A New Name
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”Gladiator (2000)
There is a reason that these stories speak so powerfully to us. They are based on the real story – our story.
Those words just wash over you like a flood. They don’t stop, they just keep coming.
“What is your name, Slave?” Wouldn’t you like to be able to answer like that? Wouldn’t you like to have that complete certainty as to who you are – a statement of power and purpose?
But you see, we can answer like that. We have a new name. And it’s a name that is every bit as powerful, flooding and unstoppable as that name.
The power of the name
So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.”Joh 18:3-8 (ESV)
This powerful name knocked to the ground a bunch of soldiers. We possess that name.
You have a new name. You have been baptised into the sin covering name of Jesus and that name is a statement. Yahshua. It is powerful and it has purpose. It states unequivocally what our purpose is in this world. I am living proof that YAHWEH SAVES!
With that name, your life will never be the same again. With that name comes the validation of the Father.
What happens to Jesus happens to us!
Grab a bible and a sheet of paper. Insert the paper into the bible.
Jesus’s name covers us. Look at that bible. If you enfold paper in it, then you can’t see it and the fate of that bible is the fate of that paper. They burn together if you set fire to one. Both drip with water if you dip one of them in water.
God validates Jesus. Jesus’s name covers us. God therefore validates us.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”Mar 1:9-11 (ESV)
That validation extends to us. We have been called to be and are indeed, the SONS of GOD!
Sons of God
The name Jesus is the name of salvation.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 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.”Acts 4:8-12 (ESV)
This is the only name that saves us. So the name that you have taken on is one that encapsulates a statement of your purpose, to live the salvation of Yahweh.
This is the name that gives us our identity and it is a name that is far above all other names.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Php 2:9-11 (ESV)
It is a name of command:
Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralysed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.Acts 9:32-35 (ESV)
That’s the power of the name you bear.
Living the New Name
But above all, it is upon receiving this name that we start to live a new life and to leave behind the old man.
The new name represents the enormous change of our lives – of turning around and moving in a new direction.
God calls Abram out of Ur. “Where are we going?” “I’ll tell you when you get there!” Oh and along the way, God changes his name to Abraham… God promises Sarai that she will be the mother of nations and changes her name to Sarah.
Simon Bar Jonah becomes Peter the Rock.
Saul the avenger, who murders Jewish Christians, encounters Jesus on the road to Damascus. Jesus changes the story that Saul imagined for himself. Saul now represents Messiah to the Gentiles and he becomes Paul.
For us, Jesus promises us a white stone with our new name engraved on it. Jesus guarantees that this name won’t be a name of shame… we wont hang onto the old names of this life. No one will call us “weakling”, “gossip”, “fatty”, “stupid” or belittle us.
An everlasting New Name
No, it will be an everlasting name which will never be cut off.
For thus says the LORD: “To the eunuchs [in a sense us, because we produce no life in this world but rather in the world to come] who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”Isa 56:4-7 (ESV)
Your name will be glorious:
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.Isa 62:1-3 (ESV)
The Glorious New Name
We have received a name now that in that day will be glorious. To those who conquer, that new name will be our perfecting:
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have [you have within your grasp SALVATION], so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.Rev 3:11-12 (ESV)
But, I hear you say, can I conquer? What, do you mean I have to fight? Is it risky? Is it dangerous?
Yes – You’re going to lose your life. But it’s only a little thing.
Warring in the New Name
To conquer, we must be at war. The ultimate victory is when you die.
If you don’t think you are at war, you have already lost.
We are not only at war, we have been born into the world at the very height of the battle. In this war, we fight ourselves and against a world view that opposes God.
We are born in the midst of strife and warfare and we must fight so that we can conquer.
First, within and then to rescue our fellows from the clutches of this evil world.
Have a read of Romans 7 from The Message (I don’t normally quote from The Message – I prefer actual translations but it really works here)
(13) I can already hear your next question: “Does that mean I can’t even trust what is good [that is, the law]? Is good just as dangerous as evil?” No again! Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God’s good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own.
(14-16) I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.Rom 7 (The Message)
I know the law but still can’t keep it
(17-20) But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it, I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
(21-23) It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
(24) I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
(25) The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally differentRom 7 continued (The Message)
So the war starts within. But there is good news. The war is over. Jesus said on the cross that the war was finished. Jesus won the war on the Cross.
Our Sins are set aside
In that day, God set our sin from us, as far as the east is from the west. We drowned the old man and were born anew. That’s the point of Romans 8:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.
By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.Rom 8:1-11 (ESV)
Focus on the things above
… to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. …the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.Rom 8:1-11 (ESV) (continued)
The war is complete. What we are fighting now is mopping up.
Good news – you died!
But I have good news for you. You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Rom 8:31-39 (ESV)
As new men, we died to who we once were, and we live in Jesus to conquer the world.
Ransomed from this world and made new.
He ransomed us
Jesus ransomed us from evil, gave us new hearts and a new name and hid our lives in himself.
We are no longer part of a world given over to evil and it is our task to rescue the peoples of this world from the evil that we once were given over to.