Before we get too far into today’s topic we thought it might be fun to have a competition between youth leaders. This pose is called “The Power Nap” and we wanted to see which leaders could get the most likes.
We’ll get back to this slide show later.
Look over this passage:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time,gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We don’t want to assume anyone who comes to youth or reads our blog knows who Jesus is, has a relationship with Jesus, or is living the way they should. So if you have heard any of this before forgive us, but you might need to hear it again.
This passage begins with talking about how we are dead before we have a relationship with Christ. Yes, we are physically alive but we are spiritually dead in our sin. As Carroll said yesterday, sometimes it takes us a long time to realize that. Carroll gave her life to Christ when she was 14, but it wasn’t until she went through a dark season in college that she realized her death in sin without Christ. In college she went through the worst darkness she had ever felt, but she was able to find her identity in Christ through that.
So what are somethings we find our identity in? School? Sports? Friends? Family? Social Media?
We work so hard to get the best grades or be the best in our respective sports. We think if we are perfect in this one area of our life that we can be worthy of love, kindness, attention. But we aren’t perfect people, so we can’t be perfect in these areas. We try to please our friends and family by doing the things they find interesting, fun, or worth doing. Maybe you grew up in a Christian home, or have friends that are Christians, so you feel like you must be a Christian. When it comes to social media we post certain pictures hoping to make others think our lives are put together. Before long, the things on our social media aren’t our interest or the things we find cool. We filter our lives until we forget what makes us, us.
Look Back at Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
But where does it say in this passage (or anywhere in the Bible) that if you get straight A’s you’ll make it to heaven? Where does it say that if your family is a Christian you are a Christian? No where.
It’s not through social media, is not how many likes you get on Facebook or Instagram, it’s not through how many times people tell you that you did a good job, it’s not by the grades that you get or the works that you do, it is only through Christ Jesus alone. and the way to get to there is that we have to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our Lord and savior, that he paid for your death on the cross. He didn’t deserve it but he still did it because he loves us. And he gives us a choice to find our identity in him or in this world. The world will never fill that hole in our hearts that belongs to Jesus. No matter how many likes or good grades you get, if your identity is not in Christ, you will never experience the unexplainable peace and joy of the holy spirit.
Not only does it say that we are saved by grace but that we are God’s handiwork. His masterpiece. Take a few minutes to watch this video:
In order to have our identity in Christ we must be willing to give up the things that aren’t honoring to Him. It won’t happen in one day. So think about it. What have you been finding your identity in? Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Someone who will be in the top 10% academically? Someone who has 1,000 followers on instagram? Someone who is good at sports? Or do you see God?
Take out a piece of paper and write down what is keeping you from putting your identity in Christ. Give that over to God. Once you’ve decided that thing keeping you from Him will no longer hold that power, tear that piece of paper up.