Gospel Identity/Self-Acceptance | Nate Hilgenkamp


We're constantly being told we need to find ourselves, but what if we just need to rest in the identity God's already given us? This week, guest speaker Nate Hilgenkamp walks us through 1 Peter 1 to remind us that names are given, not earned — and God has called us chosen.

Nate HilgenkampFeb 6, 2024

In This Series (3)
Gospel Identity/Self-Acceptance | Nate Hilgenkamp
Nate HilgenkampFeb 6, 2024
Contentment/Self-fulfillment | Kylen Perry
Kylen PerryJan 30, 2024
Self-Surrender/Self-Sufficiency | Kylen Perry
Kylen PerryJan 23, 2024

Kylen Perry: What's up, Porch? How are we doing? Let's go. Are we doing good? You know, that seems like the appropriate question to ask whenever I get up here. Just a massive amount of applause and cheering and raucous accord, but really, how are you doing tonight? Good? Blessed? Stressed? Coming from work? I don't know about you. I was just sitting over there, and I just felt anxious. It's probably because I'm speeding into tonight. I feel like I've been steamrolling all day and I'm racing into this evening.

I just had this moment where, as I was sitting there, it felt like the Lord was asking me to just take a breath. Like, "Calm down. Slow down." I don't know about you. I don't know where you're coming from. Maybe you're walking in and are like, "Dude, I have been in step with the Spirit all day. I feel amazing." Maybe you're here and are like, "Man, I haven't been able to shut off work. I'm still thinking about what's coming up tomorrow. I didn't really engage. I didn't feel any sort of emotion over the course of those last three songs."

If that's you, that was me. I just want to tell you…you haven't missed it yet. God has something for you tonight. We genuinely believe every person who walks into this room… God has brought you here very specifically, whether you know him or not. Our genuine belief is no one is in this room by accident, so we're really glad you're here. We believe God wants to do something in your life tonight.

We also think God is doing things all over the nation. So I want to give a special shout-out to some Porch.Live locations that are tuning in with us tonight. I want to say "Hey" to Fresno, to Atlanta, and to Scottsdale. God is doing a good thing here, but he's doing a good thing there. We thank y'all for tuning in and being a part of what God is doing through The Porch.

Friends, we've been in a series called Ins/Outs. The entire purpose of this series is to ask the question, "Do my goals align with God's will?" What we realized, as we were looking through the research and parsing through the data, is by and large we have three goals. Our generation, whether you're Gen Z or Millennial… The young adults of the world have said there are three things we want.

We want to be self-sufficient, we want to be self-fulfilled, and we want to be self-accepted. These are the things we have said are in for 2024. I don't know what you've been thinking, but this is what the other young adults in the room have said is true of themselves. They have voted that this is the case. The last two weeks, we've talked about why self-fulfillment and self-sufficiency are actually out and God has something else in for us instead.

Tonight, we're going to be talking about why self-acceptance is out according to the will of God. To help us unpack that idea, we have a very special friend in the room with us tonight. We have Mr. Nate Hilgenkamp. Give him a round of applause, everybody. Nate is the teaching pastor at Harris Creek in Waco. He's also one of the cohosts on the Becoming Something podcast. He's a dear friend of my own.

Here's what you need to know about Nate. He's going to crush it up here, but as great as he is up here, he's even better on the floor. He is an incredible communicator of God's will, but he is also a great example of Christ's likeness. So, we are thrilled and honored to have you here with us, bro. Friends, do it one more time. Give Nate Hilgenkamp a round of applause as he comes to the stage.

Nate Hilgenkamp: Those are some kind words about me, but who cares about me. I'm going home after tonight. Let me tell you a little bit about your guy Kylen. I know you just got to meet him a couple of weeks ago. I've gotten to know him for a little bit longer than that, so let me just tell you a little bit about who he is. I want to tell you about three things.

The first is this. He kind of took the words out of my mouth. He is much better off the stage than he is on the stage. He can preach the lights out, but he's a far better minister in front of people one-on-one. I've seen him do an amazing job counseling young adults year after year off the stage, not just on the stage.

Secondly, I've gotten to process some things with him in my life, some things that maybe haven't gone how we expected them to go, and he has always driven me to faith. He has always driven me to trust in Jesus. He's a man of deep faith. Then, thirdly, I've gotten to see him lead huddles before every single young adult event I've gotten to do with him, and every single one of those huddles is fueled by prayer.

So, three things about Kylen you need to know: he's a better person off the stage than on the stage, he's a man of great faith, and he's a man of great prayer. I cannot think of a better person to lead The Porch for the next 40 years. Is that what you told me? Forty years. He's committing to 40 years. He's going to do an amazing job.

I just wanted to start tonight by telling you… I work at a church in Waco, Texas, and for seven years I was the college pastor there, which meant I really did one thing with my job. Baylor University is located on this side of 35, and right on the other side of 35 is a Chick-fil-A, which was essentially my office for seven years. I was there about three or four times a week, meeting with college students.

One day, I go in, like I do nearly every other day, and go up and place my order (the spicy chicken sandwich meal with a Coke Zero). I didn't really think anything of it, but once I stood in line and got up to the counter, there was this teenage kid who was working there, and he was very excited to be working at Chick-fil-A that day.

He sees me and goes, "Ben! It's so good to see you today. Can I take your order?" Again, my name is Nate, not Ben. In that moment I'm like, "Okay. What am I going to do? Do I correct him or not?" I'm like, "This guy is a teenager. He's a high schooler. He's just happy to be here. He doesn't really know me, but he thinks he knows me, so I'm just going to roll with it." So I place my order, sit back down, and don't think anything of it.

I show back again. I don't know if it was the next day or the day after that. I walk in the doors and realize that he's working again. I'm like, "Lord, please do not let me go to his register." I stand in the line and get to his register, and he goes, "Ben! It's so good to see you. So glad you're back. What can I get for you today?" At that point, I'm in it too deep. I can't correct him now. So at that point I'm just like, "I guess whenever I step in these walls I am Ben now."

So I kid you not. I still cannot believe I did this. For the next few months, whenever I would go to Chick-fil-A, whether it was him or someone else, I'd say, "Yeah, my name is Ben." One day, I was, sadly, going through the drive-through by myself, and they were standing there with the iPad. It wasn't this guy; it was someone else. He goes, "Okay. And what's your name?" and I said, "Hey, my name is Ben."

Then I get up to the drive-through window, and my nightmare happened. One of my friends was working. He goes, "Nate, I am so sorry. This typically doesn't happen. You know, we're Chick-fil-A, but we lost your order. What can I make for you? We'll do it really, really fast, I promise." I said, "You know what? Do you by chance have an order for Ben?" He goes, "Yeah, it's the next one. Why?" I go, "I accidentally said my name was Ben." He just took the bag and handed it to me and was like, "What in the world is going on?"

I'll never forget leaving Chick-fil-A that day. As I was leaving, I was like, "For the rest of my life, whenever I go into that Chick-fil-A, I'm no longer Ben. I'm going to walk in with my chest out and say, 'I am Nate Hilgenkamp, thank you very much,' because that teenage kid had no right to rename me." That is a ridiculous story. It's a 100 percent true story.

I bet you don't have that story, but I bet your story might look a little bit similar to it, because I bet you've been renamed. I don't know who it has been for you, but maybe growing up your mom told you one day, "You're not really as pretty as the other girls in your class." That has happened to some of you. It has. In the back of your mind, from that day moving forward, for years now, you feel like you've been renamed as "I'm just not very pretty."

Or maybe some of you have been renamed by a boyfriend. You were dating for a while, and eventually you broke up, and he said, "You know, whenever we're together I just don't enjoy my time with you." So, from that moment on, you've gone by the name "Unenjoyable." Or maybe you've let a sin rename you, whether it be lust or drinking too much or cynicism. You've let this sin grow in your heart and in your mind, and in the back of your mind it has renamed you as "Damaged goods."

Or maybe you've had a teacher rename you or a coach rename you or a boss rename you and say, "You're just not as good as everyone else." In the back of your mind, your name is now "Unsuccessful." You've been carrying around a name for far too long, and you've allowed someone to rename you who has no right to rename you.

Some of you know that. You know other people don't have the power to rename you, so you've decided to take it within your own power to rename you. You have these daily affirmations, these things you want to speak over your life that you want to manifest into your life, so you've decided you want your name to be something like "I am successful" or "I am attractive" or "I am wanted."

Day after day, you're telling yourself this. You're trying to rename yourself. You're trying to manifest it into your life. I just want you to know something. If that's you, you are taking a name from someone who has no power to rename you, because they can't rename you, your sin can't rename you, and you can't rename you. There's only one person who can name you, and that's what we're going to talk about tonight. Who has God named you to be, and what does that mean for your life?

We're going to talk about that what is out is self-image or self-acceptance, who you view yourself to be, and what is in is God's acceptance and God's image, who he has declared you to be. We're going to take a look at that in Scripture in 1 Peter. There are a lot of different places in Scripture where we can go to look at what God has named us, but I want to go here, because this is a name I hadn't thought a whole lot about before I studied this text, and this is a name that has absolutely gripped me.

Just some setup on 1 Peter. It was written during a time of immense persecution for the church. It was written by Peter, and it was written during a time when Nero was the emperor of Rome. If you don't know anything about Nero, he was an incredibly depraved man, an evil, evil man. I could tell you a number of stories. Here's potentially one of the worst.

He was married to someone, and then he actually killed her. Historians believe he beat her to death. Shortly thereafter, he saw a young boy who he thought looked like his now deceased wife, so he took that boy, castrated that boy, married that boy, and made him dress up like his ex-wife. It's evil stuff.

Here's another. You maybe have heard of the Great Fire of Rome. Historians believe that was likely started by Nero himself. As the emperor, he set ablaze the entire city of Rome, and it actually set 75 percent of the city on fire. He did it because he wanted to rebuild the city however he saw fit. Once the fire had been put out, he needed someone to blame.

He had a people group he did not like very much, so he decided to blame the Great Fire of Rome on Christians. From that moment on, he began the systematic massacre of Christians. Some were killed by animals, some were lifted up on crosses to die, while others were lifted up on poles and lit aflame at night to serve as lamps to the city of Rome. True story.

Now, this is what's going on when Peter wrote this book. This is what's happening to the church. They're being persecuted immensely. So, what Peter is going to say is "The only way you're going to make it through this persecution; the only way you're going to make it through this pain is if you know two things: who you are and what that means for you."

One of the reasons I wanted to teach 1 Peter is because the trend is not our friend in American culture today. American culture is not drifting more and more toward Christianity, but it's drifting more and more toward hostility toward Christianity. While we are not where they were at the time of this writing, we're getting closer and closer. The only way you're going to make it through that is if you know two things: who you are and what that means for you.

So, that's what I'm going to try to answer tonight. We're going to be in 1 Peter, chapter 1, looking at verse 1. Peter writes this: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia…" All of that is in what is now today's modern Turkey. This next verse… I don't know another verse that more completely and accurately describes the Trinity. Check this out.

"…who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance." Okay. By my count, there are three names Peter gives us here: elect, chosen, and exiles.

Now, it's interesting to me. Maybe it's interesting to you. Two of those names are really similar, elect and chosen, while the other is very different, the name exile. What I find fascinating is right there in verse 1, he brings the two together. He says he's writing to the elect exiles, to the chosen unchosen ones. This is the first thing we can learn tonight. This is what you've been named.

1. In Jesus we are elect exiles. Now, how can we be both of those names at once? That doesn't really make sense. Those two names mean two very different things. How can we be those two names at the same time? Well, let me break down that name by breaking down both of those words. Let's start by talking about elect or chosen. I want to explain that word by telling you about one of my favorite moments I had while I was dating my now wife Adalee in college.

For those of you who went to Baylor or have been in Waco, we were driving down this street called Valley Mills, which is this street that cuts through the heart of the city. It was a very normal day, but I will never forget where I was when this happened. We were at a stoplight headed back to school. I'm just looking over at my girlfriend, talking with her, enjoying being with her.

As I'm talking with her, I realize out of the corner of my eye that the car next to us is not very happy with me. She's in this car, and she's screaming at me, going like this, doing everything she possibly can do to get my attention, until eventually she opens her car door. She doesn't even roll down her window, I assume because she can't. She just opens up her door, gets out of her car, and is screaming at me like this.

Being the man in the relationship, I roll down the passenger window so my wife can take the first blow. I'm assuming I'm about to get in a fight. I look over at her, and she's screaming, making a scene. She's going, "Hey! Hey! Hey!" I roll down the window, and she goes, "Son, I have never seen a man look at a woman the way you're looking at that girl, and if you don't put a ring on her finger, you've lost your mind!" Yeah. That can only happen in Waco. Truly.

I love that story, because I remember how I felt when I was dating Adalee Lamberth. I was like, "I cannot believe she chose me." I didn't have a whole lot to offer at Baylor. I wasn't in a fraternity. I was a religion major. I didn't really have a path to make a whole lot of money. There wasn't a whole lot going for me, and she chose me. So, whenever I was with her, I was like, "I cannot believe I get to be with Adalee Lamberth. I cannot believe that she chose me."

In your relationship with God, you've probably been told, "You need to be with God." And you do, but you have a lot going on. You have a lot of chaos in your life. In the chaos of your life, maybe you wake up, and you keep telling yourself, "Okay. I want to choose Jesus today. I want to choose Jesus today. I want to choose Jesus today." I just want you to know if that's your thinking in this relationship, you have the dynamics all messed up, because it's not, "Okay. Today I have to choose Jesus." It's instead, "I cannot believe that he chose me."

This is what Peter is writing to the church. He's going, "Guys, the God of the universe has chosen you. Jesus, the Savior of the world, wants you. Your Father so deeply loves you that he sent his Son to live for you. He sent him to be crucified for you. He sent him to die for you. He sent him to resurrect for you."

I don't know about you, but I didn't have a whole lot to offer to God. All I had done was run from his presence, throw myself in a pit, and cover myself in shame, godlessness, arrogance, lust, and a whole host of other sins. God saw me in the midst of that pit and said, "I want that one." It's like, "You want that one? Like, the runt of the litter. You want that one?" And God is going, "Yes, I want that one. I want him. I want her. I choose them."

You see, when we were lost, God found us. When we were dirty, our God cleansed us. When we were dead, our God raised us. Why? Because he wants you. This is the first part of this name elect exiles. Friends, he has chosen you out of the crowd. He wants you, not because you have anything to offer but because it's his desire to have a relationship with you.

So, that's the first part of the passage, elect or chosen. How can the other part be exile? How are we the elect exiles? Well, here's what ends up happening. Whenever you realize that you're chosen by God, this world is going to start to not choose you, because whenever you feel at home in God's presence, you're not going to feel at home here. That word exile in this passage can also be translated as foreigner.

What Peter is trying to describe to the church… He's saying what you should feel… If you've ever been out of the country… You've gone to a faraway country. You get off the plane. You walk out of the airport, and you're hit with a whole lot of different. You don't really understand the language people are speaking. You don't understand the food people are eating. You don't understand where everyone is trying to get to, because you don't really know where anything is. You kind of feel lost there.

What Peter is saying here is that's how we should feel as believers on this earth. We should frequently feel lost here, because our home is not here. It's not just Peter who says this. Paul says this elsewhere. In Philippians 3:20, he says our citizenship is in heaven because we're just foreigners here. So, we should not understand the language of this world. We should not understand the way people speak.

We should not understand what this world consumes, be it alcohol or entertainment or drugs. We shouldn't understand what the world consumes. We shouldn't understand where the world is trying to get to, whether they're trying to climb the ladder at their career, whether they're trying to get into a certain neighborhood, or whether they're trying to get into a certain social status. We shouldn't understand what everyone is trying to do here, because here is not our home.

We should feel lost here, because when we're foreigners here, we don't do as the world does, and when we don't do as the world does, this world will treat us like outcasts. This world will look at you and treat you like an absolute loser. This world will look at you and tell you that you are unwanted. This world will look at you and tell you that you are unenjoyable. This world will look at you and tell you that you are unsuccessful.

That's okay, because we're not living for their approval; we're living from his approval. We're the elect exiles, for crying out loud. We're chosen by him, so we know we're not going to be chosen by this world. Whenever you look at the world and the decisions they make, it should feel like they're living by a different playbook. It should feel like the world is taking different orders than we are…because they are.

The world takes its orders from the Prince of Darkness. We take our orders from the King of Kings. Of course we feel lost here. So, the first thing we can learn (I hope you get this ingrained in your bones) is in Jesus we are elect exiles. That's who you are. Let me show you what that means for you in verse 3.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…"

So, why does your name matter? Well, let's imagine that my name was not Nate Hilgenkamp but, instead, was Nate Bezos or Nate Musk or Nate Zuckerberg. If that was my name, what could you conclude about me? I'm rich. That's right. You'd be able to conclude that I have access to all my dad has, and one day I'm going to receive an absolutely massive inheritance, because your name means something.

In this passage, in verse 3, it says you've been given a new birth, and when you've been given a new birth, you've been born into a new family. When you've been given a new family, you've been given a new name. You see, my name isn't just Nate Hilgenkamp, Elect Exile; it's now Nate Hilgenkamp, Child of God. What does that mean? It means I have access to all my Father has, which is the second thing we can learn from this passage.

2. In Jesus we are given an imperishable inheritance. So, what does that mean? Let's talk about this for a minute. The text says we're receiving an imperishable inheritance. Do any of you remember NFTs? Yeah, they were a big deal when we were all bored at home during COVID. If you don't know what an NFT is, an NFT is like a screenshot of the Internet that you can buy. I know for you crypto bros it's more than that, but it's not more than that.

Let me tell you about one NFT. Here's a picture of one. This is an NFT of the first-ever tweet from Jack, the guy who founded Twitter. I just took a screenshot of this, but apparently someone else owns it. They bought it in 2021 for $2.9 million. A couple of years later, not all that long ago, he put it up for sale and had the bidding for the auction start at $48 million.

The bidding went on, and at the conclusion of the bidding, the highest bid he received was $280. Not $280 million…$280. You see, what he did with his investment is he poured $3 million into a depreciating asset. Almost as soon as he purchased this thing, this thing became worthless, because this thing perished, spoiled, and faded.

Now, can you even imagine making an investment like that? Of course you can, because some of you are doing that right now. Maybe not with your finances. Maybe you haven't bought an NFT, but Scripture says that whenever you invest your life in this world, this world is going to leave you bankrupt. Your career is going to leave you empty. Your social status is going to leave you empty. Your net worth is going to leave you empty. It will perish, spoil, and fade.

On the other hand, Scripture says here that our heavenly Father has an inheritance for us that can neither perish, spoil, or fade. That means it's not going anywhere. That means the economy can't touch it. That means your performance can't touch it, because God is holding it in his hands. There is going to be a day, either when Jesus comes back or you die and go be with him, and he's going to give you all he has. That's good news.

That should be a relief for us, but many times it's not. Do you ever think about that? Why don't you think about that every single day? If you knew you had an inheritance coming that was $100 billion, wouldn't you not be as stressed about paying your rent this month? If you knew what was coming, wouldn't you be a little bit less anxious, a little bit less stressed? Many times we're not. I don't know. Maybe it's because you don't actually believe it.

I know for many of us here in this room, we are Christians. We claim to be followers of Jesus, but let's just look at the text one more time. This is what it says in verse 3. It says the Christian is the one who has been given a new birth. You must be totally reborn. You're not an updated version of the old you; you're an alive version of the dead you. Then it says you've been given a new birth into a living hope.

Here's where we need to wake up. For many of us, we've been lulled to sleep, thinking we're Christians; meanwhile, we put our hope into things that are dying. Maybe, for you, the thing you hope more than anything else happens this year… Your deepest desire for this year, your hope, is that this would be the year you get into a relationship. Or maybe, for you, your hope is that one day you'd finally be an executive at your company. That's your hope.

Or maybe, for you, your hope is that one day you'd be able to afford that car or those clothes. I just want you to know, if that's you, you have a dying hope, not a living hope. If that's you, and if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, I just want to say that's confusing, because if you are living this life for this life, it makes it look like you don't believe in the next life.

On the other hand, what this text says is that the Christian has a living hope. So, what does that mean? It means you've placed your hope in something or someone that is alive and cannot die. Well, who would that be? The text says this in verse 3: "…a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…" That means you've not placed your hope in the things of this world. That means you've placed all of your eggs in the basket of Jesus.

You've placed all your hope in the fact that Jesus came and lived a life you couldn't live. He died a death you deserved to die. Then he rose again so that death no longer has mastery over him and so it might no longer have mastery over you. Friend, when you believe in that, God doesn't just raise Jesus from the dead but he raises you from the dead. He brings you from death to life. You've been reborn, as the text says, into a new family where you've received a new name.

With this new name comes an inheritance. It comes with all your Father has. Well, what does he have? What did Jesus Christ accomplish on this earth? He defeated death so he could have eternal life for all of us. That's what he has, and that's what he's eager to give you. That's your inheritance as a follower of Jesus. It's the second thing we can learn from this passage: in Jesus we have an imperishable inheritance.

Now, that's a large benefit. I want to tell you another benefit we have as elect exiles. Let's read the end of verse 4, and then we're going to read verse 5. "This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."

This right here is one of the most important parts of Peter's teaching, because he's saying we make it to our salvation not because of who we are but because of who he is. If you have your Bibles open, look at the text. What does it say? It says we make it to the coming of our salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. How? By the shielding of God's power. It's not about your power; it's about his. This is the third thing we can learn from this passage.

3. In Jesus we are shielded by God's power. I think this is the best way I can describe it. This summer, our family went to Branson, Missouri. We got to spend a week at Kanakuk, which is a great ministry. As a part of that time at the family camp, we got to go on Lake Taneycomo, which is really more like a river. In fact, they have a picture of it here. I was on the boat with my wife and my, at the time, 2-year-old daughter.

Branson is a weird place for so many reasons. One of those reasons is this lake, because this lake pulls its water from another lake, Table Rock Lake. It pulls its water from the bottom of another lake, so this water is always freezing. There's a fog on the lake at all times. In this picture it was really, really hot outside. It was like 95 degrees and humid, but the water was…I don't know…35 degrees or something like that. So, there's always this fog on the water.

Even though it's really, really hot outside, when you're on the water it's actually really, really cold. We'd been driving around on this boat for a while. I don't know if it was a mile or so, and we were having a great time until we stopped having a great time, because my 2-year-old daughter lost her mind. When a 2-year-old loses their mind, there's really no way of fixing it. She just kept going, "Dad! I'm cold! I want to get off the boat! I want to get off the boat! Take me back! The wind is in my face. Dad, I'm cold!"

So I'm like, "Okay. We've got to get off this boat, but we've got a ways to go." So I asked the driver if he could turn around and go back to camp, and he was like, "Yeah, no problem." But it was still a ways back, and she wasn't calming down. We kept driving. The wind was still in her face, and she just kept going, "Dad! I want to get off the boat! I'm so cold! Get me out of here!"

Eventually, as her dad, I went over to her. I picked her up, and I placed her in front of me and put my back up against the wind. Over and over again for 20 minutes, I kept saying, "Jacie, we're almost back. We're going to make it. Dad is going to keep you safe." I did my best to block the wind. I just kept saying over and over again, "Jacie, we're almost back. We're going to make it. Dad is going to keep you safe."

You know, life is hard. I don't know what you've been through. I can tell you what I've been through. I could give you a number of examples, but about 13 months ago my wife and I had a miscarriage. It was so hard. In that time in my life, it felt like the winds of this world were blowing straight in my face. Do you want to know what else I felt? I felt my heavenly Father pick me up, turn his back to the wind, and say, "Nate, we're going home. You're going to make it. Dad is going to keep you safe."

I don't know what you've been through in your life. I bet you've been through some really hard things, but I just want you to know that if you're a believer in Jesus, even in those moments when it feels like the wind is blowing at your face, your heavenly Father is there picking you up, turning his back toward the wind, and saying, "Son, daughter, you're going to make it. We're headed back. Dad is going to keep you safe."

I know that tonight I'm in Dallas, Texas. We're in a room full of highly competent people. Dallas is filled with really gifted people, really successful people, really strong people. Dallas is all about what you can achieve. Like, "I've got to go achieve this in my career. I've got to go achieve this social status. I've got to go out and get what's mine by my own strength."

Friend, I just want you to know there will be times in your life when the winds of this world will be stronger than you are, and it will blow you onto your back, and you won't have the strength to get up. The good news of Scripture is you don't make it home on your own strength; you make it home by your Father's shielding. I just want you to know tonight the lie of Dallas, Texas, is that you have to go out and make a name for yourself; you have to go out and prove yourself.

The truth of Scripture is you don't need to prove anything, because your salvation is not dependent upon you. Your sanctification is not dependent upon you. Your stability is not dependent upon you. Your safety is not dependent upon you, because your life is not about you. Let me just show you what it says right here in the text over and over and over again. Listen again to the words used in this passage.

"To God's elect…who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit… In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power…"

You see, all of that is describing God's preeminence and not your performance. Friend, this is the joy in following Jesus. Your name is not dependent upon what you do. You don't receive a name because you've earned it. You don't receive a name because you deserve it. In Jesus, you are not defined by your net worth. In Jesus, you are not defined by the car you drive. In Jesus, you are not defined by your physical appearance. In Jesus, you are not defined by your career.

In Jesus, you're not defined by your social status. In Jesus, you're not defined by the clothes you wear. In Jesus, you're not defined by anyone else. In Jesus, you're not defined by your sin. In Jesus, you're not even defined by you, because in Jesus you're defined by Jesus. Scripture makes it very clear that he has declared you to be his son or daughter. If that's who he says you are, then that's who you are, not because you've earned it or because you deserve it but because he has declared it to be true.

Friend, I just want you to know you don't have to go out and make a name for yourself, because he has already given you one. So, in summary, three things we can learn. First, in Jesus we are elect exiles. Second, in Jesus we have an imperishable inheritance. Third, in Jesus we are shielded by God's power.

This book 1 Peter was written by Peter. Maybe you don't know a whole lot about Peter, but let me tell you a little bit about his life. Peter was not actually his name given to him at birth. His birth name was Simon. He was named Simon and lived his life, and then eventually Jesus came and found him and said, "Follow me," so Simon left everything and followed Jesus.

Then after they started doing ministry for a while, Jesus pulled him aside and said, "Simon, I'm going to rename you. Your name is no longer Simon, but your name is now Peter, and on this rock I will build my church." Then there's a really important moment in the Gospels where Jesus is arrested and is standing before Pontius Pilate. At that moment, Peter, perhaps his closest friend, was found right by a fire. Maybe you know this story, maybe you don't.

When his best friend was arrested, when his best friend was about to die, he was there watching from a distance. Three separate times people came up to him and asked, "Hey, do you know him?" and he said, "No! I don't know that man." Then they said, "Man, it sure seems like you know him. You talk a lot like him. Do you know him?" and he said, "Surely, I do not know him!" Then a third time someone said, "Do you know him? I saw you with him," and he said, "No, I don't know that man!" Then the rooster crowed.

Then Jesus left that place, was crucified, died, and was resurrected. Then one of my favorite stories in the gospel. Jesus comes and finds his friend on the other side of the resurrection. Peter is going out fishing, and Jesus appears on the sand. Peter leaves the boat to go and find Jesus. I noticed this moment for the first time as I was rereading it, putting together this message. I've read this story a lot, but I was struck by one thing in this moment.

This moment is typically called the restoration of Peter. What Jesus does here is he approaches Peter, and he says something interesting. He says, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter says, "Lord, you know I love you." Jesus once again says, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" and Peter says, "Lord, you know I love you." Then a third time Jesus says, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" and Peter says, "You know I love you, Lord."

I was struck by that moment, because I was struck by the name Jesus spoke over Peter. He called him Simon, his worldly name, the name that was given to him by his parents, not the name that was given to him by Jesus. Jesus always does something for a reason. I think, perhaps, Jesus was going to Peter that day and saying, "Who are you going to be? Because recently, you've been living a whole lot like Simon. You've been living like the name this world has given you, but I've given you another name. So, Simon, who are you going to be? Who are you going to listen to?"

From that moment on, the rest of the Gospels and the book of Acts, Simon would go by the name Peter and he'd live like he was Peter. I think you have an opportunity tonight, because I think your heavenly Father may be asking you, "Who are you going to be? What name are you going to listen to? Because recently, you've been living a whole lot like that name this world has given you, but I've given you a different name. So, son, daughter, who are you going to be?

Are you going to continue to go by the name Unenjoyable, Unsuccessful, Unwanted, Broken, or Forgotten or are you going to go by the name I've given you…Loved, Chosen, Seen, Forgiven, Accepted? Which name are you going to go by? Who are you going to be?" Or maybe a better question is…Who are you going to listen to? Are you going to listen to the voices in this world or are you going to listen to the victorious voice of your heavenly Father? Who are you going to listen to tonight? Let me pray that it would be Jesus.

Father, I am so grateful that you know all of us by name, that you knew us even before we were formed in our mother's womb. God, I thank you that you have given us a name that we don't feel like we deserve. I know there are a lot of people in here tonight watching tonight, and they feel covered in shame, they feel covered in sin, and they feel like they don't measure up to any name you've given them in Scripture.

Father, would you remind us tonight that we don't earn our name but we receive our name? Our name is not given to us because of what we've done in our lives but because of what Jesus did in his life. He lived the perfect life we couldn't live, he died the death we deserved to die, and he rose again victoriously so he could bestow on us a new name, so he could bestow on us an imperishable inheritance, and so you could block us, so you could shield us from the winds of this world that want to take us out.

God, I pray for all of my friends here in this room. I pray that we'd make it home with you. I pray that every single day we wouldn't fall in love with the things of this world but we'd fall in love with you, not just having a mindset of "Okay. I've got to choose Jesus. I've got to choose Jesus. I've got to choose Jesus," but instead having a mindset of "I cannot believe he has chosen me."

God, what we want to do tonight is we want to worship you like we've been forgiven. We want to worship you like we've been renamed. We want to worship you like we're alive, because we are because of what you've done. The only reason we have hope tonight is because of one thing. It's because Jesus is alive and with us and for us. It's in his name we pray, amen.

Porch, I know a lot of you have come in with a lot of different things. I just want you to know we have a team up front that is eager to talk to you and pray with you, but what we want to do now is worship our risen King. Let's do that now.