THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
PROGRAM AIR DATE - 2-29-04
LESSON TITLE: "ARE NAMES REALLY IMPORTANT?"
"In the beginning - God - created the heavens and the earth!" This morning, it is before this awesome, great and mighty God which we assemble - to praise, laud and magnify His wondrous name! Will you approach His almighty throne with me in prayer at this time!
Let me thank you all for joining us this morning. However, let me say a special hello today, to our viewers in the Caulfield, Missouri area. We thank you for making The Living Word program a part of your offering to God, as we join together to worship our God each Sunday morning.
May Ifurther encourage those in the Caulfield area to visit with a faithful congregation of our Lord which meets there - the Prairie Grove church of Christ. Please take advantage of the opportunity even this morning to worship with this congregation as they begin at 10:00 a.m. with a Bible class. This hour of study is then followed by a main worship assembly at 10:45, and this family also meets at 7:00 on Sunday evening. A mid-week service is also offered as a convenient time to worship God, this assembly is at 7:00 p.m. every Wednesday evening.
So again, let me encourage you to visit with these brethren soon. And furthermore, we thank this fine congregation for it's continue support of this work of our Lord. If you need any further information about this congregation feel free to contact their minister Doyle Garner, at (870)458-2339.
Well, it's already time to praise our God through song. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Just As I Am!"
(song # 1)
Oh, how I love the song we just sang together, "Just As I Am!" How encouraging this song is and what hope it gives each of us as we strive to follow our God. But think for moment as to why it is so encouraging? Well it reminds us that God accepts us just as we are!
The reality is we are not perfect and we all make mistakes. In fact, even though we are Christians we still do things from time to time which are contrary to the Will of God. However, the wonderful news is, if we are willing to do our best and remain penitent before our God, of those things we mess up in - He will forgive us and love us anyway. As long as we are willing to repent and correct those wrongs that we commit against God and others - He is always ready with open arms to receive us to his side.
I think the man of God - King David, had this all figured out, as we see clarified by his thoughts in Psalm 51:1-7. There we read, "have mercy upon me, o God, according to your loving kindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight; that you may be found just when you speak, and blameless when you judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. behold, you desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part you will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Yes, how wonderful it is to serve such a loving and forgiving God who will accept us, despite our past wrongs.
This morning, we will consider a special lesson which is entitled, "Are Names Really Important?" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will return and lead us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
I'm so glad you've continued with us this morning as we again go to God's Word and look specifically at an important lesson that will help us hopefully be better followers in His kingdom. We generally follow a series on the program as you well know and from time to time, as you could expect, we get quite a few comments and questions into the program and we just talked a lot about the importance of the church, the church that Christ has built and all these wondrous ideas in relationship to this church that Christ has brought about and how so well He has clarified what the church is all about in scripture and of it's great importance. In relationship to these things, we have received a few comments and questions that really deal with names and so I though it would be important today that we look at the importance of names and really ask ourselves the questions that have been asked of me, and that is, "Are names really important?" IN religious circles, when we put certain names on our signboards, when we put certain names on pegboards in the buildings or under pictures and we call certain individuals certain things, are these names proper? Are they appropriate? And basically as we have been seeing with Christ's church, the best question that we could ask is, "Are they Biblically based?" Isn't that really the goal that we strive in all of our activities as Christians to do what God is glorified in and really to do only those things that certainly would show forth His praise and His glory and not our own?
Well then I'd like to talk about the names that we wear. Are they really important? Many people today try to convince us that really names are not important and that really they don't make any difference and that if we use a name or call ourselves by a certain name or even by a man's name, that it is not significant at all. Well, I think we should ask ourselves some further questions if this be the feeling that we have.
When we're born into this world, what's one of the very first things that a new mother and father have to choose for that child? A name. But why? Could you imagine today if none of us had names? If we had no way to identify one another and had no way to call each other by? Can you imagine being there in the hospital and not one baby or infant having a name there in that hospital because names are insignificant or unimportant? What about the concept further if we say, well, what about when you name your child, how many of you would choose to name your child "Satan?" What about "Beelzebub?" How many of you would choose to name your child after maybe violent criminals of the past? How many would want to call your child "Hitler" and use that as his first name? Oh, but you might have questioned or wondered, "Well names really aren't that big of a deal. They are not that important."
Well, let me make a few more suggestions that you might consider as we think about our parents as we grow up. When I look at my children and I call for Trey, I expect Trey to respond. I don't expect Nikki to turn around and to respond, my daughter. Or if I call for Nikki, I don't expect Trey to turn around and say, "Yes, Father," because names are important. The names identify and specify who I am communicating with. Names are surely of the utmost importance.
If you don't think so, let me give another example. What about in relationship to voting. We have a lot of primaries that are going on right now and elections that will be near the end of the year. When you go in to vote, what do you have to produce? A voter registration card, and on that card is your name. That name has to be right. It has to be a valid card and it has to be something that identifies you by name as being a certain individual. What if everybody had the same name? It wouldn't work. What if everybody didn't have a name at all? It again wouldn't work because we need names to identify.
I suggest you might go in the bank the next time and say, "Well, I'd like to withdraw some money." And they would say, "Okay sir, what's your name?" "Well, names aren't important. I'm not going to give you my name, but I need my money." Well, what do you mean names aren't important. Certainly names are important! Names are of the utmost importance in fact, and I think we can find that throughout the world that if we didn't have names, there would be utter chaos. Can you imagine being pulled over by a policeman for breaking the speed limit and him coming up and saying, "Can I see your ID?" And after giving the ID there was no name on the ID and he says, "What's your name?" and you say, "Names aren't important." Well certainly names are important, and as we see the great validity and the importance of names in the secular realm and the secular world in which we live and how that without them we would really be in trouble.
Then furthermore, why wouldn't names be important in religious terms? Why isn't the name "Jesus" important? I would say it's important. The Bible tells us in Acts chapter 4 and verse 12 that "there is no other name by which a man can be saved than by the name of Jesus Christ." Don't tell me that names aren't important when Jesus Christ is the name of the very son of God, the God that came to the earth and lived in the flesh and dwelt among us, Immanuel. Don't tell me that those names, those titles, these concepts aren't important. Don't tell me that the name "king or ruler or pharaoh or emperor or president" are not important. Don't tell me that names don't mean anything because the reality is names mean everything and they help us clearly to identify.
What about if I were talking about Biblical things and I said, "Well, today I want to talk about the Israelites," but really I was talking about Christians. Are names important? Certainly they are, to clarify. What if I said, "Well today I'm going to talk about the man who built the ark," which we know to be Noah, but I say his name is not important or I use a different name. Well I'm going to call the man who built the ark "Henry" today. Are names important? Certainly they are important, not just in the secular realm but in the religious realm. Names are important because they help us to know what is being spoken about, and not just the names of individuals but the names of things, any types of nouns that identify such as the church. We've just finished a series on the great church that Christ built. Are names important? Certainly because we find out that the church is the title that is given by God Himself to be the called out, the called out of darkness into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ, the assembled of God, the church, and identifying characteristic that gives the glory to and honor to our creator. Certainly again then names are important!
Well then let's look specifically into the situation that we find in many religions where there are a variety of names that are used and then let's see if furthermore they are Biblically based. Well if you'll look with me in the book of Matthew, you'll find there that Jesus Christ Himself was having a discussion with His disciples and trying to basically help not only His disciples, but others to understand the importance of the titles that they used. Now, why was this the case? Well, because there in Matthew 23, we find that He was referring to the scribes and the Pharisees. You and I know that Jesus came to bring a new law, a better law, sealed on the better covenant and the better sacrifices of His own blood and in bringing that law that He was beginning now to make the old obsolete as it talks about there in the book of Hebrews, helping us to see there that the old was going to be passed away in Hebrews 8:13, because there was a new better law based on better things and sealed by the blood of Christ.
Well as we consider that again, He then was dealing a lot with these Pharisees, the scribes, the Sadduccees, many individuals, councils who were in the Jewish realm who were still setting themselves up and rejecting Christ. Why? Well, I would suggest to you that many were rejecting Christ not only because they maybe claim they didn't believe in Him, but because they understood that by following Christ it would take away their authority. It would take away their names. It would take away their positions in the Jewish, the old church, the law of Moses. It would take away all those things that give them authority and power which they were not willing to relinquish and many of them like to be called "Rabbis and Fathers." Many of them liked to be called "Teachers" and to be set up among others. Many of them liked to be seen by others, and that's exactly what He's addressing here in Matthew 23 as He's talking to them and trying to help them to see that there were many as it says in verse 6 "who loved the best places at the feast, the best seats in the synagogue." Verse 7, "and greediness in the marketplace." It says, "They loved to be called by men 'Rabbi, Rabbi.'" They loved to be called "Father" and to be elevated in a religious sense.
I want you to notice with me what Jesus said to them there in verse 8. He said, "But you (talking to the disciples, teaching them what they should do, the ones that we now look to their lives and the apostle's doctrines that they were taught further by the Holy Spirit), but you do not be called 'Rabbi' or 'Father.' You don't wear those kinds of names. Why Jesus? Because He says, "There is one who is your Father. There is one who is your Teacher. There is one who is to be exalted among you." In fact, the verses here go on to talk about that the only one who should bear such titles would obviously be God the Father and His son, the perfect teacher, the perfect spiritual one.
Now, are we talking about secular things here? Certainly not. Do you have a father, a secular father? Yes, I do. I have children that call me "Father" because I am their secular father or their father who has brought them into this world. But in a spiritual sense, what Jesus is saying here is that we cannot elevate ourselves because we are to be humble. That's the point He makes there in verse 12, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted by God." When we humble ourselves and we're not interested in these names and being set up and being called certain things, then God is truly glorified. When we're individuals who today are not interested in being called "Reverend..." That's one title that I don't want at all. That's one concept that I don't want attributed to me because only one is truly to be revered, God. Names like "Pastor." "Oh Pastor Sullins." Oh please call me Christian. Call me brother. I don't want to be elevated. I want Christ to be elevated, to be acknowledge and when we talk about Biblical things and when we talk about spiritual Fathers, I want there to be but one Father, that being God the Father in heaven, one son, that being the Lord Jesus Christ, one spirit that being the Holy Spirit and you and I as it says in Galatians chapter 3 and verse 26, "All one in Christ Jesus, all equal of Abraham's seed, bearing similar names, being called (as we well know) Christians," just as they were there first at Antioch.
Brethren the simplicity of names, of titles, of concepts is clearly seen throughout scripture not just in the specific names to individuals, but yet also the names that were given to the church, always the church gave glory to Christ. Is that what we see today? Jesus referred in Matthew 16 to "My church." In Acts 8 He says there, "The church of God." In 1 Corinthians 1:2, "the church of God." In Romans 16:16, "the churches of Christ." There in Ephesians 4 and 12, "the body of Christ." 1 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 15, "the church of the Living God." And Hebrews 12:23, "the church of the Firstborn." Notice that in every descriptive title, who receives the glory? A man? An apostle? A person of old, a saint, an individual who lives today? None of the above. One receives the glory, Christ, the Firstborn, God. Whose church is it anyway? God's church.
Brethren then, the thing is that we learn today is that names are important. Titles are important. What we bear as the church, the called out of God as it glorifies God and should only glorify God is important. The titles that we call one another in the church are of the utmost importance because who is to be elevated and revered and put up? We're not saying that honor is wrong in all things, but to be set above, yes, that's what Jesus said truly was unacceptable.
I encourage us all to study the Word of God and to do things according to the Bible, to do Bible things in Bible ways, to call Bible things by Bible names. And why? So that in all things we might not ourselves receive the glory or try to be elevated, but yet that we might glorify and honor and set up our God in heaven in whom we love.
(SONG # 3 - "PARADISE VALLEY!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
But for now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803
Many of these items are also available on our website, that address: www.thelivingwordprogram.com
or if you prefer, you may call us at:
How blessed we are to know that God has told us what names we should wear in spiritual matters. Thus, by doing what he wants in his way, we can always be found pleasing in His sight!