February 26, 2020
Yesterday somebody tried to impersonate me and started sending emails to members of the ministry staff asking them if they would do a favor for me. If the staff member said, "sure", then the impersonator would direct them to go out and buy gift cards and send them to "me" so that I can give them to someone in the hospital. Well, as you can guess, that didn't go very far. It was pretty clear that what "I" was asking the staff to do did not match what the staff knew about me. Johnny wrote them back and said, "I'm reporting you to the police!" They stopped writing Johnny after that.
This was a very low level identity theft, where someone pretending to be me started doing things and saying things that I would not do or say. I don't like that! At the same time, I identify myself as a Christian, which means, "a little Christ." By professing faith in Christ, then being baptized publicly, I have identified myself with Jesus. I am claiming to impersonate Jesus. My mission in life is to live in a such a way that I am not accused of identity theft.
But, here is the amazing part of this. When I came to faith in Christ, he gave me a new identity. He credited me with his infinitely righteous life. He gave me his name. I am united with Christ. I am not guilty of divine identity theft, I am the recipient of a divine identity transfer, in that Jesus took my sinful life and credited me with his perfect one. The Father views me and treats me as he does his Son because I am a child of God. By God's grace, I do impersonate Jesus. I do not do it perfectly yet, but one day I will and so will you if you are in Christ.
So, what does it mean to impersonate Jesus? Well, at the very least, it means to be kind. Do you remember the first point from the sermon this past Sunday? Andy preached from Titus 3:4-7 and spoke of the kindness of God. God's disposition toward you is one of kindness. So, if I am doing even a low-level impersonation of Jesus, it will be marked by kindness.
For many decades now, we have had an Adult Bible Class that is called BYKOTA. It is an acronym for Be Ye Kind One To Another. I think they're on to something. And if you know anything about that class, they live it out too.
Grace and peace,