Today my pastor gave an outstanding sermon on finding our identity in Christ. He based his sermon on the passage of four definitive miracles found in the gospel of Mark 4:35-5:43.
This sermon reminded me of a conversation I had with a Mormon a few years back. A Mormon woman who is a professor at a prestigious university in the States told me that she is “Mormon doctrine”. When I asked her if she’d do a debate with me about this on radio she declined saying all I needed to know is that she could be defined in this “Mormon doctrine”.
The key here is who we make our identification with. When we identify ourselves we have a tendency to label ourselves as a mom, dad, single person, husband, wife, doctor, teacher, policeman, engineer, attorney, etc. While these things are all admirable, they don’t define us as individuals.
Let’s go back to when Jesus was having that famous conversation with His disciples. He asked Peter in Matthew 16:15; “Who do you say that I am?” Remember Peter’s response? “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” What better way to make an identification of Jesus other than declaring Him the Messiah?
In turn, our identification isn’t what we do, but who we are. We are not rules and regulations that have been written down on a piece of paper. We are not a “restored gospel” anymore than we can morph ourselves into a dog. Can the doctrines of the Mormon Church come to your aid in the midst of a storm as Jesus did for the apostles in Mark 4:37-41? And I’m not talking about the Church’s welfare system. But can they sustain you spiritually during the storms in your life?
“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
If it’s the Church you’re looking to for protection and guidance then you are not a Christian. A Christian goes to Jesus for the peace they need during a storm. They fall at His feet to have Him cast out the demons they fight with day in and day out. Christians know they can’t fight the inner struggles without Him, no matter how big or small they may be.
Mark 5:2-6, 12-15;
“And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him…And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. 14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.”
They bypass all others for help because they know Jesus is God incarnate and can perform miracles as He did for Jarius and his young daughter.
Mark 5:21-23. 35-43;
“And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. 22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live…While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. 41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.”
They run to Him for healing when fighting a debilitating disease as the woman did who was hemorrhaging for twelve years. Just to touch the hem of His cloak…
Mark 5:24-34; “And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. 25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”
Let me tell you something, if you don’t go to Him in the deepest, darkest times of your life you’re in a boatload of trouble. Miracles don’t just take place on the outside where everyone can see. Sometimes those miracles take place inside of your heart as it did for the disciples while out on their own boatload of troubles. The main problem was not understanding at first whom they had on board with them.
Maybe they thought He was a prophet or just a good guy who loved God and knew scripture. It’s obvious from the passage in Mark they didn’t realize that God Himself was on that boat. What they soon realized is that it had to be God. Only He can control the air, water and storms. Only the creator of those things can control them.
The hemorrhaging woman, the rich leader Jarius, and even the crazy guy knew the only way they’d find relief for the pain is through Him. They all had one thing in common and that was to make sure they were totally and unabashedly devoted to Him. They knew whom to call on and where to place their faith. Oswald Chambers said this about our identity with Jesus (Feb. 13);
“If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. God may say whatever He wants, but I just don’t hear Him…If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times. At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things—things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God. Have you heard God’s voice today?”
Ask yourself; what does His identity mean to you? When there’s evil around you, who do you run to, the Church or Jesus? When there’s disease in your body on whom do you call for a cure? Where my friend is your devotion?
As my pastor said today “You need a God for the calamities in your life. We’re lost in our own identity but are found in His.”
I can debate and know all there is to know about Mormonism but I have a confession. My greatest source of joy comes in witnessing a Mormon when they come to know the Lord of Hosts. I pray that if you’re a Mormon you will open your bible and look to Him who can save you today.
With Love in Christ;
Jude 1:24-25; “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
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