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The Christian and the Kingdom of God: Do I Have a Kingdom Identity?

The Christian and the Kingdom of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The kingdom of God is the reign of God in the universe and by extension, the reign of God in the believer’s heart.

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Text: Luke 9:11 “And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.”
Theme: The kingdom of God is the reign of God in the universe and by extension, the reign of God in the believer’s heart.
Date: 08/05/2018 File name: TheChristianAndTheKingdomOfGod01.wpd ID Number:
Are you a kingdom person? Is your relationship with Christ your first priority? Is your personal conversion experience valid and vivid? Do you enjoy regular private devotion and public worship? Do you possess an unwavering, public commitment to Jesus as the only Lord and Savior of all?
These are not unimportant questions.
I have spent the past five months preaching on the parables. We’ve spent a lot of time considering what the Kingdom of God is all about. In His parable, Jesus spoke about the characteristics of the Kingdom, the characteristics of the God of the Kingdom, and the characteristics of the citizens of the Kingdom.
I’d like to follow up by contemplating a series of questions: 1) Do You Have a Kingdom Identity? 2) Do You Have Kingdom Character? 3) Do You Have Kingdom Priority? 4) Do You Have a Kingdom Family? 5) Do You Have a Kingdom Perspective? and 6) Do You Have a Kingdom Calendar?
Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God as the most important reality in the world.
1. It is the basis for repentance, (Matthew 4:17).
2. It is to be sought above all else, (Matthew 6:33).
3. It is to be treasured above all else, (Matthew 13:44).
4. It has priority over all relationships and possessions, (Luke 18:29-30).
5. Its mission is the most demanding and noble in which anyone can engage, (Luke 9:62).
6. Its message was the theme for the twelve, (Matthew 10:7).
7. It is the purpose for which Jesus came, (Luke 4:43).
According to Jesus, the Kingdom of God should be the driving force in our lives. His followers are to live and breathe in order to enter it, act as its citizens, and proclaim it. God’s Kingdom should be our passion; and the full consummation of His coming kingdom should be our hope.
What is the kingdom of God? It's a Kingdom that is here, but it's also coming. It's a Kingdom that is radical but not political. It's a Kingdom that is invisible yet visible. Clearly, the kingdom of God operates by a set of rules different from any earthly kingdom’s. God 's kingdom has no geographical borders, no capital city, no parliament building, no royal trappings that you can see. Its followers live right among their enemies, not separated from them by a border fence or a wall. It lives, and grows, on the inside of human beings who have come to Christ.
Those of us who follow Jesus thus possess a kind of dual citizenship. We live in an external kingdom of family and cities and nationhood, while at the same time belonging to the kingdom of God.
I want us to consider this evening what it means to have a Kingdom Identity.

I. DO YOU HAVE A KINGDOM IDENTITY?

1. what do I mean by that?
2. well, let me ask you some spiritual diagnostic questions this evening. . .
a. Is your relationship with Christ your first priority?
b. Is your personal conversion experience valid and vivid?
c. Do you enjoy regular private devotion and public worship?
d. Do you possess an unwavering, public commitment to Jesus as the only Lord and Savior of all?
3. a true believer ought to be able to answer in the affirmative to all four of those questions

A. THE CHRISTIAN HAS A NEW IDENTIFICATION

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:1–3, NIV84)
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—” (Romans 6:6, NIV84)
1. let me ask you a question this evening, “Who do children most readily identify themselves with?”
a. it’s mom and dad, isn’t it?
1) not only do they identify themselves with mom and dad, but they often look like mom and dad and sound like mom and dad and act like mom and dad
2) which can be a little frightening when you think about it
2. now, consider this, if you’re a child of God, who should you most closely identify with?
a. it’s your Heavenly Father, isn’t it?
“ ‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. 8 Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy.” (Leviticus 20:7–8, NIV84)
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”” (1 Peter 1:15–16, NIV84)
3. if you call yourself a Christian, then you ought look like Jesus, and sound like Jesus, and act like Jesus
a. it’s that simple
b. the good news of the Kingdom is that, by the grace of God, we’re not what we once were, and we’re not now what we’re gonna be
4. the life of faith, it turns out, is not merely being a decent person or paying tithes or showing up for church
a. nor is it simply a legal pardon before a holy God, which is how so many of us in the evangelical world understand it
b. Jesus’ picture of the life of faith is this:
1) Kingdom citizens are to live a life of total devotion to their King ...
2) pledging an oath of allegiance to a new rule, we resolve to give the King the honor that is His due, and to subject every part of our lives to Him, and to be available every moment to do His bidding
c. can you say with all honesty that this describes your life in Christ?

B. THE CHRISTIAN’S NEW IDENTIFICATION IS PICTURED IN OUR BAPTISM

1. Paul’s doctrine of identification is that the believer is identified with Christ in His death and resurrection
a. if you are a born-again believer, you know that you were justified by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross — that your sins were washed away by His precious blood
b. but did you know that you died on the cross too?
2. in order to bring us into fellowship with Himself, and to break the power of sin in our life, there were two aspects of sin that God had to deal with
a. 1st was our sins themselves — the unrighteous thoughts, words and deeds that we have committed
b. 2nd, was the source of our sins, the sinful nature that we inherited from Adam
3. we had to be saved from the guilt of our sins, and we also had to be set free from our old sin nature and it‘s defilement
a. the only way that we could be separated from that sin nature is by death — our death in Christ on the cross
b. on the cross, the sins of believers were imputed to Jesus, so that in condemning Jesus, God condemned our sins in Christ, sparing us from the full brunt of the Father’s wrath
c. in turn, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us through faith alone so that we can be declared righteous and acceptable in God’s sight
d. consequently, God is both just and the justifier of His children
4. the practical implications of this truth are tremendous — anyone who believes the gospel becomes alive spiritually
a. this new birth experience is a divine activity of pure grace as the Holy Spirit immerses us into the life of Savior
“for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27, NIV84)
b. our baptism into Christ is symbolized by our immersion in water, which we call baptism
5. from the moment we are brought up out of the waters of baptism, the believer’s goal is to constantly be conforming to the character of our Savior — the identify with Him more and more

II. OUR OLD IDENTITY WAS WRAPPED UP IN ADAM AND SIN

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12, NIV84)
1. Adam’s disobedience resulted in sin’s domination of man’s character
a. our minds, and our emotions, and our wills have all been thoroughly affected by sin
1) the theological term for this is total depravity
b. it doesn’t mean that we are as evil as we can possibly be, but it does mean that, as sinners, sin has corrupted us to the core of our being
1) the result is that when it comes to God and truth and spiritual reality we don’t think right, and we don’t feel right, and we don’t act right
2. we are unrighteous before God, we are lost in our sin and rightly deserve judgment and punishment
3. are we guilty because of Adam’s sin?
a. YES!
b. the Scriptures are clear — all have sinned (Rom. 3:23)
c. though mankind was originally created in the image and likeness of God, Adam’s sin defaced that image and man lost his innocence
4. since that time, men have been born in Adam’s sinful likeness rather than in God’s holy likeness
“When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.” (Genesis 5:3, NIV84)

III. THE CHRISTIAN’S IDENTITY SHOULD BE WRAPPED UP IN JESUS CHRIST

1. Webster’s Dictionary defines identity as to have a sameness of essential character
a. man ... I like that
2. before you were born again, you had the same essential character of your earthly father and his father, and his father before him all the way back to a fallen Adam
a. that character is a fallen nature and is only concerned with the things of the flesh
“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; ... .” (Romans 8:5, NIV84)
b. the unconverted obey only the impulses of the flesh
1) they live to gratify the desires of the corrupt nature
2) they cater to the body and its every whim
3. but when you commit your life to Jesus Christ by faith, your essential character is changed
a. God gives you a new identity
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:12, NIV84)
b. true believers rise above flesh and blood and live for those things that are eternal
1) they are occupied with the word of God, prayer, worship, and Christian service
c. before you were a saved, you were identified as a child of the world and were guided by your sinful nature
d. but now you are identified as a child of God and are guided by the Holy Spirit
“ ... but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;” (Romans 8:5–6, NIV84)
ILLUS. One of the most significant metaphors in the New Testament for how our lives have been changed in Christ, is that of adoption. The Apostle Paul used the metaphor in his epistles to the Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. Adoption refers to the creation of kinship relationships between two or more people through legal and/or ritualistic means. Paul used the metaphor in describing the glories and blessings of salvation. Out of His shear grace, God has chosen us to sonship, placing us in His covenant family. It means that the true and living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, by grace has made believers members of his family with all the rights and responsibilities that go with that status.
“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:4–7, NIV84)
4. because we have received the adoption of sons and daughters ...
a. God gives us a new name
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17, NIV84)
b. God gives us a new address
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:20, NIV84)
c. God even gives us a new look (spiritually speaking)
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV84)
ILLUS. In his classic book Knowing God, J. I. Packer wrote: “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. . . . “Father” is the Christian name for God.”
5. if you are a Christian, you've been given a new identity in Christ
a. God looks at you through the shed blood of His Son and sees in you essentially the same character as He sees in Jesus
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:” (2 Corinthians 5:17–18, NIV84)

A. LIVING WITH YOUR NEW IDENTITY IN CHRIST

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6–7, NIV84)
1. living with you new identity is not always easy
a. how do we put years of living for self and the pleasure of sin in the past?
2. the world, the flesh and the devil do not surrender us to Christ without a fight
a. there is that constant urge to revert back to our old familiar ways
b. our old nature, though crucified with Christ, is constantly seeking to come down off of the cross
c. that’s why it must be crucified daily!
3. Paul himself, one of the greatest Christians ever to live, experienced this spiritual tug of war
Rom. 7:18-25
4. but the Christian can experience real victory in Christ
a. we have not only been crucified with him, but also raised with Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can experience real victory over sin
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:11–14, NIV84)
b. since in this passage Paul is addressing those that are "dead to sin" (v. 1), the applications are primarily to believers
1) we should strive to understand the reality of our union with Christ, something Paul considered a basic Christian doctrine
2) we should submit to the rite of believers baptism, understanding that it portrays our death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ
3) we should resist sin as if we are dead to it, for that is precisely the case
4) we should practice righteousness as those who have risen with Christ
5) we should recognize that habitual sin is not normal for believers
6) we should view our body parts as instruments to be surrendered to God's service
If you are a Christian this evening you have a new identity with Christ. He has given you a new name, a new home and a new look. Hopefully you have publicly identified yourself with your Savior by receiving the mark of believer's baptism. As a born again, baptized believer you now have the responsibility of expressing your identification with Christ in positive ways before the eyes of lost men. The best way to do that is to leave "the old dead part" of your life behind and live for Jesus every day.
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