Identity In Christ
An audio recording of the sermon is unavailable for this day due to technical issues with the sound system. The following are subjective summary notes taken manually during delivery of the sermon.
Sermon introductory story: The story comes from the 1980's and relates to a visit to a care home for the elderly, by the prime minister of the day, Margaret Thatcher. As she progressed from room to room she stopped to ask an elderly lady "Do you know who I am ?". The lady replied with words to the effect, "If I were you I would ask the nurse, she usually knows who people are".
The bible readings included a passage from Paul's letter to the Galatians chapter 2. This letter is his earliest /oldest on record. Most of the New Testament is made up of letters with a specific purpose, which speak to us today still with the word of authority from God. At that time the letters spoke to those who were now with a dual identity - Jew, and now Christian as followers of Jesus became the first Christians.
In church we should let the word soak into us as water to a dry sponge.
The Jewish identity was difficult for Jews to leave behind through fear of change. Some of their laws and traditions were still being observed. Paul message in his letters taught that their lives were not justified by laws, but through faith in Christ.
What is our identity today, are we like Paul or Barnabas ? Do we look in the mirror and see what God sees ? It is by faith and not works (actions) we gain entry to heaven. Paul and Barnabas were early evangelical travelling companions but eventually fell out over law versus faith, and who to take on their missionary journeys.