in your life.

Too many people are like, no. It's my. Give me. Me first.

It's like two of my kids fighting over a toy, the tiniest, most insignificant toy in the house. And they're fighting over it. One of them says, give it to me. I didn't know it's mine. That's what we do with our sin. God says, give it to me. Oh, I love it. It's my precious.

You had to know that one was coming.

So No. One, it's anxiety over sin number two. It's discouragement. Which can lead to depression. Over trying to produce in your life what only God can produce.

Is what he talked about on Sunday, bearing a burden that only God was meant to carry. Trying to do something that only God was meant to do, follow me. God didn't promise a smooth level paths after our salvation. But he does desire for us to be joyful and victorious in this Christian life. Paul experienced this, and we can, too, when we identify ourselves the way God identifies us. I was listening to an interview this morning and this afternoon with Dr. Don Sisk, a name that most of you would not be familiar with. Dr. Cischke is in his mid to upper 80s, I believe he's eighty six years old. He's been preaching for sixty five years. Through this interview, he was just telling about some of the victories and some of the failures that he had experienced trying to serve the Lord. As he was wrapping up the interview, as he was summarizing his life. It had been dedicated to trying to do what God would like for him to do, trying to live in this identity. He said, I'm happy.

There have been good times and bad, but as I look back on my life. I am happy.

There's a lot of older folks who get mean and their older years. Discontent. None of ours, none of us all very happy. Joyful sense all the time, they're never upset at anything. He said, I have served the Lord, I am joyful that I've had the privilege of serving God all these years.

Tonight, are you a Christian that knows who you are and what God has done for you? Or are you a Christian that lives a defeated, unfulfilling life? God has granted his children so many benefits, so much freedom. There is no reason for a child of God to live a gloom and doom e or life. And yet so many do. Listen, if you want to spend some time. Growing in your identity, in Christ, learning more about who you are and what Jesus has done for you. I would encourage you to go back to the Book of Philippians. We did a study on it not too long ago, but read it. Rediscover the joy that comes with living a life for the Lord. Let's pray. Or we think for this day and. Thank you for the time that you've been able to give attention to these things. Or I hope that tonight there were some Christians who just needed to be reminded. What a great gift we have received when we got saved. All of the benefits that you load us down with or the grace, the peace, the new identity, the new name, the new creature that we are indwelling of the Holy Spirit we didn't even talk about. Or there's so much that you've done for us. God, I pray that you would help us to live lives that that match what you've done on the inside. Lord, I pray that you help these Christians myself to live victoriously, to live joyfully because of the great work that you've done. Lord, we love you and we thank you for all you do for us. Thank you for showing us Your Grace in Jesus name. I pray. Amen. Thank you for your good attention tonight. Real quickly, I want to go through our prayer sheet, um.

As Tammy put one of these up here for me and I moved it and. There it is.

Brother Mikhail, you can go ahead and in the live stream.

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