Josh Masters |

The voice of this world says my life has no meaning, but my identity in Christ is filled with significance and purpose.

iAM: Discovering My True Identity
Joshua J. Masters
March 7, 2021


That is a powerful song!
Jesus is mine!

The Bible says the armies of God’s people were led by worshippers leading the way.

The praises we offer God enable us to march into the purpose He has for us.

Do we want to be an army of God’s purpose led by worship?

That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today as we conclude our series called iAM: Discovering my True Identity.

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been asking God to show us how we can live according to the way He sees us instead of living under the weight of lies and false labels given to us by the world.

This is our graphic for the series.

Too many of us have been walking through the Christian life feeling less-than…

…Feeling like we’re small, and messy, and insignificant like the “I” in our logo.

But we’ve learned that we’ve been rescued from that life—that my “I am” can be rooted in the Great I AM because I am forgiven, and made new, and loved, and chosen and complete.

When God calls us to do great things for the Kingdom of God, are we like an army being led by worship or are we derailed by the messiness of our lives?

Last week we talked about how being chosen by God should change how we see ourselves—that before the beginning of time, God chose you to be His child and share in the inheritance of Christ.

But we’re also chosen to live a life of purpose.

Jesus said:
“You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.”
John 15:16 (NLT)
Chosen to be loved and
chosen to produce lasting fruit.

The voice of this world says my life has no lasting meaning,

but my identity in Christ says my life is filled with purpose.

So, today we focus on believing:

Every week we’ve talked about God having a bigger purpose for your life and a bigger purpose for Brookwood Church—and for that purpose to be revealed, we must experience, and grab hold of our true identity.

We must believe we’re rescued FOR a purpose.
We must experience God’s love to ACCEPT that purpose.
And we must believe our lives are significant to FULFILL that purpose.

Deep down inside, we not only have an intense desire to be truly loved, but to live a life of meaning.

And that desire exists because God designed you to live a life of significance.

Look at Ephesians 2:10:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

You are God’s masterpiece, created (and made completely new in Christ Jesus)—why?

To do the good things He’s planned for you.

And there’s the problem we run into.
It’s the things He’s planned, the purpose He has that brings lasting significance to our lives.

But we’re so desperate to live a life of meaning that we feverishly work for fleeting moments of affirmation instead of lasting significance.

We try to find that significance in the things outside God’s plan for us.

--How many likes did my post get?
--How many people watched my Instagram reel?
--How many people joined my Clubhouse room?
--How many liked my idea in the meeting?
--Will I get selected for this project?
--How many kudos do I get after my Bible study?

And we seek those things because they make us feel what?

Not significant.
They make us feel important.
(At least for a moment)

When we’re not living in the purpose and mission God has for our lives, we’ll try taking a shortcut to significance with importance.

But being significant and feeling important are not the same thing at all.

Importance is pride-based
Significance is compassion-based

Importance glorifies MY name.
Significance glorifies GOD’S name.

Importance is a feeling.
Significance is a state of being.

And don’t miss this one:

Importance is always fleeting.
But significance is eternal.

Remember the verse we read earlier.
What did Jesus say?
“You didn’t choose Me. I chose you and appointed you to produce…” what kind of fruit?
Lasting Fruit.

Things that feel important have a temporary impact on me.
But things that are significant have a lasting impact on the Kingdom.

Pride poisons the well of significance. (REPEAT)
And if your goal is to be important, you will never live a life of significance.

When we live to be SEEN as important by the world, we stop recognizing the opportunities God puts in front of us to make a difference in the lives of others.

But once your identity is rooted in who God says you are, once you start to believe the things that we’ve been talking about over the last couple weeks (that I’m chosen, and loved, and valuable), you’ll be motivated by the greater purpose God has for your life.

And the more we do that as a community, the more God will reveal His greater purpose for this church.

My life of meaning and significance is only realized by experiencing what God says about who I am and what His purpose and plan are for my life.

So, what does God’s purpose and plan say about my significance?

B. In Christ’s purpose…
1. I am the TEMPLE of God.

That’s a strange concept to grasp isn’t it?
And at first, it doesn’t make me feel significant at all—it feels too abstract.

If we’re honest, it sounds kind of weird to say, doesn’t it? “I’m the temple of God”

And I could have used a more user-friendly phrase for the fill-in, like:
“I am God’s home” or
“I am a place of worship.”

But I think using any other phrase would minimize the significance of what it says about who we are.

God is not careless with His words and the fact that He calls us His temple is important.

So then, what IS the temple?

Well, you’ll be happy to know I cut about 97 pages of temple history from the first draft of this message.

But let’s boil it down to the basics.

The temple was a building intricately designed in detail by God Himself (That’s important).

And it was dedicated as a holy place of worship and connection to God.

Here’s the four things I want us to focus on about the temple this morning:

The Temple…
  1. Was the dwelling place of the Lord’s presence. (Deep in the temple away from the people behind a heavy veil)
  2. Housed the Ark of the Covenant containing the evidence of their rescue. (from Egypt).
  3. Was a house of prayer and worship. (for people to honor God)
  4. Was to be a light to other nations. (They were called to worship in a way that set them apart from the rest of the world).

That’s an incredible purpose.

But the temple no longer exists—not as a building.
It was destroyed in 70 AD.

And why did God allow His temple to be destroyed?
Because it was no longer needed.

If the temple was the dwelling place of God, where does He live now?

We return to our theme verse for the entire series. Galatians 2:20:
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (NLT)

1 Corinthians 6:
So, Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. [That’s our redemption, which we talked about in week one] So you must honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (NLT)

So now YOU are the temple.

I don’t want to take this verse out of context. Paul was specifically calling the church to avoid sexual immorality because what defiles our bodies actually defiles the temple of God and dishonors God Himself.

And health-consciousness Christians like to use this verse to convince people like me to eat apples instead of brownies, to care for the temple of God.

And we’re absolutely called to be stewards of this body that God has given us.

We should treat our bodies with respect and discipline, knowing that Christ lives in us.

But taking care of our bodies is not the primary truth of this verse—taking care of our bodies is the natural response to the greater truth that we have complete union with Christ—That it’s no longer I who live but Christ lives in me—that I am the temple of the Most High God.

Think about how intimate that is.

Before our rescue at the cross, man and God were completely separated.

His presence was in the deepest part of the temple, unreachable.

But Matthew 27 says the very moment Christ gave up His life for us on the cross—the moment He released His spirit, the earth shook, rocks were split apart, and that thick veil that separated us from God in the temple was ripped apart.

Christ destroyed the barrier between you and God, and through His love and mercy, made YOU His home instead—the new temple of God.

And that’s not an analogy.
It’s not a metaphor.
It’s literal.

As His Temple…
  1. I am the dwelling place of the Lord’s presence.
  2. I am the ark containing the evidence of His rescue. (I am the Ark of the New Covenant)
  3. I am a house of prayer and worship.
  4. I am the light to others. (Because His light is in me).

--This is your identity in Christ.
--This is your purpose.
--What could be more significant than that?

Write this down. Take a picture with your phone—take a screenshot if you’re in our online campus.

Meditate on what this says about who you are and what your significance is in this world.

And we not only have significance individually, but as a church.

Look at this verse:
Don’t you realize that all of you together [That’s us as the body of Christ] are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16 (NLT)

So, our individual bodies are temples, but the greater temple is all of us as a community of believers.

This building we’re in isn’t the dwelling place of God.
We’re the dwelling place of God.

This building shouldn’t be the place you find worship.
This building should be the place you BRING worship.

Our lives, and our body should be a continual house of worship and prayer that we BRING to this building and share with one another.

But that feels impossible to us when our identity is rooted in anything other than Christ.

We keep asking:
How do I connect with Him?
Why don’t I feel His presence?
What do I do?
What do I do?

When we begin to believe what God says about who we are, then we become free to live completely connected to Him—not just when we’re here or watching online, but in every aspect of our lives.

And that will happen when we stop making our union with Christ a task list,
And start allowing it to be who we are.

We have to stop hoping for a victory that’s already happened,
And start living in what’s already true.

When we do that, then we’ll have a life of joy, and hope, and influence.
The way we worship will have an affect on the lives of others.

God meticulously designed the first temple for a purpose.
He planned every detail for significance.

And He planned every detail about you for significance.
He meticulously designed you for a purpose.

1 Peter:
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple … And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.
1 Peter 2:4a, 5 (NLT)

So, we’re not only temples of private worship.

We’re not just a great temple of worship together as a body.

But we’re priests of that temple—welcoming others into the presence of God by the way we live.

In Christ’s purpose…

We are called to be leaders and influencers.

Yes, within the church but more importantly, we’re called to be leaders and influencers outside the church.

Those terms, of course, are modern concepts used in business seminars.

And ‘influencer’ almost seem cliché now. It brings up images of teenagers with a million Instagram followers reviewing makeup.

But the meaning of those words have a much greater purpose in the mission of the church.

This is how Scripture puts it:
Revelation 1:6:
… All glory to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of [Kings and] priests for God His Father.
Revelation 1:5–6a (NLT)
Some translations say, “a kingdom of priests” and some say He has made us “Kings and Priest.”

That’s because the word used here means “to be crowned or given authority in a kingdom.”

So, in your notes, next to “I am a leader and influencer,”
You can write in parentheses, “I am a King (or Queen) and Priest.”

You are given authority in the kingdom—and you are a minister of His hope.

Because as a child of the King of Kings, your purpose is to lead others.

And as a priest (or minister), your purpose is to encourage and influence the lives that God brings into your circle.

So, how do I lead and have influence in a way that has lasting significance instead of making me feel important. How do act with Christ’s authority without developing a heart poisoned by pride?

You do it by reflecting on your identity in Christ—because when our identity is in Christ, we’ll have the same passion that Christ has for the hurting and the broken.

But if you want some practical steps, I encourage you to check out the most recent episodes on the Brookwood Ministries Podcast.

…because the other care pastors and I have posted a 5-part podcast series on how to be an influencer for Christ rather than for ourselves.

You have more influence in the lives of others than you think you do.

Prepare yourself to be used by God for great things.
Expect God to do great things through you.

Stop believing you have nothing to offer when you’re empowered by the Spirit.

Last week, we talked about being chosen by God for adoption—but in that adoption, we not only take on the Father’s identity, but we also take on His mission to reach the broken, and the lost, and the hurting as royal priests—representatives of His grace.

Look at 1 Peter:
… for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.

“Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
1 Peter 2:9–10 (NLT)

Once you had no identity, but now you have Christ’s identity.

Once you had no mercy—you were drowning in your past, but now you are made new.

The entire focus of this series has been that:
You are not your past.
You’re not your mistakes or
Your trauma or
Your failures.

Those things are not your identity.
But they can be your ministry.

The very thing you think disqualifies you from being a leader or influencer for the mission of Christ is the thing that God will use.

When our identity is rooted in who Christ says we are, we’re no longer held down by our past.

We’ll stop hiding our past and start freely sharing it with those who are hurting.

Once we stop living in the shame of our past, God will use those struggles to build up those who don’t have hope.

Because we’ll realize that our testimonies are not a list of our failures—they’re a list of the things Christ can overcome.

In week one of the series, we read this verse:
… anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

We are made new.
But the passage continues…

The old life is gone; a new life has begun…
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
2 Corinthians 5:18–20 (NLT)
You’re not who you used to be, but God will put someone in your path that’s exactly where you once were.

And He’ll allow you to lead them out of the darkness.

You want to believe your significant?
Think about how precious a soul is to God.

Now realize that God takes the brokenness of someone He loves, brings them to you and says,

“You are My child and I’m entrusting this one to you. I’m putting this person that I love in your care.”

What does that say about how God sees you?

You are significant in God’s plan.
But the thing that makes you most significant is this:

In Christ’s purpose…

The thing that gives you the most value in this world is that you’re treasured by God.

That’s the root of everything.

Everything in this series hinges on this one truth.

You are treasured by God.

--You’re significant because you are treasured.
--You’re the home of Christ because you are treasured.
--You’re given authority and influence because your treasured.

Go back to 1 Peter:
… for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)

You’re not only chosen.
You’re not only royal priests of a holy nation,
You’re God’s very own possession.

But that word for possession in Greek doesn’t mean the type of possession we think of… it’s not something you put up on a shelf as part of a collection.

The word means:
Something held dear, something acquired through saving and protecting—a rescue.

You are treasured by God—brought into His family through His act of complete salvation.

And He’s been planning your purpose and your mission in His plan from the very beginning.

David wrote this:
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
Psalm 139:13–14 (NLT)

And God knit you together in your mother’s womb, knowing that He would:
Choose you.
Love you.
Rescue you for a purpose greater than yourself.

And you know what I love about this verse?
It’s when David says, “I know you made me. And your workmanship was marvelous.”

That’s awesome. At first glance it seems a little arrogant, doesn’t it?

But look at the next verse:
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
Psalm 139:15–17 (NLT)

As he prays, David experiences the truth that God has had a plan for his life from the very beginning, and that God sees him as precious.

David doesn’t see his own creation as marvelous because he thinks he’s important but because he suddenly sees that his life is significant.

Not because of anything he’s done but because he sees himself through God’s eyes instead of the world’s.

What if you could look at yourself and say, “Look what God has done. I am marvelous.”

We can have that same humble confidence.

We can have the authority and strength to fulfill the plan God has for our lives when we see our purpose and our value through the lens of God’s plan and God’s love.

Do you see how treasured you are by God?

God is for you, not against you.

Christ’s RESCUE says…
· I am forgiven.
· I am made new.
· I am redeemed (valuable)

Christ’s LOVE says…
· I am complete.
· I am Known and accepted.
· I am Chosen

And Christ’s PLAN says I am Significant.

You can do the great things God has called you to do.

This church can do greater things for the Kingdom than we can imagine.

We can be that army of compassion with authority and influence.

We can be that army of hope led by worshippers into a broken world.

--We can be the light in our community.
--We can be a people of strength and purpose.
--We can see miracles, and bring hope, and draw people to the rescuing promise of Jesus Christ.

But we need to wrap ourselves up in what God says about who we are.

The darkness of this world will tell you that your life has no meaning.

The darkness says I have no place of value.

>>When I feel too weak to make a difference, God says I’ll give you My strength.

>>When I feel unwanted, God says I’m loved.

>>When I feel like I don’t belong, God says you belong to me.

Are we ready, as a church, to lay down what this world says about who we are and walk into His purpose for us?

Are we ready to declare that we believe what He says?

Then I’m going to ask that you use this song as a time of prayer.

Ask God to show you who He says you are… and declare that you believe Him.

God wants you to believe what He says about you.

If you need someone to pray with you or encourage you, we’ll have care volunteers and pastors down front and in the care connection room. In our Online Campus, click the request prayer button.

Let’s go be who God called us to be.
Let’s go be the church.

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