Whose Am I?


Pastor Jerry Gillis - November 12, 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. Most Americans believe they are “their own.” How does this influence faith in God? How does this influence relationships with others? 
    • Reflect on the Uncivil War Series from this past year. Why is the fight against self-love so important?  
  4. Read 1 Corinthians 6:13-14. In what ways can we honor God with our bodies? 
    • Reflect on the past 2 weeks. Have you been honoring God with your body? 
  5. Consider recent decisions or decisions you’ve made in the past. What was your decision-making process? Did you honor God with your decision making? How? 
  6. How do you spend your time? Reflect on this past week’s schedule. How much of the schedule reflects your own pursuits and how much reflects your desire to honor God? 
  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

Whose we are shapes who we are. Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 then spend time in reflection and prayer. Consider these following reflection prompts:

  • Are you honoring God with your body?
  • Are you honoring God with your time?
  • Are you honoring God with your assets? 
  • Are you honoring God with your decisions? 

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

God, I am yours and want to honor you with all that I am, have, and do. I repent of my lack of obedience in…

Community Group Discussion Questions & Daily Readings


Sermon Transcript

Well, good morning to everybody. So glad to see you this morning. Whether you're here at this campus or watching us from elsewhere, we're so glad to be together and be able to worship together. A number of years ago, I was on a plane. It's not the last time I've been on a plane, but it was a bunch of years ago. And I was sitting toward the back and was tired. I had been working, preaching, ministering in another place and was coming home. I had an empty seat next to me, and I was just thinking to myself, "Lord, you just think I'm so special. You've given me an empty seat here on the flight home. I was tired" And I'm like, "Thank you, Lord. I don't have to talk to anybody. And then at the very end, right before they closed the cabin doors, of course, a young lady who is kind of disheveled comes on the plane, and she keeps walking, and I'm thinking to myself, "Don't come all the way back here." And, I know, I'm just being honest. And she got all the way back there, and she was like pointing like, and I was like, "Are you this one? Is it, are you sure? Can I see your ticket, please?" No, I didn't say that. She came in, she sat next to me, and I was thinking to myself, "Man, I don't really want to talk, but I am a pastor and I am a Christian." And I thought to myself, "Maybe I should if she starts talking." And so she did. And we started talking a little bit, and she was coming back to Buffalo from the west coast, from California. And I asked her what she was doing there. And here was her response. It was very interesting response. She said, "Well, to be honest with you, I was out there trying to find myself." Now, obviously, there's a few things that run through your mind where you're thinking to yourself, "Now, I could be funny at this point," and probably wouldn't be a great idea. Like, "Did you find yourself? Did it require two tickets coming back? 'Cause I only see you." I didn't do any of that. I just said, "Well, tell me about that," right? And so she began to tell me a little bit about that and what she was doing. And she was doing, I think, what commonly people do is they're basically looking inside themselves trying to figure out the answer to the question, "Who am I?" And she was, she had kind of a... It was a little bit of a sad story, to be honest with you. She'd been through some things, and, again, she's probably in her, you know, I don't know, early 20s, I think, is what she was. And so she'd been out there just trying to find herself. And I asked her what she was doing, and she really just said, "You know, getting away, and looking inside myself," and all of that kind of stuff. And I thought to myself, "Well, that's exactly what people generally do." When they're trying to find themselves, the first place they look is inside themselves. Because what we do, as a population, generally speaking, is we look inside ourselves for salvation and we look outside ourselves for affirmation. And that's how we figure that we're going to answer the question, "Who am I?" And we can figure it out, if we just look inside of ourselves long enough, we can figure out just who we are. And not only was this young lady doing that, but I think most people in the United States are probably doing the exact same thing. And by the way, I think the question, "Who am I?" is a really, really important question. I think it's a question that we have to get to understand. But it's not the first question in the sequence of questions that we really need to be asking. Before we ask the question, "Who am I?" there's a better question for us to ask, and it's this: "Whose am I?" You see, once we figure that out, it begins to shape, actually, who we actually are. In fact, you could just jot this down, this kind of point of what we're talking about: Whose we are shapes who we are. Whose we are actually shapes who we are. Now, let me see if I can bottom line this for you for just a quick second, and it's this: You are either yours or you're somebody else's. How's that for bottom lining it? You're either yours or you're somebody else's. And I'm pretty convinced that in the culture that we live in, in the country that we live in, that most people have already answered the question, "Whose am I?" by saying, "I'm my own." Now, I was reading a book, and this book was from years ago actually. It's called "Good Faith." It's by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. They're also the authors of "Unchristian," if you've ever heard of that book. But it's a really interesting book because what they do is they do a ton of research in the United States at large. And in their research, they found out a handful of different things. Here was the first. 84% of the people that they researched in the United States said, "Enjoying ourselves is the highest goal of life." Now, I want you to sit with that for just a second. "Enjoying ourselves is the highest goal of life." And then the follow-up was actually trying to get at the idea of what does enjoying yourself actually constitute? Like if enjoying yourself is the highest goal of life, then what does enjoying yourself actually look like or mean? Well, here's what they said. 86% answered this way. "Pursue the things you desire the most." That's what it means to enjoy ourselves. That's what the greatest priority of life is. "Pursue the things that you desire the most." So it shouldn't be really confusing to us that 91% of people that were researched actually said this: "To find yourself, you have to look within yourself." "To find yourself, you have to look within yourself." You see, that's why I'm convinced that this young lady on the plane from a number of years ago was not unlike just about everybody else everywhere because, generally speaking, most have already answered the question of whose they are. They are their own. And as a result, it shouldn't be surprising to us that the gratification of ourself is the highest priority that we have in life. In other words, everything revolves around us because what we're pursuing in the highest priority of life is ultimately us being able to say we've done what we wanted to do because we've answered the question, "Whose we are?" by saying, "We are our own." And if that's the case, it shouldn't surprise us that everybody's in pursuit of themselves. And by the way, it also shouldn't surprise you that they don't really care about yourself because it's their self that really has to be the priority. So yourself doesn't actually matter. So I can tell everybody, "This is what I am, this is what I'm about, this is what I want, and everybody else has to cater to that, why? Because my self is the highest goal of life. It's the highest priority of life. Yourself is not." Except for when somebody else's self is saying the same thing as myself is saying, then we've got a problem. This is the world that we live in, is it not? I mean, we look around and we see it all over the place, but what's interesting about this is that the timeless truths of the word of God stand in opposition to this kind of thinking. In fact, when Paul was writing his letter to the church at Corinth, he said something very direct and very succinct that I don't want us to miss. It's in 1 Corinthians 6. And I want you to listen carefully to what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 6, beginning in verse 19. "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." Now, we're gonna get to the context of what this statement actually means, but could I just ask you for just a second to sit with this truth and let the weight of it fall upon you? Listen carefully again. "You are not your own." "You are not your own." This is a strong statement. And when we let the weight of it fall upon us, we realize how profound it is. Because even though Paul was writing to believers in Corinth, he was writing to the church in Corinth, that statement by itself, it's true of all humanity. You are not your own. You see, from the very beginning of scripture to the very end of scripture, we're reminded over and over of this truth. That we are not the Creator, but we're the created. Which means we're not our own, right? All of humanity, we're not our own, because we are not the Creator, we're the created. In fact, in the very first book of the Bible, in the very first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1, it says this, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Every single one of us. God created humanity special, and then He created humanity with the capacity to be fruitful and to multiply. But it all comes from Him. All of it does. He is the one who has created everything. We are not the Creator, we are the created. And by the way, when you get to the very end of scripture, the end of the Revelation, Revelation 4 says this: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." See, in the very beginning in Genesis, we find out that God is the Creator of all things. And at the very end, we find out that God is the Creator of all things, and we're reminded that we are not the Creator, we are the created. And so all of humanity can stand under this statement that Paul makes when he says, "You are not your own," right? But it's specifically true about believers. And the reason it's specifically true about believers is even though what's true of humanity is that you're not the Creator, you're the created, here's what's true of believers: You're not the Buyer, you're the bought. You're not the Buyer, you're the bought. In fact, listen, again, what Paul writes in verse number 20. "You were bought at a price," right? He says, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." I saw a news report from Southern Colorado. It was the NBC affiliate in Southern Colorado. And there was this man who was there named Roland Hawkins. And he apparently liked biking, and he was gonna go on a bike tour. I'm not talking about just going, like leaving his house and going out and riding around the neighborhood and coming back. I'm talking about like a bike tour. It was like a three-week bike tour. You know, kind of like a biking vacation, if people wanna do that. I'd be really tired, right? But it's Colorado, and that's what they do. Eat granola and ride bikes, right? That's just kind of the deal. So this guy goes out on a biking tour, right? Leaves his house, goes out on a, like a, you know, two or three week, whatever it was, biking tour, comes back, and there are people living in his house. I was reading the story, I'm like, "What? Like, he left his house and there are people living in his house?" Yeah, the house he owned. The house that they'd been in for like all three weeks when they found that he had left, people moved into his house. And by the way, he was still paying the bills on the house that he owned and these people were just living in the house. And so he kinda went to the door and was like, "Hey! Hey, hi! Hi, I'm, uh... Hi, my house? I would like it if you would go to yours or whatever you do. Leave mine. This is my house." And they're like, "No, it's our house now." He's like, "No, nope, 'cause I paid for this house and I'm paying the bills at this house right now." So he calls the police, and the police are in a tough position because these people are saying, "No, it's our house," and he's saying, "No, it's our house," and they've got some fake documents, and he's got real documents, and they're like, "Well, this is actually a legal matter, so this is gonna have to go to the courts." 'Cause he was thinking it was gonna be easy enough to be like, I'll just call the police. "Hey, they're in my house, please tell them to leave." And they were like, "Well, we can't do that. They're, you know..." And I was like, "Oh, boy." So I'm reading the story, you know. And it took months. Months to get 'em out of the house. I was like, "Man..." And they... It's not their house. They're acting like it's their house. This guy owns the house, still paying the bills. And these people lived in the house and were like, "No, this is our house now." It seems ridiculous, doesn't it? It's a true story by the way. It's also how we act. We don't own the house, but we sure act like we do. Everything becomes about us. God's saying, "You know, I bought the house. I pay the bills. That's my house now." This is how we kind of function sometimes in our spiritual lives. And what Paul is saying here is he's reminding us that we have been bought at a price. Now, when he references the phrase "bought at a price," he's actually referencing the bondservant market that was common in his day and age. You could literally, you could sell yourself on the bondservant market. You could be sold, but you could also sell yourself. And someone purchases you, and now you work for them as master or employer. And Paul actually referred to himself that way. He said, "I'm a bondservant of Jesus Christ because He has purchased me with His own blood. That the Son of God has purchased my life with His own blood. And as a result, I am now a bondservant of Jesus Christ." Now what's remarkable is that Paul talks about what you get in being a bondservant of Jesus Christ, because you're not your own, you were bought at a price. That price being the precious blood of the perfect Son of God. And what do you get from that? Well, Paul actually gives us a couple of places where he talks about it. One is just one chapter over in 1 Corinthians 7. He's actually talking to those people who are still in a place of servanthood or bond service or slavery. And here's what he says. He says, "Were you a slave when you were called?" In other words, called by Jesus. "Don't let it trouble you. Although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord's freed person; similarly, the one who was free when when called is Christ's slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings." You see, what Paul's reminding us is that freedom actually comes to those, regardless of the position that you are in, when you come to faith in Jesus Christ, you now become somebody who is freed through being a slave of Christ. It's a really interesting paradox that we're now a servant, a bondservant of Christ, but that bond service to Christ is our freedom. It's a really beautiful and rich paradox that he gives us. But then he uses that same idea when he's talking in the book of Romans in chapter six, where it says this: "I'm using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you're now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you've been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." Listen to this. Listen to this. Paul says, "You're not your own; you were bought at a price." And for those who've been bought by the precious blood of Jesus and are now having been purchased by Him, He is our master, we are His bondservant, but here's what our bond service to Jesus gets us: Freedom, holiness, righteousness, and eternal life. This is what everyone's looking for, they're just looking in the wrong place. They think they can find it by looking inside of themselves instead of looking to the God who has made them and who has purchased them by His own blood. So this question, "Whose am I?" is a really, really important one, and it's the one that precedes the other questions. We need to answer the question, "Who am I?" We need to answer the question, "Why am I?" Those are good questions, and we might think about answering them in the next two weeks. But today, we need to answer this question, "Whose am I?" Because when we settle that question, it shapes who we are because whose we are shapes who we are. And the implications of this are huge. You see, many of us, we still live like, like we've taken over the house, like we bought the house, like we pay the bills, right? We know in our minds, maybe that's not the case, but we act and we live in such a way that it is the case. And it's really the same problem that they had in Corinth. Paul, the reason that he was dealing with them this way in Corinth is because of this: They knew this, but they didn't know this. Have you ever been in that spot before? It's like, "Yeah, I know that, but I don't know that," right? This is where Paul is trying to help garner our attention and their attention in the scripture itself. Think about it this way. This phrase, "Whose am I?" the implication to this question, it actually has implications, excuse me, for how we live our lives. In fact, if we look at a statement that Paul made in 1 Corinthians 6 where we began... Watch this. "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore." You see the implications? So Paul is making some really strong statements. "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." Therefore, this is going to affect the way you live. Therefore, there are some things that you need to do as a result of that. Because you're not your own and because you were bought at a price, that means that you're going to live a certain way. Let me give you a handful of reminders about what that is, starting with the very first one. You're not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body. This is what Paul says. Plain and simple right here in the text that we're talking about. "Therefore, honor God with your body." Now let me make sure that we understand the context here. Paul's having to deal with the Corinthians about their sexual immorality. There's a reason for that. He didn't just come in out of nowhere and go, "I'm gonna get on you guys about sexual immorality." That's not what he did. He was dealing with a group of people who were coming out of a paganism background. And the way in which they worshiped in their background had lots to do with sexual immorality with the various gods and goddesses that they would be exposed to. And they also had this kind of under lurking Greek-ish philosophy idea that suggested that the spirit is a great thing, a wonderful thing, but the body, not so much. So the body can be done with whatever, it doesn't really matter, because what's important is our spirit. By the way, there's a lot of people that still have that kind of idea today, you know? Well, in my heart, this is what I really believe, but this is how I'm living, right? I'm just gonna do whatever I want to do with the body that I've got. And Paul is having to help them understand, "No, no, no, no, no, no. You're not your own. And by you, I mean all of you. I mean every part of you. I mean body, mind, spirit, soul, everything that you want to call it, everything that you are has been purchased. You are not your own." And so Paul is having to correct them. And if you back up a few verses from where we were a moment ago in verse 19 and 20, you back up a few verses into verses 13 and 14, listen to Paul's correction. Paul says, "You say," and then he quotes them. Let me pause right here for just a second. The reason Paul's quoting them is because they wrote him letters. We don't have them still, but Paul, he would read their letters, and then he would write back to them, and often what he would do is he would quote them and then correct them. Like they were saying something that wasn't right, and he would quote what they said, and then he would correct them. That's what he's doing here. He says, "You say, 'Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.'" Paul goes, "The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also." Watch what Paul's doing here, by the way. Paul is saying, "You've got this statement, 'Food for the body and the body for food,' right? Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and the Lord's gonna destroy them both.'" In other words, I'm hungry, I have an appetite for food, therefore I feed myself. But that's no big deal. That's just part of my regular human appetites, right? And then they were taking that to mean, "Well, I've got sexual appetites, and so I need to just feed my sexual appetites. Just like I feed my hunger for food, I'm gonna feed my hunger for sex." And Paul goes, "Let me call a time out here. Everything about you, including your body, it's the Lord's. You're not your own; you were bought at a price. So you need to honor God with your body because, ultimately, the body that you have is being redeemed, and like the Lord Jesus, the body that you have will be resurrected." So Paul says, "Everything about you needs to be submitted to the Lord, and you're to honor the Lord with your body," Why? Because you're not your own; you were bought at a price. That means all of you is all of His. And so you're to honor God with your body. This is a word for the culture that we live in today. Because too often, listen, I'm not concerned as much about the the lost culture of the world that we live in. I'm concerned about the culture of the church of Jesus Christ. People who say that they follow after Jesus, who know Jesus, who love Jesus, and who can talk a good game, but are still involving themselves in all kinds of sexual immorality with their bodies, involving themselves with all kinds of sexual immorality with their minds with pornography. This should not be because we haven't gotten back to asking the question, "Whose am I?" Are you your own or are you God's? And if you are God's, there are implications for how that's supposed to look. Because you're not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. But, you know, we could actually fill in application of this all down the line. Honor God with... Fill in the blank. Honor God with your decisions. If you're not your own and you were bought at a price, you should honor God with your decisions. You know, the Prophet Jeremiah was very interesting because there was a chapter in the book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah 10, among other chapters in Jeremiah, where God is talking about idolatry. And in that, he talks about idolatry, but then Jeremiah's responding with a prayer. Listen to Jeremiah's words in chapter 10, verse 23. "Lord, I know that people's lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their own steps." You see, what Jeremiah recognized is, first of all, that he was created, not the Creator, and therefore the very life that he had was not his own. And because his life was not his own, that meant that he would submit the direction of his life and the steps of his life to the Lord Himself. You see, even our decisions need to be submitted to God. Here's why. Because we're not our own; we were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your decisions. 

Listen to Jeremiah's words in chapter 10, verse 23. "Lord, I know that people's lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their own steps." You see, what Jeremiah recognized is, first of all, that he was created, not the Creator, and therefore the very life that he had was not his own. And because his life was not his own, that meant that he would submit the direction of his life and the steps of his life to the Lord Himself. You see, even our decisions need to be submitted to God. Here's why. Because we're not our own; we were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your decisions. Sometimes we have idols that creep into our lives. I'm not talking about the kind made of wood or gold or silver that we bow down to, but the ones that are made like of, you know, money, and fame, and success, and lust, and power, all of those kind, you know? Which really could be summarized in the idol of self. It really just goes back to the same idea of the idolatry of self. Instead of making decisions that honor God in everything that we are and everything that we do. You see, as the people of Jesus, we should be a far cry from "enjoying ourselves is the highest priority in life." That's actually not. Enjoying God and serving God is the highest priority in life for those of us who call on His name. So let me ask you a question. Do you make room for God in your decision making? Or do you just say, "You know what, this is my house now. This is my house now. I own this place. I am the captain now." Right? That's kind of how we think, right? It's mine now. And so in the relationships that you get yourself involved in, the people that you're dating, the people that you're running around wit, do you let God get involved in those decisions? In how you parent, do you let God get involved in those decisions? In your choice of career, do you let God get involved in those decisions? Because we need to honor God with our decisions, why? Because we're not our own; we were bought at a price. I had a conversation, a bunch of years ago, with a lady that was old enough to be my mom, maybe even slightly older than my mom. I've got a really young mom. Hope she's watching. But, like, she's old enough to be my mom. Wonderful godly woman. And I had great respect for her maturity, her godliness. She wasn't a part of our church. She's part of another church. And she loved me. And I don't know what happened or all the whys or whatever, but she loved me, you know? And that makes her my wife, my mom, maybe a couple of other people. Right? She loved me. And I was grateful for that. She confide in me. And she would confide in me that some struggles that were happening in her own congregation. And there were struggles around spiritual abuse and things that were happening along that line. And I would listen, and I would pray with her, and I would love her, and encourage her. And she would just go on and on about, you know, watching my messages, and dah dah dah dah, and all this stuff. And I was just like, "Wow." And she says to me one time, she says, "Pastor Jerry, I bet you're wondering something." And I was like, "What's that?" And I was wondering this, by the way. She said, "I bet you're wondering, 'If you love me so much and you're having so many problems in the place where you are, why don't I just come to your church?'" And in my head I'm going, "That's what I'm saying. What are you doing?" Right? I didn't say that; I just listened. Sometimes, if you don't talk and you just listen, you look smarter. It's just a thing. You're welcome. Try it. Please. Like some of you need to, for real. Try it. Yup. Thank you. I'll be here another 10 minutes. She looked at me and she said, "I'll tell you why I haven't. Because I brought this to the Lord and He hasn't released me." My respect, I thought, couldn't go up any higher for this woman, and yet it did. Because I was thinking to myself, "That's what we need." We need people who think that way. Who take their lives, and their decisions, and their heartbreaks, and everything, and they bring them to the Lord, and they let the Lord shape them in that regard. And what this was, was a reminder that this woman, she knew, "My life is not my own; I was bought at a price. Therefore, I'm gonna honor God with my decisions." It's a great reminder for all of us. We're not our own; we're bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body, honor God with your decisions, honor God with your time. Listen to how the Psalmist phrased this in Psalm 90. He said, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Do you know what the Psalmist realized when he said that? When he said, "Teach us to number our days," he's talking to God, first and foremost, and he's acknowledging that God is the one who has our days numbered. That this is God's, it's not us. We don't have control over all that. Everybody's trying to, you know, find the ability to live forever. Everybody's trying to stay young for their whole lives. I just got a quick, quick news flash. Not gonna work. Not gonna work. Unless Jesus comes, you're going to die. And I know that's like, "Jerry, man, I came here to be, you know, make me happy." My job is to just tell you the truth. Like, the statistics are still the same. One out of every one is going to die. Still the same, right? Unless Jesus returns. And I pray He does. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. But we don't have control over all of that. The Lord has our days. And the psalmists realize that the Lord has our days. Teach us to number our days, teach us to count our days, that we may have a heart of wisdom, why? Because, ultimately, the reason that we've been given the life we have is to honor God. And instead, so many times, we've wasted them. Talk to moms and dads who lost sight of the priority of God and God's ownership of their lives, and instead what they did is they just invested all their money and all their time in making their kids happy, doing whatever their kids wanted to do, and never actually brought them to the person of Jesus and shared with him the life of God in the body of Christ, and shared with her the life of God in the body of Christ. That didn't happen. Talk to them now. Because I have talked to them, and here's what they would say to you. "Please don't waste that time because you don't know how long you have. Please don't waste that time. Honor the Lord with your time." Or maybe you're nearing retirement, or you've recently retired, or been retired for a little while, or maybe you're an empty nester like me and Edie are. It's awesome, by the way. It's fantastic. I love my family. I love them, I love them. I'd do anything for them. I also love my wife. And my house. And now, like, we have some extra time? Yeah, we got a little bit of extra time, which is awesome, right, super cool. But the responsibility of those of us who are in that season of life is to be able to say, "Hey Lord, my life's not my own. It's Yours." What do You want from me? What do You want for us to do? What do You want in this season? What does it look like? Like if you looked at your schedule, does your schedule say, "Lord, I am Yours," or does it say, "Lord, I am mine." Now, I'm not suggesting you're here sitting in a seat like this every second of every... Like, I'm not trying to be weird, right? But you kind of understand, right, that we're... Sometimes, we're just doing everything on our own. I am the one who owns the house, so to speak. But if you're not your own and you were bought at a price, you honor God with your time. You honor God with your body. You honor God with your decisions. You honor God with your assets. This is what it looks like not to be your own. A couple of chapters earlier in 1 Corinthians, Paul said this to the Corinthian church. He said, "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" Listen carefully. What do you have that you did not receive? Answer, nothing. What Paul is talking about here is he was talking, specifically in that context, about the giftedness that the people of God had in Corinth. And he said, "You've got all this giftedness, but do you know where your giftedness came from?" By the way, it's tied up in the word gift. It was given to you, right? But everything we have has come from Him. Everything. The gifts that he's given us, they're not for us. They're not for me. They're for all of us. Whatever spiritual gifts that have been given to you, if that's service, if that's hospitality, if that's administered, whatever it is, it's not been given just for you. It's been given for the purpose of the beauty of the body of Christ. So you're just a trustee; you're not the owner. Whatever skillsets you have, they've been given to you. Whatever influence you have, it's been given to you. Whatever possessions that you have, they've been given to you. And you're like, "Wait just a second, Jerry. I've worked hard for my stuff." And I don't disagree. You probably have worked really hard, and that's a wonderful thing. You're like, "Well, I'm a self-made man," or, "I'm a self-made woman." There's no such thing as that. We've already established you are not the Creator, you are the created, right? "Well, yeah, but I mean, that was He created. He created the first human beings, but then after that, you know, I'm self-made, you know. My parents made me. God didn't make me." Okay, well, who made them? Now keep backing up and this is what you'll run into. God is the Creator. You are not the Creator. We're the created. Everything we have is a gift of grace from Him, including our stuff, including our gifts, including our influence, including our skill sets. We are trustees. God is the owner. What if we started living that way? We would live as people of generosity. That's what we would do. We'd live as people of generosity. And what we wouldn't be caught up in is we wouldn't be caught so much up in what percentage we're giving. We'd be caught up in the glory of who God is and the generosity that we want to show as a result of that. Because that's what the New Testament teaches us to do, is to be a people of generosity. And just as a heads up, just so you know this, in case you're wondering, you can't outgive God. You should try, and fail, and see how much you love it. It's awesome. You cannot outgive God. God so love the world that He...

- [Congregation] He gave.

- He gave. This is the nature of what God is. God is a giver, and so much so that He gave an indescribable gift of His Son for us. You can't outgive Him. You see, these are the implications of this text. You're not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, there's a different way to live. We honor God with everything that we are, with everything that we have, with everything that we do. You see, when we settle this question of "Whose we are?" we don't get so turned around by obedience. When you've settled the question of "Whose you are?" obedience isn't as big an issue for you anymore. For some of you that struggle with obeying the Lord, it's probably because you haven't settled the question. And the question is, "Whose are you?" Because if you're your own, do your own thing. See where it gets you. But if you're His, it makes it pretty easy. Everything I am, everything I have, everything I do, it's Yours, Lord. You're like, "Yeah, but, yeah. And he just wants like a portion of our stuff, right?" No, it's all His. It's all His. We give a portion of it, but it's all His. Because sometimes we have this really wrong idea that all this stuff is ours, God asks us to give Him a small percentage of that, and then all the rest is for us to do with whatever we wanna do. Instead of understanding we're not our own; we were bought at a price, which means everything we have is God's and he gets to determine whatever it is we do with whatever it is we have, however it is he chooses to do it. Some of you're like, "That's a different way of thinking." That's a Bible way of thinking. That's what the Spirit is leading us to be able to think because that's the model that Jesus gave for us. Jesus modeled a life that was God's. That's what He modeled for us, a life that was God's. In fact, Paul actually said it in 1 Corinthians in the end of chapter number three. Listen to how he finishes it. He says, "You are Christ's, and Christ is God's." It's this beautiful picture of having Jesus whose modeled for us what it means to have a life fully surrendered to God and to say, "My life is Yours." And now, we are Christ's. And what Jesus has done is He has bought us and He has purchased for us an opportunity to live like Him, in complete surrender and dependence on God, where we become now His bondservant. But remember this. What it means to be His bondservant is it means freedom, righteousness, and life. What everybody's searching for but looking for in all the wrong places. Friends, whose you are shapes who you are. Settle that question. Now here's the thing. Some of you may never have settled that question, and you've thought to yourself as you're listening to this, the Spirit of God is kind of prodding your heart and saying, "You know what? I have just been about me. I've never really just settled this issue and sold myself in surrender to the Lord Jesus. I must be my own." Yes, but listen. It's actually worse than that. Because there's an enemy who desires your demise, and he's perfectly content with you believing that you're your own when in fact, you're His. And he's fine with you believing that you're your own, but you're actually His. But God sent His own Son to purchase you, to free you from the slavery of sin, and give you the freedom of servitude to God with righteousness and holiness and life. And He's done that by the gift of His Son who died in your place for your sin to satisfy the justice of God against sin. And who rose from the grave, conquering sin, hell, and death on our behalf. So that by faith in Him, we can be reconciled to the Father, be adopted into the family. Become not just a servant, but also a son. There's all these pictures of who we are. We're sons and daughters, we're servants. But it's all about our freedom. Being freed from the clutches and the guilt and the condemnation of sin. And being freed to walk in righteousness and holiness and life. To be accepted in the beloved. To find purpose and meaning and joy. All the things that everybody's looking for, but they keep staring at their belly button, trying to find! When God has said, "It's my Son whose you are shapes who you are and who you will become." Choose wisely. Let's bow our heads together. Let's bow our heads. If you're here and you have yet to receive Jesus, to turn from trusting in yourself, to turn from trusting in you being your own boss and guide and lord and savior, then maybe right where you're seated, you could simply pray to receive Jesus, to turn from your sin and put your faith in Him. And maybe right where you're seated, you wanna pray something like this. And you just need to mean this in your own heart. There's no magic in the words, but maybe pray this in your heart. Lord Jesus, I know that I've sinned and I can't save myself. I know that I'm not the one that can save me. I confess that only You can. And that You are true life. You are the way. You are the truth. Jesus, I believe You died for my sin and You rose from the grave, conquering it. And I confess that You are Lord and I'm not. And I surrender my life to You. With our heads bowed and eyes closed, maybe you just prayed that and you meant it with all of your heart. And if so, I thank God for that. You've seen somebody baptized today that came to that same place. So many of us in this room have come to that same place at some point in our life. But if that's what you just did, then I'm gonna ask you to do something after I pray and say amen and we're all leaving. I wanna ask you to do something. I want you to walk the opposite direction of everybody else. There's gonna be some men and women that are making their way here in a moment down front. They're just gonna be standing down here, right at the front of this worship center. And what I would ask of you is just to come and take one of them by the hand and just say, "You know what? I just prayed and received Jesus as my Lord and Savior with all the faith that I knew how. And what they're gonna do is they're gonna take a moment and pray for you and send you home with something that's gonna encourage you in your faith. And I hope you'll do it, 'cause there's no more important decision you'll ever make. And maybe it is that you're here and you have yet to really settle this issue. Even though you've come to faith in Jesus Christ and you really have been transformed by Jesus, you really haven't settled this issue in your heart. And you know, but you don't know. And there's so many areas of your life maybe where you're not living like you're His, but instead you're living like you're your own. Maybe you need to take a few moments and pray. You could stay seated in where you are. You could come up and take somebody by the hand and be able to pray as well. Whatever your need is, I pray that you'll do it. So Father, I come before You now in the name of Jesus, thanking You for the kindness that You have shown to us by speaking to us by Your Spirit. I know that You have the power by Your own word to speak deeply into the hearts of men and women and boys and girls. And it's not because of eloquence of speech or funny stories or cool phrases. It's because of the power of Your own Spirit to transform a life. And Father, I pray that You would do that very work in people's hearts in these moments. For those that need to trust You as Lord and Savior, would You give them the courage and the grace to come and take one of these men or women by the hand and be prayed for and be encouraged to really make that step? Lord, for those of us that are Your children already, who have confessed You as Lord, I pray that You would show us areas in our hearts maybe where we have not. We have not acted like we knew that You own the house. So Lord, would You do Your good work by Your own Spirit for Your own glory and for our good. I ask now in Jesus' name. Amen.

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