Sermon:  Your Identification

Summary:  Everyone has spiritual identification that identifies who they are 
and to whom they belong.  There are only two kinds of identification, a mark 
or a seal.  Those with the mark have made what appear to be reasonable 
compromises in the interest of happiness, prosperity, and blessing.  Those 
with a seal have made a total, uncompromising commitment to Jesus as Lord, 
refusing to take the mark.  In the end, those with the mark will be destroyed, 
but those with the seal that identifies them as belonging to Christ will be 
saved from eternal destruction at the judgment.  In order for us to have the 
seal, we need unwavering and uncompromising commitment to the Lordship of Christ.  

Text:  Rev 13:11-18

Scripture Reading:  James 4:7-8

1.  How many of you have an ID?
	a.  Driver's license, state ID, school ID, military ID, etc.
	b.  Animals have dog tags, livestock have a brand, cars have VIN #
	c.  All of this is to identify who you are, and where you belong
2.  If you want to get into certain places on Post, you have to have an ID
	a.  You can't get through without one
	b.  It identifies who you are and whether you belong there
3.  There is another kind of ID, a spiritual one
	a.  Everyone has one
	b.  Whether a student, parent, young, old, man, woman, working, retired
	c.  This will determine whether you can get into God's "post" or not
	d.  Don't you want to make sure you have the proper ID to get in?
4.  There are ONLY two kids of ID's

I.  God's imprint
	A.  The Bible calls this a "seal"
	B.  (Rev 7:1-4) - Bondservants of God get a seal on foreheads   
		1.  What is a seal?  -  Usually an imprint from a signet ring
			a.  Wax with a seal verifies ownership
			b.  It shows that the item is genuine
			c.  It protects what has been sealed 
		2.  This passage demonstrates that those sealed are protected
			a.  Previous chapter ends with a question - (6:17)
			b.  Who is able to withstand God's wrath?
			c.  Answer in the next paragraph - Those sealed of God
			d.  (Rev 9:4) - Protection from supernatural locusts
				- Reminder of plagues of Egypt
				- Angel of death passed over those houses sealed 
				  with the blood of the lamb
		3.  Who are the ones with a seal?
			a.  7:4 - says it is 144,000 from every tribe
			b.  This is a symbolic number
				- 12,000 from each tribe
				- 12 is symbolic for God's people
				- 1,000 is completeness intensified
			c.  ALL of God's faithful bond-servants are sealed
	C.  ILL:  Have you ever seen a "seal of approval" on anything?
		1.  Many kinds
			a.  Good housekeeping seal of approval
			b.  USDA seal of approval
		2.  This seal shows endorsement, acceptance
		3.  God stamps his seal of approval that his bond servants
			a.  The ink is red and came from the cross
			b.  The stamp is shaped like a dove - The Holy Spirit
		4.  God's seal is more than just endorsement
			a.  Identifies them as belonging to God
			b.  Protects the from the wrath to come
			c.  We need this seal in order to escape judgment
			d.  We need this seal for eternal life
	D.  When do you get this seal?
		1.  Eph 1:13 - When hear Gospel & respond, sealed with Spirit
		2.  What is the Gospel?  1 Cor 15:1-4
			a.  Jesus died on the cross for your sins
			b.  He was buried, and rose from the grave
		3.  Notice the first time this seal was given in Acts 2
			a. (Acts 2:22-24) - What is Peter doing?  Preaching Gospel
				- Jesus died on the cross
				- He was raised up from the grave
			b.  (Acts 2:37-39) - What shall we do?
				- Repent and be baptized for remission of sins
				- Will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
				- Like in Eph 1, heard Gospel, respond, sealed
		4.  Romans 8 not use word "seal," but idea of what seal does there
			a.  (Rom 8:9) - If not have the Spirit, do not belong to him
			b.  (Rom 8:15) - We received a Spirit of adoption as sons
			c.  (Rom 8:16) - Spirit testifies we are children of God
			d.  (Rom 8:17) - As children we are heirs
				- The Spirit as a seal is just a downpayment
				- We will inherit eternal life
				- We will inherit the eternal Kingdom with God 

II.  The World's Imprint
	A.  The Bible doesn't call this a seal, but a mark
	B.  (Rev 13:11-18) - It is the Mark of the Beast
		1.  Ooooh, seems real evil and sinister
			a.  The number 666 a favorite in movies - very evil
			b.  The "mark" a favorite subject in end-time prophecies
				- Some have identified it with a number of ID's
				- Social Security Numbers, UPC codes
				- Some have suggested the mark is a brain implant
			c.  Lots of wild speculation about what this mark is
			d.  But it is not these sorts of things, it is more subtle
		2.  A little historical background is needed - Emperor Worship
			a.  Rome's religious policy was very tolerant
				- People were free to worship their local gods
				- There were many legally protected indigenous 
				   religions in the Roman Empire
			b.  There was one universal religious duty in Roman empire
				- Once a year, at a temple of Caesar, or a bust
				- Burn incense and declare, "Caesar is Lord"
				- This not exclude worship of your personal god
				- This was considered a patriotic duty
			c.  You received a certificate showing you did this
				- Showed you performed your patriotic duty
				- This certificate was like a pass
					= Could be member of trade guild
					= Could function in everyday civic life
					= It was a mark of a good subject of Rome
				- Without it, you an outcast, maybe killed, torture
		3.  This passage is addressing this practice
			a.  The second beast was the "concillia," those who enforced 
			      and oversaw emperor worship
			b.  Perform your duty, concillia gave a mark (certificate)
			c.  With the mark, able to live peacefully in society, fit in
			d.  Many Christians would not "take the mark"
				- Were seen as stubborn, obstinate, unpatriotic
				- Were shunned, persecuted, and even killed
		4.  Is the message applicable to us today?  Yes
			a.  Text describes beast as having horns like a lamb
				- He is a deceiver
				- Wants you to think he truly cares for you
			b.  The beast makes promises
				- Take mark, you need it to fit in, to get along, to live
				- He wants you to think he has your back
				- Life be good if take the mark
				- Wants you to cooperate with him
			c.  What is the beast? Not Satan. Beast's number is 666
				- Not a big mystery, it says it is man's number
				- 6 is incomplete, one short of seven, almost, but not
				- Can triple it to 666, but still not a 7
				- 666 is failure, cannot deliver on any promises
					= 6 is not a 7, is always an "almost"
					= Is always a "not quite"
			d. (Rev 14:9-11) - Those with mark receive eternal torment
	C.  Is the beast still around today?  Yes, but not many think he is
		1.  What does the "mark of the beast make you think of?"
			a.  Something so vile and sinister, you stay away
			b.  He wouldn't be very smart if that is how he approach you
		2.  Remember, he is deceitful 
			a.  He likes people to think the mark is a UPC code, etc. 
			b.  Why?  It takes your attention off the real mark
		3.  ILL:  Let me tell you about Todd, a guy I knew in school
			a.  He participated in youth activities, came regularly
			b.  I was shocked when I saw him in school
				- Made fun of nerds and geeks
				- Crude jokes, cussed, everyone else doing it
				- Kept distance from other Christian kids
				- Never let on that he was a Christian too
			c.  He a different person in school and in church
			d.  Todd would have resisted taking the "Mark of the Beast"
				- It is evil, sinister, vile, he would fight it all the way
				- But little did he know, he had already been taking it
		4.  The mark is much more subtle than what many think
	D.  What is the mark?  It is what you gain from divided allegiance
		1.  Jas 4:4 - Adulteress, friendship with world hostility to God
			a.  Divided allegiance is spiritual adultery
			b.  The mark is a sign of spiritual adultery
			c.  Many have this mark without even realizing it
			d.  Remember - mark is what gain from divided allegiance
		2.  So, if your Christian faith is not 24/7, you may have the mark
			a.  If you act, talk, and look different on Sunday and Monday
			b.  If you join in unchristian activities in order to not stand out
			c.  If keep your faith hidden so no one give you hard time
			d.  This is what it means to take the mark
		3.  Mark is not just some certificate people received 2000 years ago
			a.  If hide faith so can be cool, then coolness is your mark
			b.  If compromise faith to gain wealth, then wealth your mark
			c.  If promotion at expense of faith, then promotion is mark
			d.  If keep friends at expense of faith, friends are your mark
		4.  Don't let beast deceive you, don't let him intimidate you either
			a.  Remember the destiny of those who take the mark
			b.  You can't be a Christian with both a seal and a mark
			c.  You either have a seal or a mark

1.  Which do you have?  A seal or mark?
2.  If you have not obeyed the Gospel, you do not have a seal (inv)
3.  If you have obeyed the Gospel, watch out for the beast
	a.  He will try and get you to focus on the difficulty of wearing your seal
		- Look how difficult it is for you.  Where is your God now?
		- Compromise, tolerance, acceptance good for you, society, and life
		- You not want be intolerant, obstinate, stubborn, or misfit do you?
		- Things much better if you take the mark
	b.  But as Christians, we have eyes to see - (2 Cor 4:16-5:1)
		- We focus not on what is seen, but on the unseen
		- Wearing seal can bring persecution and hardship on the earth
		- But this is momentary affliction, it is light affliction
		- This is not worthy to be compared to God's reward
	c.  So, we will not compromise our faith, not one inch, will not budge
	d.  Jesus is Lord, not the government, not culture, not anything else
		- I have the seal of God, and that is all that matters
4.  Do not straddle the fence, the devil owns both the other side and the fence
5.  What kind of ID do you have?  Mark or Seal?
	a.  If you have mark, bring it to Jesus
	b.  Come to Jesus, commit to him, let him put his seal on you.