Summary: Recently there was a tragic situation in which two girls involved in a crash were misidentified. I believe the World has misidentified Christ, Church, and the Conditions of Heaven.
A Case of Mistaken Identity
Text: 1 Peter 2:9-10
In a case of mistaken identity, a Caledonia college student believed to have survived a bus crash on April 26th actually died in the accident, and a Gaylord woman presumed to be dead is in a Grand Rapids hospital being treated for head wounds.
The Taylor University student, Whitney E. Cerak, 18, recently came out of a coma at Spectrum Health’s Butterworth Campus, where parents of Laura J. VanRyn of Caledonia maintained a vigil since from the April 26 crash until the May 31st realization that the girl who they believed was their daughter was actually Whitney, not Laura.
While this story is shocking and sad, there is another tragedy of mistaken identity that should grip our hearts. The world has mistaken the identities of Christ, the Church, and the Conditions of Heaven.
I. The World has Mistaken the Identity of Christ.
The world has never really understood who Christ is. Even while Jesus was on earth, men did not know who He was. Jesus asked, “Whom do men say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, one of the prophets.” At another time, Jesus was called Beelzebub, the prince of devils.
Today, the world debates who Jesus really was. Was Jesus a good teacher, a fantastic liar, or maybe the most misquoted man in history? Different people have their ideas, opinions, and theories; but none of them can change who Jesus is.
There are a lot of people who say that Jesus was merely a good teacher. I want you to know that Jesus is right. He is right for our church; He’s right for our nation; He’s right for our schools; He’s right for our laws. Jesus is right.
Others think Jesus was a liar and conman. They believe that the resurrection is nothing more than an elaborate hoax. They have tried to eliminate the power of God from the Bible, from History, and from our lives. I want to testify, this mourning, to the fact that they have failed! The Bible is still true and God is still working miracles for His children.
Still, there are others who believe that Jesus was simply misquoted. I was talking to one such individual two or three months ago who believed just this. He did not believe that Jesus’ message held eternal value. In fact, he was not concerned at all with eternity. When I asked him about John 14:6, he replied that John misquoted Jesus. Jesus never said that according to a bunch of religious scholars. I told him that I’d rather take John’s word for it since he actually heard what Jesus said.
II. The World has Mistaken the Identity of the Church.
Not only does the world mistake the identity of Christ, they mistake the identity of the Church. Whereas the former is caused by willful ignorance, the later is caused by the fact that the Church doesn’t know who she is anymore.
It used to be that the Church influenced the World, but now the World influences the Church. It used to be that the Church said, “Don’t use that language in public, or you’ll go to jail;” now “Christians” use that language. It used to be that the Church said, “Don’t have an affair on your wife, or you’ll go to jail;” now “Christians” have affairs and divorce and remarry. It used to be that the Church said, “Honor the Sabbath, or you’ll go to jail;” now “Christians” go to the lake, skip church, go out to the restaurant, and work overtime. It used to be that the Church said, “Don’t play that kind of music, or you’ll go to jail;” now “Christians play worse music then that in their “worship” services. And the list goes on and on. We now have “Christian” drunks, smokers, drug addicts, wife and children abusers, homosexuals, rock bands, and who knows what all?
The Church sings like the world, talks like the world, and dresses like the world. They watch the same television shows, go to the same movies, and dance the same dances. And now “Christians” divorce as frequently as the world. I ask us the question, “What did Jesus save them from?” What about the Scripture that says in 2Cor. 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”? The world has mistaken the identity of the Church, because the Church has lost its identity.
Our text this mourning, tells us who we are. 1Pe 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”