Who Am I Sermon
A. In the very familiar story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32, Jesus made a very interesting statement when He said that, having wasted his inheritance, the young man “came to himself” (Luke 15:17) and decided to go back home.
B. The Prodigal Son changed his course of action for the better when he changed his thinking about himself – that is, when he learned to see the truth about who he really was.
C. The question “Who am I?” is a very important question for every human being.
1. It is difficult to overestimate how powerfully we are affected by the way we think about ourselves: our self-concept, our sense of personal identity.
2. If we are to have any hope of a quality relationship with God – and hence a quality life – we are going to have to answer the question “Who am I?” in a way that is true to reality.
D. If we are serious about the question of who we really are, the place to begin is the beginning: we must come to grips with the fact that we are nothing less than God-created beings, made in His own image!
A. THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY
1. Genesis 1:27
a. God is a personal being – and so are we.
b. We are not merely things, or even animals – we are persons.
c. The difference between us and the animals is not merely quantitative – it is qualitative.
1) We do not merely have more cells than an animal, nor are we merely a more complex organism – we are of a different order of being altogether.
2) The difference between a human being and other beings in the world is vitally important.
3) To murder a human being, for example, is a fundamentally different act than to take the life of an animal.
a) Genesis 9:5-6 b) This, incidentally, is why abortion is so wrong – it is the illicit taking of human life.
d. It is important to note also that God made us male and female – we are not just generic persons, we are men and women.
e. It is an astonishing thing, really, to contemplate that God has made us to be persons like Himself with whom He can communicate and have fellowship.
2. Since we have been created in God’s own image as personal beings, the central concern of our existence is our relationship to the God who created us – Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
B. THE QUESTION OF PERSONAL WORTH
1. To say that we are persons created in God’s image is to say that we have personal worth.
a. We are truly worth more than any of the lower creatures
b. Jesus said, Matthew 6:26
2. But as equal bearers of the divine image, no person is worth any more or less than another!
a. Every human has a deep need for two things:
1) Security: the confidence that we are unconditionally loved and appreciated.
2) Significance: the confidence that we matter, that what we do counts for something good, that our lives are being spent in truly worthwhile endeavors.
b. The truth is, having been created in God’s image each of us has an equally full opportunity for both security and significance.
1) Security: Romans 5:8
2) Significance: 1 Corinthians 15:58
c. We need to feed our minds on the steadfastness of God’s love for us.
1) God’s love for who I am as His created child can be counted on.
2) This does not mean God will not punish me if I persist in sin.
3) It does mean that God will never quit loving me – He will be there waiting for me as long as life lasts.
3. But here is another amazing thing: although each person has equal worth as a person, each person is uniquely significant!
a. Equality does not mean sameness.
b. A dollar bill and a silver dollar are worth exactly the same value – yet they are not the same thing.
c. In the human race, God has created a wonderful blend of equality and uniqueness.
1) No two people are exactly alike.
2) “Strengths” imply corresponding “weaknesses” – and each person has a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses.
3) We never seem to be satisfied with what God has given us as individuals – and we waste a great deal of time wishing for someone else’s unique combination of qualities – 1 Corinthians 12:15-18.
4) I need to be thankful for who I am.
5) As long as I am in this world, I need always to be looking for the unique contribution that I personally can make.
d. God cares equally and deeply about every detail of every person He has ever created! – Luke 12:7
4. Our value as a person is an intrinsic value – it is inherent in what we are.
a. It will do us good to keep focused on what we are worth as persons.
b. The “internal gyroscope” of eternal worth as God’s creature is vastly better than the ever-changing” social mirror” on which we sometimes base our self-concept
C. THE QUESTION OF RESPONSIBILITY
1. In thinking about who we are as persons, we need to think soberly about ourselves – Romans 12:3
2. As persons, in God’s own image, we are “free moral agents.”
a. It is an awesome responsibility to be endowed with freedom of the will.
b. We have been given the “ability to respond” – we are accountable for how we respond to God.
c. Hebrews 4:13
d. Nothing I can do can lower my value, but what I do may misapply my value.
e. My eternal destiny depends on what choices I make about myself as a person created in God’s image.
3. The ultimate question is: what am I doing with myself, the person God made me to be?
A. Augustine said: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts find no rest until they rest in Thee.”
B. We were made individually for fellowship with God.
C. God wants each of us to be all He created us to be!
D. When we have done our profoundest thinking about who we are and what we are worth, it is not likely that we will improve on the song we learned as children: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”