NW Lincoln church of Christ

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The Gospel for Christians, Part #2: Gospel Identity

1st John 1:5-10
Saturday, 28 August 2010


The Gospel for Christians, Part #2: Gospel Identity


Identity: Who are you?

Who are you?

● Father/mother/sister/brother/single/married

● Job/position/student

● Restoration movement

Why do you count

● Good at a sport/Education/Abilities at work

● Doctrinal beliefs/Good morals

See how our identity comes from us?

● Based on what I do

● Based on who I am

Pretend & Perform

We are broken: Our identities are wrapped up in something that is broken: us.

So as cracks start to appear, what do we do?

Pretend: When I act different from my identity, who I must be, then I have to pretend. Because

who I am is wrapped up in this identity.

● A mom who’s identity is her parenting, pretends around everyone that she loves it and

that she is a good parent.

Perform: When I don’t live up to my standards, for who I am, I have to try harder.

● Your identity is based on your religious performance, and you sin, the solution is to pull

yourself up by the bootstraps and perform your way out of it.

You can tell where you are pretending and performing, by looking at where:

● You are proud (you are performing well)

● You are defensive (you are pretending)

● You judge others (they aren’t performing as well as you)

● You feel condemnation (you aren’t performing as well as you should)

I John 1:5-10

This verse is about pretending and performing

“Walk in darkness” - we live a lie - sin grows in darkness, so we end up living in it

“Truth not in us” - Gospel truth

Remember the Gospel

We are bad

Jesus lived a perfect life, died an innocent death, rose from the dead

He conquered Satan, sin, and death

When you are united to him (Acts 2:38)

His life becomes your life, you become perfect

His death becomes the payment for your sin, you become forgiven

His resurrection becomes your victory over death.

When our identity is based on who we are, and what we do, we are living in our own righteous.

This is self-righteousness, I am accepted because of what I do

We are good because of us, not Jesus

Jesus is our way out of hell, but our identity and who we are is based on ourselves.

Gospel Identity

Truly believing the Gospel means that our identity becomes wrapped up in who we are In Christ

Not just believing it for our salvation, but for who we are, and how we will get there

Ephesians 1:1

● In Christ we are holy and faithful (not by trying harder or working at it)

Ephesians 1:3

● In Christ we are blessed (not because we earn/deserve it)

Ephesians 1:4

● In Christ we are blameless and pure (not by working harder and becoming blameless)

Ephesians 1:5

● In Christ we are adopted as God’s children (not because we cleaned ourselves up)

Ephesians 1:6

● We are acceptable in God’s eyes through/in Christ (not because we got better)

Ephesians 2:1-9 says the same thing, with more explanation.

In Christ, we are the loved, accepted, forgiven children of God

This isn’t dependent on us

The other things we base our identity on aren’t our identity

Free in Christ

Embracing our gospel identity, frees us to be real, to not feel like we are responsible for

ourselves and our reputations.

1 John 1:5-10

Free to Confess: to be very open with my sin and my failings.


Freedom from Pretending: I don’t have an image that I have to uphold. My identity doesn’t

come from how good I am. So I can be honest with who are really am.

● Nothing kills sin like opening it up to light.

● Everyone knowing that I struggle with impatience, for example, puts a boot on the throat

of my impatience.

● No one “knowing”, or me trying to hid it, is like giving it steroids.

Free to truly repent: we think repentance is feeling bad and trying harder: ie performing.

Ultimately, our repentance becomes more dependence on ourselves for our righteousness.

Freedom from Performing: As I rest in my Gospel Identity as God’s child, made perfect in Christ,

I can recognize my sin, own it, accept it, and then come to Jesus and acknowledge that only in

him can I be made perfect, and beg the Spirit to change me.

Responding like this to sin, doesn’t feel right, it feels like it won’t work, b/c we aren’t doing

enough: but it actually leads us to true change and being freed from sin.


For some of you, this is a new way of thinking. Spend 9 weeks and work through the Gospel

Centered Life with a small group.

For some of you, you need to confess finding your identity and meaning in something other than

Christ. You need to confess this to someone today, talk to Jesus, repent, bask in God’s glorious

grace and love for you.

Some of you haven’t decided to enter into Christ. When you do, you are free from your sin,

shame, and your need to pretend and perform. You are given Christ’s righteousness. You

need to repent and be baptized.

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