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Bible Study Notes 10/4/22

Word Alive!


Ending Summer/Early Fall Series

Not A Fan... A Completely Committed Follower!

Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton

Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor

Tuesday, 4 Oct. 2022, Lesson 15 (Final)

Kyle Idleman, Not A Fan… A Completely Committed Follower of Jesus

Devotional Time: Not A Fan, Chapter 15 (pp. 213-222)

My True Identity - How we describe ourselves is important, because it permits others, and ourselves, to see how we perceive ourselves. In describing who we are, we’re prone to describe more about what we do. Often a person’s identity is related to geography/culture, relationship-role, or vocation/interests. For instance, Jesus was often described by His geographical and cultural heritage: a Nazarene; because as a child and adolescent He grew up in the town of Nazareth. Jesus was also associated with the larger region He lived in: the Galilee; for His hometown was one of ten cities that comprised that region. We may recall on the night Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and arraigned in court; Peter became very upset when the young woman near the court yard, identified him as a disciple of Jesus. She readily identified Peter because he, the other disciples, and Jesus spoke in the same regional dialect (cf. Matthew 26:69-70, NLT). Jesus also was known as “the carpenter’s son;” for Joseph’s occupation was well-known. Others in the crowd reminded Jesus of His place as a son of Mary, and brother to His siblings (cf. Matthew 13:53-58, NLT). Identity is important; and, no less for our spiritual lives. Our faith-life in Jesus Christ is intended to erase the line between our human and spiritual identities. The totality of our being, our complete self, is in Jesus Christ. We are no less Christians with family, work, friends or community. The “completely committed Christian” owes their identity to faith in Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior. The early “believers” incorporated their identity in Christ with their daily lives; whether assembled in worship and fellowship; or in their vocations, family, or community relationships (cf. Acts 2:42-44, NLT). Who they were, “committed followers of Christ”, was the source of each person’s identity. The early Christians faced persecution and hostility, but they embraced their name as “Christ followers” (N.T. Greek, Christianous or “Christians”), as a badge of honor and not shame (cf. Acts 11:24-26, NLT). They believed in the Son of God. Like the Heavenly Father, they said, “For in Him, we live, and move, and exist.” (Cf. Acts 17:28a, NLT). Peter encouraged the early Christians to endure through suffering and persecution. They were to worship Jesus Christ “as Lord of your life.” The word “worship” in this sense, means to “submit your complete lives to Christ.” (cf. I Peter 3:14-15, NLT). Because this broader meaning of worship means “effort” or “work;” Christians must be willing to share their identity in Christ, literally hope, with others in a gentle and respectful manner. With all confidence we should claim Christ, and faith in Him. Our identity is in Jesus the Christ!

My True Identity (2) – In the closing chapter of his book, Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman emphasizes the important point, “That [a] follower is more than something you do, or don’t do; it’s who are.” Idleman says even in the church we look much at behavior, but not identity. A person’s behavior flows from their sense of identity. He says further: “This is why the New Testament gives so much attention to who we are in Christ. When you understand that your identity is not about being a fan and instead embrace who you are as a follower, your life will again gain clarity and direction.” In the great prophesy of Isaiah, we can hear the voice of God summoning Israel back to Him, for their identity has its origin in the God who chose them; loves them; and protects them (cf. Isaiah 43:7; 10-11; 13, NLT). God, who is Israel’s “only Savior” is believed to be a prophetic reference to Jesus Christ, as coming Messiah. The closest term we have in the New Testament for identity, is the word eikon (“icon.”), which often is translated “image”. In reference to our relationship with Christ, it means we are to become “a likeness” or “representation” of Christ. We are not a likeness as in an iconic image; or lifeless stature. We possess the living qualities of Christ, which become evident in our complete being. Perhaps no one knew this better than the Apostle Paul; whose life was transformed through grace, by his faith in Jesus as Lord (cf. I Corinthians 15:10, NLT). Paul, an earlier terrorist-offender of Christians, became one of the faith’s greatest defenders and apostles. After an encounter with the risen Christ, Paul’s identity completely changed. Like Paul we must be willing to “give up” some of the names that define us, and bring defeat. This is true whether these identities were thrust on us; or we indulged them along life’s path. Paul said he “discarded” the baggage in his life, in order to become fully committed to Christ. Becoming “one with Christ,” was Paul’s new and only identity (cf. Philippians 3:8-9a, NLT). Paul’s new identity gave him an insatiable appetite to learn and experience more of Christ. When we become completely committed followers of Jesus, He becomes the source of and motivation for our identity (cf. Philippians 3:9b-10a, NLT). Christ lives in us, and will be with us forever!

__________________________KEY IDEA __________________________

What We Believe!

“My true spiritual identity is that I am a follow of Jesus!”

1. A completely committed follower of Jesus, is our identity.

2. The difference between fan and follower is your true identity!

__________________________KEY VERSES __________________________

Acts 2:42-44, NLT

“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles ‘teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals including the Lord’s Supper and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.”

Acts 11:24-26, NLT

“Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)”

I Peter 3:14-16, NLT

“So even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.”

Isaiah 43:7;10-11;13 NLT

“Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them my glory. It was I who created them… But you are my witnesses, O Israel. You are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God – There is no other God – there never has been and there never will be…I, yes I, am the Lord and there is no other Savior…From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.”

I Corinthians 15:10, NLT

“But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favor [grace] on me –and not without result. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by His grace.”

Philippians 3:8-9a, NLT

“Yes, everything is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him.”

Philippians 3:9b-10a, NLT

“…I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law, rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead…”

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