Peninsula Community Church
Who Are You?
June 17, 2018
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Today is Father’s Day. It is the day we set aside to celebrate dads and all that fatherhood means! In preparing for this message, I came across this quote from Mark Twain who gave the following insight into fatherhood. “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned.” Charles Swindoll said that “A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.” And then Kent Nerburn said “It is much easier to become a father than to be one.”
I think we would all agree that fatherhood, as we know it, is being challenged. In most sitcoms, the father is portrayed as a bumbling idiot who is constantly failing in his role as a father. We continue to witness a culture that has become antagonistic toward the ideals of biblical fatherhood! Truthfully, the value of manhood as a whole is being weakened. Rather than finding their God given role and place in the kingdom of God, men have abrogated their responsibility to others. They have abrogated their responsibility to their wife, the school system, the media, and the government. And of course all of these have been willing accomplices.
Much has changed since the days where fathers worked side by side with their family on the farm day and night. It was here the family would talk and life lessons would be learned. Both statistically and historically studies have shown that after WWI and WWII fathers returned home numbed by the harsh experiences of war. These men were tested not just physically but emotionally as well. Additionally, with the arrival of the industrial revolution, men began to travel to work rather than work at home or in the community they lived. They would leave home early in the morning and would return late in the evening. Once home they would eat dinner, go to bed, and get up the next morning to do it all over again. Please note this does not mean that every father is bad or that fatherhood is dead. What it means is that we must come to a greater understanding of what fatherhood means in light of the Gospel and all that God has done for us. That is the point of this message.
So with that in mind, I want to speak to you about what it means to be a real man. The world today is trying to get us to measure up to their idea of manhood and fatherhood which is a wimpy, feminized manhood. God wants us to be real men, with real strength. The real measure we need to take is God’s plan is for our life and not what societal norms dictate. Why is this? It is because societal norms change from day-to-day, but God’s word never changes and it always provides the foundation we need to live life to the fullest. I suggest to you there are four questions that need to be considered when dealing with the subject of being a real man.
The first question we must consider is who am I? This speaks specifically to our identity. This question must be answered because if it is not settled in our mind we will be forever trying to find answers in unhealthy ways. The result is that we will work a lifetime to measure up to all of the wrong things. We will seek to live up to the identity placed on us by some one else, rather than our God given destiny.
John Piper stated that “Christian selfhood is not defined in terms of who we are in and of ourselves. It’s defined in terms of what God does to us and the relationship He creates with us and the destiny He appoints for us. God made us who we are so we could make known who He is. Our identity is for the sake of making known his identity.”
The truth is, if we are honest, we will acknowledge that we often feel insecure about who we are. It seems that those who hide it best, often deal with the pain and difficulty of insecurity the most. As we investigate Scripture, we find that our insecurity is really an invitation from God to escape the danger of false beliefs, about who we are, so we can find true peace in who He is.
Scripture tells us that in Christ we become a new creation at salvation. In being a new creation, we do not lose ourselves but in fact in Christ, we actually find ourselves. It is only in Him that we find our true self, as we are His creation and we are His workmanship. In Him, our joy becomes His joy. His love becomes our love. His peace becomes our peace. His strength becomes our strength. Then and only then can we begin to understand our identity.
Too often, we try to find our identity in our jobs. We search for our identity in what we do and perhaps in how well we keep all of the rules. We search for our identity in how much money we have. We search for our identity in our success. Now there is no problem with any of these things in themselves, but too often we seek our identity in these things apart from Christ. That never ends well when we do that. So who are you today? Have you found your identity in Christ or do you continue to try and find your identity in everything apart from Christ and His will for you.
The second question is whose am I? Who do you belong to? Who are you connected to? As a believer we belong to God. We are His. Too often, we struggle with the knowledge of who we are accountable to. The man who knows he is a creation of Almighty God and the redeemed of a loving Savior is likely to live a different kind of life from one who does not. We belong to God. We are His! Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 7:22-23 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. Here is the truth, we belong to Christ. He has purchased us and He has bought us with a price that could never be matched. We belong to Him!
The third question is What am I here for? To live full lives we need to know what our role or purpose is in life? Why has God put us here on earth? Is the purpose just to find ourself, express ourself, fulfill ourself, or is each person here for a higher, nobler purpose? We must be reminded that your job, your heritage, your wealth or lack thereof does not fully define you. Your purpose in Christ does define you and make you who you are.
You see, once you recognize who you are and whose you are, you can then begin to effectively understand what you are here for. In the Westminster Catechism the question is posed, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is “man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” Man’s chief purpose on earth is to glorify God. We glorify God in our family, on our jobs, in our hobbies, and in all that we do. Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that … whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. And then Paul in Colossians 3:17 states that whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
What am I here for? It is to give God glory. So it does not matter what you do for a living. It does not matter your heritage. It does not matter what your heritage is. It does not matter your social or financial standing is. What matters is do you glorify God in all of these things.
And finally, we must answer the question where am I going? Someone has said that the destination is not as important as the journey. While this is true we must succeed in life by knowing where we are going. If we do not know our destination we will tend to drift and we will ramble through life without a purpose or a plan. That can be boring, dissatisfying, and confusing.
To fully understand this principle we need only to look at the life of beleaguered Job. I love his testimony. In the midst of his excoriating pain and suffering, in the darkness of his soul’s depression, his faith was still intact. He called out, For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27).
Why did Job survive the difficulties that he experienced? He did so because he had an eternal perspective on his life. He knew who he was. He knew who he belonged to. He knew his purpose in life and he knew his destiny. He knew that this life was not the end. There was more to come. That encouraged and motivated Job to overcome every issue he faced. We too will overcome every problem that we encounter when we set that problem against the template of eternity.
So how are you doing with these four questions? Who are you? Whose are you? What is your purpose? Where are going? When we answer these questions effectively, we no longer try to measure up against society’s norm or what others think we should be. We will be the man, and for that matter, the woman God has called you to be. My prayer is make it so Lord!
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom