Summary: Prisoners have a number and are anonymous, but children of God have a name!
Anonymous - Part 1, by Pastor Rob Ketterling
Well, we are starting a new series called Anonymous, and I want to let you know that it was birthed out of me reading all the old school sermons this year. If you don't know, I set a goal that I want to read one hundred old sermons from Spurgeon, Finney, Jonathan Edwards, the old, old sermons. And I've just been devouring them, and I will easily get to a hundred sermons. I probably have already done that, but I haven't kept track of it. I think it was in the 70's. But I'm just devouring it.
And this message and this series was birthed out of one of the lines I read from one of those old sermons. The line said this. It said, "Prisoners have a number, but children have a name." As I read that, it just hit me, and I felt the Holy Spirit just start to download stuff to me about that when you're a prisoner, you just have a number and you lose your identity. But children have a name, and God gives his children names and he loves his children by name. So I'm writing all this down and just downloading it all, and that is where this whole series was birthed out of, that one line.
Now, in that, we are going to look at that point; that prisoners have a number and children have a name. But we are also in this series going to look at the names that we're given as children of God. That he gives us new names, that he gives us titles and names that we can know. He talks about name changes. He actually changes the names of people in the Bible. We are going to look at that. We are going to look at the name above all names. And then, ultimately, in Week 4 in this series, I want to make sure that you realize even though you are a part of a growing church, you are not a number; you are a name. Every person is seen as valuable. Every person counts. Every person makes a difference, and we are going to realize that we are not forgotten, but God still knows what we are doing and he knows our name.
So this is a series to tell you that you are not a statistic. You are not a
number. You are a person with a name, and you matter. If you don't figure that out, if you don't realize you matter to God and God knows your name and you just see yourself as a statistic in this life, how many know that would be very depressing? It would be very depressing to think that you are nothing more than one of the seven billion people, roughly, on this planet, and you are just here breathing up air and not really mattering.
But I saw somebody that felt this way, and I feel very sorry for this lady. Her name is Lynn Beisner. She wrote a very, very heavy article. As I was doing research I found this article. And it just hit me, here is somebody that must believe that they are just a number on this planet, that it doesn't real matter that her name is Lynn, that she doesn't really have great value. And I'll tell you the title of her article. It is very shocking, and I know this will shock some of you. But the title of her article was this, "I Wish My Mom Had Aborted Me." That was the title of her article. And as I saw that and realized what she was writing, she was saying anything I do on this earth could have been done by anyone else.
She goes, "Really my existence on this planet is a net loss for the planet." I thought how sad. There is somebody that just has lost it, that they are just a number.
And if Lynn was ever to see this message, I would love to say to you, "Lynn, you matter. You have a purpose. God created you. You're here for a reason." And to everyone in our church and at all of our campuses, I would say you are not a number, you were created for a purpose. You are not a net loss. It doesn't matter what you suffer with. You are not a net loss to this planet. We would not be the same without you. Everyone matters. Everyone matters.
But if you think you're a number, you can get caught up in that. "I don't matter. I don't count. It's not any real significant loss if I'm gone." If you see yourself as a
number and you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I could see where you could get just depressed and lose your identity and just be anonymous in a way.