THE BIG IDEA:
When we put our faith in Christ, we receive a new identity.
We look for our value in our own abilities or accomplishments. We are driven to continue to perform so that we can feel that we have worth. Without Christ, we will be separated from God and on our own to find our acceptance, security, and significance.
If we identify with what Christ has done for us and what he says about us, we will be secure in our identity.
A caterpillar is small and a little creepy. But after it transforms into a butterfly, it is a beautiful creature that looks very little like it’s old self. When we become Christians, we, too, go through a sort of metamorphosis. We go from enemies of God to children of the King. We become precious to the creator of the universe. We are given a new nature and a Holy Spirit within us that guides us and helps us grow. We are a new creature.
- What I want the group to know and understand: When we place our faith in Christ and are born again, we receive a new identity as a child of God because of what Christ has done. We will know who we are now that we are “in Christ.”
- What I want the group to experience: Greater security and confidence from knowing who we are in Christ. Greater freedom because we don’t have to perform to others’ expectations or standards in order to be liked, accepted, or known.
- How I want the group to respond: By resting in our identity in Christ. Then we will overflow with more and more of the character of Christ. Knowing we are holy, chosen, and dearly loved, we will act more like that.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
As Christians, our true value comes from who we are in Christ, rather than from what we can do for him. Finding our value in our identity in Christ gives us freedom to: love more because we won’t be afraid of rejection, to risk more because we aren’t afraid of failure, and to live with less fear of what others think of us.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leader like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
Imagine you’re walking down the street and you find a lottery ticket on the ground. This is the powerball jackpot winning ticket. You are instantly a millionaire! How would this change your life? What would happen if when you picked up the ticket you didn’t know it was real, so you never redeemed it?
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that if anyone is in Christ they are a new person – the old is gone and the new is come. They have a whole new identity and that is far better than winning the lottery! But sometimes we don’t know what is true about us. Today we are going to look at some of the things God says about the new you.
* 1. Read Ephesians 2:1-3.
What does this passage say about what is true of us before we know Christ? In what way can you relate to this?
Dead in our sin. Following the ways of the world, following the ruler of the world, or Satan. Disobedient as the spirit of the world worked in us. Objects of wrath. (Allow the group to discuss various personal answers to the second part of the question.)
2. Read Ephesians 2:4-10. What does this passage say happens to us after we come to know Christ?
He raised us up and seated us with Christ. He saved us out of his great love for us and to show us the riches of his grace. We only have to place our trust in Christ; He has done the rest as a gift, not because of anything we have done.
3. In verse 10, how does God describe us and his purpose for us?
God describes us as his workmanship (masterpiece), and he designed each of us for specific works to carry out.
4. What does it mean to you that God thinks of you as a masterpiece?
Various answers will be given. Talk about how this is true of us when we become a Christian – not just when we live perfect Christian lives. Our value to God is not in how little we sin or how much we go to church, but in the fact that we are His children and that Jesus has forgiven our sins.
5. Read Ezekiel 36:25-27.What are some changes that happen when we come to know God?
We move from being spiritually unclean to clean. We move from worshiping idols to worshiping God. We move from having a heart of stony heart that’s unresponsive to God to having a heart of flesh that’s sensitive and responsive to God. We move from having no real power to follow God to having his Spirit inside us to make that possible.
6. Read 2 Corinthians 5:21. What does this passage say?
Christ exchanged our sin for his righteousness. Righteousness means that we have been made pure and holy and given a right standing or relationship with God. Because of what Christ has done, we are fully clean and fully accepted to come into God’s holy presence.
(Optional Creative Idea) Demonstrate using two volunteers and two T-shirts. One person plays the role of Jesus and wears a clean, white T-shirt. The second person plays the human with a white T-shirt with different sins written all over it. Walk through the verse using the volunteers. “God made him (the person in the clean, white T-shirt) who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God (the two exchange T-shirts, so that now the human has the clean shirt and Jesus is wearing the dirty shirt). Now explain that every time the believer sins, those sins get placed on Jesus. Demonstrate by writing sins from today on strips of paper with tape on the back. Point out the sin the person committed today and place that strip on the T-shirt that “Jesus” is wearing. Now have each person write on strips of paper with tape on the back some of their sins and have them go up to “Jesus” and place them on his shirt; “their” shirt remains clean.
(another Optional Creative Idea – (Add this to resources as a second launch) You are sitting around at lunch with some friends talking about a big difference they have noticed in another friend Chen. He used to be so critical, sarcastic, and proud, they say. Now he is much kinder, encouraging and humble. You were with him when he made the decision to place his faith in Christ. How would you describe to the other friends the change that has taken place in him?)
7. Take a look at the “Who I Am In Christ” sheet. It lists the truths we looked at today and many others. Which of these are hard for you to believe? Which ones mean the most to you?
Various answers will be given. You might want to have the students circle the ones they struggle with and have them look up the scriptures on their own. You may also want to close the discussion with prayer that they would understand these truths.
8. How does it affect your life if you’re a follower of Jesus but don’t believe the truths of your new identity like those we’ve looked at?
Allow them to discuss. You’re likely to keep living consistently with your pre-Christian identity (even though you don’t have to anymore) and continue to experience the consequences of that lifestyle. You can compare this to the lottery ticket example at the beginning.
9. Conclude the lesson by showing this video on identity:
WHO I AM IN CHRIST
If you are a Christian, then the statements below are true of you.
In Christ, I am accepted…
John 1:12 — I am God’s child.
John 15:15 — As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 — I have been justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17 — I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 — I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 — I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 — I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 — I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10 — I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 — I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
In Christ, I am secure…
Romans 8:1-2 — I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 — I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39 — I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 — I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4 — I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 — I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20 — I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 — I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 — I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
In Christ, I am significant…
John 15:5 — I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16 — I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 — I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 — I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6 — I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10 — I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 — I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 — I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.