Sonship (Matthew 3:16-17)

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“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment   heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 

Even if we’ve read it a thousand times, these are not words we should skip over lightly. Not only because we’ll loose the intended impact (it would’ve been a wildly unanticipated revelation to any overhearing it at the time), but because sooner or later we all need to hear the same things said of us. 

Today many people question their identity. They do so because they have not yet heard from their Father in heaven. Identity comes from Him. He is our God, our Creator and our Father, and it is His voice to us that assigns our identity and calling. Apart of His voice we do not truly know either. Apart from His affirmation of us we come to question who and what we are, and consequently we cannot minister in confidence or power, but only in boasting and fear.  

Teaching pastor Jeff Vanderstelt once said, “Before Jesus began His ministry, He heard the Father say to Him, “This is my beloved Son, in Him I am well pleased.”  Have you heard Him say that to you?  Has the Spirit of God – as Paul says in Romans 5 – poured the love of the Father into your heart?  Has He – as Paul says in Romans 8 – given that you can call God, Abba – Daddy – Father?  Because if He hasn’t, most of you will do ministry so that the Father will love you, instead of doing ministry because you know the Father loves you. You will use people to gain love instead of serving people to give love.” 

That is not to say that we cannot be used of God apart from hearing His Voice. God uses all of us, all the time. But what Jeff articulated is a powerful truth that many have had to find out the hard way, living ministry lives that bear little fruitfulness externally because there has been little fruitfulness internally. It is a great and necessary step forward in the Kingdom of God to fully realize your identity as a child of God and heir of the King, and to begin to serve Him from that position of value instead of trying to earn value in the eyes of others. 

Indeed, Jesus’ example comes before He even starts His ministry. Everything we know about how He accomplished His mission comes after He had been baptized, after He had seen the Kingdom of God (for heaven was opened for Him), after He knew the Spirit was upon Him (for He saw the Spirit alighting upon Him) and after He had heard the Voice of God speaking to Him. Quite simply, Jesus waited to do ministry till after He was baptized both by water and by Spirit.  From this point on, we can be certain that Jesus was certain about who He was, who the Father was and about what He was do to.  

It is no wonder He was a confident minister. 

Our need for worth is so powerful that whatever we base our identity and value on we essentially ‘deify.’ We will look to it with all the passion and intensity of worship and devotion, even if we think ourselves as highly irreligious.

Tim Keller

APPLICATION: Intentionality 

Consider all that God has spoken about you. That is reality. That is the basis upon which you can do all that He has asked you to do. Are you certain of who you are before God?  Are you ministering out of that identity?

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