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Our ID

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Our ID

Matthew 3:1-17 (13-17)

Theme: God gives us the new identity in Jesus of loved child and delightful servants.

Image: ID

Introduction: ID

A.       “May I see your ID, please?”

           1.        What are you picturing?

                      a.        Where are you?  Ask

                      b.        Who is asking you? Ask

c.        Airport security, border guard, store clerk

d.        Along side the road with a policeman at your window?

           2.        What are you saying?

                      a.        Name

                      b.        Giving a reason or an excuse

           3.        What are you doing?

                      a.        Reaching for your wallet or purse

                      b.        Pulling out laminated cards—Do this

           4.        Is this our identity?

B.       ID Bracelet

           1.        Does anyone remember ID bracelets?

           2.        Do young couples still give them to each other?

           3.        What is the purpose of these?

                      a.        A gift of love

                      b.        A developing relationship

C.       Today, I want to look at our identity.  We start with our identity in the light of Matthew 3—Read


I.            Seeing Our New ID in Jesus and the Spirit (v. 13-16)

A.           We Come

1.            John starts off calling for repentance because our identities are divided

a.            To repent is to realize that something is wrong

b.            It is a call for help, change

2.            In Jesus’ time there were plenty of programs for help

a.            The Pharisees promoted a program of righteousness and revolt

(1)            Keep the Law

(2)            Keep out the Romans

(3)            And keep to our own

(4)            They were separatists

b.            The Sadducess promoted accommodation

(1)            Keep the Temple worship

(2)            Keep peace with the Romans

(3)            Keep power

c.            Neither was producing fruit, God’s blessings for the nations

d.            Even John was unclear about the program

(1)            He knew change was coming

(2)            He looked for God to judge evil and bring something new

(3)            He knew he was inadequate

3.            My former colleague, Syd Hielema, talks about the radio messages we get which confuse our identity

a.            The messages tell us we are inadequate and sell us their solution

b.            Think of ads

(1)            You are what you eat.  Here is our diet plan

(2)            You are what you drive.  A Hummer will make you a real woman or a real man

(3)            You are what you look and smell like.  Buy these cosmetics and this body spray

c.            Think of our messages we struggle with

(1)            You are identified by your ethnic group.  If you are not the dominate one, you do not fit

(2)            You are your economic status

(3)            You are your denomination, your political party, your national citizenship

4.            We are told how we are, but we often do not know who we are

a.            We feel inadequate.  We feel like we do not fit.

b.            We know there is something wrong

c.            We do not know how to fix it


B.           Jesus Comes

1.            The translation loses the dynamism of the passage

a.            The original is present tense

b.            We are to see Jesus’ coming

c.            We are to see him coming closer and closer to us—from Galilee to the Jordan to John to us

2.            Jesus unites with us in our need

a.            He says it is proper for us to do this

b.            The first step is to acknowledge our inadequacies, our struggles, our need

c.            Here Jesus meets us

3.            Then we can let go

a.            That is what the end of verse 15 literally means

b.            John let go

(1)            He let go of his inadequacies and own agenda

(2)            He let Jesus act

c.            Interestingly, the same word as “let go” also mean “forgiveness”

C.           The Spirit Comes

1.            Not only are we to see Jesus coming, we are to see the Spirit coming

a.            The heavens open

b.            God is opening his world to us

c.            In a special way God is addressing his world

2.            The Spirit is the agent of God’s new beginnings

(1)            At creation

(2)            After the flood

(3)            At Jesus’ birth

(4)            At Pentecost

b.            God is giving us his presence and power in the Spirit

3.            Why is this symbolized as dove?

a.            The dove symbolizes gentleness, peace, and rest

b.            Remember Noah and the dove

(1)            Judgment overcome

(2)            New beginning

c.            This is our new relationship with God—the cross and the resurrection

4.            A new God-given ID

a.            Peace with God

b.            Purpose in the world of resurrection


II.           Hearing Our Identity Expressed by God (v. 17)

A.           Son

1.            Some of us are more verbal than visual

a.            We need words, not just pictures

b.            Even more powerfully our new identity is expressed by God—verse 17

2.            This is our identity in Christ

a.            Our identity is as a son, a child of God

b.            This expresses a special relationship with God

c.            It also expresses a special role in the world

3.            God loves us

a.            A few of you might be old enough like me to remember one of the most famous Oscar acceptance speeches

(1)            In 1980 when Sally Field won the award for best actress in “Norma Rae”, she said, “You like me.  You really like me.”

(2)            “Like” was enough for her

(3)            Often we even settle for “like,” just being accepted is enough

b.            Creator of the Universe says, “I love you”

B.           Servant

1.            Even more God announces it for all to hear

a.            This is because this is more than a personal celebration

b.            This is God installing us to a significant role in his Kingdom

c.            This is Jesus’ coronation, the beginning of his ministry

d.            This is Jesus’ as the Servant King

2.            God is his cheering section and ours

a.            There was an ad a few months ago where a young man walked out of his house with a cheering section chanting his name

b.            As he went to work they cheered him on

c.            I thought that would be kind of cool to have, and I do

d.            God is cheering my name “my son, my son, my son” to remind me of my identity, to encourage me in my work, to announce my significance in the world

3.            God is taking pleasure in our work

a.            God is enjoying us

b.            God likes what we do because he sees Jesus and the Spirit at work in us and through us

4.            What a new radio message!

a.            You are my son

b.            I love you.  I love being with you.

c.            I am enjoying working with you

Conclusion: “I AM LOVED”

A.           In 1967 a young businessman, jeweler, was sitting at his desk greatly distracted

1.      The night before he had proposed marriage to a young woman

2.      She wonderfully had said, “Yes”

3.      In his euphoria all he could do was jot down on a piece of paper, “I am loved”

a.               At first that was all he could think of, “I am loved”

b.               Then he started to think that it would be a great marketing idea for selling diamonds

c.               But then he thought that wasn’t right

i.           It was too corny

ii.         It wasn’t right to capitalize on this wonderful feeling this way

iii.        So he threw the note paper away

4.      The next day, either he or his advertising director, the story differs, retrieved the paper

a.               They decided to make up little label pins to give away which just simply said “I am loved”

b.               They had 50,000 made and started to give them away free in their stores

c.               Within days the 50,000 pins were gone

d.               They ordered more

e.               Within weeks the pins traveled from Kansas City across the nation  and world

i.           People sent them to President Johnson, to movie star, to students and teachers, to children and parents

ii.         They were being sent to the soldier in Viet Nam

f.                 They started printing them in other languages to meet a worldwide demand

5.      Today almost 40 years later you can still get them free at Helzberg Jewelers, and you can get them here today

B.           The message “I am loved” is at the heart of our identity

1.      It meets our most profound human need

2.      Today and everyday it is said by God to you

3.      “This is my Son, my child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”

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