Sermon Notes: 03/06 True Identity #2

About 500 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a famous battle took place in mountain pass called Thermopylae in Greece. The Persians invaded Greece with approximately 150,000 soldiers, and King Leonidas of Sparta led a small force of soldiers to oppose them. The Spartan strategy was to force the Persians to funnel huge army thru a small pass and hold them off until the other Greek cities could get their own army ready. It’s said that the Persians sent a messenger to King Leonidas saying how futile their fight was: “Our archers are so numerous that the flight of their arrows darkens the sun.” But the Spartan King was not intimidated: “So much the better. For we shall fight in the shade.” – You have to admire the courage to stand in that gap.  
Welcome to Central Church of Christ: A people called out to show God’s love, tell God’s story, and be God’s people. We’re in week #2 of our message series on identity. Last week in Galatians 1, God enlightened us through Paul’s words that our identity is ours to choose, not one for someone else to choose for us.
God calls for us (His people) “stand in the way.” In Ezekiel 22:30 God declared: “I sought for a man among them who would make a wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land….” 
25:26 God warns us not to be like the opposite “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” Acts 20:28-31
Psalms 106:23 “(God) said he would destroy (Israel)—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.” 
“Let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”
But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?…
And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.” Exodus 32:10-11 & 14
Ephesians 6:12 puts it this way “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
“to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment…” Galatians 2:5
When (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, (Peter) was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.” Galatians 2:11-13

2 Peter 3:15, Peter referred to Paul as “our beloved brother Paul.”

Romans 3:23 tells us “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

OUR IDENTITY: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20
CLOSE: There’s a prayer offered every Sunday at West Point during chapel that should be a rallying cry for us: “Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be contented with half truth when whole truth can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when right and truth are in jeopardy.”

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