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The Name of the Lord

Scripture: Matthew 28:19, Acts 8:16, Acts 3:6
Date: 06/14/1997 
This is a sermon that looks at the different names of God. Is there a proper way to refer to God? Is there a correct pronunciation of God's name? There are many references in Scripture to being baptized into the "name of Jesus", but each one is slightly different. It is not important that you speak an exact phrase, but that you understand the commitment you are making. There is power in the name of the Lord. The Bible gives us many different names for Jesus.
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Note: This is an unedited, verbatim transcript of the live broadcast.

Good morning, church. Good to see each of you. Want to welcome those who are worshipping with us through the medium of either video tape of television program. Our worship service this morning, in our message is going to be a little different from my customary practice. More informative, more of a study, but I thought it was really important. I’ve never discussed this subject with you before. We’re talking about the name of the Lord. We’ll be looking at it from a number of different angles, the name of God. Talk a little bit about the importance about how to say the name of God, does it matter that you pronounce his name right? The power and authority associated with his name. One reason that this is that I see this as an important issue. You know we have a live Bible answer radio program every week. I have noticed an increasing number of people that are calling and they have a burden to notify me and all the listeners. You realize when you have a Bible answer program some people call because they have a question, some people call because they want to use your radio program to share their views with those listening and we spot those people pretty quick. But they want to let everyone know that we’re not saying the name of God correctly. Matter of fact, some people have felt so strongly about this that they are pronouncing, they’re actually publishing Bibles now where the whole Bible has the name of Jesus corrected in it, and you would not recognize some of those Bibles because the whole Bible is dedicated to the purpose of making sure the name of Jesus is pronounced the right way.

I like to begin with a definition. What is a name? “A word or group of words by which an entity is designated and distinguished from others; a word or group of words by which an entity is designated or distinguished from others; a word or group of words to describe or evaluate such as a denomination, a general reputation.” We sometimes use it to say, for instance, a bad name. “A distinguished reputation, someone who is renowned.” That means they’ve got a good reputation. “An illustrious or outstanding person.” That person has a name. “A title by which one is called.” Their title. “Belonging to one.” You ever heard someone say, “Well, I don’t have a hat to my name”? That’s the way the word is used sometimes. “Or representing authority, such as, Open in the name of the law, the authority of the law.” Now I want to spend a minute elaborating on that aspect of the name. When Christ ascended to heaven, Matthew chapter 28, he says, “All authority is given unto Me… Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of…” What was the name? “…in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Baptize them in the name of. Now, among the phone calls that we get a number of people are very burdened to let us know that we are not supposed to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus said that because he was here on earth. We’re really supposed to baptize in the name of Jesus. Have you run into this before or is it just me? There are whole denominations such as my Apostolic Pentecostal friends who say “Jesus only.” And if you were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit your baptism is not valid. Now I want to make sure we make this clear before we go too far. For instance, if you look at Acts chapter… and they’re correct in the New Testament it’s very clear in the book of Acts. Peter said, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” Well, that sounds clear enough. Acts chapter 8 some disciples were baptized only in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 10:48 I’m going through these I know quicker than you can turn to them because I’ve got so much scripture it’s the best way to do it. Acts 10:48 “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” Acts 19, “When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Now one thing I noticed right away. It says it a little bit differently every time. It says in the name, baptize in the name of Jesus Christ, baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus, baptize in the name of the Lord. See what I’m saying? Each time it’s a little different. Now, friends, I’ve done weddings before and when the couple stands before me, a wedding frightens me more than preaching, it frightens me more than a funeral, because I can just be myself when I’m preaching. At a wedding I’m supposed to do everything in a certain order and I get really nervous that I’m going to mess up. But anyway I’ve always been afraid I’m going to faint during the wedding. The groom and the bride will be standing there and I meet with them before the wedding. For one thing, you want to make sure that they’ve had a degree of counseling. It’s so much easier to do counseling than to go through divorce. They’re standing there and I’ll say when you do your vows I’ll give them a list of optional vows. There are several ways you can do the vows. You know the Bible does not have a set outline for the vows in a wedding. Sometimes they want the formal vow. They want the whole thing, legal contract, forsaking all others, keeping only unto yourself so long as you both shall live, do you so declare? You know and then sometimes it’s just real simple, do you Bob take you Jane? Sometimes you want all three names. Sometimes they just want two names. And they go through that and sometimes they’ll fill out a little form that says how I’d like to do it. Sometimes it’s personal and friendly sometimes it’s very formal and proper.

But I’ve got news for you. When I say as a minister of the gospel in the presence of God what he’s joined together let not man put asunder but this authority I pronounce you man and wife and they kiss each other they’re married. It doesn’t matter exactly how the vows were said because legally in any court if the witnesses and the people involved understand the contract it’s binding. Do you hear me? If the witness and the people involved understand the contract it’s binding. I know in Covolo we had a Spanish gentleman who got baptized. The pastor, it wasn’t me. I was not a pastor at that time. The pastor wanted to accommodate him by saying the baptismal statement in his native tongue. And you’re supposed to say, “El nombre de el Padre, e Jesus, de spiritos sanctos.” Something like that. The Spanish people are laughing out there. But this pastor he messed up a little bit. He said, “In el nombre de la papa” instead of Padre. Now, that’s the Pope. And so this poor guy was baptized in the name of the Pope, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Now when he came out of the water he understood what was meant, even the pastor though he pronounced it wrong understood, and everyone else understood he was being baptized into the truth and the God of the Bible even though he maybe didn’t utter it right. See God looks on the heart, doesn’t he? But you know there are some people out there and the reason I’m talking about this now is you’re going to meet them. There are some people out there that are legalists and they put a whole bunch of emphases on making sure that you’ve pronounced it correctly. That’s not the emphases that God gives in the Bible. Now we are to baptize in the name of Jesus and that means in the authority of Jesus, in the power of Jesus. OK? And that is very important biblically. Matter of fact, I’ve got some other scriptures. Turn with me in your Bibles to Acts chapter three, a story in particular I want you to get a picture. Matter of fact, friends, I was embarrassed as I prepared for this message that after all the years of preaching this is the first time I’ve preached on the name of the Lord. Because I went from cover to cover in the Bible and I was shocked how much the scriptures have to say about the power and the potency and the importance of the name of God. Acts chapter three talks about a blind man, I’m sorry, not a blind man rather a crippled man who is healed at the Beautiful Gate. You can go to verse six. Peter says to this man who had been sitting there begging, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk.” Is there power in God’s name? Do we preach or teach in our own name, in our own authority, in our own power? No, then whose name is it? It’s in his name, in the power of his name. “And he took him by the hand” and he jumped up. And the Bible says he “held on to Peter and John,” and he walked and he was healed.

Now you go on after this experience, you turn the page, well, in your Bibles you may not turn the page. I turn my page and you go to verse sixteen. Peter is explaining to the people, they go into the temple together, what’s happened to this man. Oh, go to verse fifteen. “And you’ve killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know.” It was through his name. Now before you think does that mean you say abracadabra a certain way and when you say it just right, those magic words, then miracles will happen. No. Peter knew who he was. Peter had a relationship. Peter had been commissioned. He had been sent in the name of the lord and in that name that man was healed. Go with me to chapter four. Now Peter is in the court explaining this miracle to the Sanhedrin. Verse eleven, chapter four of Acts. “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”

Now there are many great religions of the world. When I say great I mean vast. You’ve got Buddhism, about a billion Buddhists. You’ve got Hinduism, Moslems, Jews, and as you evaluate and examine all the various religions of the world there is only one religion that gives a name that saves us from our sins. Peter was not boasting. He was stating a fact. “There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved.” We are saved by faith in his name. Now when we say we are saved by faith in his name, does that mean in pronouncing his name the right way? Or does it mean in who he is? I have problems remembering names and it’s embarrassing for me, I’ll just admit it to you. I meet so many people. These last couple weeks I was at camp meeting. There were seven thousand people at the last camp meeting. One of the things is we have our TV program, we’ve got these downlinks and everybody is coming up and they say, “Oh, Doug, we feel like we know you.” They knew my name because they’ve seen me on TV, but I don’t know them and I feel bad. I feel kind of wrong because we’ve got a one-way relationship. But what’s really embarrassing is people who come up and say, “Doug, do you remember me?” And they’ll smile and give me the profile and hope that it’ll register. And I’ll say, “you know, I can’t… you’re familiar, but…” and they’ll say, “Well, we’ve never met, but I’ve been watching you on TV.” And I’m so embarrassed. But you know those we all have different names and some people name people after famous individuals because they respect those people. Adolph was a very popular name up until WWII. Then almost nobody was named Adolph. I wonder why. Names take on new meaning, not because the pronunciation has changed. Are you listening? But the name is associated with somebody and the important thing about that name is who is it associated with? Just before Stephen was born we had decided to call him David, and then the news was saturated with someone named David Koresh right around that time. And you know right all of a sudden the name just didn’t ring the same way and he became a Stephen. And so names are associated.

Now the name David has taken on a good meaning again because that’s out of the news. But you associate names with people. And there is no other name given among men whereby we are to be saved but the name of Jesus. I heard a story about a man who was blind but he wanted to witness so he would read the Bible in public with Braille and he was standing on the street corner with his Braille Bible on a soapbox. This was many years ago when Braille first came out. And he was reading to the people from the book of Acts and he was reading this passage I just quoted you. And he said, “And there is no other name” and then he lost his place and he was feeling over the page and he said, “No other name… no other name given among men… no other name given among men” and he finally found his place and resumed his reading “whereby we must be saved.” Well, there was a man walking by and he heard the blind man saying over and over again, “There is no other name, no other name, no other name,” trying to find his place. And he went home and he looked in the Bible to find out what was he talking about? And the man was saved as a result of hearing that blind man say, “There is no other name, no other name given among men whereby we must be saved.” So you notice that you can look also here in verse seventeen, Acts chapter four. “So that it spreads no further,” this is what the enemies are saying, “among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak no man in this name.” Verse eighteen, “And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus.” Now there is power in the name of the Lord. Matter of fact, if you look at the Gospel of John chapter one, verse twelve, someone look this up for me. Gospel of John chapter one, verse twelve, look it up and raise your hand when you find it. That’s the first chapter. Someone go to the last chapter. Gospel of John chapter twenty, verse thirty-one. Gospel of John chapter thirty, twenty rather, verse thirty-one. When you find chapter one, verse twelve hold your hand up. We got a microphone? Where’s the mike? Right there. Go ahead. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” Who had power? Those that believe in his name. Does that mean you write the name Jesus on a piece of paper and say, I believe in that? Or is it believing in who the name represents, the person behind the name?

Who has the last chapter of John? John chapter twenty, verse thirty-one. Hold your hand up. Right in the middle here. Do we have a microphone? John chapter twenty, hold your hand up if you’re willing to read this. Where’s our microphone? Hold your hands up. Do you have a microphone, Charlie? Ok, right there, we got somebody, please. Ok. “But these are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” Alright now here we’ve just gone from the first chapter to the last chapter of the Gospel of John and you’d be amazed how many times in between he is saying it’s in the name of the Lord that we are saved, believing in his name. That means believing in the person. What does one of the commandments say about believing in the name of God? “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” What does that mean? We have gotten to the place where we think that means profanity and it surely does mean that but that’s the least of the meanings. To take the name of the Lord means to take it unto yourself and say that you are a child of God, to say you are a Christian. A woman marries a man she often takes his last name. To do it in vain would mean to take his name but then not live for him. You know the Bible tells us that there are some characters who did that.

How many of you remember when King David, he took God’s name, he claimed to be a child of God? When he killed Uriah so that he could commit adultery with Bathsheba you know what the prophet Nathan said when he came to him? Let me read it to you. II Samuel 12:14, “Howbeit, because by this deed thou has given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.” By taking the name of God and not living right people were blaspheming the name of the Lord. Romans 2:24, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Whoo! That means when we take the name of the Lord and we live like the world we give the enemies of God an excuse to blaspheme his name. We’re taking the name of the Lord in vain. That’s pretty scary. History tells us a long time ago Alexander the Great had a man in his army that developed a reputation when the fighting got a little tough he’d start to draw back, let everyone charge around him. He was a young soldier and Alexander wanted to give him a chance and he had him brought before him. He said, “I hear how you’re behaving in battle.” Now the young man’s name was also Alexander. He said, “Young man, you need to change your behavior or change your good name because you’re giving me a bad name. I want Alexander to mean something.” Now when you say you’re a Christian who do you think does more damage to the cause of God? Is it the devils on the outside or the people that take the name of Christ and live like devils on the inside? We take the name of the Lord in vain and it hurts the cause of God. I am not concerned about whether I’m making a name for myself as much as I’m concerned am I living in a way that is going to be good or bad for his name? How does the Lord’s Prayer begin? “Our Father, which art in Heaven, hollowed, holy be your name.”

You know we need to be very careful when we say the name of God that we do it reverently. If there is a word to be uttered carefully, it’s God’s name. Matter of fact, in your bulletin I put a quote. I think I might also have it here in my notes. “Angels are displeased and disgusted with the irreverent manner in which the name of God, the great Jehovah is sometimes used in prayer. They mention that name, angels mention this name, with the greatest awe even veiling their faces when they speak the name of God. The name of Christ also…” Now, you notice something there? Two different names. “The name of Christ also is sacred and is spoken with the greatest reverence and those who in their prayers use the name of God in a common and flippant manner have no sense of the exalted character of God, of Christ, or of heavenly things.” I’ve heard some preachers shaking their fist at God on TV using his name, saying it over and over and over and over and over again and just being irreverent and they don’t realize this is the highest name. To use it irreverently is a sin. “Hollowed be thy name.” God wants us to be very careful how we use the name of the Lord because how we treat his name tells others how we feel about God. Amen? You know there is a practice that’s becoming a real problem in the merchandising industry. You’ve heard of name brand, name brand? Now if I go buy a pair of blue jeans I want you know I don’t buy just any blue jeans. I don’t think that Christians ought to be lavish or ostentatious but you know it’s ok to buy quality clothing not for the purpose of being flamboyant. Did Jesus have a good robe? It was so good they decided not to tear it, but to gamble to see who got it. It wasn’t a rag, ok? It’s ok to have good clothing that you’re buying for durability that it might last. I have found there are certain brand names that do better than others. Am I the only one? Raise your hands if I’m not alone in that. I’m not. I’m pretty alone. And when I buy pants I buy Wrangler or Levi. I find they last me better. Now, that’s not a commercial. I don’t have stock in those companies. I just… that’s… those manufacturers… but you know what they’re doing? Is some of those countries are building inferior products and putting artificial labels that say Levi and Wrangler on the pants and sending them to the US and selling them for the quality prices even though they are inferior products. If you go to Hong Kong you’ll see lots of watches that are called Rolex. They say Rolex on the outside, but they’re imitating a good name. On the inside they don’t have the Rolex works. On the inside they’ve got Taiwan not Switzerland. Nothing against the Taiwanese that might be listening, but it’s an inferior watch on the inside. It’s got Rolex on the outside because it’s a good name.

You know, the Bible tells us… this just came to me. It’s not even in my notes. Isaiah 4:1 “In that day seven women will take hold of one man, saying, ‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach.’” Speaking of churches in the last days that say we want to be called Christian because that’s the only name whereby we can be saved, but they don’t want his food, they don’t want his clothes; they just want his good name. There’re a lot of people who find it socially acceptable to say, “I’m a Christian.” They want the name, but they don’t got the Rolex parts on the inside. Amen? Counterfeit. Not name brand. Now, the word that is so often translated “God” in the Bible or “Lord” many times we don’t even know how to pronounce it. Are you aware of that? It’s a combination of four consonants which is Yahweh. Sometimes it’s pronounced with a J and it’s we don’t know where the vowels are. The Jews would not utter that name. The name of God was so sacred to the Jewish scribes that when they were transcribing the scriptures I’ve heard that when they came to the name of God they would set down the regular pen, they picked up a special pen that was only used for writing God’s name. They would say a prayer, write God’s name and set it down. And when reading through the scriptures instead of uttering the sacred name of God they simply said “the Lord” because they didn’t want to utter the name of God. It was too sacred to pronounce they figured. That ought to give us a sense of the holiness that’s associated with the name of God.

Now, they’re not sure how to pronounce it. You know what one problem is? We speak English. What language will we speak in heaven? The language of Canaan, whatever they spoke before the fall, the language of the angels, right? “Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels,” Paul says. Now some people have been very concerned because the word Jesus, you realize that’s not his real name? How many know his real name was not Jesus? His real name, if you want to say it in Hebrew is Yashua and I’m not even sure I’m pronouncing that right. Yashua, Joshua is how we say Joshua in English. Hebrew would be Yashua. It means Ya, Jehovah, saves, shua. Elisha’s name was very similar. His name was El’oheme, el, shua. Very similar. Elisha and Joshua their names were very similar. We say Jesus. That’s the Greek pronunciation because the New Testament was written in Greek. Ok? John is the Greek for Jonah. And so many of the names that we say in the Bible we don’t say them the exact way they said them in Hebrew because we don’t speak Hebrew. Now, I’ve got news for you. It’s not a sin to say these names in your own tongue. Did you hear me? God is, I don’t find in the Bible where God is stressing that we pronounce the name in the original tongue. One reason some people get upset is they say, “do you realize whenever you say the name of Jesus you are worshipping a pagan God?” I say, “Really?” “Yep, Zeus was a pagan God and when you say Jesus you’re saying Zeus as part of that word.” But the thing is in Greek Zeus was a word for god too. “God saves” is what it means. It’s not a sin to say that. What does that name mean to you? Does it mean the son of David or David Koresh? That’s two completely different things, isn’t it? What’s the meaning of the person associated with the name? Now how many different names did Jesus go by in the Bible? Well, let me see. I’ll let you call some out. We don’t have time for the microphones. What are some of the names? I am, I am the way, the first one was just “I am” then Jesus in John says, I am the way, the Word, the door, the shepherd, the water. Help me. I’m going ahead of you. The bread, the light, the prince of princes, the king of kings, the Alpha and the Omega, the Lord of Lords, the councilor, wonderful, mighty God, everlasting, the branch. Are you getting the idea? Emmanuel, prince of peace, I think we did that. Yeah. Mighty one, Michael. Look at all the different names you’ve got for Jesus in the Bible. To tell people that because you don’t say his name correctly that you don’t have the benefits…

now I want to show you a story in the Bible that I think illustrates this. Turn to Acts chapter nineteen, verse thirteen. Acts 19:13. A little story here about some itinerant preachers. We’ll start with verse eleven. Acts 19:11. “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists, itinerant Jewish exorcists, these were some of the Jews that went around casting out evil spirits. They said, “Hey! Paul is really good at this and he’s not charging!” They used to charge, you know, like when you see these things on the side of the road “will read your palm” you know there’s a price associated with that. You know they got these phone numbers you can call to get your psychic reading. Some of you have seen on cable TV they’ve got these phone numbers you call. The big psychic networks now. People really want to find out. Well, they had these… I think I told you this, but I think it’s really funny. One of my friends, I would never do this, one of my friends told me that he called one of these psychic networks to find out what was going on. First thing they said is, “Can we have your credit card number?” He said, “You’re the psychic. You tell me.” I thought… really funny. Anyway, well, these itinerant exorcists were going to, they said, “Hey, Paul. Hey! He’s doing this really well. Maybe we should adjust our means of casting out devils and we’re going to use what Paul uses.” “Some of these itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits.” And they said, “We adjure thee by Jesus whom Paul peaches.” Now “there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.” And this man evidently had an evil spirit. And the evil spirit in this man, they said “We’re telling you to come out in the name of Jesus.” “The evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped upon them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to both Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on all of them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Now here is my question for you.

Did those young Jewish exorcists, who tried to cast out devils using the name of Jesus, did they pronounce the name of Jesus correctly? Yeah, but the word Jesus, his name is not a special abracadabra formula and if you pronounce it just right it’s going to cast out devils. These people knew the name, they knew how to pronounce the name; they didn’t know the Lord. Even the devils knew they did not know the Lord. I thought it was interesting the devil said, “We know who Jesus is, we even know who Paul is.” I read that and I thought I wonder if the devil knows who I am. Did the devil know who Paul was? Did the devil know who Peter was? Uh, huh. Do you want the devil to know who you are? Nobody really jumps up and waves their arms when I ask that question. I think you know what I mean. You’d like to live a life that’s a threat to the devil. Amen? But we’re not really looking for personal attention are we? That’s what we’re getting at here. So the emphases here was not that they didn’t say sibboleth or shibboleth. Some of you know that story in the Bible? Some of you do. Some of you know that story. Alright, let me tell you the story. In the Old Testament there was a battle between two tribes of Israel and the people of Ephraim had a fight with their brothers and they were trying to get out of town and get back to their home territory. They had to cross the Jordan River. But the opposing tribe before they let them over they all looked the same, they all dressed the same, but the thing was the people from Ephraim had a little accent. Just like in America, we’re all Americans but you can barely understand those people in Kentucky let me tell you right now. I was sitting there in the store and I heard this lady come up and start talking and I went… “I bot this bree at da drive thru last week and it didn’t come through.” I went, “What is she talking about?” Just like that back in Israel they had accents in different parts of the country. And they realized the Ephraimites could not say shibboleth. They said sibboleth. And they would say, “Are you an Ephraimite?” “Oh, no! I’m just passing through.” They’d say, “Say, ‘Shibboleth’!” And they’d go, “Sibboleth.” They’d kill them right there because they couldn’t say it right. Now is that the way the Lord is? Is the Lord saying, “Let me see if you can say my name correctly. No, I’m not answering that prayer. You didn’t say it right.”

Friends, that’s not what we’re talking about when we’re talking about the name of God. Amen? The thing that we’re stressing when we deal with the name of God is who is he? Do you know him? His name means something. Every name means something. You know, back in Bible times, when you read the names in the Bible I almost always look it up. During our Sabbath School study this morning I looked up the names. You’ll learn so much more when you find out what did that name mean because the names in the Bible really had importance. We pick the goofiest names. Matter of fact, I get angry sometimes at parents for the names they pick for their kids because my brother was named Falcon and if my parents only knew how much grief he suffered through his life, probably did him some good, because he had that name. Made him tough, I’ll tell you right now. They called him turkey and chicken and all kinds of things because he had the name Falcon. He had flaming red hair too. And so he had a tough time because of his name. Some names are prophetic in the Bible. You know Jacob’s first name meant deceiver and that’s what he was, wasn’t he? When he changed, when he came back after going through a real conversion and he wrestled with the angel, did God give him a new name? Now, what about praying? We can’t talk about the name of the Lord without, and we need to be serious here, I’m going to try. We need to be serious because the Bible talks about praying in the name of the Lord. Some people have thought the mere mention of Jesus’ name in a prayer all of a sudden verifies the prayer. And though it is true it’s appropriate for us to pray in the name of the Lord you know there’s many ways you can say it. The pastor who baptized me surprised me because I used to think you always supposed to say, “In Jesus’ name.” Well, he said at the end of his prayer, “In your holy name.” Father, we pray in the name of your Son. He did it so many different ways it dawned on me one time it wasn’t a special formula abracadabra you pray and say this word. Praying in the name of the Lord means praying in the authority of the person that it represents.

Does God answer our prayers by virtue of saying a word or by virtue of his merits? See, we’re saying, “Lord, we want you to hear this prayer not because we deserve it, but we’re coming by virtue of the goodness of Christ because he has forgiven my sins, because I claim Him my Savior” and that gives us power and authority with the Father when you pray in the name of the Lord. When you pray in the name of the Lord, and Jesus said, look at this, John 14:13, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father might be glorified in the Son.” And in that day you will ask me nothing. “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, he will give it to you. Until now you’ve asked nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive that your joy might be full.” He’s commanding us to ask in his name.

Now, how many of you get phony checks in the mail? Am I the only one who finds out that I’ve won two million dollars? And you get so excited because everything about it looks good and then you see in little print “nonnegotiable”. And if I get a check and it says, “Readers Digest Clearing House Sweepstakes.” I don’t usually get too excited. You know where it goes? That’s right. And I get angry, frankly, because I met a dear old saint a few years ago here in the lobby and he came to me and he pulled me by the arm and said, “Pastor, I’ve got to talk to you.” And he was really, visibly shaken. He said, “I don’t know exactly what to do. I’ve come into a lot of money. I want to give it to the Lord. I’m afraid. I have never had this much money before.” I said, “What happened?” He says, “I’ve been notified in the mail I have received ten million dollars.” And you know some of these saints are used to believing people and they’re gullible and he was physically shaken thinking he had received ten million dollars. That’s a dirty trick. I get these other phony checks in the mail. It looks real. It says, “You have received $50,000!” I say, “Well, I’m glad to hear that,” but I don’t get too excited. And it’s some mortgage company that says I’ve been approved to finance my house. Do you get those too? Yes, no good. But if I get a check in the mail and it says “Batchelor Enterprises” I get excited because I know the person associated with the name and I’ve never gotten a bad check. When you pray in Jesus’ name that’s a good name, see? You know that it has authority connected with it, right? I want to read a little quote. “To pray in the name of Jesus is something more than the mere mention of that name at the beginning and ending of a prayer. It’s to pray in the mind and the spirit of Jesus. While we believe his promises, rely upon his grace, and work his works.” Book called Steps to Christ, page 100. To pray in the name of Jesus means that you go to your enemies and forgive them. You reconcile to each other and then you go to your Father in the spirit and the mind of Christ. Praying in his name means praying like he prayed. Isn’t that interesting to think about? How did Christ pray? Did he pray in faith?

Can you ever tell me a time in the Bible Jesus prayed for something that it didn’t happen? When he said, “Oh, Father, hear my prayer.” He said, “Lazarus, come forth.” Did Lazarus come forth? You and I should pray in the name of Christ, in the spirit of Christ. He was confident about his relationship with the Father. He prayed in faith. Are you confident about your relationship with Jesus? Can you pray in his will and pray in faith like that? That’s what it means to pray in the name of the Lord. Now, another thing characteristic of being a Christian, when you take the name of the Lord, is sometimes we… you know what the word denomination means? To name something. What is a nominal Christian? You know what a nominal Christian is? Nominal means in name only. Someone who is a Christian in name only. Somebody put an ad in the newspaper for a missing dog and this is how it read, “Missing: One Lost Dog. Brown hair, several bald spots, right leg broken due to an auto accident, left hip hurt, right eye missing, left ear bitten off in a dog fight, answers to the name ‘Lucky.’” Now, some of us are like that dog, huh? We’ve got the name Lucky, but we don’t look very lucky. We take the name Christian but we don’t live Christian. You know, I’ve got so many things I want to share with you I don’t know what to include here. Jesus tells us that everybody saved will have the Father’s name in their foreheads, the 144,000 in particular. Everybody has the seal of God. Now, one group is going to have the name of the beast, the mark of the beast in their foreheads. Another group is going to have their Father’s name in their foreheads. What does it mean to have the Father’s name in your forehead? What are we getting in our foreheads? What is the seal of God? Well now, the Bible says, first of all, study up “hand” and “forehead” in the Bible. When you go to Deuteronomy 6:4, Moses gives the Ten Commandments in chapter five. In chapter six of Deuteronomy he says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And these words that I command you this day shall be in your heart. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house. Write them upon your hand, and they shall be frontlets between your eyes. Bind up the testimony. Seal the law among my disciples.” The Law of God is to be sealed in our minds, in our hearts, in our hands.

Now you’re saying, “You mean, Doug the Ten Commandments?” Well, that would be the more comprehensive version. You want the laws that we’re to have in our hearts and our hands and our heads? The two great commandments at the beginning primarily. “Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” That’s usually taking place right here. “And love your neighbor as your self.” You love the Lord more here, you love your neighbor in your hand, don’t you? That’s having God’s name, having his love. You know when I was giving you opportunity to tell me the names of the Lord someone may have said it, but I didn’t hear it. You know what one of his names is? God is love. That’s one of his names. That is the best definition for who he is. God is love. Having your Father’s name in your forehead means primarily having love in your head and loving your neighbor, love in your hands. Those are the characteristics that we must have. You know, the Bible tells us God’s going to give us a new name. How many want a new name? I’m not really offended by Douglas Batchelor. I get teased a lot. It doesn’t bother me. I’m just used to it. Heard about a man, his name was Charlie Stink and all his friends he worked with said, “Charlie, you need to do something about your name. You know you can do something about your name.” Everyone laughed whenever he said his name. They said, “You don’t have to live with that. Change your name.” So he finally went through the rigmarole and actually had to take a day off and walk the papers through court. Next day he shows up at work. He says, “Well, I did it. I changed my name.” They said, “What did you change it to?” “George Stink,” he said. “But for the life of me I don’t know what good it’s going to do.”

You know the Bible tells us that Jacob got a new name. His name was Israel. What does that mean? He went from deceiver to prince of God. In this life we sometimes get a bad reputation because of our behavior. God says that we can get a new name. I want a new reputation, don’t you? Now the term “name” in the Bible also means your reputation, who you are. It takes a long time to build a good name. You can lose it really quick. We’re running out of time. I heard about… I’ve got so many stories I want to tell you. You know, how many of you have heard of the Seven Wonders of the World? You know, there was a man named Ptolemy, an ancient monarch who built one of the seven wonders. It was the Lighthouse of Pharos, this great big mammoth lighthouse in Alexandria that was called one of the Seven Wonders of the World. They kept it burning using oil and wood for years. The man who built it was an architect named Solicius, but Ptolemy wanted his name on the outside of the lighthouse so everybody could see his name. Well, the architect was a little put out by that. He said, “I’m the one that’s designed this wonder of the world and I’m not getting any credit.” So you know what he did? He put a plaster on the front of the lighthouse where the waves beat against it and he inscribed the name of Ptolemy the monarch, the king. But then after years the waves and the wind and the elements wore away the plaster, it cracked, it fell apart and blew off and in the granite underneath he had chiseled his own name. And so for years until that wonder of the world fell during an earthquake all the ships that came in saw the name of the architect who was the real builder.

In this world people often get credit for greatness. John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The name that is above every name is really the name of Jesus. The name that’s going to last forever is the name of Jesus. All the brand names of the world will be forgotten someday. The only thing that’s going to last is his name. I read this. I’d like to share it with you. “To the artist he is the one altogether lovely. To the architect he is the chief cornerstone. To the astronomer he is the Son of righteousness that arises with healing in his wings. To the baker he’s the living bread. To the banker he is the hidden treasure. To the biologist he is life. To the carpenter he is the sure foundation. To the doctor he is the great physician. To the educator he is the great teacher. To the farmer he is the sower and the lord of the harvest. To the florist he is the lily of the valley and the rose of Sharon. To the geologist he is the rock of ages. To the horticulturist he is the true vine. To the judge he is the righteous judge. To the juror he is the true witness. To the jeweler he is the pearl of great price. To the editor he is the good tidings of great joy. To the oculist he is the light of the eyes. To the philosopher he is the wisdom of God. To the printer he is the true type. To the servant he is the good master. To the student he is the incarnate truth. To the toiler he is the one who gives rest. To the sinner he is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. To the Christian he is the Son of the Living God and Savior and Redeemer and Lord.” The Bible says in First Corinthians 6:11 “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord.” Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Everything we do is in his name and one of my favorite verses I’ll close with. Psalm 72:17 “His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun.” The only thing that’s going to last is the name of God. His name is the one that we should live to glorify. You know one time during the ministry of Christ, God the Father spoke, and Jesus prayed and said, “Father, glorify your name.” And the Father answered from heaven and he said, “I’ve glorified it and I will glorify it again.” Christ came into the world to glorify the name of the Father, didn’t he? He spent all this time talking about his father, glorifying his father and saying “Hollowed be his name” and then Jesus said, “As the Father sends me, so send I you.”

Friends, are you living to bring glory to his name or do you want to make a name for yourself? Are you wanting people to worship and honor and extol His virtues or your own?

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Comprehending God, Part 1 by Doug Batchelor

Comprehending God, Part 1 by Doug Batchelor
God's Promises




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