Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] Your Bible shows that you were created according to the God kind, to be a part of God's spiritual family. And that may sound shocking, but the identity thief has stolen that fact, that God is reproducing spiritual children after his kind through humanity, and that family relationship of becoming a child of God, the Father, is right at the heart and core of God's incredible plan for you.
[Narrator] Join our presenters from the United Church of God, as we bring you help for today and hope for tomorrow, directly from your Bible. Here on "Beyond Today."
[Steve Myers] Your identity is at risk more than ever, but also in a way that you may not realize. Do you know how many identity theft and fraud reports were received by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States in 2021? 5.7 million total reports. You realize how often that is? That's an identity theft case every 22 seconds. The economic impact is in the billions of dollars, but victims and their families report that the impact is so much more than just financial.
You know, not only is there damage to your credit report, maybe your bank account, maybe your online information but it's not only physical. What's worse, there's emotional damage, even psychological issues that can come up. I mean, if you've ever been a victim, it's stressful, you've been violated, you feel like your personal safety has been damaged, you may have anxiety, or even feelings of self worth that, wow, how could this happen?
Now here's what you may not realize there's another type, it's spiritual. You realize the devil wants to steal your identity? It's true, Satan wants to steal your true spiritual identity. Now, that's a big concept, so stay with me because you'll want to open your eyes to this kind of robbery. And that means you've got to know, you've got to understand who is Satan? Why is he that way? How does he work?
Well, the Bible tells us that "the working of Satan is with all power, signs, and lying wonders, And he does it with all unrighteous deception." You see we got to start by realizing Satan is a powerful individual, he's a supernatural being, he's a fallen angel, you could think of him as the arch enemy of God, and Satan the devil is a spiritual identity thief. I mean, it's significant, it's huge, and yet most don't even realize, they don't realize Satan's at work. And on the other hand, so oftentimes people don't realize that they have a godly identity. God's got an amazing plan and it's a family plan, and it's a family plan, in fact, is why you were born. The Bible speaks so much of this, and so often. There's a beautiful passage over in the book of Romans, Romans 8:17, that gives us a little glimpse into that plan of God and your spiritual identity. It says this, "Since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God's glory." And we're going to talk about that plan a little bit more later, so stay with me, because one of the things that works against this is Satan himself, the devil, he wants nothing more for you than to miss out, to misunderstand that identity, to deluge your spiritual identity. He doesn't want you to be a part of the family of God, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to undermine God and you.
Now, don't forget the devil, remarkably powerful. In fact, the Bible says that Satan is a relentless accuser, who's going to stop at nothing to condemn you. In fact, his name the devil, the devil means slanderer. And Christ Himself said it's in his nature to steal, and kill, and destroy. He's powerful, and in the physical realm, when you read your Bible it tells you he's got power to make people sick. He can have them thrown into prison. But you know, the main way that he opposes God? The primary way is that he tries to destroy God, His plan, and His people. But it's not a physical thing, it's in the spiritual realm. I mean, the best way to think about it, He's spiritually deceptive.
Spiritual deception is his motivation, he wants to separate you from your spiritual potential, from your godly family. You ever thought of it that way? If you go all the way back to the garden, go back to Adam and Eve, there's where we have the very first recorded incident of identity theft. You probably know the story, the serpent shows up in the garden and he tricks Adam and Eve into believing that God has some selfish motives. "That's why he's not allowing you to eat from that tree." Was he holding them back? Well, God must be denying your liberty. And so like a modern day hacker, Satan put his tactics into practice. They were based in lies, pretense, deception. And so he promoted that discontent, jealousy, maybe even a little bit of envy, because his goal was pretty straightforward, very simple, to destroy Adam and Eve's confidence in God and their identity as children of the most high God. And he used fraud, he used that deception, and he attacked their personal identity and really their relationship with God.
Remember what he said? "Well, Adam and Eve did, did God really say that?" "Is that true? You know, are you sure about that?" Of course, the result caused them to doubt God's love. They became suspicious of really believing God. They misinterpreted God's will for their life, in a way you could say they questioned their family relationship and really their calling is children of God. And so they believed Satan's lies more than God's promises. So they disobeyed God, and they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Here's God who wanted to be their father, in fact, he wants to be yours as well. And Satan set the stage. That was the first identity theft, but you see all too often that deception has continued throughout history.
He deceives mankind, he's even deceived religion. Christianity has fallen for the schemes of the devil. Christ himself talked about that impact, in John 8:44, Christ described false teachers, and notice the connection here to the devil's schemes. John 8:44, Christ said, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there's no truth in him." Christ went on and said, "When he speaks, he speaks a lie, and he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." You see, Satan deceived Adam and Eve, he stole their identity, but that wasn't enough for him. He's out to steal yours as well because he knows that's the surest way to wreck your relationship with God. I mean, you could think of it this way. What did Satan himself do? Satan himself refused to accept his God-given identity, he didn't want that, he wanted a new identity apart from God. In fact, he wanted to be in charge, he didn't want God to be in charge. And so when it came to God's plan and his purpose, he didn't want Adam and Eve to worship the true God. So he undermined God's commands, God's direction, and so they disobeyed the word of God.
Today he does the same thing, he tempts us to do the same. "Don't listen to your creator. You don't have to do those commandments." He causes people to misinterpret God's words, minimize the law of God. "Ignore, you don't need to do those things. Don't pay any attention to that. Maybe that's a, you know, fading principle." And so that tactic is the same, he's dividing the spiritual family.
But don't forget God created you with an identity, and Satan wants you to replace that identity, that God-given identity, with a counterfeit. If you notice what God said at the very beginning, he mapped it out, he showed your identity. Genesis 1:26, "God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'" So there you get a little bit of a hint of our identity. So what did God do? Well, all the way back in Genesis, it says, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female." And so when you see that at the very beginning, we are in his likeness, God gave us an identity, and it was based on who God really is and what is your God-given destiny? What is that all about? That's what your identity is based on. So if you accept the devil's wrong view of God, and you don't recognize God as your loving father, you ignore his caring guidance, you ignore his commands, you allow Satan to disrupt you in worshiping the true God in spirit, and in truth. If you permit the devil to break up the spiritual family and have a right relationship with God, then everything about your true identity can begin to spin out of control, like it did for Adam and Eve. Because Satan hates the true worship of God. He hates God, he hates his plan, he hates his purpose.
That becomes evident even when Christ appeared on the scene. Do you remember how the devil tempted Jesus Christ? What did he do? He told him, "Well, if you are the Son of God" and he began to cast doubt, tried to infect Jesus' mind with deceit, he tried to thwart God's plan. What he was really doing is trying to keep Jesus from sacrificing His life for humanity. I mean, ultimately he tried to steal Christ's identity as our savior. So like Adam and Eve who lost their identity, Satan's been working that way from the very beginning. And yet from the start, God had an amazing plan, a plan for you, for me, for all human beings, to ultimately give us the gift of eternal life. In fact, one of the Bible's most familiar passages makes that clear.
John 3:16, you may know this particular passage, in John 3:16, it says, "For God's so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Now many listen to the wrong influence, many come to that impact that their thinking is changed, it it isn't evident and that they think it means, "well, I'm going to go to heaven when I die, that's what this must mean." But you know, the thief has stolen the true meaning even of that passage, because God's goal is to vastly expand His family, and He desires spiritual children.
So right now, the eternal family consists of two divine beings, God the Father, and Jesus Christ, His son, and His goal for humanity is eternal life in His family. And that's the central focus of all of creation. The book of Romans defines that for us, in Romans 8:19, it tells us clearly, "The earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God." That's family, that's a close family relationship, and that's God's burning desire for humanity, He wants that kind of a relationship, He wanted that with Adam and Eve, yet the thief came in and stole their identity. In fact, Romans tells us that Jesus is called the firstborn of many brethren, of many, well, what could that mean?
Christ, the firstborn son of God, the first born into the Spirit. And of course, if you're first, what does that imply? There's going to be more, there'll be many more children born into God's divine family. And Hebrews tells us, "Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers." And of course, think about how Adam and Eve lost their identity, they left the family. You see, the key is to worship God in spirit and in truth. Recognize the fact that he's producing a spiritual family, so you can fulfill your God-given identity. In fact, God promises this very thing, even all the way at the end of the book, in the book of Revelation 21 in verse seven, we're reminded, "He who overcomes shall inherit all things," God says, "I will be his God and he shall be my son." Now, he doesn't just say that once, he says that over and over throughout scripture. 2 Corinthians 6:18, God inspired this quotation, God says, "'I will be your father, I'll be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters' says, the Lord Almighty."
You see, Satan wanted nothing to do with God, nothing to do with his family, and his goal now is expanded, to influence you from understanding what God's plan is, what God's family plan is all about, and ultimately having eternal life as a spirit born divine child of God. God on one hand wants to give you immortality, so you can live in the family forever. He wants you to have a close relationship with Him. In fact, Christ emphasized that very fact. John 14:23, Christ said, "If anyone loves Me, he'll keep My word and My Father will love him. He’ll keep My word and My Father will love him. He who does not love me does not keep my words."
So think about that, who does God want you to be? He wants you to be part of the family, and he wants you to be a literal spirit born member, a future child in the family of God. But that's probably something your church doesn't talk about, your priest won't tell you what the Bible really says. Your pastor, your ministry, you probably haven't heard any of this from them, and you may have never heard that very fact before. You've already been hacked, being held ransom, like that identity theft, you didn't even know it happened. But it's time to reclaim your identity.
We have a beautiful summary of God's purpose and plan that's found over in the book of Ephesians. Ephesians 3:11 begins to describe this amazing plan that God has for you, for all of mankind. Ephesians 3:11 begins, "According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus, our Lord." So let's talk about that eternal purpose that is right here in scripture. It drives the apostle Paul to his knees, and in verse 14, he says, "This is the reason I bow my knees to the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named," he goes on, "that he would grant you to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
So what does that mean? Well, imagine, if you're filled up to all the fullness of God and you're a part of that family that's named after God, well that can only mean you've become a literal son or daughter of God, a full fledged family member of His spiritual family, a divine spirit being like God in His image, in His eternal family. And so from the beginning his purpose was clear, to upset the plan and purpose of God, but God made us in His image and His likeness to be like Him, and that's family talk. And it's amazing to think after God created the animals and Adam and Eve, he showed them how they reproduced. And there's an important lesson here, God told them they each were to reproduce after their own kind. So lions produce lions, and giraffes produce giraffes, and dogs produce cute little puppies.
Okay, so what's the point? It's no different from mankind. Your Bible shows that you were created according to the God kind to be a part of God's spiritual family. And that may sound shocking, but the identity thief has stolen that fact that God is reproducing spiritual children after His kind through humanity, and that family relationship of becoming a child of God the Father, is right at the heart and core of God's incredible plan for you. God wants you to be a part of that family, to bring you into His eternal family forever as one of His offspring. And so right now, think of that family, right now it's God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. But there are many, many more to follow.
Now you might say, "whoa whoa, wait a second, Wait a second, I haven't heard more about this. Where did that come? Could all this other churches be wrong? Have they missed the point?" It's like being a victim of fraud, and you might feel angry, you might feel vulnerable, but it's important illustration of the devil's influence. And when you look at the evidence, look to the source, go to the source of God's word and you'll see it's true. Note what it says, the Book of Acts emphasizes this fact, Acts 17:28, it says, "For in Him we live and move and have our being,” it also goes on to say, "we are also His offspring. Therefore, if we are the offspring of God."
So what does that say? Your offspring, your family members, your children, your children. So who are the children of God? How can you become a part of God's family? Well, it consists of those who have been baptized, who's sincerely repent of sin, who are changed, and they have received God's Holy Spirit. And so the Bible points to that ultimate identity, to a time at the resurrection when you'll be born into the household of God. And that's where the Father intends to transform us into the very kind of beings that He and Jesus Christ are right now. And Christ made it a promise, He says at the end of the book, "He who overcomes shall inherit all things and I will be his good and he shall be my son."
So now's the time, protect your identity, protect it by changing and becoming Christlike. Don't be vulnerable, don't be exposed, don't let yourself be unprotected, don't let Satan uncover your weakness. And so the solution is get back to the family, guard yourself as sons and daughters of God. Protect that spiritual identity, by realizing God's purpose for your life, that it's a family plan, and it is His plan for you. And that's something I hope you'll really look into.
You want to know more? I hope you will protect your identity, and I'd like to help you do just that, because it connects to answering the big questions in life. What is the meaning of life? Why did God create mankind? Well, your Bible reveals that very purpose. And to help you understand, we've produced a Bible study aid called "Why Were You Born?" You can get you free copy by calling us at the number on your screen, or you can go to our website beyondtoday.tv. There you can download a copy or read it right there online.
Now, this study aid will help you really understand God's Word. You can understand the Bible, and find your true spiritual identity. It will help you to find really the true meaning of life itself. Don't you want to understand why God wants you to come to the knowledge of the truth? I mean, this is an amazing priceless opportunity to be a part of the family of God, His spiritual children.
Find out about it. Go online to beyondtoday.tv where you can download it or read it there online, or you can order your free copy of "Why Were You Born?," by calling us at the number on your screen. It'll help you to study your Bible, put it right next to your Bible, make sure and check out the facts, see if I'm really saying what's true and in your Bible, you want it to be true, so make sure you order your free copy of "Why Were You Born?" today. You know God has an incredible plan, an incredible purpose for your life. Your godly identity is the reason why you were born, and it was to become a literal child of God. An immortal spirit born divine child, and that's the reality. The reality is that God is a family, we have the Father and Jesus Christ who will head up that family for all eternity, and it is an amazing plan. He's creating in His children His own divine nature, His holy, righteous, perfect character, and He wants to give you His family name.
So don't underestimate the value of your life, that's why you were born, you were born to be one of God's own children. You were born to receive his very nature, his character, and eventually eternal life. You were born to become a glorified immortal member of God's family, to live and reign with the Father and Jesus Christ. What an incredible purpose. So, don't be a victim, I pray that you'll make the choice to learn more about your amazing spiritual potential. So continue to follow your loving Father and Jesus Christ your elder brother, because it's in them that you'll find your true identity.
[Narrator] Please call for the booklet offered on today's program, "Why Were You Born?" God has an amazing purpose for your life, do you know what that purpose is? This free study aid lays out what Jesus actually taught about your destiny. You will learn why mankind it's a unique creation. What does it mean to be made in the image of God? Order now, call toll free 1-888-886-8632, or write to the address shown on your screen. What is God really telling us when He calls us His children? The truth is even more amazing than you were probably taught.
When you order this free study aid, we'll also send you a complimentary one year subscription to our "Beyond Today" magazine. Six times a year you'll read about current world events in light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family, and godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call to receive your free booklet "Why Were You Born?" and your free one year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine. 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.
[Gary Petty] Hi, I'm Gary Petty, a pastor with the United Church of God. If you are looking for a church that encourages living what the word of God really teaches, you found the right place. We're a community of believers dedicated to seeking the truth and preaching the good news of the coming kingdom of God. We'd like to welcome you to come and join us on this spiritual journey. We have hundreds of congregations around the United States and across the world. Visit ucg.org to find a church near you. We're looking forward to meeting you soon.