PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Names of Jesus

03/27 Names of Jesus; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20160327_names-of-jesus.mp3

This is Resurrection Sunday. It is a day to celebrate Jesus, the victory Jesus accomplished on the cross, the triumph of the empty tomb. As we have been studying who God is, and last week we looked at some of the names of God, I thought it would be fitting this week to look at some of the names of Jesus. Who is Jesus? This is such an important question. This is an eternity altering question. Who is Jesus? Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 11:4 of those who preach another Jesus, a different spirit, a different gospel. Jesus himself warned of false christs who would lead others astray (Mt.24:24; Mk.13:22). We want to know Jesus, Jesus as he really is, as he reveals himself to be. One way to learn about Jesus is to look at the names he is given. There are something like 200 names and titles given to Jesus in the Scriptures. We will only scratch the surface of who Jesus is today, but it is my prayer that by looking at Jesus, we will deepen in our affection and appreciation and worship of him.

The Word, The Only Son, Immanuel

At the beginning of John’s gospel, Jesus is introduced to us by a different name.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus is the Word. The Word, The Logos, the Divine expression, divine reason. Before anything was made, Jesus the Word was in the beginning with God. He was distinct from God, in relationship with God the Father; ‘the Word was with God.’ And Jesus is of the same Divine nature as his Father; ‘the Word was God.’ Jesus, the Word, is the Creator of all that is. Jesus the Word has life in himself; he is the living one.

John continues in verse 14:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. …18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Jesus the Word was not flesh. He was invisible Spirit from all eternity with his Father. He became flesh at a moment in history and dwelt among us. He became human. He is the only God who is at his Father’s side. He is the Word, the self-expression of God. Jesus is the one who makes God known.

The Only Son [μονογενής]

Jesus is the only Son from the Father. Jesus has an exclusive unique relationship with his Father. The word in John 1:14 and 18, and John 3:16 and 18, as well as 1 John 4:9 is μονογενής the only Son, or only begotten, the one and only, the unique Son. John 3:16 says:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

1 John 4:9 says

1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

Jesus is the μονογενής, the one and only. He is the Son, in unique, eternal, and unparalleled relationship with his Father.

Immanuel – God With Us

In Matthew 1 we find another name, this one drawn from the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel(which means, God with us).

Jesus is the virgin born Son, and his name is Immanuel, God with us.

Alpha and Omega

In Revelation 22, when Jesus says he is coming soon, he claims:

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, or the A to Z, in the words of Isaiah 43:10 “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” and 44:6 “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.”

These names speak of who Jesus is, his nature, his essence. He is the Word who was with God and was God, the Creator, the Eternal One, the Alpha and Omega, the One and Only Unique Son of the Father, Immanuel, God with us.

Anointed, Messiah, Christ

Psalm 2 tells us of YHWH, the Lord, and his Anointed.

Psalm 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, … (cf. Acts 4:26)

In Acts 4 the disciples apply this title, the Anointed, to Jesus. In Hebrew this is Meshiak, or Messiah. In Isaiah 61, we see the verbal form of this word:

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (cf. Luke 4:18)

Jesus applies this Scripture to himself in Luke 4. In John 1, when Andrew persuades his brother Simon to follow Jesus, he says “We have found the Messiah (which means Christ)” (Jn.1:41). When Jesus is speaking to the woman in Samaria,

John 4:25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

In Matthew 16, Peter responds to Jesus’ question ‘who do you say that I am?’ with the confession “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mt.16:16). In Acts, the disciples ‘did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.’ (Acts 5:42). Jesus is God’s Anointed one, the Messiah in Hebrew, the Christ in Greek.

Son of David

God made a promise to David in 2 Samuel

2 Samuel 7:11 …the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

This sounds a lot like Solomon, David’s son, who built the temple in Jerusalem, but if you read this carefully, this is much bigger than Solomon. Solomon’s kingdom was not established forever. In fact, as a consequence of Solomon’s idolatry the kingdom was torn from him and divided under his son Rehoboam, (1Ki.11-12).

In Isaiah 9, we find the promise of a child to be born, a son to be given who will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The government will be on his shoulder, and we are told:

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

And when the angel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary he used the language of this promise to point to Jesus.

Luke 1:32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

When the people saw the miraculous signs done by Jesus, they asked “Can this be the Son of David?” (Mt.12:23). When Jesus rode in to Jerusalem on a donkey, the crowds were shouting ““Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mt.21:9). Jesus affirmed their ascription of this title to himself, but it is worth noting that he pushed on their expectation and understanding of this title. In Matthew 22, Jesus challenged their thinking,

Matthew 22:42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? 45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” (cf. Psalm 110:1)

Jesus is not denying that the Christ is the physical descendant of David. But he is challenging their thinking that the Christ is merely another human king in the lineage of David. If this were the case, why would David refer to him in Psalm 110 as ‘my Lord’? It would be awkward for David to refer to Solomon or Rehoboam as ‘my Lord’. Jesus is physically descended from the blood line of David, but the Scriptures indicate that he is greater than David; he is David’s Lord.

The Lord

Mark begins his gospel introducing

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, 3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” (cf. Isaiah 40:3)

John is the fulfillment of Isaiah 40, preparing the way of the Lord. What is interesting about this name “Lord” is that when we look back at Isaiah, we read “prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Is.40:3). Prepare the way of YHWH; make straight a highway for our Elohim. This title ‘Lord’ is connecting the Old Testament terms YHWH and Elohim to Jesus.

When Saul is blinded and knocked down and hears a voice from heaven, he said:

Acts 26:15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.

The Lord from heaven is Jesus. In Acts 2, Peter declares:

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ …36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Peter is quoting Joel 2:32, ‘everyone who calls on the name of YHWH’. This is the basis for Paul’s statement in Romans 10

Romans 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. …13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Jesus is YHWH, the Lord, the Son of David, the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. He is the prophet who is to come, who will speak the words of the Lord (Acts 3:22-23; Deut 18:15-19; Jn.6:14; 7:40). He is our Great High Priest, our one Mediator between God and man (Heb.4:14; 1Tim.2:5). He is our King, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1Tim.6:15; Rev.19:11-16).

Son of Man

Out of all the names of Jesus, the way Jesus most often referred to himself is ‘the Son of Man’. This title is found 81 times in the gospels, always on the lips of Jesus. In comparison, the title ‘Son of God’ is used 26 times, and all but 4 of those are someone else referring to Jesus; Satan, demons, the Pharisees, the centurion, an angel, or his disciples.

In response to the interrogation of the high priest asking if he was the Christ, the Son of the Blessed, the Son of God, Jesus responded:

Matthew 26:64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

This name is taken from Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days seated on his throne of judgment at the end of time in Daniel 7

Daniel 7:9 “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. 10 ​A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.

Then in verse 13,

Daniel 7:13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 ​And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

This one like the Son of Man was given everlasting dominion by the Ancient of Days to rule over all the peoples of the earth. He came with the clouds of heaven. This is how Jesus describes himself under oath to the high priest; “the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” This one like a Son of Man speaks of his kingdom authority seated at the right hand of his Father on high, ruling all the kingdoms of the earth, but it also speaks of his humanity, his humility, his identity with mankind. Jesus is God from all eternity, but he became a man. He became one of us. He stooped down to identify with us. Remaining what he was, he became what he was not; being very God, he took on flesh and became a man.

Jesus of Nazareth; Nazarene

In Matthew 2, we are told:

Matthew 2:23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

In the ancient world, people were often distinguished from other people of the same name by their hometown. Although born in Bethlehem, Jesus grew up in the town of Nazareth in Galilee.

John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

Nazareth apparently had a reputation. Nothing good comes out of Nazareth. No prophet arises from Galilee (Jn.7:41, 52). Jesus was despised and rejected. Jesus came to the outcasts. Jesus identified with the nobodies.

Cornerstone, Stone of Stumbling, Rock of Offense

Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22 to the chief priests and Pharisees.

Luke 20:17 But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

Jesus is the cornerstone, but he is also a rejected stone. Peter connects this imagery with Isaiah 8 and 28.

1 Peter 2:6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (cf. Is.28:16) 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” (cf. Is.8:14)…

Paul writes to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

Peter declares before the Jewish leaders:

Acts 4:10 …by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—… 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

There is no other name but the name of Jesus by which we must be saved.

Savior / Jesus

The angel announced to the outcast shepherds in the hills outside of Bethlehem:

Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Jesus is a savior to outcasts. In Matthew 1, the angel connects this role with his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Jesus means YHWH Saves. He came to rescue sinners. Broken. Needy. To those who think they are fine on their own, they find him to be a Stone of Stumbling, a Rock of Offense, nothing good, despised and rejected. But to those who know they need him he is a Rock, a Sure Foundation, the Cornerstone, Salvation.

The Resurrection / Firstborn from the Dead

Jesus tells a dear friend grieving the loss of her brother:

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus claims to be the resurrection. He told his disciples on multiple occasions that he would be betrayed, suffer, be crucified, and that he would rise again. Colossians 1 and Revelation 1 calls Jesus the Firstborn from the Dead. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul ties the resurrection of Christ the Firstfruits to our hope of resurrection

The Name Above All Names

Jesus humbled himself even to the humiliation of death on a cross.

Philippians 2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is the name above every name. Every knee will bow one day to Jesus.

Do You Know Him?

I want to close today with a story from the book of Acts. In Acts 19, extraordinary things were being done in the name of Jesus.

Acts 19:13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?

We have looked at a few of the many names of Jesus today. We have seen something of who he is. But it is very dangerous to know something about Jesus, and not know Jesus. These Jewish exorcists knew of Jesus, and attempted to use his name. But they didn’t know Jesus, and it didn’t end well for them. There is power in the name of Jesus, but you must know Jesus, you must be known by him, you must be in relationship with him. Do you know him? You must know him as Lord and God, as the Only Son of the Father, as King of kings, as your Anointed Prophet, Priest and King. You must experience him as Rock and Redeemer, as your Savior, as your Resurrection and your Life. To know of Jesus and not to know him is probably the most tragic place to be. I pray that none of us will ever hear those terrible words from the mouth of our Lord: ‘I never knew you’.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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March 28, 2016 Posted by | Knowing God, occasional, podcast, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Names of God

03/20 Names of God; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20160320_names-of-god.mp3

We have been savoring God together, treasuring him for who he is, who he reveals himself to be. We are concluding a study on who God is, what he says about himself, what he is like. We have studied his character, his nature, his attributes, his personality, the Tri-une God, not merely to know more about him, but to know him, to enjoy sweet communion, fellowship with him.

My prayer is that these 24 sermons are not the end, but the beginning, because we have barely skimmed the surface of who God is. By God’s grace, we have gotten a taste, and I pray that that taste gives us an insatiable appetite for more, that it drives us deeper, deeper into who God is, who God is for us, and that we begin to experience the immeasurable greatness of our great God.

Names

Today I would like to look at God’s name. Names are important, they are intended to communicate something about the person, and even more so in the ancient world. Names identify a person, and distinguish that person from others. If you remember someone’s name, that person feels valued by you, important. Names are a way to connect with someone, we use them to communicate. To know someone’s name means that they have given you access to them, you don’t just know their title, you know their name. When we become close to someone, we say we are on a first-name basis. We don’t like it when someone gets our name wrong. God teaches us much about himself by his names, and he takes his name very seriously. The third commandment in God’s top ten list is this:

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

God takes great care in defending the honor of his name (Ezek.36:20, 23). His name is holy and awesome (Ps.111:9). His name is a strong tower (Prov.18:10). His name is glorious, awesome, to be feared (Deut.28:58). His name is to be proclaimed in all the earth (Ex.9:16). We are to acknowledge his name (1 Ki.8:33); love his name (Ps.5:11); exalt his name (Ps.34:3); wait for his name (Ps.52:9); seek his name (Ps.83:16); give thanks to his name (Ps.122:4); desire his name (Is.26:8); glorify his name (Jn.12:28); make known his name (Jn.17:26).

God is one, but he has many names. Some count over 200 names. If you include all his titles, the number swells to over 700. We can only look at a small sample of his names today.

El, Eloah, Elohim; The Strong One

What is God’s name? What does God communicate to us about himself through his name? In the very first words of Scripture, God is seen as Creator. The Hebrew word there is Elohim. This is a common word for God, used over 2,000 times in the Old Testament. Like our word ‘god’, it is a generic term, sometimes used of false gods or even human judges or governments. It is more of a title than a personal name. Although the singular form of this word ‘Eloah’ occurs a little over 50 times, the plural form is much more common. Most often this plural form is used with singular verbs and adjectives, indicating that we should not understand it as speaking of multiple gods, but of the one God in all his fullness, an intensive plural, indicating a fullness of life and power. The word ‘Elohim’ means the Strong One, the Mighty One, the One to be feared. God is the Strong Creator. The simplified form ‘El’ is often prefixed to other words to give a compound name.

El Elyon; God Most High

In Genesis 14, after Abram defeats the four kings and rescued his nephew Lot, we are introduced to Melchizedek, king of Salem, who is priest of God Most High, El Elyon (v.18, 19, 20, 22). Although there are other so-called gods, God is exalted above all gods. Abram won the victory because he is blessed by God Most High, who delivered his enemies into his hand.

El Roi; God who Sees

But in Genesis 16, God spoke to a pregnant runaway slave girl named Hagar who had been mistreated and who was wandering in the wilderness.

Genesis 16:13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.

She names him ‘El Roi’ the God who Sees, because he looks after me. This God, who is God Most High, is a God who looks after the broken, the needy, the hurting, the mistreated, the outcasts, the rebels, the runaways.

El Shaddai; God Almighty

In Genesis 17, God comes to make promises to Abram, the 99 year old fatherless wanderer whose 90 year old wife was barren. God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, from ‘exalted father’ to ‘father of a multitude’. Into this impossible situation God gives Abram a name to hold on to.

Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”

I am El Shaddai, God Almighty. Is anything too hard for the Lord? (Gen.18:14). Romans 4, looking back on this event, says:

Romans 4:17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

Into human weakness, the Lord comes as God Almighty, the God who gives life to the dead, who brings something out of nothing, who is fully able to do what he promises. God is the Omnipotent One, the One who bends the laws of nature to make them bow down and serve his purposes of grace.

El Olam; God Everlasting

After the promised son was born, and the Philistines recognized that ‘God is with you in all that you do’, and came to make a treaty with Abraham, Abraham planted a tree, and called on the name of El Olam, the Everlasting God (Genesis 21:33). Abraham was beginning to recognize that God was not going to disappear on him one day and leave him without help. God would always be there to make good on his promises.

YHWH, Yah; The I AM, Unchanging in Grace and Faithfulness

In Exodus 6,

Exodus 6:2 God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.

The LORD, the unpronounced four letters, translated in some English Bibles as Jehovah, probably something closer to Yahweh. God is not saying here in Exodus that his name YHWH was unknown before Moses’ time. In fact, we see this name throughout the book of Genesis. But here in Exodus he is making known what this name means.

Exodus 3:13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

YHWH is Elohim of your fathers. His name is ‘Ehyeh ‘Asher ‘Ehyeh, I Am that I Am, I will Be what I will Be. I am the First and the Last, I Am the same yesterday, today, and forever. What I was for the patriarchs, I will be for you. God is and remains God to his people, unchangeable in his grace and faithfulness. He is the I Am. This name occurs some 6,800 times in the Old Testament, and it occurs in combination with many other words that give us insight into who God is. It occurs frequently with Elohim, The LORD our God, The I AM, the Strong One; with El Elyon; The I AM, God Most High; with El Shaddai, The I AM, God Almighty; with El Olam, The I AM, the Everlasting God.

YHWH Rapha; The LORD our Healer

At the waters of Marah, where the people grumbled and God turned the bitter waters sweet, the Lord said:

Exodus 15:26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.

YHWH Rapha, The I AM, your Healer. Even when we are grumbling because circumstances seem to be against us, God is our healer. He can take what is bitter and make it sweet.

YHWH Nissi; The LORD my Banner

In Exodus 17, when Amalek came out to fight with Israel in the wilderness, and Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands on the mountain while Joshua defeated the Amalekites in the valley.

Exodus 17:15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner, 16 saying, “A hand upon the throne of the LORD! The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

God granted the victory over the enemies of his people, and Moses responded with worship to YHWH Nissi, The I AM, my Banner. His banner flies over us when we seek his face and obey his command. He gives us victory over our enemies, trials, temptations. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

YHWH Mekoddishkem; The LORD who Sanctifies you

When God gave Israel the Sabbath to set them apart from all other nations, he said:

Exodus 31:13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you.

YHWH Mekoddishkem; The I AM, the one who sets you apart, makes you holy, sanctifies you. In the very next chapter, the Israelites worship the golden calf. We learned quickly that we can’t sanctify ourselves. He sets us apart. He makes us holy. It is the Lord who is our sanctification.

YHWH Shalom; The LORD is Peace

In Judges 6, Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites, who had been terrorizing Israel. When the Lord appeared to him, Gideon questions why all the bad things are happening if the Lord is with them; he complains that the Lord has forsaken them. The Lord commissions Gideon conquer the Midianites, but Gideon asks for a sign. When Gideon brings food, the Lord consumes his offering with fire and disappears.

Judges 6:22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” 23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.

Even in the midst of complaining, doubting, testing; even when we try the patience of the Lord, even when we are riddled with unbelief, The Lord is gracious. We understand the consequences of our unbelief; the wages of sin is death. But God speaks Peace. YHWH Shalom, The I AM, our Peace. God is our peace, even in the midst of danger and turmoil and hardship, even when we respond to his rescue with doubt and fear and complaint, even when what we deserve is his righteous anger, he gives peace that passes understanding, that guards our heart and mind.

YHWH Sabaoth; The LORD of Hosts

In 1 Samuel, Hannah, a barren woman in a polygamous relationship, bitter in soul, prayed to the Lord for a son.

1 Samuel 1:10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

YHWH Sabaoth, The I AM, the Commander of angel armies. God is a Mighty Warrior, with infinite resources at his command, and he fights for those who are helpless to defend themselves.

YHWH Tsidkenu; The LORD our Righteousness

Jeremiah 23 holds a Messianic prophecy in the middle of a chapter about lying prophets and shepherds who scatter the flock

Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ (cf. 33:16)

YHWH Tsidkenu, The I AM, our Righteousness. When all are acting unrighteously, when all are looking out for their own interests, The I AM is faithful to his own character. He always acts righteously. And he covers us, he clothes us with his own perfect righteousness. We are given a righteousness not our own. He is our Righteousness.

YHWH Raah, Rohi ; The LORD is my Shepherd

Psalm 23 says:

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

YHWH Raah, YHWH Rohi; The I AM is my Shepherd. He cares for me, provides for my needs, protects, leads, guides, comforts, corrects, gives rest, restores, nourishes, heals. When the LORD is my Shepherd I lack no good thing.

YHWH Jireh; The LORD will Provide

In Genesis 22, God called Abraham to take his only son Isaac, the son he loved, up on the mountain and offer him as a sacrifice. After Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood and bound his son and laid him on top oft the wood, and took the knife in his hand to slaughter his son, the Lord stopped him.

Genesis 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

YHWH Jireh; the I AM will Provide. God provided a substitute. God provides his own Lamb for the sacrifice. When we finally let go of what we were clinging to, lay it all on the altar, offer it up to him, we are able to see that God provides everything in full.

Jesus; YHWH; Kurios; Lord

If we jump ahead to the New Testament, in John 8:

John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

We see Jesus claiming to be the I AM, the one who was and is and is to come, the one who is what he has always been for his people, faithful and full of grace, YHWH of the Old Testament.

In Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2, he quotes the Old Testament prophet Joel.

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (cf. Joel 2:32)

In Joel, the name of the LORD is the name of YHWH. Peter exhorts his hearers to call on the name of Jesus to be saved. Jesus is YHWH our Righteousness, our Sanctification, our Redemption, the Lamb of God, our Shepherd, our Peace, God’s Provision, our Healer; he is the Seed of the Woman, the Man of Sorrows, the Suffering Servant, the Son of Man. He is the Lord, the King, the Strong One, the Creator of all that is. He is the Holy one of Israel, our Portion. He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He is the Word. He is Immanuel, God with us. “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Mt.1:21)

*** You Are our Everything! ***

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Knowing God, podcast, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent: Names of Jesus from Isaiah 9

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20111225_advent-isaiah9.mp3

12/25 Christmas Day – Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Today is Christmas day. We celebrate Jesus! I want to look today at some of the names given to Jesus in the scriptures, so that we can understand him better and worship him more fully. But to better appreciate these names, we need to back up and get a little bit of history and background.

Isaiah and the kings of Judah

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied about 740 – 700 BC; during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Is.1:1). Uzziah (also called Azariah) was a good king who reigned for 52 years (2Ki.15:2). Isaiah chapter 6 records a vision given to Isaiah in the year that this great king died, a vision of God seated on his throne, still in control. He was succeeded by Jotham, who, like his father did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. Jotham reigned for 16 years (2Ki.15:33), and was succeeded by Ahaz. It says of Ahaz

2 Kings 16:2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God, as his father David had done, 3 but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 4 And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.

It was during the dark days of the reign of Ahaz that Israel conspired with Syria to attack Judah and Jerusalem. It was in this dark time for Jerusalem that Isaiah was sent to Ahaz in chapter 7 and following. He gave a message of warning and coming judgment, and called the people to turn from their evil ways and fear the LORD. He called them to return to God’s word. Those who will not speak according to this word are in darkness; they have no dawn.

Isaiah 8:22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Words of Hope

It is into this dark and dismal backdrop that God brings words of hope.

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Matthew quotes this passage and says it is fulfilled in Jesus (Matt.4:12-16). To the people dwelling in deep darkness Jesus is the great light that shines, bringing joy and gladness. Isaiah has already spoken in chapter 7 of a virgin whose son would be named Immanuel – God with us. Now he speaks of a child born and a son given, who will bring peace and righteousness, whose just rule will have no end. It says of this coming king that “his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Jesus was born at a dark time in history. Israel was under Roman occupation. The Emperor Caesar Augustus ordered that a census be taken, which put Mary and Joseph on the road away from home right at the time she was due to give birth. Herod was king over Judea. He was the cruel king who ordered the execution of all male children two years or younger, which drove the couple to take their young boy and seek refuge in Egypt.

It was into this dark context that Jesus was born.

Matthew 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

John says

John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. …9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world

Into the darkness of sin and despair comes Jesus, the Light of the World, hope of the nations, the one whose “name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” As we take each of these names in turn, may our hearts be stirred to worship the God-man Jesus.

Jesus is Wonderful Counselor

His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor. Jesus is Wonderful. Have you lost the wonder of the season? Do you spent much energy trying to recapture that missing sense of wonder? You can regain that sense of wonder as we look to Jesus, the Wonderful One. He is a child born and a Son given. Jesus, Mighty God from all eternity, became a child. He was born of a virgin. He became human. A baby. A child born. But he was also a Son given. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. Jesus, God from all eternity, very God of very God, co-eternal and equal with his Father, the only Son of God; God the Son, was given – the supreme gift to mankind. Wonder of wonders, the incarnation! Gift above all gifts! Look to Jesus in wonder, awe, and worship!

Jesus is Wonderful Counselor. Listen to what his followers said about him:

John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Listen to what the people said about him:

Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 6:2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?

Mark 7:37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Luke 4:22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth… 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.

Listen to what even his enemies said about him:

Matthew 22:46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Luke 20:26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. …39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

John 7:45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!”

Jesus, Wonderful Counselor, full of grace and truth, spoke with a wisdom greater than Solomon’s (Mt.12:42; Lk.11:31).

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”

The question for you today; is he your Counselor? Jesus said:

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

You cannot call him your Wonderful Counselor if you are not willing to listen to what he says and to do what he tells you to do.

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

Jesus is Mighty God

His name shall be called Mighty God. Jesus is Mighty God – God the Hero, God the mighty warrior, victorious in battle, conquering all enemies. Jesus is Mighty God, and he is to be feared. When Jesus controlled the raging sea with his word, his disciples:

Mark 4:41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

Peter, in response to Jesus’ power over his creation:

Luke 5:8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

Thomas in response to the resurrected Lord:

John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

When John saw the risen Jesus in all his glory, he fell at his feet as though dead (Rev.1:17).

Isaiah speaks of Jesus this way:

Isaiah 11:4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Paul describes the end times and the ultimate enemy,

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

Paul speaks of a time:

2 Thessalonians 1:7 … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Our Mighty God Jesus is to be feared. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Jesus is the perfect consummation of all the epic good guy heroes in the violent movies that we love to cheer on, except Jesus doesn’t lie or cheat or steal or use foul language to triumph over evil, bring justice and crush the bad guys.

Jesus is God, the Mighty God, he is to be worshiped and feared.

Jesus is Everlasting Father

His name shall be called Everlasting Father. Jesus is Everlasting Father. That may sound strange to our ears, but that is what the text says. This could be translated ‘the Father of Eternity’. Jesus is equal to and one with the Father, but distinct from the Father. In the Trinity, Jesus is not the Father. Jesus is the Son. But in relation to his creation, he is the one who brought all things into existence.

Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities––all things were created through him and for him.

All things that had a beginning began in him.

He is Everlasting Father. He is eternal, without beginning or end.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jesus is consistent. He is provider. He loves. He disciplines. He trains and instructs. He keeps his promises. He is genuinely interested in us. Jesus fulfills the role of father perfectly. He is Father to the fatherless. His love will never fail.

Jesus is Prince of Peace

His name shall be called the Prince of Peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

The song of the angels was:

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

But Jesus said:

Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter–in–law against her mother–in–law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, demands our allegiance above any other natural affection. The peace that Jesus brings is higher and deeper and richer than mere peace with other people. The peace that Jesus gives us is most importantly peace with God.

Romans 5:10 …while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…

Jesus’ death on the cross conquers our rebellious hearts that are opposed to God, and restores our broken fellowship.

Colossians 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

The peace that Christ brings is first of all peace, a restored relationship, friendship with God. He satisfied on the cross the just wrath of the Father against our sin, so we can be reconciled, restored to right relationship with the Father. This right relationship is ours by faith – believing him; trusting him; depending on him.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friends, this is the good news of Christmas! Jesus came to deal with your sin problem so that your relationship with your Creator can be restored to what it was designed to be!

Acts 10:36 … preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),

Jesus, Prince of Peace brings first of all peace with God. No other peace matters if you are not at peace with the Judge of all the earth.

Jesus said:

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

First, peace with God. Then, with a right relationship with the King of the universe in place, peace in the midst of our circumstances. We can rejoice in our relationship with the Lord,

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We can face any circumstance with peace, knowing that the Prince of Peace, Jesus, holds us in his eternal omnipotent hands.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Response

Today, let us worship Jesus, who is our Wonderful Counselor. Jesus, who is Mighty God. Jesus, who is Everlasting Father. Jesus, who is Prince of Peace. 

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

December 27, 2011 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 20:7 – Word #3; For the Sake of His Name

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20110724_exodus20_7.mp3

07/24 Exodus 20:7 Word #3 For the Sake of His Name

We are studying God’s ten words, the household rules for his children. God starts with himself, because everything is all about him. This universe is God-centered. He starts by reminding us of how he acted to save us. He is our rescuer, our redeemer, our deliverer. His action is the foundation of our relationship. Now that he has set us free from slavery, free to worship and serve him, this is what life should look like. First, we are to know him. We are in relationship with the one true God. We must know who he is so that we can worship him as he is. We must know him as Father, Son and Spirit; the one true God. God is to be alone at the center of our lives. He is not satisfied to be even the first among a list of persons or things we live for. He will tolerate no other gods in our lives. Second, we must not try to dumb him down and make him manageable and understandable. We must not imagine him to be something he is not. We must not imagine him to be less than he is, less that what he has told us about himself. We are not free to think of him as we like. We are not to model our idea of the creator after any part of his creation. We must know and worship him as he really is, as he reveals himself to us in his word. Anything less is idolatry, or spiritual adultery. He is jealous God will tolerate no competitors for our affection and devotion.

Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Today we will look at word # 3:

7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

God’s household rule #3 has to do with how we use his name. We will look at what is prohibited, why it is prohibited, and what the consequences are for disobedience, and we will look at what a life looks like that keeps this command.

What is Prohibited?

First, what is prohibited. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.” When I was a kid, I thought this was the no cussing commandment. No foul language. No obscenity. No profanity. There is some truth to this. The very word ‘profanity’ highlights the distinction between what is sacred or set apart or holy, and what is profane or common or outside. We are not to take what is sacred or holy and treat it as if it were profane. But this command specifically deals with the name of God. We are not to treat God’s name as common or ordinary. We are not to trivialize God. There are plenty of other scriptures that deal very clearly with what kind of things come out of our mouths, like Ephesians 4:29 and Matthew 12:36 and 15:18 and 2 Corinthians 12:20 and James 3. What comes out is evidence of what is in our hearts, and that is the root of the issue. This command deals specifically with how we handle God’s name. The language is that of the courtroom. For instance, we are not to use God’s name in an oath to give weight to what we are saying, and then lie. Taking an oath is a serious matter. When we take an oath in God’s name, we are appealing to a higher authority, one who has the right and the ability to destroy us if we are not honest in our speech. God does not allow his name to be taken lightly, used casually, or thrown around. Jeremiah (14 & 29) addresses prophets who prophesy in the name of the LORD when the LORD did not speak to them. God has some severe things to say to those who misuse his name and misrepresent him in this way. To take God’s name on our lips and then treat it as if it means nothing to us is the essence of what is forbidden here.

Why is this prohibited?

Why is this such a big deal? Why is God so concerned with how we treat his name? First of all, God is God. He is the supreme one, the sovereign one, the self-existent one. He has the right to take himself seriously, and he has the right to demand that we do the same. God says in Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 33:2 “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it––the LORD is his name:

And in Isaiah:

Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

YHWH is our Maker, our Redeemer, the God of the whole earth, and he does not share his glory.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

God’s name is a gift to us. He says in the prologue to the ten words, “I am YHWH your God.” When Moses asked the voice from the burning bush to identify himself, God said:

Ex 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.”’ 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

God gave his name to his people. He entered into a covenant relationship with them. He gave himself to them to be their God. Knowing God’s name is important. Some people you only know by their official title. Some people you know as acquaintances. But other people you know on a first-name basis. You can call them your friend, and you can call them in the middle of the night if you are in trouble and need their help. God gives himself to his people as it were on a first-name basis and says ‘I will be your God – you can call me any time.’ But it would be inappropriate to scribble his name and number on the bathroom wall.

God’s name stands for his character. When we talk about his name, we are not talking about proper spelling and pronunciation. We are talking about the person behind the name. When Moses asked God to show him his glory, God answered this way:

Exodus 33:18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

Exodus 34:5 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

Moses asked to see God’s glory. God responded by proclaiming his name and describing his character.

So to take God’s name in a vain or to treat it as worthless is to disregard his authority and trample his gift and undermine his character.

God’s Purpose for his Name

This third command ties into one of God’s purposes in the Exodus:

Exodus 9:16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. (cf. Romans 9:17)

God’s intention in his victory over rebellious Pharaoh was the global proclamation of his name or character. God is putting his reputation on display to win the nations.

Revalation 15:4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

In fact, in Psalm 138 we are told that God exalts his name and his word above all things.

Psalm 138:2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

In Ezekiel 36, God says that Israel defiled the promised land by their ways and their deeds, and it says he poured out his wrath on them because of their idolatry and scattered them among the nations:

Ezekiel 36:20 But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the LORD, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ 21 But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came. 22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

God acts to vindicate the holiness of his great name. His priority is to clear his reputation in the sight of the nations so that they can put their trust in him. He acts for the sake of his holy name. He jealously defends the honor of his name which his people have profaned.

The Consequences for Disobedience

This is why the consequences are severe.

7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Causing the reputation of God to be questioned is the most serious of offenses. The consequences are not specified, but the punishment is certain. The LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. To trivialize God in the eyes of people is not a trivial offense.

What it means to keep this commandment

Inside this prohibition is a positive command. What would not taking the name of the LORD your God in vain look like in a person’s life? This is the first thing Jesus told us to pray for.

Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

May God’s name be reverenced, respected, treated with awe. May the third commandment be kept on earth as it is in heaven. Day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come” (Revelation 4:8; cf. Isaiah 6:3).

The Psalms give us some great examples of what it looks like to treat God’s name rightly

Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.

Psalm 34:3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Psalm 135:13 Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages.

Psalm 148:13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.

We are to magnify, exalt, ascribe glory to, bring renown to, praise the name of the Lord. But that is not the only way to treat God’s name rightly. The Psalms also teach us to ask:

Psalm 25:11 For your name‘s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.

Psalm 109:21 But you, O GOD my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name‘s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!

Psalm 143:11 For your name‘s sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!

We honor God’s name by calling on his name, asking him for pardon, rescue, preservation, deliverance. By calling on him for help, we honor him as rich in mercy toward sinners, full of grace, steadfast love, righteousness, the giver of all good things. The prophet Joel promises:

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. …

Peter in Acts 2 and Paul in Romans 10 take this up and apply it to Jesus.

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Peter goes on to specify what name we are to call upon to be saved:

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Paul says:

Romans 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

John agrees:

John 20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Peter proclaimed:

Acts 4:10 … by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead… 11 This Jesus … 12 …there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power…. 39 …They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear… 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

We honor his great name by calling on Jesus for salvation and forgiveness of sins. This is the good news.

Philippians 2:5… Christ Jesus … 8. ..humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We must not take the name of Christ lightly. We who are called ‘Christian’ must live in such a way that we honor his name among the nations. We must bow the knee and confess Jesus as Lord to the glory of God the Father. 

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

July 24, 2011 Posted by | Exodus, occasional | , , , , , , | Leave a comment