Page 162 was a Sunday and I began my worship early as I headed to the church building to clean bathrooms, floors, and glass doors before the start of the morning worship gatherings. I suppose to some that first sentence sounds odd, but what we do ought to be a part of our worship just as much as gathering to sing, hear a sermon, or meet around the Lord’s Table. But I not only worship through my work, I also worship through prayer and song as I clean. The offering that God wants most from each of us, is us — our whole self with nothing held back.
After cleaning in the building and prepping it for the morning, I went home to clean myself and make sure I was ready for the morning. In our morning worship gathering, David brought a message from a series he is preaching from the first half of the book of Acts. Today’s sermon about the name of Jesus was based around Acts 3 and 4. Names have meaning, and based on a variety of factors each of us have a name that carries a certain amount of power and authority with it. But any power and authority that we may have, or any person that we know may have, it all pales in comparison to the complete power and authority that resides in the name of Jesus. Acts 3 & 4 contain the account of the healing of a lame man and the subsequent explanation and defense that Peter and John give the authorities that this act was done through the name of Jesus. The following are the three things we considered this morning about the name of Jesus.
- The name of Jesus carries authority. While my name carries limited authority in limited situation, the name of Jesus carries absolute authority in all situations. We’re not talking about a magic charm or secret password, but the authority that comes with doing what the Name wants. In the text we looked at this morning, the authority was over the physical body of a lame man. Whatever had caused the man to be lame for his entire life, was no match to holding that man captive when the will of Jesus was to set Him free. The Bible says that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess — that’s complete authority.
- The name of Jesus brings us into association with Him. There is something significant about carrying a family name. My having the name Lemler brings me into association with others who carry the same name — whether I want that association or not. I understand that for many children who are adopted after years of not knowing where they belong, having the name of their adoptive family given to them can bring about a great sense of belonging. The Bible teaches that salvation is found in no other name but the name of Jesus. Carrying the name of Jesus is more than just agreeing to be a Christian, it is about coming into association with Him and being identified as one of His because of the name we now claim.
- The name of Jesus gives us an assurance that nothing else can. Most of us know people who seem to live and act like they are above the law. People who are in the right family and presume an assurance that nothing bad can happen to them because of the name they carry. We’ve also seen “big names” discover than any assurance that counts on their name isn’t always a guarantee as they are found guilty of wrongdoing and go to prison. When we put our hope and trust in the name of Jesus, we need not worry about a misplaced assurance. The Bible teaches that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is given to us through Christ Jesus. When God says that neither life nor death, or anything else, can separate us from His love, there is no greater assurance that we could want or have.
After the worship gathering we went to lunch and then the afternoon was spent relaxing and going through another day’s photos from our recent family vacation. The problem with taking so many photos is that it takes a long time to go through them, but I’m nearing the end of them. As early evening arrived, we headed to the river to enjoy a nice family walk and take a few photos. Today’s photo is of a duck as he makes his way up the small falls on the river raceway. As I watched him swim toward that, I anticipated that his plan was to overcome the obstacle before him and reach the next level of water. It wasn’t without effort, but his desire was rewarded through his effort. Sometimes we can see where we want to be but as we look, the obstacle is just as visible as the destination. The question that often determines the result, is which of the two do we keep our eye on — the obstacle or the destination.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Worship is not limited to specific times, places, and activities.
- Jesus said that true worship is done in spirit and in truth. Those things ought to identify who we are at all times.
- Worship gatherings, church services, the fellowship of the saints, or whatever else you want to call a regular gathering of a group of Christians, are just as valuable as worshiping God in the midst of your every day life — this isn’t an either/or issue.
- All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus.
- The name of Jesus carries that authority over all creation.
- Praying in the name of Jesus isn’t a secret password, but rather it contains authority when our prayers are aligned with the character and purpose of the name of Jesus.
- Jesus was very clear that no one comes to the Father except through Him. That means that it is the name of Jesus that brings us into a right relationship with God.
- I have the assurance of a most powerful name behind me when Satan tries to accuse me before the Father.
- What we fix our eyes upon is probably what we will attain to.