IN CHRIST WE HAVE A NEW IDENTITY
The BIG IDEA:
When we put our faith in Christ, we receive a new identity.
We look for our value in our own abilities or accomplishments. We are driven to continue to perform so that we can feel that we have worth. Without Christ, we will be separated from God and on our own to find our acceptance, security, and significance.
If we identify with what Christ has done for us and what he says about us, we will be secure in our identity.
A caterpillar is small and a little creepy. But after it transforms into a butterfly, it is a beautiful creature that looks very little like it’s old self. When we become Christians, we, too, go through a sort of metamorphosis. We go from enemies of God to children of the King. We become precious to the creator of the universe. We are given a new nature and a Holy Spirit within us that guides us and helps us grow. We are a new creature.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
As Christians, our true value comes from who we are in Christ, rather than from what we can do for him. Finding our value in our identity in Christ gives us freedom to: love more because we won’t be afraid of rejection, to risk more because we aren’t afraid of failure, and to live with less fear of what others think of us.
What I want the group to know and understand: When we place our faith in Christ and are born again, we receive a new identity as a child of God because of what Christ has done. We will know who we are now that we are “in Christ.”
What I want the group to experience: Greater security and confidence from knowing who we are in Christ. Greater freedom because we don’t have to perform to others’ expectations or standards in order to be liked, accepted, or known.
How I want the group to respond: By resting in our identity in Christ. Then we will overflow with more and more of the character of Christ. Knowing we are holy, chosen, and dearly loved, we will act more like Christ.
Imagine you’re walking down the street and you find a lottery ticket on the ground. This is the powerball jackpot winning ticket. You are instantly a millionaire! How would this change your life? What would happen if when you picked up the ticket you didn’t know it was real, so you never redeemed it?
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that if anyone is in Christ they are a new person - the old is gone and the new is come. They have a whole new identity and that is far better than winning the lottery! But sometimes we don’t know what is true about us. Today we are going to look at some of the things God says about the new you.
1. Read Ephesians 2:1-3. What does this passage say about what is true of us before we know Christ? In what way can you relate to this?
Dead in our sin. Following the ways of the world, following the ruler of the world, or Satan. Disobedient as the spirit of the world worked in us. Objects of wrath. Allow the group to discuss various personal answers to the second part of the question.
2. Read Ephesians 2:4-10. What does this passage say about us after we come to know Christ?
He made us alive. He raised us up and seated us with Christ. He saved us out of his great love for us and to show us the riches of his grace. We only have to place our trust in Christ; He has done the rest as a gift, not because of anything we have done.
3. In verse 10, how does God describe us and his purpose for us?
God describes us as his workmanship (masterpiece), and he designed each of us for specific works to carry out.
4. What does it mean to you that God thinks of you as a masterpiece?
Various answers will be given. Talk about how this is true of us when we become a Christian – not just when we live perfect Christian lives. Our value to God is not in how little we sin or how much we go to church, but in the fact that we are His children and that Jesus has forgiven our sins.
5. Read Ezekiel 36:25-27. What are some changes that happen when we come to know God?
We move from being spiritually unclean to clean. We move from worshiping idols to worshiping God. We move from having a heart of stony heart that’s unresponsive to God to having a heart of flesh that’s sensitive and responsive to God. We move from having no real power to follow God to having his Spirit inside us to make that possible.
6. Read 2 Corinthians 5:21. What does this passage say?
Christ exchanged our sin for his righteousness. Righteousness means that we have been made pure and holy and given a right standing or relationship with God. Because of what Christ has done, we are fully clean and fully accepted to come into God’s holy presence.
7. How does it affect your life if you’re a follower of Jesus but fail to believe the truths of your new identity like those we’ve looked at?
Allow them to discuss. You’re likely to keep living consistently with your pre-Christian identity (even though you don’t have to anymore) and continue to experience the consequences of that lifestyle. You can compare lottery ticket example at the beginning.
8. Take a look at the “Who I Am In Christ” sheet. It lists the truths we looked at today and many others. Which of these are hard for you to believe?
Various answers will be given. You might want to have the students circle the ones they struggle with and have them look up the scriptures on their own. You may also want to close the discussion with prayer that they would understand these truths.
9. Conclude the lesson by showing this video on identity:
To find the video visit Thrivestudies.com/who-am-i-study, or search “your identity in Christ” on youtube. Look for the 1 minute, 38 second video which should be the first video.
If you are a Christian, then the statements below are true of you.
In Christ, I am accepted...
In Christ, I am secure...
In Christ, I am significant...
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