- It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” – Mark 1:9-11 (NKJV)
- For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. – 1Peter 3:18-22 (NKJV)
Greetings & Happy Sunday!
When I hit the publish button on this message we’ll have officially walked through the first five days of Lent: With One Voice series. We still have a long way to go, but as of right now I feel like we have actually joined Jesus on His journey. So far, I think these messages have really been good, and I also think they have been really powerful. These are the kind of messages that are really fun to write, and I hope they’re just as fun to read. I really hope that y’all are taking your quiet time serious, and actually taking the time to reflect upon the questions at the end of these messages. I believe if we’ll really do this that God will reveal things in our hearts that are hindering us from having the kind or relationship with Him that we desire to have.
Today’s message comes from the moment when Jesus is baptized and all who are there witness the Holy Spirit descending upon Him like a dove, and the Father audibly speaking “This is My Beloved Son, In Whom I Am Well Pleased”. In addition to what we read in Mark we have added testimony from Peter, and it’s worth noting here that Peter also writes that even though they heard God’s audible voice when Jesus was baptized there isn’t a more sure word of prophesy then the written Word of God.
With that, it’s time for me to seek the Lord’s help in writing this message, and the Holy Ghost’s help in hearing what God is speaking through it and of course the ability to receive it and respond to it as the Lord leads, Amen!?!
My Beloved Son In Whom I Am Well Pleased:
One of the unspoken desires of my heart is that day that I stand before the Lord to hear Him say “well done”. We talked yesterday about knowing our why, and in all honesty hearing Jesus tell me “well done” is one of the reasons why I do this. I want these messages to speak of His love and grace and mercy. I want these messages to bring God the glory that He deserves, and I want these messages to speak of His goodness and faithfulness. I want these messages to be an offering of praise and worship. I want my life to bring Him glory and honor and for all of this one day to lead me to that magical moment I meet Him to hopefully hear that He’s proud of me and that I served Him well.
Our text today will help us to understand two truths that will ultimately seek to help us change how we identify ourselves and change where we place our worth. I’m going to insert a few lines from the devotional that this series is inspired by…
One – our identity is not found in what we achieve or acquire, but in our relationship with God. In a performance-driven world we can forget this. Ultimately, we are not bankers or teachers or lawyers or care givers or students or pastors or whatever – we are the ‘beloved sons and daughters of God’.
One of the greatest things that I’ve come to enjoy about walking with Jesus through this journey of writing these messages is that in the beginning I took it personal when people unfriended, unfollowed, or left the ministry group. I didn’t realize it, but I needed the likes and comments on my posts. That was before I began to realize that my worth isn’t found in people’s applause, but the applause of my Father in Heaven.
I know that God honors what I’m doing because He’s the One that has brought it all over the world from that 7 Hebrew Words For Praise series that is now available for purchase as a book for just $10.00. The thing of it is, however, is I’ve come to decide that I’m going to continue doing this even if my audience is an audience of One. My worth isn’t tied to what I’m doing, but in Who I am in. I can truly say like Paul that I have been crucified with Christ, and the life that I now live I live by faith in Christ Jesus. The only applause, the only approval necessary is His, and I will continue to do this as long as I know I have the blessing of Heaven.
My identity isn’t tied to being a published author although it’s pretty cool. My identity isn’t tied to being a Christian blogger although this is the way I preach the Word. My identity is that God is my Father, and I am His Son. I am His beloved just as Jesus is, and so is yours! At work I am a customer service representative or a lawn care laborer, in my home I’m a daddy and a husband, but my identity isn’t in any of those things…my identity is that I am crucified with Christ and the life I live I now live by faith in Christ Jesus.
Two – our true worth is not in what others think of us, but in God’s estimation. Before Jesus had done anything of note – before the amazing miracles, teaching and the cross – God affirmed, ‘With you I am well pleased.’
One of the greatest things God has delivered me of lately is being consumed by what people thought of me. My own pastor said one of the greatest needs we have is to be delivered from people, and another thing that helped me was a video by Frances Chan that talked about how he looks at the clock when he’s preaching as a countdown to eternity. In other words, he looks at the forty-five minutes or so he has to preach as though at the end of that time he’s going to stand before God. To which he says “if I know I’m going to meet God in 45 minutes am I really going to care what I’m though of by all of the people out here!?!”!
Here’s that Francis Chan video…
It dawned on me that I was giving too much power of my worth to those around me that aren’t going to be standing before God with me. When we stand before Jesus we will be there alone. We will have Jesus there either as our Defense Attorney or as our Judge. So…now I look at each message asking God to make my pen as a ready writer writing only of the oracles of God saying all that He wants me to say because I want to be sure that if each message I write is the last message I write when I stand before Him than I’ll get to hear those coveted words “well done”.
Listen. I want to be liked. It’s human nature to want people to like and approve of us. However, I don’t want to be liked at the expense of compromising who I am and Whose I am. I don’t want to be popular at the expense of my identity in Christ. I don’t want to keep friends with the world that will cost me to lose my relationship with Jesus because my relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship of my life. With out my relationship with Jesus the rest of my relationships suffer.
Can I be completely real and share some raw truth with y’all!?!
I can’t be the father I want to be if I am disconnected from my Father. I can’t be the husband I want to be if I am disconnected from the ultimate Husband. I can’t be the son I want to be if I’m disconnected from the Son. I can’t be the friend, the employee, or even the kind of person I want to be apart from Christ because I understand that all of those things are dependent upon me being grafted and connected and abiding in the Vine. I can’t even write these messages without the Holy Ghost. Believe me, I’ve tried to write a message just to write one, and I can’t…because without the Holy Ghost I have nothing to say.
There are always going to be other things that seek our attention. There are going to be titles and labels, but we aren’t to find our identity in those things. I love being a daddy, I love being a husband, I love being a son, I love being a pastor, I love being an author, I love being a cigar smoker, I love being a beer drinker, I love being a Marine Corps Veteran, I love being a Wisconsin fan, but none of those things are where I find my identity. All of those labels and titles help to define me…but it’s my relationship with God that gives me my identity.
Other voices internal and external will link our identity and self-worth to our performance; may we hear God’s voice above all others today.
What a message! It’s important that we don’t misplace our identity. These questions that we’re to sit and meditate upon with Jesus today I hope will help us to define where we have placed our identity, and if we’ve place our identity in the wrong places the great thing is that we can ask Him to help us to place our identity in the right place…which is in Him, Amen!?!
- If God needed to verbalize his love to his Son, and his Son needed to hear it, we also need to speak and hear words of love.
- Who do you need to tell, text or write to today to affirm your love for them?
- Pull aside for a few minutes today, and listen to some music that speaks of God’s love for us, e.g., David Crowder’s ‘How He Loves’. Then silently rest in God’s empowering love for you.
Since it was suggested that we take a song like this to step aside and think about God’s love for us, and reflect upon our love for Him. I figure it’s a good idea to add in the song, and do just what is suggested we do. Let’s worship the Lord…
God, on this first Sunday in Lent, may we hear and speak, give and receive your love. Amen.
Final Word From Pastor B:
As I was getting ready to close this message and read the questions for the day I’m struck that one of things we didn’t talk about is the need to affirm our love for those around us like our parents, our spouses, our children, our siblings, and anyone else that we love that maybe we take for granted know we love them. After all, God verbalized His love for His Son, and if Jesus need to hear that then we need to make sure those around us that we are affirming our love for them as well. I’m just as guilty at not always affirming my love for those around me. I’m getting better at it, but this message is a good reminder that we need to make sure we don’t take it for granted that those we love know that we love them, Amen!?!
Most of all, we need to reaffirm our love to our Father. We need to make sure He knows that we love Him, and the way we do that is by taking the time to sit in His presence for nothing more than to be in His presence. That’s one of the things about the one needful thing that Mary found that God has revealed to me lately. She didn’t sit at His feet with any agendas or requests or desires other than to just saturate herself in His presence. She loved on Him for the purpose of just loving on Him. When is the last time you just loved on God with no agenda other than to love on Him and enjoy His presence?
If it’s been a while, let me challenge you to take some time to do it today. Shut everything off, get alone and away with God, put some kind of worship music on, and just love on Him…and allow Him to love on you. That’s how we affirm our love for Him, and how He can affirm His love for us. I guarantee you this…when you take time to be in the Lord’s presence there’s nothing like it…and you’ll leave that encounter changed forever.
I think I’m going to take some time to do that myself.
Thank you as always for joining me on this journey. I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow as we continue our 46 day walk with God through this Lent series that will count us down to Resurrection Sunday! I hope y’all are enjoying your day, and accept the challenge to find that needful place at the Lord’s feet.
Blessings & Grace ~ Pastor B