Re-Establishing our Identity: Reviving our Purpose


William Booth (founder of Salvation Army and great preacher of the Gospel) said:
Look well to the fire of your souls, for the tendency of fire is to go out.”

When life gets busy and we are pulled from pillar to post we can quickly forget our purpose in this life. This has been my story for the past little while.

Running a relatively new business, managing a household, overseeing the church, involvement in ministries, and trying to engage in physical exercise have all become distractions from the primary purpose of my existence.

It all came to a head a week ago. I was playing some competition tennis with a group of men and women from the community. It was dusk and the sun was particularly bright. I publicly commented on the brilliance of the light, and without hesitation one of the older men turned to me and said, “Mother Nature will go to sleep soon.” This simple comment which he probably didn’t mean to be profound, had an enormous impact on me. Here was a man who cares little for religion and yet was able to casually insert his belief system into a very general conversation.

I found myself asking, “when did I last insert the truth of my belief system into an everyday conversation with someone.” When did I last say, “Wow, God has His paintbrush out tonight!”

I guess what I was asking myself was, “When did my Christianity last enter the REAL WORLD?” Sometimes we can operate with “Cathedral Christianity” and only talk about the Lord when surrounded by the “stain-glassed windows”.

The truth is that we talk about what is important to us. Herein lies the issue. Christ is not important enough to us. The gospel has lost its shine, it’s splendour. Souls don’t matter to us anymore. People have become an annoyance to avoid rather than a soul to reach. We have forgotten the mercy that we received when dead in sin and under God’s righteous condemnation.

Why don’t we have a passion for souls? Why don’t we have a zeal to speak about the Lord?

Let me list 10 reasons. Each of these springs from an issue with our identity.

  1. Deceived into thinking we are a child of God ourselves.
  2. Distracted by this life – its toys and treasures.
  3. Disinterested in spiritual matters.
  4. Disbelief in the power of God to change lives.
  5. Dispassionate and indifferent towards the lost man’s plight.
  6. Disregard our God-given purpose.
  7. Discouraged from previous attempts to evangelise.
  8. Diminished view of the gospel.
  9. Defiance – I just don’t want to obey the command.
  10. Doctrinal error – I don’t believe it is my responsibility.


I bought this “park bench” to remind us of the importance of real life Christianity – talking to the teenager who is playing on their phone, the old man reading the paper, the mother who is waiting for the bus with her child etc.

This morning I would like to present some thoughts from the Scripture which I have entitled: Re-Establishing our Identity; Reviving our Purpose. This will be a semi-interactive message so be ready to respond throughout. Before we can fulfil our purpose in this life we must first be reminded of who we are in Christ.

I am going to have you turn to 1 Peter 2:9-10. This will be our text for this time. However, I would also like to read a number of other passages which will help us see how Paul viewed the responsibility of evangelism.

1 Peter 2:9-10;

2 Timothy 2:8-10;

Romans 9:1-3;

1 Corinthians 9:16-23

Message: Re-Establishing our Identity; Reviving our Purpose.

Identity #1: Chosen Race

“But you are a chosen race…” 1 Peter 2:9.

Like the Israelites of old (Deuteronomy 7:6-8), God has chosen to save some from the greater population of the world to be His people. This is what we refer to as His sovereign election.

According to God’s own will, and with no special qualifications on the part of the recipient, He extends His free grace to a select group of people which He makes His own. This is the household of faith, the chosen race, the elect.

If you have responded to God’s gospel and believed by faith, you are His. He chose you for Himself. Don’t believe the rubbish that we are creatures of free will. We are not.

Like the Spirit of God who hovered over the face of the dark waters before creation, similarly, He moved upon us in our darkened state and brought light, illumination, and regeneration.

God moved upon our consciences, bent our stubborn will, and drew us to Himself on the cords of His unconditional love.


  1. Were you chosen for your looks?
  2. Were you chosen for your talents?
  3. Were you chosen because God “foresaw” how “good” a Christian you would be?

The fact that we were chosen by God should leave us with a sense of awe, unworthiness, and heartfelt gratitude. We are identified with the family of God! This is who we are!

Optional Reading: Ephesians 1:3-10

Identity #2: Royal Priesthood

“…a royal priesthood” 1 Peter 2:9

The second title or identity listed here is “Royal Priesthood”.

This phrase is perhaps better understood as a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6). This was also a term used by God in reference to the Israelites which Peter here applies to the church.

This has a number of meanings:

  1. Direct access to God (priesthood of every believer) – seen in the tearing of the temple’s veil (Matthew 27:51), and our only mediator between God and man is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).
  2. Rights and Privileges of the Kingdom – As citizens of the the “Heavenly Order”, we are afforded all the blessings, riches, privileges of one associated with the King.
  3. Daily Service and Ministration – The priests were engaged and employed in service. Offering daily sacrifices, serving one another, ensuring that the lamps are not extinguished, upholding purity and holiness, etc.


The Christian life is not one big sacrifice, it is made up of daily killing the flesh and offering ourselves before the Lord EVERY single day.

Identity #3: Holy Nation

“…a holy nation” 1 Peter 2:9

Again Peter refers back to God’s declarations regarding the Children of Israel in Exodus 19:5.

The point being made is that God’s people, the church, are to be separated unto God from the world.

This separation is not to be understood as physical distance, but spiritual identity. Our garments have been cleansed, our hearts sprinkled with the blood of Christ. We are not what we were, and we must live according to our new identity in Christ.

In this context, we are not aiming to be a holy nation, this is what we are positionally.

A set apart, called-out people. A Christian who does not embrace a lifestyle of holiness is operating with an identity crisis.

Identity #4: Purchased Possession (Peculiar People)

“…a people for His own possession” 1 Peter 2:9.

Again we see that Peter is drawing from Old Testament terms used to describe the Israelites (Exodus 19:5).

This particular identity carries a number of aspects:

  1. Peculiar People – a special relationship; a special love extended; a special care provided.
  2. Redeemed Company – A group who have been purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). God’s glorious acquisition.
  3. Treasured Bride – The believer is precious to the Lord (not because of some innate worth on the part of the Christian), but because of God having set His love upon us.


Identity #5: People of God

“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people…” 1 Peter 2:10

Formerly we were objects of God’s wrath, enemies of His gospel, and members of the kingdom of darkness.

This verse is likely a quotation from Hosea 1:9-10 and Hosea 2:23 where God foretold that the gentiles, though the preaching of the gospel, would gain an entrance into the people of God.

Having been regenerated, called, and sanctified, we are avouched by God to be His people.

Identity #6: Recipients of Mercy

“…once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:10

A literal rendering of this part of the verse is: “formerly men who were not compassionated”.

This implies that it was God’s pure mercy, not their merits, which made the blessed change in their state; a thought which ought to kindle their lively gratitude, to be shown with their life, as well as their lips.

Optional Readings: Romans 9:15; Titus 3:5

Our Primary Purpose

“…that you might proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

The word “proclaim” is unique and only found here in the New Testament. It means, “to tell forth, divulge, to share something not otherwise known, to transmit an encoded message”.

It was God’s intention that those whom He redeemed would publish abroad that which they have experienced.

Sometimes we think our job is simply to “preach the gospel” and it is, but notice what the verse says – “proclaim the excellencies of him…”

In its literal sense, the word “excellencies” means “manliness”. It refers to valour, conquest, bravery, virtues, power, and glory of an individual.

In other words, we are to make God look good (because He is). Tell the truth about Him.

When you see the sunset say, “God is creative, powerful, glorious.

When you feel His comfort say, “God is kind, loving, and near.

When you experience His power say, “God is strong, omnipotent, and muscular.”

When you come into contact with His mercy say, “God is so long suffering, gracious, and patient.”

Darkness is the emblem of ignorance, sin, and misery.

Light is the emblem of knowledge, truth, life, and hope.

What kind of light have we experienced? Not a dim light; not a flickering light; not an off-coloured light; not a fluorescent light which needs a starter, but a “marvellous light”.

The word “marvellous” literally means “wonderful, excellent, and amazing.”

Have you experienced this light? Have you found it to be wonderful, excellent, amazing? Has the “light” been somehow dimmed in your soul because of sin and distraction?

Are you fulfilling your primary purpose of proclaiming God’s excellencies to a world without light and hope?

Has your Christianity entered the real world?

Do you understand your identity in Christ so that it is the natural tendency of your life to proclaim the excellencies of God?