A New Name

Posted on 12/07/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.


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SING A NEW SONG


Sing unto the Lord a new song

    sing unto the Lord, all the earth

Sing unto the Lord a new song

    sing unto the Lord, all the earth


For God is great,

    and greatly to be praised

God is great, and greatly to be praised!




I CHOOSE TO WORSHIP


I could stand outside your gates

    and never enter in

I could let this moment pass

    and go my way again

I could just keep silent

    and hold from you my praise

Or I could give my heart away


I choose to worship

    I choose to love you

To reach out and touch your heart

I want to know you

    Here in this moment

O I choose to worship you


I won't stand outside your gates

    and never enter in

I won't let this moment pass

    and go my way again

How can I keep silent

    and hold from you my praise

Lord I give my heart away




I WORSHIP YOU


I worship you, Almighty God

    there is none like you

I worship you, O Prince of Peace

    that is all I want to do


I give you praise

    for you are my righteousness

I worship you, Almighty God

    there is none like you




THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU


There is none like you

    no one else can

    touch my heart like you do

I could search

    for all eternity long and find

    there is none like you



*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***



Blessed be the name of the Lord!


You know, there's just something about a name. Throughout Scripture, there are countless references to the name of the Lord... "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe;" and, "God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)


What is it about a name that is so special? God is given many names throughout Scripture because he cannot be described in just one name. No single name is sufficient for him, and we just might see this when he said to Moses, "Tell them that 'I Am' has sent you."


God was their deliverer, but he was not only their deliverer. He was their provider, but he was not only Jehovah Jireh. He was their judge, but he was also the God of mercy who sent his only begotten son to bear their penalty so they could go free.


So a name is not just an identifier, it is a summary of the one who bears it.


And God not only bears names; he also gives names, and he gives authority to give names.


In the Garden of Eden, God brought the animals to man so the he could name them. And the Bible tells us that "whatever he named them, that was their name."


Then, in Genesis 3 and verse 20, we read that "Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living." The name "Eve" means "life."



Throughout the generations, parents gave names to their children. Often times we see that names are prophetic. Other times, they simply described characteristics of the ones to whom they were being given.


Take Jacob and Esau for example. The word "Jacob" means "supplanter," or, "heel holder," while the word "Esau" means "hairy." When they were being born, Esau, who was quite hairy, was born first, and Jacob grabbed hold of his heel.


These two names were given by a man. God gives authority to us to give names. How do we use this authority? Do we ever give names or titles to people that would belittle or that are based on what they've done instead of who God has called them to become?


So Jacob and Esau were named according to what they were and what they had done. But it doesn't end there. You see, God not only bears names, and God not only gives authority to give names; but God also gives new names.


For his whole life, Jacob was named after what he had done as he came from the womb. That is, up until after he had wrestled with the angel.


Let's take a look at this. Turn with me to Genesis chapter 35, and let's read beginning with verse 9. Genesis 35:9-12.


9 Then God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan Aram, and blessed him.

10 And God said to him, "Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name." So He called his name Israel.

11 Also God said to him: "I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.

12 The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land."


So Jacob, the heel holder, was renamed "Israel," which means "contender," "soldier of God," or "God prevails."


And this divine name change was also a divine change in destiny, and it came with a divine promise.


First God change Heel Holder's name to God Prevails, and then he revealed just a part of what the change in name meant. God said to Israel, "A nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac I give to you, and to your descendants after you I give this land."


And of course we know that the nation of Israel is named after this man formerly named Jacob, and it remains strong and known the whole world over these thousands of years later.



Years before God changed Jacob's name to Israel, he did the same for his father's father, the man once called "Abram."


Abram was an old man, and his wife had always been barren, so they had no children. Interestingly enough, the name "Abram" means "Exalted father," and yet Abram was not a father at all.


Surely Abram would have felt as though his name had come to pass if he had only one child. And yet, God had even more in mind than would fit within Abram's name.


Let's read what happened in Genesis chapter 17, beginning with verse 1.


Genesis 17:1-8


1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."

3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:

4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.

5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.


6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.

8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."



So here was Abram, an old man, the "exalted father," having already given up any hope of ever having children to carry on his unfulfilled name.


And then God reveals his plan to Abram, and gives him a new name. He said, "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, (Father of a multitude,) and you shall be a father of many nations. I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. And you shall be a father of many nations." Then he repeats this again and says, "You name shall be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations."


Isn't that interesting? God doesn't say, "I am going to make you a father of many nations, and then your name will be Abraham," but rather, God says, "Your name is Abraham," and from that point on he calls him by this name, "for I have made you a father of many nations."


You see, when God declares that he has done something, it matters not whether it has already come to pass in our time. Indeed, God had already seen all the choices all peoples of the earth would make, and everything that would happen. He already knew the many attacks that would come against the descendants of Israel, all the traps set up by the enemy, and all the directions that could be taken that would keep his word from coming to pass.


But his word and his truth had already turned the tides, it had already been spoken ahead of time into the hearts of kings, into the outcomes of battles, and was woven throughout the days of every single generation yet to come. Yes, God had already made Abram a father of many nations. And God was giving him his new name as a seal of his promise, an identity rooted not in what others said about him or even the good things that were spoken over him, but in that which God said about him and the words spoken by God and the covenant between God and the man.



Let's skip down to verse 15...


Genesis 17:15-19


15 Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her." 


17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"

18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!"

19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him."



Now, the name "Sarai" (sa rah' ee) means "princess," while the name "Sarah" means "noblewoman." These are both royal titles. Why did God change Sarai's name? Let's remember that God changed "Abram," "exalted father," to "Abraham," "father of multitudes." His old name seemed good enough, a really great name. And so did Sarai's. But what is good enough, or even grand, in the eyes of man has little to do with what God has in mind. God had something in mind for Abram and Sarai that far surpassed the best that had been wished upon them. In the way things appeared, they were less than a great father and a princess, but God raised the bar and declared that they were nobility, a father of kings and nations, and the noblewoman, the mother of nations, the king and queen, if you will, of this impossible greatness which God had ordained to come from them.



So, did God stop there? Or is he still in the business of giving new names, new destinies, of being unimpressed with the expectations of others or of our own selves, and instead declaring that he has ordained something for us not conceived of human imagination or desire?



Let's read one more Scripture, a single verse from the book of Revelation chapter two. Revelation 2:17. And it says,


"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."



Wesley comments on this verse, and suggests that the ancients would judge by either white or black stones. The black stones showed guilt, and the white stones meant aquital. Well, to him who overcomes, Jesus will give a white stone, for his or her sins have been paid for, and he declares them innocent of wrong.


And on this stone is a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. Let's think about that for just a moment. Who are these who overcome? Remember, he's speaking to the churches, giving them exortation, direction, both commending and reproving them. And to those who overcome, he will give a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.


Is there a white stone reserved for you? And do you have a new name written on it?


We all have names. Perhaps the name that identifies you isn't the one that's on your birth certificate, but one that has come from what others have said to and about you, what the enemy has said to you, and what you have believed or even hoped for yourself.


But God isn't impressed by our own self-perceptions, either good or bad. He has something in mind for you, and it's something good. As he says in Isaiah and echoes in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."


Your name might be "Pretty Good Person," or "Total Loser," or "Troubled Wanderer," or "John Doe." But God has a name for you, and it's not based on who you are right now or what you've done. Instead, God's name for you is based upon his plans, his purposes, and what and who he has created you to become.


It's not based upon those things which have been passed down to you by your parents and grandparents, but upon the legacy he has called and ordained you to pass on to the world around you and to generations to come.


What is your name? God is forming it in you day by day. He calls to you every morning saying, "Take a little time to get in my presence! Read my Word! Talk with me! So I can take you in the direction you were created to go!"


What is your name? If you are an overcomer, if you are one of those who will hold on to God and will refuse to let go no matter what may come, it is written on a white rock. It is written upon the token of your aquital, that pure white perfection that God sees in you -- that which he has created you to become, being changed every single day from glory to glory by the Spirit of God.


What is your name? You can be pretty certain it's not what you think it is. And you're not likely to learn it by self-reflection, either.


That verse in Revelation says, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."


We don't overcome by focusing on ourselves, our own potentials, our own level of self esteem, our own level of confidence. We overcome, as the Scripture tells us, by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.


Our testimony is not what we've done, but what God has done in, through, around, and in spite of us. And the Blood of the Lamb is what makes it possible for us to be given that white stone of aquital, with a new name written on it, a name so personal that no one else knows it.


Of course God knows your name. And as you center your life around him and seek first and central his kingdom and his righteousness, he will continue to etch that new name upon your life, and he will give you the strength to overcome, to be where you should be when the enemy tries to spring his traps, and to see the path before you clearly when his ambush is waiting to take you out.


And remember as you interact with your brothers and sisters in Christ, that God knows their name too. You don't know how God sees them, or what he has ordained for their lives, but it's something good, something much better than you would have imagined. So let's treat our brothers and sisters not as we think they deserve or according to how we see them, but as sons and daughters of the Great King, diamonds in the rough, and recipients of a new name.



You are so very special to God. He knew you the very first day you were conceived in your mother's womb. He knit you together, forming your parts. You are wonderfully and fearfully made. And all the days of your life were written in his book. He knows your name.



I'd like for the ministry team to come to the front now.


And this altar is open. If you believe God has spoken to you today, respond simply by accepting his Word as true, and by accepting that it applies to you.


And if you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, and turned from your sins to follow him, then I'd like to invite you to come to him today. He has plans for you that are greater than anything you could have ever imagined, but you must begin at the cross.


Jesus lived the sinless life that you and I could never live, and then took upon himself all the sins you and I have ever committed against him, bearing the full penalty for those sins, so that whoever believes upon him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.


Come to the cross today. Believe upon, put your trust in, lean upon, and follow the only one who can set you free.


All you have to do is turn to him and accept his righteousness in exchange for your sin, accept his gift of life in exchange for your penalty of death.


He says to you, "Behold, I stand at your door and knock. If you will hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you, and we will have a great feast." Open the door of your heart. Turn to Jesus, and let him set you on his path of peace, joy, and everlasting life.


You're all invited to get out of your seat and come gather at the altar for a time of prayer, worship, and ministry. If you want someone to talk or pray with you, instant message someone on the ministry team.


If you need to go, you're free to do so, and after this time of ministry we'll meet in the room to your left for a time of fellowship, and you're all invited to come.


Come to this altar, and let's pray.