Who Am I?


Jay Perillo - November 19, 2023

Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture points and the main idea of the message.
  2. How did this message strengthen and/or correct your previous ideas about identity? Did you learn anything new about God or yourself this week?
  3. What do you think of when you hear the word “image”? How do you typically respond when someone asks, “who are you?”
  4. What part of your identity changed most when you became a Christian?
    • Do you feel like you are a new creation in Christ? Do you live your life reflecting the image of God? 
    • Have you let Jesus fix all the broken areas of your life? Are there any areas of your life you haven’t allowed Him to fix? 
  5. Have you ever struggled with rejection or not fitting in? How does knowing that God accepts you and loves you make you feel when facing rejection? 
  6. Read Galatians 5:22-23. In what ways are you representing God well to your family, friends, and coworkers? In what areas do you need the Holy Spirit to help you demonstrate fruit of the Spirit? 
  7. What action step do you need to take in response to this week’s message? How can your group hold you accountable to this step? 

Action Step

Spend time in reflection and prayer. Use the following prompts to guide your reflection:

  • Are you finding your value in Christ? Or are you finding your value in other people or things? 
  • How can you represent the glory and goodness of God this week? Be specific. 

After spending time in reflection, write down a prayer to God. Begin your prayer with this statement: 

God, I find my value in you. I choose to reflect your image. Help me to represent you…

Community Group Questions & Daily Readings


Sermon Transcript

I know that when we talk about, even talking about Israel and what's gone on with Israel and Hamas and the war that's happening over there, that a lot of different questions and thoughts emerge in people's minds, about how we view that and about what happens there. A couple things that I would say first and foremost is that really the responsibility of pastors, during times like these are not to get up and try to wax eloquent about all of the political dimensions associated with this and all of the history associated with this, nor about prophecy being fulfilled. Prophecy, I just wanna remind you of something, it's a lot better to talk about prophecy after the fact, because you don't lose credibility talking about things that you don't know of and how God is orchestrating what he's doing in the world. And my job is not to be a political correspondent. My job is to teach people how to pray. And within 48 hours of the events occurring on October 7th, we had something on our social media sites, about about eight minutes from me talking, about how we could pray in a situation like this that would be both applicable to what's going on there and what's happening in the future when we face things like this. But secondarily, I wanna remind you that we need not have as Christians, any lack of moral clarity on what has transpired. Not withstanding the long history, but just talking about the particular event of Hamas, a group that targeted civilians in Israel and slaughtered 1400 of them at a music festival and then took captives where they were raping and killing and torturing captives. We don't have to be in a moral fog as Christians about that. That's evil, it's wrong, it's heinous and it's not something we should ever condone. And so we can be morally clear about that and be morally clear according to Romans 13, where God tells us that that governments are ordained by God and have the right to be able to bear the sword and protect from evil doing and harm. We also need not be morally unclear about Israel's right, the State of Israel's right to protect itself and its citizens against such evil. That being said, other questions emerge in people's minds when they say, "Well, do we as Christians have a responsibility "to support the state of Israel uncritically "and unconditionally?" The answer to that question is no, we don't. Even though in this particular instance, we would stand with the State of Israel in what has happened is evil and atrocious. But just like we don't have to as Christians, uncritically and unconditionally stand with everything the United States does, neither do we have to do that for the State of Israel. And here's why I say that because sometimes people get confused. They get confused between the Biblical Israel of the Old Testament and the political State of Israel that is now situated in what is called the land of promise. They're not exactly the same thing, even though there is some synonymous nature of the two, because of Jewish people, right? But the Old Testament, biblical Israel was a theocratic monarchy that was in covenant with Yahweh. The State of Israel is a liberal democracy that's governed by secular Jews who have no obligation to the Torah whatsoever. These are not exactly the same thing. And by the way, part of the additional confusion is that there's a third Israel. So, in our world there are three Israels, biblical Israel, kind of the genetic line of Abraham and Jewish people through all time. There's the State of Israel, which is a political entity, right? That's secular in nature. And then there's the Israel of God as Paul called it, which is actually Jews and Gentiles who believe in Messiah Jesus that make up the church. So, I can see where sometimes people start to ram those things together and get confused in their minds. And then maybe ask questions like, "Well, what about the promise of land to Abraham?" Because it was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob who became Israel, right? So, by extension Israel. "What about that promise is that still in play?" Well, there's no question who God promised the land to. It's in the Bible, right? I mean, it was Israel, it was clear as a bell, right? But is there an obligation for the state of Israel to still be in that and is that land covenant still in play? And what about the promise of those who bless you, I will bless, and those who curse you, I will curse. What about all of that? Well, I can't talk about all of that right here in this moment, but what I did do is I wrote about a seven page article and it's on the website, on the front page of the website. So just go to thechapel.com and you'll see thoughts on Israel. And I wrote about seven pages, six or seven pages. Some of you're going, "That's really long." Some of you're going, "That's too short." I don't know. I don't know how to help you. That's how long it is, okay? And it's thoughts that will help you, biblically get your mind around some of this, the nature of Israel, the nature of the church, what that looks like. So, if it's a help to you, thechapel.com, right there on our landing page, you'll see thoughts on Israel and you can go to that for some help. What I would encourage you to do though, is to pray. That's really the predominant response that we have. Because sometimes we think we're in control of a lot more than we are, don't we? Our responsibility is to pray. And so before we hear our teaching this morning, which is gonna continue our series in this series called "Reflections," and we're gonna hear from Jay Perillo, who's our young adult and college pastor who's here at the church. And by the way, I've already heard the message. It's fantastic. Not only is the content really strong, but the illustration that he shares at the very end is really, really powerful. And I'm super grateful for this message. But let's just take a moment and pray together, before we enter into our time of teaching. Let's pray together. Father, how we thank you in the name of Jesus for every kindness that you have shown us, we thank you for the beauty of the gospel. We thank you for the hope that we have. You are the savior of our souls. And I pray God, that even as we partner together with some of these ministries for the season of giving and even in our Thanksgiving offering, God, that you would bless what we're doing and you'd bless it through work through the Nepali people or through orphans in Mexico or through people in Puerto Rico that are still struggling there or for those with developmental disabilities, here in our own region. And God, we specifically as well pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ that are in Israel, whether they are Arab believers in Jesus as our brothers and sisters in Christ or whether they are Jewish believers in Jesus as our brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that we as the body of Christ would encourage them and be a blessing to them. And Lord, I pray as well for the word that's gonna be spoken over our hearts and our minds this morning. I know that God, you have a word for us. And I pray that you would give us fertile hearts to receive the seed of the word in these moments. Give us ears to hear what the Spirit wants to say to us. And I ask you to do this in Jesus' name, amen.

- Amen. It's good to be together this morning, back in 2015, which is almost 10 years ago. And for someone my age, that like blows my mind that 2015 is almost 10 years ago. I know for others you're like, "Eh, it's 2015." But journalist, American journalist, author, Tony Schwartz, he published an article, "The Enduring Hunt for Personal Value." And what he did is he looked at kind of ultra athletes. Michael Phelps was the centerpiece in it. Super highly successful people, politicians, and just kind of the rigors that they put themselves through for achievement. So looking at Michael Phelps, he was getting ready to participate in his final Olympics, the 2016 Olympics. And he had already had, you know, so many medals, he would eventually get 28, right? He'd be on the podium 28 times. But where's that drive coming from? Why just the schedule and rigors they put themselves through. We looked at politicians, ones that were gearing up for the 2016 presidential election and how some of them would campaign for two years, many days were like 18 hour workdays. And some of 'em really didn't even have a shot at winning, but they still went through it. And why? And this was his conclusion and I'm with him on it. He said this, "Once our basic needs are met, "we human beings arguably crave value above all else." We each want to desperately feel a sense of worthiness. Now, knocking at the hearts of generations of humans are these existential questions. Who am I and why am I here? And we're looking to cover those two things, these next couple of weeks. Who am is a question that we ask ourselves, who am I? And the question I wanna ask after that, last week, Pastor Jerry a asked a question before that, he says, before we ask the question, who am I? We should ask the question, whose am I? Now, I want to kind of go on the other side of it and say, the question after that is, who am I gonna allow to tell me who I am? Because we are influenced, we look for affirmation outside of ourselves. So, who am I gonna allow to answer that question for me? Is it the world, the chaos, the brokenness that we see around us? Are we gonna let the world that is passing away? Am I gonna let that to define who I am, my culture, our society, the one that will so quickly cancel someone? Do I really want them to tell me who I am? What about my own past, the brokenness, the troubles, maybe even one that was thrust upon me, the circumstances that I just found myself and I didn't choose them. This is kinda the cards I was dealt. Do I want that to define who I am or maybe I did make some bad decisions in my past. Do I have to be known by those for the rest of my life? Who am I going to allow to answer that question for me? You see, we here in the west are meaning machines. We were looking for answers to why am I here? Why do I exist? Well, maybe perhaps for some of us watching online or at any of our campuses, maybe perhaps that question can be answered for us today. 'Cause here's the deal, no created thing ever determined its value or its purpose. The Creator did that. No tool like the screwdriver ever determined what it was to be used for. It was the person that created that. I would say the same goes for you and for me. So, when it talks about who we are, our identity, who I am, I want to go to the person or to the one who had the first word and is going to have the last word. The one who creates life and sustains it, the alpha and the omega. And we don't have to go very far into the Bible to see where our creator talks about your identity, my identity and how we were created. Pastor Jerry had us in this verse last week. Let's return to it. This is Genesis 1. This is verses 26 and 27. I want us to notice and pick up on a very important word in these two verses, "Then God said, let us make mankind in our image." I wanna notice, we're gonna talk about that word. First, I wanna talk about how many times it shows up in these two verses. "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, "so that they may rule over the fish and the sea "and the birds in the sky, over the livestock "and all the wild animals "and over all the creatures that move along the ground. "So, God created mankind in his own image." That's twice. "In the image," three times, "of God He created them Male and female, "he created them," right? Talking about creator, God spoke everything into existence, right? He created everything. And then the crown of his creation was his image bearers mankind, male and female, they bore the image of God. But notice how the writer used the word image three times in two verses. That was intentional. They didn't have highlighters back then. Like you and I can highlight an important word. They didn't use docs, whether it's Word or Google Docs, where you could bold something, italicize it, underline it or all three. So, this is a way in which the writer is drawing the audience or the original listeners attention to that word. Think of the Book of Isaiah. When the prophet is brought into the throne room and he sees the angelic beings and they're saying, "Holy, holy, holy," three times. An emphasis on the holiness of God. Or when Jesus in the gospel of Mark says three times in chapters eight, nine, and 10, the son of man must suffer and die referring to himself three times, adding the emphasis on it. That's what the writer is doing here. And the listeners would've picked up on that, the added emphasis of the image of God or in Latin, Imago Dei. Can you say that with me this morning? Imago Dei. All right, that was all right. That was mid probably. I like the late one there. And I could hear you through the camera too. So Niagara Falls, I know what's up. And now at Thanksgiving, if anybody asks you what have you been up to lately? You can tell them that you've been speaking some Latin. It's a beautiful language. Two words, Imago Dei, but that's cool, right? Imago Dei. Now what does this mean? That you and I are created the image of God, that God looks like us in terms of physically, well, perhaps not. John 4:24 says that God is Spirit. Perhaps it's more like that we are like God and that we are moral beings, conscious beings. We have intellect we can create. And so we are like God in that. But the original listeners would've thought of two key things when they heard that, because of the context they found themselves in. The original listeners were slaves in the Egyptian empire. The ruler of the known world was Pharaoh. He claimed to be God and image bearers of Pharaoh. They had some attributes. They were the sons and daughters of Pharaoh, had plenty of them. They would get esteem. They probably would sit in their own section if you're talking about any social events, right? They'd have the reserved area, but then also as they went out, they would represent or reflect the image. So, when they'd walk the streets, heads would turn that sort of thing. Just like if you and I saw maybe a celebrity or whatnot or an influencer. But what the scriptures are saying is that all of humanity bears the image of their creator, the image of God, that each man, woman and child. And because of that, they had value. Because of that they could represent or reflect their creator. We're gonna talk about that. That's where we're spending a bulk of our time this morning. Now we know that Genesis chapter three happens, the fall of man, that the evil won, the serpent, came to destroy and distort that image. And it looked like for a few minutes that he, or a few moments in history that he was wildly successful. But Jesus entered in the scene, right? And God had this plan all along. We read this in Ephesians one, four through five, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world." That's God choosing us before the creation of the world in Jesus to be holy and blameless in his sight. "In love, he predestined us for adoption "to sonship through Jesus Christ "in accordance with his pleasure and will." That Jesus bought back our birthright to be sons and daughters of the one in whose image we were created. Jesus bought back our birthright. We talked about that last week in the implications that you and I, we were bought with a price we talked about. Again, I would encourage you to listen to last week's message if you didn't. Much like many of our series, this series builds on itself. But here's the deal. Jesus came to make things new. He came to restore that image that was broken. God didn't do something new in terms of like the villain in "Guardians of Galaxy Three," the High Evolutionary where he wiped out a humanity and started a new one. Thank God he didn't do that. Instead, what Jesus is doing is he's making or renewing people. We just saw the verse on the screen, while we waited between baptisms. Therefore, anyone who is in Jesus is a new creation. They're renewed. And if you and I never fully comprehend that identity, what we have in Jesus, the renewal that can take place, if we never fully understand it, then we won't ever fully live in it. We will simply live a less than experience. We will have lived a less than life. Now, Christmas is coming up, it's in 36 days actually. And I'm not counting or anything. And I'm most certainly not that guy who has his Christmas tree up at his house. I'm most certainly not that guy that Pastor Jerry called out. Now when I was younger, growing up Christmas time meant that I got to go to my dad's sister's house. My dad was the youngest of six kids. This is the Italian side of the family, if you picked up on my last name. And so I went over to Aunt Patty's house. And so, and there was Patty and there was Joey, and there was Danny and there was Johnny. And there were lots of them, okay? So, generations of them, okay? Now, one of the Danny's, my cousin Danny, who now lives in Australia, he had a pet parrot named Sorbet. And man, this bird was cool. I love animals by the way. I'm trying to get my daughter to love animals, so that she can talk my wife into getting a dog. But don't tell my wife that, it's our secret. She's not watching right now. Anyways, that's not the point of my story, sorry squirrel. The point of my story is Sorbet was cool, because it was a bird that could talk. Now, he could also chew on things. I wasn't supposed to go near him. My uncles would tell me that he could take a kind of a tip of my finger off. But nonetheless, I was one of the youngest of the cousins, lots of cousins. I was like third youngest. So, I just thought it was the coolest thing. But did you know that domesticated birds like parrots, if they're not taught how to fly, then they'll never fly in their life. Did you know that? Like they actually have to learn that, 'cause they live in a cage, even if they're wings aren't clipped, if they're not given, now you can train them, but if they're not given that. Now they'll have a human imprint on them, which is pretty cool. They can talk. But in terms of what they were created to do that separates them from all of creation, the beauty of their wings in flying and gliding, they can't do. Now they can walk. Looks kind of weird, seeing owls run actually looks pretty cool if you ever wanna check that out. But their feet weren't made for walking. Like their wings were made for flying and they would miss out and live a less than experience. You and I we're in danger of that. If we don't fully comprehend what Jesus wants to do in our lives, what the imago Dei means to us now. So, let's talk about that. I have three points for us in our time together today. First one being this, our value comes from our creator. Our value comes from our creator. That each person is given inherent value or divine dignity, because they bear the image of the creator. Ephesians 2:10 says it this way, "For we are God's handiwork, "created in Christ Jesus to do good works, "which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 is Paul summing up what he was talking about in the verses we just read in Ephesians one. you gotta remember, Paul wrote a letter to a church. It didn't have chapters and verse numbers in its original form. This is him kind of summing up that thought. And what is his point? Is that Jesus bought back your birthright and you are God's craftsmanship, his handiwork. And here's the deal. God doesn't make junk. He doesn't. So, if you're here watching, you're here in person, you're not an accident, a rejection from humanity, never equates to a rejection from the Almighty. You're not an accident. You may have felt that. You may have felt that in various circles in your life, whether it's in your family or in your workplace or in other social settings. You feel like, "Hey, I just don't know, I don't fit in. "I maybe I don't belong here. "Maybe I was an accident, maybe I was like," I'm here to tell you, no, God doesn't make junk. God doesn't make mistakes. He was there before your body was even fully formed in Psalm 139 says, when you were an embryo, God's eyes saw you. That he knit you together. That means before you even had your first breath, you had value. It's important to know, it's important to remember from a biblical view to your very last breath. Even if your cognitive abilities are declining, your life still has value because of your creator. It's tied to your creator. Now, we as a society have moved in a direction towards secularism. It's undeniable, right? That God didn't create man. Instead, man created God. Man created God because they needed religion. Religion is a crutch and they needed that. But secularism really struggles with a ascribing inherent value to every human being, 'cause how do they do that? If we came from nothing, if you're just a random set of molecules, I'm a random set of molecules. And when we die, we just kind of go back and then just kind of all random and then who knows? We came from nothing. We end in nothing whatever. G. K. Chesterton and English writer, Christian thinker, he wrote this in his book, "Orthodoxy." I don't have it on the screen 'cause I chopped it up. It would've had a number of those, like three dots. I don't know the name of those, but there'd be too many of them. But he wrote this in his book "Orthodoxy" in 1908. And I think it has some value to us even today. "As a politician, "the secular person will cry out "that war is a waste of life. "But then that same person as a philosopher will go "and debate that all life is a waste of time. "The man of this school, again, the secular thought goes first to a political meeting "where he complains that savages are treated "as if they were beasts." What he's talking about is those in lower class or those that don't have the same rights as the upper class. "So, he'll go to a political meeting "where he complains that they're not given their rights. "But that same person then takes his hat and umbrella," I love old English "and goes to a scientific meeting "where he proves that practically all mankind are beasts." See, they struggle with that, but not the believer, not the Christian. You know that the early church in the first few centuries, living in the Roman Empire, that they ascribe value to all human beings. You know that in the Roman Empire, if you were an orphan or you were a widow, unfortunately you would just kind of be left on the streets. You wouldn't have many opportunities. You know what the early church did say? No, no, no, no, everyone has value. You would take 'em in. You know that in the Roman Empire, if you were an orphan or you were a widow, unfortunately you would just kind of be left on the streets. You wouldn't have many opportunities. You know what the early church did say? No, no, no, no. Everyone has value. We would take 'em in. So, that's why Christians started hospitals, all of that stuff. Because every human being, every man, woman and child matters. Now, you're gonna see my next two points used an I am, 'cause I'm looking to answer the question, who am I? But the reason why I was intentional with saying that our value comes from our creator is not just 'cause you have value, but because everyone else does too. You have value and your people have value. But also so do they. We like to group up. We like our own people. The people that are like us, that think like us, talk like us, dress like us, we like our tribes. We always have to remember that those people, that them, they have a divine dignity too. And we should demonstrate that. And the way we talk and the way we post. Because the way we treat the creation is always a reflection of the way we feel and respect the creator. So, we should remember that when we either view people as objects of opportunity or objects of pleasure, when we're tempted to do that, that other people are a means to my ends. We should remember that when other people are different, talk different or look different, don't agree with us, we should remember that. Our value comes from our creator. There's an image in there. And if Jesus hasn't restored it yet, he has a desire to do that. And we should join him in that. And we can do that by doing these two things. Next, one, I am meant to be a reflection of God's glory. I am meant to be a reflection of God's glory. Now, if you would've read image in Genesis, you would've also seen that the people of God, were not to create a graven image. No images in the temple, right? They were not to create, the people outside, right? Would call the pagans. They would create statues and they would create like golden calves. And of course they weren't to create those, because they weren't supposed to worship things, right? We see that in the 10 Commandments. But also embedded in that was you don't need to create an image that reflects God or represents God, because you are that image. God's people are that image. So, that's where you find your identity, that you're meant to reflect that. Now, I could use an analogy like a sculpture, like Michelangelo would make or a painting like a Picasso. And if you saw, if you saw one of those, like David or one of the paintings of Picasso, you'd see that and you'd be like, that's a Picasso. Or that's from Michelangelo and I could use that as analogy in terms of how we represent or reflect God. But I really do like the mirror analogy. And so bear with me. I did have practice at the nine o'clock. I was nervous I was gonna break this, because I just took it off the wall in the building next door at the Apex where all the middle school kids would've broken it anyways, but this is God's intention that you and I would be a reflection, that our mirrors, now Genesis three happened. So, these mirrors were broken and distorted. That's where Jesus comes in, right? That's where he bought back our birthright. He came to fix our brokenness. But what we are tended to do is to reflect our creator. I like that. I feel like Lloyd Dobler right now. And some of you'll get that and some of you won't. And I kind of like that. And I have pop culture references from all eras. Now, Pastor Jerry talked about last week, the problem of our culture is this, right? This is what people do all the time. It's all about me. It's all about you meeting my needs, right? And then everybody's mirrors are facing themselves. And that's why we have so much friction in today's society. But you and I are meant to reflect the glory of God and God's glory. I just really don't wanna break that. I'm gonna end up on one of those social media accounts where a pastor makes a mistake, breaks glass everywhere, and everybody laughs at me. We are meant to reflect our creator. So, how do we do that? Well, we've gotta point our mirrors in the right direction. We've gotta fix our mirrors to the one who fixed it. We've gotta face Jesus. The Bible talks about that often. "The Son is the image of the invisible God." That's Jesus. "The firstborn over all creation." Jesus says this to one of his disciples. When Philip goes, okay, Jesus, like, you're really cool and all, you're doing these miracles, you're doing stuff. You obviously have access to God. When are you gonna show us God? And he says this, Jesus answered, "Don't you know me, Philip, "even after I've been among you such a long time, "anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." If you've seen Jesus, you've seen God. So, how do we reflect God's glory? We face Jesus. So, question to the follower or to the believer this morning. How often do you look at the life, the ministry, the teachings of your Savior and your Lord, the one you claim to follow? Is your mere pointed in his direction? Or are you always distracted by looking at the things around you? And there are plenty of distractions in our lives, but not only do we have to look at Jesus and read letters in our Bible, we can look at all of scripture because Paul says this. Let's break this verse down 'cause it's pretty neat. You ever read a verse and you, you don't really understand what it means and you're just kinda like, "Oh, that's kind of a cool verse, "but I don't really understand all that's going on. "It kind of sounds poetic." That that was me with this verse for a number of years in my Christian life. But let's break it down. "Even to this day, when Moses is read, "a veil covers their hearts." Now what Paul is talking about is Jewish people who know the Old Testament, but have not yet believed and received in Jesus. And what he's saying is, even to this day, he's right into the church at Corinth that when Moses is read the first five books, there's a veil that covers these people's hearts. It kind of lacks a power. In my undergrad, I have a degree in religious studies. I had professors who taught me the Bible who were not believers in Christ. They taught the Bible very differently than my professors in seminary, with all due respect. But the scriptures didn't have the power in their lives that it did with my seminary professors, because of this veil. But he says this, but whenever anyone turns to the Lord, he's talking about Jesus. The veil is taken away. So, he gives us the answer, how do you get rid of the veil? You receive Jesus as savior and Lord. And then what does he say? What happens? "Now ,the Lord is the Spirit, "and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." And he says this, "And we all who with unveiled faces," he's talking to the church, he's talking to believers. Our faces are unveiled. What do we do? We contemplate. Now this translation, it's okay, it's mid. If you have an NIV or an ESV study Bible, look at the footnote at the bottom of your page. Another way to translate that, reflection. Pretty cool, yeah? Reflection or we reflect the Lord's glory. And when we do that, we're being transformed into who we're supposed to be. This is our identity. We're being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit? Are you picking up what I'm saying here? That as I face Jesus, as I come to Jesus, that's how I can reflect his glory. Now, I know I use the term God's glory. And that just sounds, it sounds very religious, it sounds very churchy. Lemme say it in another way. When I reflect God's glory, what I mean by that is I reflect God's ultimate importance and his supreme significance in my life. And when I live in that reality and in that order that God is of my ultimate, of ultimate importance in my life, he's of the supreme significance, because of what he's done for me and what he's offering true life. He's offering me my real identity. He wants to tell me who I am. When I do that, that's when I reflect God's glory. And it not only benefits me, but it benefits all of those around me. Why? Because I don't live in a vacuum. We are communal beings. And that's why transformational community or living out your faith with other people in community can be far more powerful than just sitting under a great message. It's important for you and I to recognize that. So the question is, have you allowed Christ to fix your mirror? Are you fixing the one who fixed your mirror? Are you fixing that mirror on him? Are you pointing your mirror to Christ? Last one, I am meant to be a representation of God's character. I'm meant to reflect God's glory. And I'm meant to be a representation of God's character. And in that, I mean God's goodness, 'cause his character, it's vast. This morning I wanna talk about his goodness. So, how do I do that? I face Jesus, where I take my mirror, I point it towards Jesus. And where do I go? I meet him at the cross. That's what Paul did every day. He did this in Galatians 2:20, he says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, "but Christ lives in me. "The life I now live in, the body, "I live by faith in the son of God who loved me "and gave himself for me." He proved his love through sacrifice. But Paul says, I go to the cross. He's not writing this from the cross. He does go there eventually, by the way, he's saying, this is my spiritual life. I'm opening up the window to my spiritual life. I go to Jesus every day at the cross and I empty myself out. I bring to the cross my sin, my shame, my brokenness. I do this regularly. This isn't just a one-time thing. I continue to bring it. Now, some of you might be sitting here and you say, "Man, that just sounds like a life of self-denial. "I'll be honest, Jay, like that kind of sounds miserable." Lemme just respond to you with this. You know what absolutely is miserable is putting your identity in the wrong place or the wrong thing. And then life after you lose that thing, I mean, think about all the temporary things that you can put your identity in. Your job. Well, you could lose your job. Unfortunately, that happens all the time. What then? Or you are going to retire someday. There's gonna be a time in your life where you no longer can do your job. So, then what happens? To me that's without having an identity beyond that. That's where misery comes in. There's other things you do, any kind of relationship, whether it's even a good relationship. Here's the deal, that relationship that's not gonna last forever here, it's going to end. That might even change for you as a parent, for you as a child, all of those things. Were you gonna put your identity in your looks? Good luck with that. I mean, Pastor Jerry talked about that last week, right? I mean, we're all heading in that direction. Listen, I get it. I peaked at 24. I'm past my prime. And no matter how many macro or micro peels you do, here's the deal. Like, man, you're heading in that direction. Romance, is your identity gonna be in romance? Well, what happens when the butterflies go away or fade? You put your identity in those things and once you lose them, and that's misery. People struggle to find out who they are and that's miserable. What Jesus is offering is, come and bring your brokenness to me and I'm gonna turn your brokenness into my goodness. And you're gonna start what it means to live with me forever in my kingdom. You're gonna feel and experience the joy of walking with me every single day. And then continue that on as you enter into eternity. And the kingdom that is going to last forever and ever. God's goodness, God's character. I couldn't help but think of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5. "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, "peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, "faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Imagine the version of yourself where these are the dominant characteristics. These dominate your identity. That's what Jesus wants to do. That's what he wants to unlock. That's what he wants to renew. But you and I have to meet him at the cross. We have to die to ourselves. We have to empty ourselves to the one who gave himself for us, so that he could fill us up with his goodness. And when we do that, we're living in our true identity. We reflect the glory of God. We represent his character and his goodness and the world around us sees the creator who loved the creation so much that he gave. Last analogy and I'll be honest, it's very simple. But for me, I really feel like God gave it to me in preparing for this message. And I found it though it's simple it was powerful. But I mentioned it before, but it's a really a wild experience for me. But I'm a dad now. It's crazy. So, meet Millie Perillo. She's in the middle there, of course, that's right. I'm an Italian girl dad. I had to go sappy, the sap just drips off me now. Here's the deal, a younger version of Jay would absolutely make fun of this version of Jay. But I mean, look at her, look at those cheeks. I'm not gonna lie, she was with her grandparents for almost a week. So, those cheeks have doubled in size the last seven days. It looks like she's got acorns on both sides. She is the Thanksgiving Turkey, I'm not gonna lie. And I love it. And so, but it's crazy to think about, like sometimes I was looking at her, I'm like, "You make me a dad." Like, it's crazy. And she doesn't, she can't call me dad. She can say dada now, but she like, so I'm just waiting for the day where she can be like, "Dad, dad." And I'm just kind of staring off and I just like look over. I'm like, "Wait, you're talking to me?" Like, it's still just a mind blowing experience for me. But I remember when Millie started kind of recognizing the world around, her eyesight got better. She started and I remember the first time I put her in front of a mirror, she had no clue who she was looking at. Not a clue. And in fact, she was almost startled, maybe even a bit scared, but check this out. But when her and I went and stood in front of a mirror in our house, and she looked at the mirror and saw me, her father and then looked to the side and saw me, her father next to her and then looked forward again and saw me, and it clicked, then she saw herself and knew that was her. In a lot of ways, that's like our relationship with God. My final statement for us today is this. You'll never truly discover who you are, without knowing who God is. You will never truly discover who you are, without knowing who God is. You were created by him and for him, you're created to do good works, which he has prepared for you in advance. Your life matters. It's tied to your creator and it's tied to the kingdom that he's building as he renews this creation heading into eternity. I want you to step into it, but you have to make that choice, will you? If you would, please pray with me. Thank you so much church for your respect and your attention. I appreciate it personally. But far more important than that. I prayed, I prayed this morning, I prayed yesterday. I've been praying all week that you would hear from the God who created you and loves you and gave His son for you. So, some questions for you as we close in a spirit of prayer and reflection, have you given your life over to Jesus? Have you allowed him to fix your mirror that has been distorted and broken? If not, that can change today. We have prayer partners that line up in front of this stage every week. If you need to give your life to Jesus, so you can receive the identity he wants to give you, I'd encourage you to come to the front. I know everybody else is going the opposite way. I'd encourage you to come to the front of this room. You're not giving us any information. We're giving you information, we're talking with you, we're praying with you. That's it. Not signing up for anything. It's the most important decision you'll ever make. I believe it's the answer to your question, who am I? And for the rest of us that I've already made that decision. Where are you pointing your mirror right now? Are you fixing it towards the one whose fixtures is your life a reflection of the glory of God as it relates to his ultimate importance or his supreme significance? Are you a representation of God's character and God's goodness as you do life with people around you? God, I pray that we would be a church that reflects and represents who you are, that we're created by you and for you. That we would be a people, that we would be sons and daughters that point our mirrors towards you, so that we will experience all that you have for us, so that we will know who we are and that the world will know who you are. In Christ name I pray. Amen.

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