Looking ahead to the New Year….there will be an estimated 10 million cases of identity theft in 2013. That equals 27,000 thefts of people’s identity every day and one every three seconds in the United States.
Ike Butterworth said today (Sunday) it’s sad that we will all be more at risk that some stranger will steal our credit cards or other sources of identity and use them to empty our bank accounts and leave “you and me to pick up the tab.”
However, Butterworth further said the worst kind of identity theft is that our identity with Christ may be stolen.
Dr. Butterworth said that “we are not nearly as careful with our identity in Christ….we sometimes give it away.”
He said the two greatest risks for us losing our “identity with Christ” are what the Scriptures refer to as legalism and license.
One way of describing the legalism which can result in the theft of one’s identity with Christ is through the following of cold rituals without feeling which can lead to a dead religion. He warned that it’s not good to be known more what one is against than what one is for.
Austere religiosity can result in a form of spiritual identity theft. If church just becomes one more organization one attends there is a risk there will be no “transformative power” which links one to Christ.
The other threat to our identity with Christ is license, according to the Scripture. This can include greed, lust, anger, deceit filthy language or other acts of self-indulgence or any other deviation from the rules of Christ, according to the book of Colossians.
Dr. Butterworth concluded his sermon by saying, “When Jesus died on the cross he took away the penalty for the times we have sinned. The cross gave us a new identity in Christ.”
According to Dr. Butterworth, the book of Colossians tells us that we died with Christ, we are raised from the dead with Christ……and we are loved by Christ.
Everyone who believes in Christ will have a new self and a new identity given to them by God, the Creator.
Anyone with questions regarding this message or Scriptures may e-mail Dr. Butterworth at firstname.lastname@example.org. He may be called at 940-767-2547.
Dr. Butterworth is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Wichita Falls, Texas.
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