Summary: Labels are necessary at times but can also be divisive and destructive. It's important for us to know about our label.
Today we will be talking about labels. Sometimes labels are important. Imagine going to the grocery store to get a can of green beans. But when you get there all the can goods are without labels. You do not know if you are getting green beans or corn.
Labels also give you important information. They supply you with nutritional information, ingredients, calories, carbs, fats, and so forth.
Labels can also divide. A print shirt from Gucci similar to the one I am wearing costs $590. A Faded Glory print shirt from Wal-Mart costs $10. I would never wear a Gucci shirt unless it was given to me. And I am sure that those who can afford a Gucci shirt would not wear a Faded Glory shirt. In fact, the Faded Glory folks are probably employees of the Gucci folks.
Labels often last a lifetime and beyond. To prove this point let us have a contest. I will begin a name and you finish it.
Attila the ---- Hun. Conan the ---- Barbarian. Billy the ---- Kid.
Buffy the ---- Vampire Slayer. Winnie the ---- Pooh.
Popeye the --- Sailor Man. Rahab the ---- Prostitute.
Larry the --- Breadman or Pastor.
For most of my teenage years, I was Larry the Loser. I looked at myself that way. I was unpopular in school. I was very introverted. I learned a skill of making fun of myself to amuse others. I was unsure of my abilities to accomplish anything. My dad had to get my first job for me by calling on one of his friends.
He also had to push me into getting my drivers license.
I married the first girl I dated which ended in divorce. I became afraid of committing myself to a long lasting relationship. In my prospective of things, my life until I reached the age of 30 was of little value.
Then I met Debbie. We married. And through unpleasant circumstances and my wonderful wife, I met Jesus. And over the next 32 years, I began to understand how valuable my life really is. I began to understand what I could accomplish. Jesus began drawing me out of my shell and employing me in his Kingdom work.
In Isaiah 62:2, I had this promise “---you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth.”
And with a new name came a new purpose. Simon was a fisherman of fish. When he was given a new name, Peter, he became a fisherman of men. He had a new purpose.
Saul was a destroyer of the church. When he was given a new name, Paul, he became a builder of the church.
Our church is built on the foundation of Revelations 2:17
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.
If you are a Christian (victorious) and you are mature as a Christian (feeding on the hidden manna) then you have a new name. And no one can understand the new name but you. No one can know the new name but you. It is your challenge to find your new name. It is my calling to help you find your new name.