Mat 16: MSG
13 When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
15 He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am.
18 And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.
19 “And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.”
20 He swore the disciples to secrecy. He made them promise they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.
Joh 17: MSG
15 Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One.
16 They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world.
17 Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth.
18 In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.
19 I’m consecrating myself for their sakes So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.
20 I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me.
Rom 12: MSG
1 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
2 Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Growing up can be frightening to a child always something new to grasp and understand. School can be abusive, so many bullies on the playground, someone making fun of another because of looks, clothes, or maybe just not as quick when it came to understanding what the teacher was trying to teach.
I was one of those who always felt that I didn’t fit in. It wasn’t because I was a little slower in learning. My parents try to give us five children the best they could, both of them working to put food on the table and clothes on our back. Deep inside of me I was feeling that I was alone. I didn’t have lots of friends, usually I would have one best friend and that was good enough for me. My interests were not the same as my peers going through school.
My interest was concentrated of learning a new gospel song with my grandfather. I cannot remember a time where gospel music was not a part of me. I didn’t know the lyrics to the latest pop or rock song. Some of my family would listen to country music, no not the style of country music today, but, the stylings of Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and many more from the Nashville Grand Ole Opry.
My other true interest was reading the Bible, yes, back then it was strictly the King James Version of the Bible. I didn’t have any fancy library to access, just the Bible. I can recall telling my mother that when I grew up I would be a preacher. Somehow I knew that was what I was going to become, nothing more, nothing less.
Looking back on my life I guess I could say I had an identity crisis.
As christians living in this world we should almost be having an identity crisis. We should not feel comfortable with the world around us. To the child of God it should be like we are just a visitor passing through a land for just a short time.
If the Bible was one big self-esteem lesson we wouldn’t need a Saviour.
Christ knew that when He left planet earth we humans would need protection. He knew that we were like sheep being sent forth into a pack of wolves.
All through Biblical history we see where man has needed someone bigger than himself to guide him and protect him.
Joseph was placed in Eygpt for in due time it would be him that would save the Hebrew children from the famine spreading throughout the rest of the world. Joseph was given divine insight to tell the pharaoh that in the seven years of plenty to store up wheat because there was coming seven years of famine.
Four hundred plus years later along comes a man who as a baby was found in a basket floating down the Nile river in the backyard of the pharaoh’s palace where the pharaoh’s daughter would rescue him. The man was Moses. He would go into exile as a wanted murderer and in the desert would have a God encounter. The God, I am. In that desert he would have to confront his own identity crisis when God gives Moses a command to go back to Eygpt and tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go.
Moses like us today questioned this plan, Moses a man with a stutter so God gives him his brother Joshua to be the speaker. God did not send Moses unprepared, He taught Moses all that he would need to be the deliverer of the children of Israel.
All through the Bible we can see where God never sends His servants out to do a task without giving them the tools to get the job done. No, not the equipment the world would use, tools that to the onlooking world would seem like foolishness.
Now, Christ’s death is approaching, time is running out the Son of God and yet there is still so much more to tell the disciples. He knew that there was coming a period of time where the disciples would face their own identity crisis.
Christ gives them a command that seems ill timed.
Luk 24: MSG
49 What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.”
I can imagine that the disciples in their finite minds were baffled questioning, ‘endued with power, what power’.
Fast forward to the day we now call the ‘day of Pentecost’. They are shut in a rented upper room worried that they may be next. That a knock on the door could mean Herod’s army coming to take them to their own deaths.
What comes next is something like out of a great sci-fi movie. A great mighty wind fills the entire place, it begins to shake and quake, and on the head of every individual is what appears to be ‘cloven tongues of fire’.
People down in the streets hear this great noise and begin to run up into the room. They here men and women speaking languages other than their native language. Speaking with languages that were discernable among all of those looking on at what would seem like a bunch of people who have lost their minds.
Peter, finally gaining control of his own native language gets up and delivers his first powerful sermon:
Act 2: MSG
14 That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight.
15 These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning.
16 This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen:
17 “In the Last Days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people: Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters; Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.
18 When the time comes, I’ll pour out my Spirit On those who serve me, men and women both, and they’ll prophesy.
19 I’ll set wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, Blood and fire and billowing smoke,
20 the sun turning black and the moon blood-red, Before the Day of the Lord arrives, the Day tremendous and marvelous;
21 And whoever calls out for help to me, God, will be saved.”
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you—the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge—
23 this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him.
24 But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him.
25 David said it all: I saw God before me for all time. Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side.
26 I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.
27 I know you’ll never dump me in Hades; I’ll never even smell the stench of death.
28 You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around.
29 “Dear friends, let me be completely frank with you. Our ancestor David is dead and buried—his tomb is in plain sight today.
30 But being also a prophet and knowing that God had solemnly sworn that a descendant of his would rule his kingdom,
31 seeing far ahead, he talked of the resurrection of the Messiah—’no trip to Hades, no stench of death.’
32 This Jesus, God raised up. And every one of us here is a witness to it.
33 Then, raised to the heights at the right hand of God and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he poured out the Spirit he had just received. That is what you see and hear.
34 For David himself did not ascend to heaven, but he did say, God said to my Master, “Sit at my right hand
35 Until I make your enemies a stool for resting your feet.”
36 “All Israel, then, know this: There’s no longer room for doubt—God made him Master and Messiah, this Jesus whom you killed on a cross.”
37 Cut to the quick, those who were there listening asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers! Brothers! So now what do we do?”
38 Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”
40 He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!”
41 That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up.
This is the day the ‘church’ was birthed. Their identity crisis was over. They now have put on the mind of Christ.
The modern day church/christians if they are going to win this world for Christ they must stop trying to use the ways of this old world. The church needs to shake off the mind of this world and how it does things and start listening to the mind of Christ like the Apostle Paul commanded us to do.
God gave Christ’s church a command to go out and teach this world leading them to Christ Jesus. God never sends out warriors without giving them the armour and weapons of warfare.
There are so many other points I would like to write in this article but it would become a small book.
The other day on social media someone asked me what is a former pastor, they had never heard that before. I sent a message back stating it meant that I was no longer in active ministry.
That began my mind and my being to thinking, yes, I may no longer stand behind a physical pulpit every Sunday delivering a message to a congregation, but, I am still bringing forth the message of the cross.
I am not an active pastor, evangelist, but this term came to me, I am a revivalist. For that is what is needed in these last perilous days.
Dear reader you may be facing your own identity crisis at this time in your life. Down deep inside of you you don’t quite fit in with your peers at work, school or maybe even in your neighbourhood. Remember, you are in this world but you are not a part of it. You are just a wayfaring pilgrim passing through until you receive your heavenly home. So, shake yourself, stand up in Christ for you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus your Lord! Take and put on the full armor of God!
Rom 8: MSG
36 They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
37 None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.
38 I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow,
39 high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.