Program Air Date - 2-4-07



Here we are on another wondrous Lord's Day! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us for the Living Word. Thank you for choosing to be with us for this time of offering to God.

As most of you know, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise to our God and to study from His perfect Word! What greater activity, could we together engage in this morning for the sake of our God. May we each do our part to make this time beneficial toward God, according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.


This morning we want to begin with a song which helps us to realize that we never have to wonder which way to go and that we are never alone in this life. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Sweeter Than All!"

(SONG # 1)


I was reminded the other day about a story I once heard concerning a little boy who was complaining to his grandma about all the problems he had in life! He griped about school, chores and even friends who weren't treating him right. Sounds familiar doesn't it? We've all been there and done that, as well we have heard it from our own children.

Later that day, the grandma was working on making a cake and called to the boy, who was playing outside - she felt it was time to teach him an important lesson. With a loving tone of voice, she asked her grandson if he would like a snack, to which she received an excited reply, "Yes ma'am," as he headed over toward the cookie jar.

But grandma said, "here have some cooking oil." To which the boy reply, "Yuck!" "Well then," she said, "how about some raw eggs," to which the boy replied, "gross grandma!" "Then how about some baking soda," "no way," said the young boy with a grin on his face.

Having set the stage the grandma then said, "you see son, all these things seem bad when you think of them by themselves, but when you put them together they make a wonderful delicious cake!" To which she then added, "in life God works in the same way. And many times we wonder why He would let us go through such problems, or difficult and hard times. But God knows that when he puts these things together and in order, they always work for good."

Oh, what a true lesson in life. We must learn to trust in God to know that He will make good things out of all things which happen in our life. In fact, isn't that what Paul was talking about when he said, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose," Romans 8:28.

Have you put your faith and trust in God? Are you seeing great things in your life because of your faithfulness to His calling? Choose to follow God, in His way today!

Our topic today will again focus on our series concerning "The Lord's Church!" Today our specific lesson will deal with the "The Church Uses Scriptural Names." So stay with us this morning and in a few minutes I will return to lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "O To Be Like Thee."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

We're glad you've continued with us today as we continue to look into God's Word and to find out what He has to say about His church.

You might recall that we're looking there from Matthew chapter 16 where Jesus said, "I will build My church." If you'll back up with me, however, to around verse 13, it is interesting the discussion that is taking place and the question that actually the Son of Man, that is Christ, asked of His apostles. If you'll notice in verse 13 He says, "Who do men say that I am?" That is the Son of Man. Who am I? Notice their reply in verse 14. So they said, "Some say John the Baptist. Some say Elijah. Others Jeremiah and even one of the prophets." But He said to them, "Who do you say that I am?" Now as we read this it is interesting because we are learning here that Jesus indicated clearly that names were of the utmost importance. In fact, He asked them the question, "Who do people say that I am? What do they call Me?" Well, they're calling Him all kinds of prophets and all types of... They're calling Him every name of those spiritual that they've heard, but His real name. And so Jesus says, "What name do you call Me?" And then if you'll read with me there what Simon Peter said in verse 16, he answers and says, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." What does he call Him? He calls Him Christ. He calls Him the Son of God. Now you tell me that names aren't important. We read here that some were calling Him John the Baptist, Elijah. Some saying Jeremiah. But here Peter says, "You are Christ. You are the Son of God." Boy, if I had a choice to be Elijah or Jeremiah or any of the others or Jesus the Son of God, there's no doubt in the world which one is greater, which one is of the more importance. So certainly names are significant.

We don't have to start with Christ to understand that. We can go all the way back to creation. You might recall there after God had made all His wondrous creation that in Genesis chapter 2, it actually states after making Adam that He told Adam to do something. I want you to look there beginning in chapter 2 and verse 19 with me. "After forming him out of the ground," it says there, "and all the animals," there in verse 19, "that He brought them to Adam that he might call them something, that He might know what Adam would call them." He goes on there in the same verse and He says, "And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name." And you see Adam here naming a dog and cats and lions and the names that were given were given by man who God gave dominion and those were their names. Were they significant? Certainly! Because after that point, Adam or God or others did not go around calling a dog a cat or vice versa. Names are important. Then He went on in the next verse, verse 20, "And Adam gave names to all the cattle, to the birds of the air, to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not a helper." Adam named them all. Aren't names significant?

Have you ever been going around maybe driving around and you see a bird? I know recently we were driving along and we couldn't tell if it was a Bald Eagle or a Hawk or an Owl or what it was and we were debating, "What is that?" But you see, names are important because it does make a difference what it is. We know some are endangered and some are not. Some are more beautiful than others. They have different living habits. Many different things are indicated by the acknowledgement of the certain and proper names.

So names are important. No doubt that is why God went on at times to call servants such as Abraham a man who had at one time been Abram, He changes to Abraham- the father of many nations. He changed the name of Sarai to Sarah. He changes the name of Jacob to Israel that eventually becomes the what? The nation of Israel, the Israelites, the tribes of Israel.

You see names are important and that is why when you and I have children and when we have the opportunity to name children that we take weeks and months and we read book after book and we get on the internet and we watch TV and we say, "Oh, here's names that I have liked before and here's names that I've heard before and here's what our friends are saying, our families are saying." But finally out of all the names, we choose the one we like. Why? Because we know that after we've chosen that name, that child will bear that name forever. As long as they live, they will bear that name. So therefore when we choose the name like "Ray" or we choose the name like "Bill" or "Henry" or whatever the names might be, then these names identify who we are and we put then "Ray Sullins", it is even more specific and more specific about who this individual is and it again identifies us as specific individuals, as unique people, as those who are known. Not just any "Ray," but "Ray Sullins." So you see, it does make a difference. It makes so much of a difference that I would never call my name or the name of my child a name like "Satan" or "Beelzebub," or even something like "Rahab the Harlot." Why? Because those names bear great meaning and I want a name that is able to identify my children and to identify me in and others in such a way that it gives good and proper and wholesome information that allows us to develop and make ourselves known as children of God by the way we live today and by what we do.

With that it mind, I want you to think with me for a moment then about the names that God used. How interesting to see that God specifically called the church by certain things. If I were to ask you, and let's say that the church didn't have a name, that is the Lord's church today. If I were to ask you and even God were to ask you what will you call the church? How would you determine? Well I think what we could do is we could begin to look into the Word of God to see what the church is all about. What did Jesus say? Jesus said, "I will build My church." Who? Jesus. Not Peter. Not any man, but Jesus. In Acts 20 and verse 28, we read there at the latter part of that verse about "the church of God that was purchased with the blood of Jesus." What does that tell us about the church? It tells us the church is the body of Christ. It tells us the church is that thing which Jesus bought. How? With His own blood. He died. I didn't die. Did you? I didn't die. Did some man in your denomination die for the church? Did he sacrifice his life, as he still lives? Certainly not! Who did? Jesus Christ. You see, there's only one man as God and Deity who ever has been worthy and who ever will be worthy of bearing the name of glory in connection to the church, that's Jesus Christ. That's why He says, "I will build it." That's why He's the founder. That's why He is the One who established it and prophesied and then fulfilled prophecy. That's why the One there is Christ. He came in the form of man although Deity to live and to die on the cross and to shed the blood that He might do what? Purchase the church. Purchase the church which is His what? Ephesians 5:23, "His body." He is the Savior of it. He is the head of it. Why? He is the only One that was willing to die and to give His own life for it.

You see names are important. Why would I ever call the church, "The church of Ray?" How blasphemous! How wrong! How not proper that is and unimportant it is because I have done nothing in connection to bringing you the opportunity of salvation or to be a part of the family of God. Only Jesus Christ and God.

So what is significant about that is when we look to the Bible, and primarily the New Testament since it is written to the Christian, what do we find about the church? Well we find ideas that represent the church as Christ. "I will build My church." Jesus is the Savior of the body. There in other verses like Acts 8:1, it talks about "the church of God." 1 Corinthians 1:2, "God's church." Romans 16:16, "The churches of Christ," "Christ's church." "The body of Christ" is mentioned in Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 12. Again, in 1 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 15, we read, "The church of The Living God," and we also read about "the church of the Firstborn," or "the First Fruits," also in Hebrews chapter 12 and verse 23. You see, names are important. Names identify and names describe and names explain and names teach and every name that is used in the Bible in conjunction to the church is to God's glory, is to the glory of God and His Son who purchased it. No man!

Well, why do I bring this up today? Why do we talk about scriptural names? Because we drive around Springfield and we find on corner after corner churches that are named by men and after men, that are named by organizations, by thoughts, by ideas, by practices, by some types of aspect of worship. That's not at all what we find in the Bible. What we find in the Bible is that the church always was identified with a name and a term that gave full credit and glory to God. Am I a Christian because I am baptized? Certainly not! I am a Christian because Jesus died on the cross. Do I need to be baptized? Certainly I must be baptized. It is a requirement that I be added to the church, but if I have baptism alone without Christ and His death, it would be worthless. You see, the church is about Christ. The church is about God, not about the act of baptism, not about the act of man or what a man might have done or what he might have done in relationship even to spiritual things or how he might have stood up for God. It is not about man! It is not about acts! It is not about acts of worship! It's not about things of this world or life! It's not about a building or a structure! It's about God! We are the church of God, God's people, the Called out, the Lord's church, the Firstborn, the church of the Son Jesus Christ. You see, we need to use names and titles that give glory where it is deserved, to alone the One who is worthy of that reverence and honor, God and His Son.

Not only names about the church are significant and important, but we could go on and look at several other aspects, but another idea I would like to think of briefly is the names that Christians wear. You know the Bible says that "the Christians were first called that (where?) at Antioch," there in the book of Acts. There we read there about the concept that in Acts 11;26 that they first called themselves Christians why? Because they were of Christ. They were representatives of Christ. But now I want you to notice the other names throughout the New Testament that identify the follower of God. Hear with me these terms. "Saints," 1 Corinthians 1:2. "The beloved of God," Romans 1:7. "Brethren," 1 Corinthians 15 and verse 6. "Sons of God," Romans 8:14. "Children of God," 1 John 3:1. "Heirs of God," Romans 8:17. There in Peter, 1 Peter chapter 2 and verse 9, "The Priests of God." There again in Acts 11 and verse 26, "Christians." And there also as we might have seen in Hebrews 8, those who are "God's Priests," once again. What is it that we learn about all of these terms? Are they about elevating man? Are they about setting man apart, about glorifying and giving honor to us? Or are they about honoring God? It's just like the name of the church. Christians, Christ. Children of God, God. The children of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Jesus being set up again. Heirs of who? Saints of who? God! Disciples or followers of who? God! A disciple is one who is to be learning and instructing by who? That which instructs him, God or Christ. All these names, all these thoughts, even the priesthood concept itself is all about being a servant of God Almighty. So why would I want a name that elevates me when I am a Christian, and simply a Christian? When you're a Christian, why want to elevate another man and use names that would somehow glorify him and give honor to him and in some way indicate him as a spiritual father, as even Jesus condemned, and as Jesus Himself said, "Call no man (what?) your Father on earth." Why? There is One Spiritual Father that we have in Heaven and that is God, the Father.

I want us to turn now to 1 Corinthians and we'll be ending our thoughts there. In 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 12, it is interesting there again it talks about this very problem when names were being misused. There beginning in verse 12, there were some saying, "I am of Paul. I am of Appolos. I am of Sephis, or I am of Christ." You see, they were calling themselves after men, elevating men and even giving those men special names. But then he goes on in the next verse to say, "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?" Certainly not. You were baptized in the name of Christ. Therefore who are we? Paulians? No! Christians! Rayans? No! Christians! God's children. Let's give honor and glory to God.

Over in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, the same discussion was going on. And he says this, he says, "When you say, I am of Paul or I am of Apollos," there in verse 4 of chapter 3, he says, "you are carnal." You are sinful. When you call yourself after man or the names of man, the things of the world or the acts of the things that talk about or related to God, but yet not God or giving God the glory and His church, His as it is His and Him the glory and us as names who are His children again showing Him glory, we do not only a great disservice to God but ourselves and those who see us abusing the rights that God has set before us.

Can we choose to use names properly? Can we put aside our haughtiness and be humble enough to allow God to receive all glory for the name of His church and thus call it properly? And can we allow God to receive all the glory as far as us being His servants, His children? "And do all that we do in..." what? Colossians 3:17, "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." Are you willing to do that for your God?

(SONG # 3 - "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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May we all use names and wear names that are fitting before God and according to His Will. Furthermore, may we humble ourselves to realize that everything is really about God and what He wants, just as He commands through His Word.

(Program closing)