There are many in the world who are struggling with who they are and how they fit in. Do you know who you are? Do you know what God is calling you to become?
[Rudy Rangel] Happy Sabbath, everyone! Welcome to all our visitors.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but recently there was this man in the Netherlands who tried to change his legal age from the age of 69 to 45. Has anyone heard about this story? A couple of you? Very good. Yeah, he feels like he is 20 years younger. So he feels like he should be 45 instead of 69. I read in one article that he thinks he might do better on the dating app Tinder if he changed his age legal age from 69 to 45. But, that’s what he tried to do. He tried to change his legal age. Actually, he went to court and eventually lost. He was using the logic that transgender use that lead them to the argument that they can choose whatever identity that they want. Another interesting story about identity.
Also in the news, these past couple of years, there was a white lady who said that she feels that she was black. She actually worked for the NAACP in Spokane for a number of years, became the president, until her origins were found out.
We can see that people are having an identity crisis around us – not knowing who they are and where they fit in – where they fit in. What about you? Do you know who you are? Do you know who you are and what you’re all about? What is your identity? How do you identify? As I near the age, that milestone that people call middle age – I’m about to reach that peak of the middle – I can see how people struggle a little bit. I feel pretty good actually. But I can see how it is challenging for some people, as you sort of take stock of where you’ve been, and you see the rest of your days – how they are heading – and you sort of reflect on who you are - who you are. Society around us is going through an identity crisis. You know, it’s interesting because we are moving away from a nation that generally had a belief and a healthy respect of a Creator. And now we are turning away from that – from God – and we have a more secular society. And that has brought about some side effects. People are wondering who they are. What does it mean? It’s sad people are struggling with this. The transgender issue – it’s sad. Obviously, we have a stance on it, but it’s sad to see the kind of deception that Satan can take a hold of someone at a very basic level – questioning who they are at a very basic way.
How do you identify? You have a clear identity. You have been set apart and sanctified by the God of all things. That’s what I would like to talk about today. Let’s go to 1 Peter 2, as we begin. You have a very clear identity and you never have to doubt who you are. 1 Peter 2, and we will start reading in verse 9:
1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
American King James Version×– But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light – who once were not a people, but now are the people of God.”
This is powerful. This is moving – personally picked by the Creator of all things, called to be His. He claims ownership over us. We have a very clear identity. We are the people of God. And what that gives you – when you know who you are – it gives you a goal, a mission. Proclaiming His praises – of someone who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light – that’s what we do collectively as a people – living our lives, proclaiming his praises – because we know who we are. It gives us purpose. It gives us a reason for being. Proclaiming a better life to not just us here in this room, but our families and anyone we come in contact with. “Who were once not a people, but now the people of God.” It’s interesting, because it says that there was a point we were not a people. We were not a people, but now, a people of God. We could have been out there living our lives, just as confused and wondering where we fit in and how all this works together. But no longer. Now we are the people of God.
How did this happen? How did it become us? You look around, and we see each other and we’re like, you know…I’m just a plain ole dude. How did that happen? Can that be for real? Is that true? Let’s go to Galatians 2 – Paul writes here in verse 20:
Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×– I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
We made the choice. Now, we didn’t make the first step. I was reading one of our kid’s little Bibles. It’s this little Bible that sort of breaks down the stories of the Bible. It really reflects on how God takes that first step. He does that doesn’t he? It’s Him. He takes that first step. It’s not us. We don’t go out and seek Him. John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×– God has to do that personally. He made that first step. He reached out. He took His hand and reached out to us – took that first step to give us that opportunity. And we – us here – said, “Yes, we’re in. We’re in. We’re in.”
At baptism we said, “Yes” to this and we are now His. In turn, we put on a new identity. It’s no longer I who live. It’s no longer me. It’s interesting, because God calls all of us – all individually. We all have different characteristics and different personalities, favorite musical artists, favorite things to do, favorite hobbies. He called us all with all these unique, different experiences of life, but yet we still have this one thing that we put first in our lives, and it’s what binds us together as a people – as a people. We are now His. We put on this new identity – a new man, as we read in Ephesians – and that gives us direction. Gives us direction. As we daily wake up and we take on a new day, and we have struggles and trials, it gives us purpose and direction. It also gives us peace. Man that is encouraging! That is absolutely encouraging.
And what Paul says here at the end of this scripture – I’d like to read it one more time – because he says it in such a personal way, he says, “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” He is writing a letter. And many times, when you are speaking or talking in a group, you say, “Oh! Look at what He did for us, and what this all means for us.” But this was such part of Paul – it was such a personal thing to him – that he wrote it in a very personal way. He said, “He loved me, and He gave Himself for me.” We can say that – all of us – we can say that about all of us. “He gave Himself for me.” We never have to question our value or our worth. We have a clear identity. “He gave Himself for me.”
We were bought and purchased by God Himself. We can, at times, overlook what God is doing in this world, because of all the distractions. That’s very true. It’s very true that we can be distracted and sort of beat down by the world that we see around us. It’s hard to recognize the work that God is doing at times, because it seems like there is chaos going on in all aspects of society and culture. Obviously, there are still pockets of good that we still see here now and then, but as a whole, things just don’t feel stable. But knowing what God is doing can give us the stability that we need. Let’s go over to 1 John – 1 John 3, starting at verse 1:
1 John 3:1 1 John 3:1Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.
American King James Version×– Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore, the world does not know us, because it does know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in him purify himself, just as He is pure.”
Children of God – that’s who you are. You don’t have to wonder. We shall be like Him. There are times in our lives when we need to read these scriptures and they are so encouraging to us. They give us clear direction, clear purpose of our lives. They give us our identity. And when we do that, we purify ourselves. We wake up each day knowing, “You know what? Today is a new day and I’m going to become that new man that God wants me to be.”
We live in an age of confusion – an age where people are struggling with who they are in a very basic way – at a very fundamental level. There is widespread identity crisis happening right now – right before our eyes. How do you identify? You don’t have to question that. You are God’s. You are God’s. You are God’s own special people, who were not a people before, but you are now a people – people who are putting off many of the old things that you were and becoming something new – becoming the children of God. You are God’s special people. And having that understanding will shed away any self-doubt – any questions of purpose, any aimlessly seeking meaning. And what is encouraging for all of us is, that when Jesus Christ returns, and He opens up the minds of all people, the mass identity crisis that we see all around us will come to an end.