Who Are You? | Adam Smith (The Seven)

Psalm 118

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

2 Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”

5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defence;
    he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

 

Acts 4:7-11

7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’


Summary

Who are you?

I once had a friend who sometimes when asked about herself would reply, ‘I’m Barbara – I’m a child of God.’ I found this very daring. So revealing! Perhaps as a very new Christian, I preferred to conceal my own identity in order to protect it? Don’t we feel we’re on safer ground when we talk about our work, our families, or some activity we’re passionate about.

They might be safer ground to talk about without feeling self-conscious, but the only safe ground to be standing on – the only unfailing unshakeable foundation for our lives - is our relationship with God in Jesus Christ.

Throughout the Bible an image repeats itself time and again: that of Christ as the cornerstone of a building. The prophet Isaiah had heard God say that he was laying down ‘a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ Jesus quotes Psalm 118, that ‘the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’, speaking of himself. Peter repeats the same phrase, as he asserts that this Jesus who was rejected and killed, is the one and only ground of salvation.

In letters to churches, both Peter and Paul come back to this same image. So, the people of God are being built up together on the foundation of apostles and prophets with Jesus as the chief cornerstone, into a place where God himself lives by his Spirit.

We are told that Peter spoke, ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ and in no doubt that the foundation of his identity lay in Jesus. So what about us? Whether new or long-time Christians, we will find our identity in Jesus is strengthened as we build our lives around him – getting to know him better as we read the Bible and open ourselves to God in prayer and praise.

Our approach might be tentative and sometimes flaky, but we can trust that God’s love for us is never-failing. I think my friend had discovered that she was standing on an unshakeable rock, so she had no need to be self-protective as she smiled at people and told them straight out where her identity lay.

Adam Smith