Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 5

Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 5

Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 5
Michael Youssef - Identity Transformation - Part 5
TOPICS: Identity, Identity Theft, Transformation

You have responsibility to the cornerstone, Jesus. You have responsibility to other living stones, responsibility to stand by them and they stand by you, responsibility to support them and they support you, responsibility to uphold them and they uphold you. We are now the chosen race.

Having dealt with people who have experienced or suffered an identity crisis, I personally take it very seriously, and that is why I am extremely sympathetic with those who go through identity crisis. The one thing that kept me from completely losing hope is that God loves me and that God has a plan for me, even in the times when I could not see that plan, I couldn't even imagine that plan, I couldn't fathom that there is a plan for my life. And that is why preaching on a transformed identity is not a theory for me. It's not something I'm very dispassionate about. It's not something I'm objective about. It's my testimony. And that is why I love the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ so patiently worked with Peter in order to transform his identity, and then Peter interns as he's feeding the sheep like he promised Jesus. He is trying to help us to transform our identity.

And that is why I'm calling this particular message in "Identity Transformation" from 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 4 to 12, the characteristics are really more like the privileges of having our identity transformed to Christ. Here, Peter gives us those six privileges of identity transformation. We become living and precious stones in that mighty building. We become a chosen race. We become a royal priesthood. Can you say, "Royal"? Royal priesthood. Then we become a holy nation. We become God's own precious possession. And finally, we become mere tourists in this life. First of all, the first characteristic, the first privilege that we experience when we come to Christ is that we become living stones, precious stones. I don't want you to miss what I'm going to tell you. It's really important, because there are many people are confused. The only reason we as believers are precious in the eyes of God is because of the cornerstone being precious. Are you with me?

Peter sees the elect of God from every nation, and every language, and every tribe as a magnificent building, as a magnificent spiritual building. In ancient times of course before the multi-story buildings and skyscrapers, the buildings, whether they be one or two stories, it was dependent on the cornerstone. So, they'd go out and they'd spend all of their effort, all of their energy to finding a strong boulder in order to place it as the cornerstone. Why? Because a building is as good as its cornerstone. It can stand or fall depending on the cornerstone. Cornerstone was everything to a building. The cornerstone was laid at the intersection of the corner, and that's why it's called cornerstone. And then every other stone, foundational stone that was laid next to the cornerstone, is in relationship to the cornerstone.

And then every other stone in the building even is chosen on the basis of its relationship to the cornerstone. Every single stone. But there's something else I wanna tell you that I don't want you to forget here. Why didn't Peter say we are living bricks? Bricks have the same dimension. Bricks have the same shape. But God does not mass produce his children. God is not in the cookie cutter business. God does not expect you to fill the role of somebody else. God does not expect us to be all uniformed. No, and that is why Peter called us stones. Stones are all different from each other. They are different in size. They are different in shape. They are different in dimensions. And with all of our differences, the Master Builder shapes us to fit in a certain place in the body of Christ.

Sometimes the Master Builder has to chisel the bulges in certain stones. Sometimes the Master Builder has to chip away at the jagged edges of a stone. Are you feeling the pain? I have felt that pain and I dare say will feel it until I go home, because that is what God does to everyone whom he loves and everyone whom he wants to use. But we need to rejoice when the Lord does that, not to be grumbling and complaining like the people of old. No, no, no, we need to rejoice because you are so precious to him that he has to work you over. And that's why some professing Christians stay away from the Master Builder. And that's why some professing Christians don't want to get close to other stones. Oh man, they're so prickly. Some professing Christians resent the rightful place. They want something else or some other place.

Some professing Christians don't want to fulfill God's purpose for them as living stones chosen by God. Some believers even try to minimize their contact with the cornerstone and with the other stones. There is far greater pain from running away from the Master Builder. Not only that, but a missing stone from a glorious building can only create a draft. But if you are a precious living stone, then the next natural question is, am I fitting in my rightful place in that glorious building, in that spiritual building? Am I letting the Master Builder work me over so that he may place me in my rightful place? Or are you running away? Are you running away? I believe with all my heart there's some people here and watching around the world who are running away. There are some who are refusing to be load-bearers in that building.

Today, we have some professing Christians who are mere consumers. They may go to church for the entertainment value, but they never give of themselves or of their resources because they don't want to fit in that rightful place for them. That means that you are balking at the first characteristic or the privilege of identity transformation. I pray to God not a soul right here or watching would be in that position. There are some Christians, some professing Christians who say, and I met some of them through the years, "Back yonder, I received Christ as my Savior. I walked down the aisle. I signed a decision card". And that's it. Tragic, tragic, tragic. If you're a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are a precious living stone, and don't you ever forget it. And you need the Master Builder to place you in your rightful place and you must be willing to be placed.

By the way, that's what it means to surrender. You have responsibility to the cornerstone, Jesus. You have responsibility to other living stones, responsibility to stand by them and they stand by you, responsibility to support them and they support you, responsibility to uphold them and they uphold you. Are the other stones perfect? Absolutely not. They are flawed, just like you are. Hello! They have their own quirkiness, just like you do. They have their own idiosyncrasies, just like you do. They have weaknesses and strengths, just like we all do. And so, the first privilege of our identity transformation is that we are a living stone. The second characteristic or privilege of this identity transformation is that we are members of a chosen race. There are some people who are so proud of their race. There are some people who are literally making an idol of their race. But when you come to Christ, your earthly race kind of melts in the wall and you become a new race.

The term "chosen race" in the Old Testament was a term that applied to the people of God of Israel. And here, the Apostle Peter, a Jew of very Jew, lifts up that privilege that was given to Israel and he applies it to the believers in Jesus Christ. We are now the chosen race. In the New Testament, the church of Jesus Christ, the elect of God from every nation and every generation, is the chosen race. Galatians chapter 6 calls them the new Israel of God. What is the reason for that choice of being a chosen race? What is the basis on which we are a chosen race? Listen to me very carefully, because it's the same principle, the same God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament, and the same principle. The answer to that question is the sovereign will of God. It's not because they were a great civilization that God called Israel. It's not because they were smart people, not because they were obedient.

Oh my goodness, I mean, ask Moses. They gave him fits. But here's the problem. Some of us don't wanna accept this. Our pride forbids us from accepting this because he is a sovereign God. And the quicker you come to grips with this, the more blessed you'll be in your life. When the people of Israel rejected the cornerstone, this cornerstone Jesus who the Old Testament prophets longed to see, who prophesied about the anointing of Yahweh, the Messiah of God, what happened? According to Peter, God went ahead and chose other race made of people who are Jews and Gentiles, the believers in Jesus, people who have placed their whole faith in his Messiah, people who have complete obedience to the Messiah, people who have surrendered their lives to the Messiah. Those people are now the chosen race, regardless of their physical descent.

In the New Testament, the chosen race are the ones who have been adopted by grace. And that is why Peter is saying, beginning at verse 6, those who have surrendered to the cornerstone, Jesus, and they are protected all the way until he takes them home. Nobody can touch you if you're in God's protection program. Ah, but those who reject the cornerstone, those who refuse to believe in him, that very stone is gonna crush them. Living stones. Chosen race. Thirdly, Peter said the third privilege of a transformed identity is that we are a royal priesthood. Every man, every woman, every young man, every young woman, every boy, girl who surrendered their life to Jesus Christ, now they are priests in the service of God. But not just any old priests. He says royal priests.

See, when you come to Jesus and you receive him as your Savior, you get blood transfusion takes place in your veins. Takes your old blood out and gives you royal blood. So, you're a royal now. What did the priest do in the Old Testament? He offered sacrifices to God, he interceded to God on behalf of the people, he spoke to the people on behalf of God. What is that in the New Testament? What does the priest need to do in the New Testament? It's exactly that. Because every believer now is a priest, we don't need priests in the New Testament. Every believer now has equal access to the courts of heaven, to the throne room of God. Every believer now has the privilege of interceding on behalf of others. If Jesus is your High Priest, you're a priest. And because your Savior Jesus is the High Priest, you offer sacrifice of praise, worship, and adoration to him. You intercede on behalf of others. You are commissioned to speak for him to the world. Our High Priest Jesus did not only make it possible for us to become priests, but we become royal priests because the King of kings is our Father, amen.

See, in ancient times, when a king is looking for someone who's gonna be the carrier of his signet ring... now, remember this, the signet ring was the signature of the king. And so, when he was looking for somebody to be the carrier of that signet ring, it was serious stuff. It was an important, I mean, it's the most important job in the kingdom next to the king, and so he had to look very carefully. He had to look very thoughtfully. He had to find somebody who's trustworthy, somebody who's faithful, somebody who has integrity, full of integrity, why? Because he'll be entrusted completely by the king because he has the king's authority. He has found favor in the eyes of the king. He speaks for the king. He signs for the king.

Beloved, that's who we are. Living stones, chosen race, royal priesthood. Fourthly, we're a holy nation. Thankfully, this holy nation that Peter's talking about is not like any other nation you know about, or read about, or hear about. No, it's a very different holy nation altogether. Most nations are self-centered. Most nations basically looking for their own interests. Most nations are looking out for themselves. It's just a fact of life. But the holy nation that we are is made up of people from every nation on the face of the earth. A Korean believer is a member of that holy nation. A Brazilian believer is a member of that holy nation. A Middle Eastern believer is a member of that holy nation. An Israeli citizen believer, he's a member of this holy nation.

And Peter is saying, verse 9, that every citizen of that holy nation, like their leaders, they too are holy. What does holy mean? It means that you have been set apart, exclusively for the use of your King. It means that you are set apart for obedience to your King. It means that you belong exclusively to the King. Your loyalty is to the King. Precious stones, chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation. The fifth privilege or characteristic of those who allow the Lord Jesus Christ to transform their identity from whatever it is to being in him alone is that God's own possession. Actually, literal translation, treasured possession.

In Malachi 3:17, God said, he was talking about what is coming and then how the kingdom of God is gonna be made of Jews, and Gentiles, and people from all over. And he says, "These people are gonna be my treasured possession". I wanna ask you a question. What is your most treasured possession? And I'm talking real possession here in this life. It could be a person. It could be your material possession. It could be your house, whatever it may be. You're the one who's gotta answer that, all right? You answered it? Pencils down.

Now, think about how hard you work to protect that. Think about how much time you spend on watching over it. Think about the care you take in order that you might keep it and not lose it. Think about how you want to preserve it for the future. Now, here's what Peter's saying. This is how God feels about you. You are his most treasured possession. Think about this. The God who owns the billions of galaxies that keep to be discovering every day, and every week, and every month, the God who owns the universe, he says, "Yes, yes, they're all mine. I control them with the click of my finger, but you are the one I treasure the most. You are the one that I will protect the most. You are the one that I value the most. You are the one that I guard all the way home to heaven".

Now, I don't know about you, that rocks my world. That really does. It lifts me 10 feet above my circumstances. It lifts my soul. It makes my spirit soar to know that I am God's treasured possession. Humbles me to the core. Leads me to love him with all my heart. Leads me to worship him with all my strength. Leads me to serve him with all that I have. Leads me to live for him alone. You are God's treasured possession, whether you are aware of it or not. Whether you know it or not, you are God's treasured possession. Living stones, chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, God's own treasured possession. And finally, we are privileged to be tourists, sojourners, and travelers on this earth. This is not our home. We make the mistake of thinking this is our home and we make our plans as if we're gonna be here forever. No, this is not our home. We are travelers. The privileges that we have is that we know where we're going. But you see, in reality, every human being on the face of the earth is a tourist.

Everyone, everyone. But sadly, the ones who reject the cornerstone, those who reject Jesus, they're gonna end up in a dreadful destination when the tour is over. That's what breaks our heart for those who refuse to place their faith in Jesus. Oh, but for those of us who love Jesus, those of us living stones who are in love with the cornerstone, those of us who are serving the cornerstone with all of our hearts, those of us stones who are occupying our rightful place in that holy building, not only we know that we are travelers, and we are tourists, and we are sojourners, but we know that we have a great home to go to when this tour is over.

The question is, how should this impact your life? How's that make you deal with your problem tomorrow morning at work when you're faced, wherever you are, in relationships and all the storms of life. Thankfully, verse 11 gives us the answer. I don't have to come up with the answer. "Beloved, I beseech you as aliens and exiles, abstain from self-indulgence, that wages war against your souls". Because we are living stones, therefore our focus is on the things that concerns the cornerstone. Because we are living stones in that magnificent building, we spend our time in glorifying the cornerstone. We spend our time, and our priorities, and our focus on witnessing for the cornerstone. We are concerned about what concerns him. And that, my beloved friends, can set you free in whatever problem you're facing today, amen?
Are you Human?:*