Our Rescued Identity

Intro

INTRODUCTION
What if you discovered that your identity is wrapped up in the wrong "daddy"; and it may cost you your life? There are certain changes you can make to adjust your course. Find out what it might mean for you to have God as your true "Daddy".

Story

Remember our movie clip (watch it again if you need a refresher)? Coach Boone drew the line in the sand didn’t he? Gerry had a choice to make. Either he keeps his old daddy and not play football for T.C. Williams High School or he changes his daddy and plays. Fortunately for him, and the whole team, he made the right decision. What ends up happening is that they go to Gettysburg for a week of summer football camp, and in that time, Gerry really begins to understand what a shift in daddies means. There is a leadership crisis and eventually the whole team begins to pull together. The ultimate result is that the newly constituted team of white and black players unifying around a purpose under the direction of a new daddy began winning game after game. Eventually they took it all; they won the Virginia state football championship! But this particular scene begs the question, “How do we switch daddies?” Gerry recognized that it was in his own best interest to swallow his pride and submit to his Coach’s authority. Maybe a similar situation exists for you. Maybe you have discovered the unsettling truth that Satan is your spiritual daddy. Or, like Gerry, perhaps you have become aware that there are some big changes you need to make. That will be the focus in this lesson.

 

Bible intro

Nicodemus, a religious leader highly regarded by his colleagues, cautiously approached Jesus after sundown. His secret visit to this controversial rabbi actually put him at great risk. Jesus’ teachings were causing no small raucous among the Pharisees and other religious leaders. To be seen with Jesus would be like fraternizing with the enemy. Despite the Pharisees’ best attempts to discredit this son of a lowly carpenter, Jesus popularity among the people only grew. Consequently, even Nicodemus had to admit that Jesus was unique and had a way with turning people back to God in a way that neither he nor his religious leader friends could not. He had seen it first-hand while watching Jesus from a safe distance. It was like life flowed out of him. Nicodemus couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but whatever it was he was compelled to find out. That’s what drove him to venture out amid such danger. With that as a backdrop, go ahead and read the actual conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3. See if you can figure out what Nicodemus was searching for that he found in Jesus. 

Personal Questions
1. On a 3x5 card, or on a half sheet of paper from your journal, describe yourself using no more than 10 words. After you have done that, review your list. How do these descriptor words reveal your identity?
2. Nicodemus was a man who had a lot going for him. By the world’s standards, he was educated, wealthy, and successful. In what ways are you able to relate to this first-century Pharisee? Based upon John 3:1-21, do you believe Nicodemus wrapped his identity around his worldly successes? Why or why not?
3. It has already been mentioned that Nicodemus risked much by seeking a private audience with Jesus. What are some of the risks you might face if you align yourself with Jesus? Are those risks worth switching daddies? Why or why not?
4. First, write down a list of the top ten most important things to you. These are things that are the absolute most important things to you. Don’t read on until you’ve done this step. Done? Okay, now, make a similar list for what you think are the top ten most important things for Jesus. What does this exercise reveal to you about following what Jesus taught and making God your daddy? How do your two lists compare?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, I believe your words to Nicodemus – that I have to be born again spiritually to see you in your kingdom. I know that salvation from sin can only come through a total rebirth through the Holy Spirit. Send that Spirit into my life. I am choosing this day to align myself with you. Give me the grace to represent you well to all who know me. Thank you! Amen.

411

Repent - to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin. It comes from the Greek meaning to turn in one’s heart toward God. It could literally be understood as an "about face"Turning from sin and turning toward God.

 

Stories

I lived for Friday nights! School was out for the weekend. Time with friends. Mischievousness. Cigars, alcohol; both in moderate consumption I might add. It was a chance to get away from parents, stay up late, and escape. In my high school, you could almost hear the Friday night excitement buzz through the hallways. Like it was yesterday, I still remember thinking to myself: "This is LIFE!". But was it? I attended church every week throughout my life. Yeah, that was fun. The excitement level of church, or church related events, barely registered a blip on my fun meter. As clearly as I remember my 16th birthday party, I mockingly told God, "I can't commit to following you because that will mean I have to give up all my fun." Sound familiar? I couldn't put God and fun in the same sentence! Allow me to pass along something I've learned since then. I could not have been more dead wrong. God does not rob us of joy; he is the great joy-giver. You see I mistook fun for joy, but I slowly came to learn that the two are not one and the same. Joy is richer, deeper, cleaner, and purer than superficial fun. Joy is unexplained satisfaction. Joy moves one where fun tickles the toes. Eventually, I grew weary of having my toes tickled. I wanted something more. I desired God, the only reality. The God who blows the hinges off secured doors with his exhale, whose voice crumbles prison cells to ruble. Once I thought I had to give something up to get God. Now, I wouldn't give God up for anything. He is more valuable to me than Friday nights, wild and "free". Since making him my Daddy, I have lost nothing and gained everything. That's my story? What's yours? Email me at brian.hershey@me.com. I would love to hear from you.

Others Stories:

If you have ever been on a Club Beyond/Malachi Service Project to the Czech Republic or Slovakia, you will appreciate the story of John Huss. Read about Saint Barbara the Brave Martyr . Read about Saint Mary of Egypt who had been a sinner.
 

Rescued Identity 1

Rescued Identity 2

Rescued Identity 3

Rescued Identity 4

Rescued Identity 5

Scripture

1 John 5:11-13 – The apostle John gives us a clear indication of where eternal life can be found and who has it.

Romans 10:9-10 – Paul summarizes the message he is proclaiming and in so doing help us to know how we switch identities.

Acts 2:37-38 – Peter also tells us what we must do to switch daddies.

John 6:28-29 – Jesus tells his listeners the only work that God requires. His answer here gives us insight into one of the things we must do to switch identities.

Matthew 16:24-25 – Jesus tells his disciples what it means to switch identities.

Video

Check out this inspiring video on persevering no matter how many times you have failed in life. A good reminder of how important it is to focus on our rescued identity.

Here is a fantastic video made specifically for young women. That doesn't mean the message won't apply to you guys too. As you watch it, listen to what your heart and mind say in reaction and consider how that matches up with what the Lord says about you. Ask him for strength and wisdom to eradicate the lies and highlight the truth. You are valuable and loved. 

Life Questions
1. Describe a time when someone really made you angry. How did you handle this situation? Did you do anything you regret or hurt anybody in the process? If so, go back to that person and sincerely apologize. What makes it hard to follow through with these types of things?
2. Jesus wants you to make God your daddy. Then live your life in such a way that reflects your papa. Make him proud of you. (Thought for the Day: The hardest thing you will ever do in this life is to live for Jesus. The most rewarding life that you will ever live will be a life lived for Jesus. Are you willing to take the risk for the reward?)
3. Ask God to reveal to you one specific way you do not represent him well. Write down what you hear him say. Then, ask God for the grace and strength to image him well to those around you.
Reflect

The next time John mentions Nicodemus (7:51) we find him defending Jesus! Here’s the situation —the Pharisees are gathered together in one of their little “holy huddles” trying to figure out what to do with Jesus. They are as mad as hornets. They want to capture the man, but no one, including the temple guards, could even lay a hand on him. The room is filled with tension. Those who even appear to support Jesus are ridiculed and belittled. Despite the decidedly hostile audience, Nicodemus speaks up. In fact, it is widely believed that Nicodemus went on to become a passionate follower of Jesus (John 19:39). With that in mind, take a moment to consider the risks Nicodemus assumed by aligning himself with Jesus. What fundamental changes do you think he underwent as a result of Jesus words to him on that first visit? How did that conversation change his life? Now, turn the table to yourself. Has Jesus changed your life? If so, how? If not, then how do you know you’ve been “born again?”

Lol