Tuesday, 29 November 2016 10:32

His Name Is Jesus

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HIS NAME IS JESUS

Dear friends, in the coming weeks before Christmas Day 2016, I invite you to reflect with me on four of the main names and titles given the Saviour of whom the Holy Bible tells us about.  Then on Christmas Day which is on the last Sunday of this year, we will consider the wonder of His birth, His incarnation as Emmanuel, God with us. This plan is purposeful on my part as Banner of Truth radio minister because with the new year, beginning January 1, 2017, Rev. Jack Schoeman, minister of the Free Reformed Church of Abbotsford, will take my place. I have been radio minister for fifteen and a half years and we are most grateful to God as Free Reformed Churches for another Christian gospel-focused minister now taking over this work. As I come to the end of my work in this role, it is fitting that we focus especially on the Savior Whom God in the fullness of time sent into this world to serve as the long promised almighty blessed Saviour of sinners.

So let us think on Him now, considering the four main names of the Saviour.  Do you know what they are?

In the Bible there are probably close to 200 names and titles for the Saviour. And not all of them together fully can describe Him as the precious and perfect Saviour He truly is for His people.  But there are four main names for the Saviour and they are ‘Jesus, Christ, Son, and Lord’. It is very special how the apostle Paul in his great explanation and defense of the gospel message of the Bible states also in Romans 1:3 that he was called and separated unto the gospel of God, “concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord…”  Endless gospel tidings full of infinite good news is given us, we need to know, just with these four main name. And each name and title for the Saviour is inexhaustible good news and something to be so drawn by and heartily thankful about! 

Today’s message is on the first of the Saviour’s name, JESUS. This is our theme too, and we will consider how it is a name divinely chosen, delightfully proven, and infinitely inviting. 

His Name is Jesus, a name divinely chosen.  Here think with me how parents when they have a child are given the task to choose a name for their child.  Sometimes it is not so easy to pick a name.

God, of course, doesn’t need to search through the human collection of countless names that He could have chosen from.  No, we can be sure that from eternity He had already planned the name for the baby born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem long ago.  The name, which Paul calls in Philippians 2 “the name which is above every name” was to be Jesus.  His Name is Jesus. That is what God decided and determined, and it is striking actually how often the gospel accounts also highlight this very fact.

We read in Matthew 1:21 the angel told Joseph that Mary, who he was engaged to, was expecting a child.  He would be the promised Messiah child, miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit in her womb, and Joseph was to call Him Jesus. “…thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” Then notice how at the end of Matthew 1 we are told when the baby was born, Joseph as the stepfather of the child did as the angel said, “and he called his name JESUS.”  Then we read in Luke 2:21 “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”  Quickly this Jesus became known as “Jesus of Nazareth” [Mark 1:24] which we know was also Jesus’ hometown where He was raised after His birth in Bethlehem of Judah. In John 1:45 we are informed of Philip finding Nathanael to tell him of their discovery of the Saviour, the promised Messiah, saying to him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth….”   

Now why would God have chosen this name for the Saviour?  One very plain reason is because that Name, JESUS, actually itself means Saviour.  Jesus came to serve as Saviour of sinners, for He shall save His people from their sins, the angel had told Joseph.  God gives His Son a name that reflects and proclaims and promises exactly what He came here to do. The wonder about all God’s names is that they are not just simply labels distinguishing Jesus, as with our names, no, but His names, are all actual descriptions of Jesus in every detail and way. God perfectly reflects and exhibits what His names state and describe. So the name Jesus, every time you see it or read it or hear it or pray in this Name, is to remind us, you and me and all people, that Jesus came to be Saviour, to save His people from their sins.  As one put it: His name Jesus, didn’t and doesn’t “just mean that His God saves; but it meant that HE [JESUS] was the God who saves. It proclaims right away and makes clear the particular mission Jesus had and would fulfill, namely, to save His people from their sins!  

Just the name Jesus then, as divinely chosen name for the Saviour, is so precious and full of gospel tidings. Don’t you think and say so too?  It makes very clear from the start that the gospel message is not about God the Father being so very upset and only angry toward sinners and out to destroy all of us and that His more gentle loving Son intervened and said, No, let me be a mediator and save sinners, and that God begrudgingly agreed. No, God the Father, together with the Son and the Holy Spirit, planned a way of salvation for guilty lost depraved sinners, and the Triune God chose this name, Jesus, for all the world to know Him as Saviour of sinners, and that in and through Him “Jehovah saves”. The Old Testament name of Joshua, which also means “Jehovah saves”, sheds light on the name Jesus. Joshua, after Moses, was used of God to bring the people triumphantly from the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt finally into the promised land of Canaan. Jesus is the greater than Joshua, and He came to seek and to save the lost, to bring sinners like us into the ultimate promised land, and what a Saviour of sinners He is as the crucified and risen Redeemer. 

Putting this altogether, don’t you agree that God Triune must have had so much joy in naming the baby born in Bethlehem JESUS?  Not only was this God’s chosen name for the Christ-child, but it was deliberately chosen with a holy passion that all the world could and would know JESUS of Nazareth has come with a divine mission and passion, and that is, wholly to live up to His Name. The only hope for this fallen world of sinners is the Saviour of sinners God sent, that Saviour with the name JESUS, Jesus of Nazareth!  Does just the name of Jesus for the Saviour bless your mind and heart, not just this coming season but in all your life? Shouldn’t we so love God the Father for choosing this particular name for His Son when come to this earth, and thank the Holy Spirit for letting us know His name as given so many times in Scripture, and be so drawn to the Saviour, just from His precious name, JESUS? His name is to be JESUS because He shall save His people from their sins.  How terrible when this name is used as a curse word as is so much done in our times, most thoughtlessly and carelessly and callously.  May God keep us, you and me, from the awful misuse of JESUS’ name, but rather always to give honour and praise to the Saviour and His Name, Jesus.

Yes, for notice our second main point about His Name, JESUS. It is a delightfully proven name too. By this I mean, how Jesus demonstrated in every way He is His name, and how He loved to live up to His name. 

We can say this because Jesus deliberately came into this world to seek and to save sinners as Luke 19:10 tells us. Jesus constantly also met with sinners. Not one person He met with here on earth was not a sinner and Jesus preached the good news to all, proclaiming Himself in His preaching and with His miracles as the one and only Saviour of sinners.  Jesus cast out demon spirits and reached out to sinful publicans and sinful Pharisees, to Jew and Gentile, making Himself known as the one who can forgive sins, and deliver us from death, and rescue us from the grave and give us escape from never-ending hell, and entrance into eternal heaven. Jesus showed Himself as the one who did bring peace and joy and saving healing power in our sin and misery.  There is no sin nor consequence of sin that Jesus proved unable to deal with triumphantly. With Him and His once for all sacrifice on Golgotha is plenteous redemption and perfect and everlasting reconciliation with God. And the gospels prove over and over there was and is no sinner Jesus refused to reach out to who came and comes even now to Him for His mercy and saving grace and power.

His Name is Jesus, and that name is delightfully proven by Jesus Himself also when He said as we can read in Matthew 20:28, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Jesus owned His Name and He prized it probably most of all on the cross of Calvary where Pilate had written on a sign above Jesus’ head, according to John 19:19, “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS”. And we are told in the following verse this was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, meaning to say, by God’s design, all the world needs to see and hear this name Jesus, given and proven by Jesus’ finished work on sinner’s behalf.  His Name is Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins. See JESUS even when on the cross saving the repentant thief who cried to Him for mercy, and drawing to Himself that Roman centurion who acknowledged Jesus for Who He truly was and is. 

This name, JESUS, should always remind us of our greatest need as fallen sinners by nature, and the almighty complete provision of God on sinner’s behalf through the sin-atoning, blood-redeeming salvation sacrifice of Christ and Him crucified. Jesus would give Himself even to the death of the cross to seek and to save sinners.  And giving His all to save sinners like us, there is nothing God withholds from His people, as many as repent of sin and trust and follow Him.  In and with Jesus, the Saviour of sinners, we find full and free deliverance from all that is evil in and from us, and we are given instead full and free salvation blessings for soul and body, in life and death, for now and forevermore.

Just listen here to how the apostle John ends his gospel account in John 21:25, focusing on the endless glory and riches of Jesus as Saviour of sinners. After writing all he did in his gospel account by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he closes by saying, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written, every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” In other words, John can’t say enough good news about Jesus the Saviour, that name of whom Peter writes in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there any other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”  The apostles, we read in Acts 5:42, ministered “…daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”  Why? Because Jesus was and is the only Saviour of sinners and what a Saviour of sinners He truly is in all His person and work, yes, as revealed to us just even in the name Jesus.  How powerful that in the very last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22:16, we read also these words from the exalted Saviour as heard by John on the isle of Patmos, “I Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches….”   Even in eternal glory now, Jesus prizes His own personal God-given Name, and He would have all of us pay attention to this name most excellent and wonderful by itself.

“Do you understand and prize the name Jesus, given for the Saviour, as you might and should? Here listen to the summary teaching in the Heidelberg Catechism on the name Jesus as given in Q&A 29&30. Q29. Why is the Son of God called "Jesus", that is a Saviour? Answer:  Because he saves us, and delivers us from our sins; and likewise, because we ought not to seek, neither can find salvation in any other. Q30. Do such then believe in Jesus the only Saviour, who seek their salvation and welfare of saints, of themselves, or anywhere else? Answer: They do not; for though they boast of him in words, yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Saviour; for one of these two things must be true, that either Jesus is not a complete Saviour; or that they, who by a true faith receive this Saviour, must find all things in Him necessary to their salvation.

What faithful full gospel teaching this truly is, dear friends. How extremely sad it is that not only all too many people in the world just ignore Jesus as only Saviour, but that also all too many church people think of Jesus as perhaps just one of various Saviours, whoever people might choose. Still others, while acknowledging Jesus as only Saviour, yet fail to own and confess Him as complete and total Saviour of sinners, and instead wrongfully promote alongside of Him so-called co-redeemers like Mary, the mother of Jesus, or someone else, some so-called saintly person, all who are sinners in themselves and never can help to save anyone.  Here let me give what one put so well stating: There is no ‘both-and’ with Jesus, only ‘either-or’. Either Jesus is the only Saviour, the perfect Saviour, and your only comfort in life and death, or, Jesus is for you no Saviour at all

How true this Bible-based instruction is and I ask: Do you understand and believe this too with all your mind and heart and soul? His Name is JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins. Not just from some of their sins and sinfulness, but all of it, from start to finish.  In his letter to the Galatians Paul warned so strongly against all who would teach and preach a gospel proclaiming Jesus plus something else. It is Jesus only who saves, and Jesus alone who saves, and He saves in His amazing grace completely, totally, now and forever, all by His glorious Person and finished work, without any contribution from elsewhere. In Jesus Christ we are to find our all in all; neither is there salvation in any other, no, not in any way, at any time, for anyone, anywhere! Is this not the testimony of all true Christians and what makes the Christian gospel message and faith in Jesus so distinct and comforting and liberating and life-changing beyond what all words can tell?  Here let me read a poem from John Newton written long ago when meditating on Jesus’ Name.

 

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

 

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;

’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

 

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

 

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.

 

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

 

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

 

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!

 

Oh indeed, just the name JESUS tells us all this good news, these great gospel tidings, never-failing and never-ending!  His Name Jesus is so wonderful, being a name divinely chosen, delightfully proven, and lastly, infinitely inviting.  With this point, isn’t it true that Jesus calls His people to tell all the world about Him as one and only Saviour of sinners? What did Jesus say to His disciples in Acts 1:9 just before His ascension back into heaven? “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” And whom did Peter then proclaim when the Holy Spirit came upon them as told us in Acts 2? We read in Acts 2:22 Peter declaring, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth…” and then he went on telling of Him as the crucified but risen Saviour of sinners. So he proclaims in Acts 2:32, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses….” and he says further in vs.36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made Jesus, whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ.”  Likewise, in Acts 8:35 we read of Philip, sent by God to reach out to the Ethiopian eunuch as that man was reading from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, chapter 53, but not understanding what he read, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at that same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” Jesus’ name just is infinitely inviting for all who have ears to hear. 

We live in a world that is lost in sin, blinded in false religion, and ensnared in mindless ungodliness, and empty worldliness, and devilish darkness, and despairing anguish, and constant lawlessness. Isn’t this evident in so many ways in so many lives, if you and I are honest, even just with the news of each day? The Christian gospel message is that only the Christ-child whose name is Jesus of Nazareth is both able and willing to save sinners from all their sins and sinfulness and the miseries therefrom now and forever. How then this gospel truth ought to compel the Christian church and all confessing believers to have such a passion and zeal for the gospel of Jesus Christ being proclaimed in truth and love to those around us and to the ends of the earth while it is yet the day of grace.

The name JESUS calls all to trust and follow Him as only Saviour. The name JESUS urges all to repent of sin and believe on Him, for He is His name! No one ever has come to Jesus calling for mercy only to discover this JESUS doesn’t live up to His Name.  No, listen here to 1 Timothy 1:15 where the apostle Paul exclaims, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” And he meant with that, if this JESUS can save a sinner like me, one who was a persecutor and murderer of Christians and blasphemer before God and others, if I can be saved by this JESUS, there is no one too great a sinner that He can’t save.  Just the Saviour’s personal name, JESUS, gives reason to go to Him, and just that name is enough to condemn forever all who refuse to hear His voice and will not come to Him. His Name is JESUS, and may just that Name above every name be so very dear to each and all of you.

It is surely true and, sadly, a fact that to bear witness of Jesus as the one and only Saviour of sinners in so much of this world lost in sin, can seem like news that many times just doesn’t go anywhere. Yet it is by the name of Jesus faithfully preached and testified of in word and deed, and only by that Name, that God Almighty in His sovereign grace and power will call and gather and save His people from their sins. In the end it is by the name of Jesus Christ bearing testimony to Him as one and only Savior of sinners, as once crucified and now forever risen and exalted Redeemer, that God by His Holy Spirit will bring in all the elect, with not even one of His people missing. God’s redeemed people will one day prove to be a countless multitude which no man can number, from every tribe and tongue and nation in all ages.  Will you be among that blessed company of sinners saved by grace and rejoicing in Jesus as only Saviour?  It is now yet the day of grace, and just the name, Jesus, for the Saviour of sinners, is infinitely inviting!  So Paul declares also in Romans 10:11-13, “For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thou shalt call his name JESUS, for He shall save his people from their sins.”  Will you live ever looking unto Jesus of Nazareth, the Author and Finisher of the faith, for yourself, and calling others to look to Him too while yet in this time of grace? For sure, what helps in being truly caring and emboldened to witness of Jesus and His precious name is glorying in this name, Jesus, above every other Name and seeing the endless worth of Jesus the Saviour.  And knowing with all your heart that except a person be joined to Jesus in true faith and saved by Him, there simply is no salvation for anyone and hell is absolutely certain for all apart from Jesus.  Isn’t that why history is still continuing, in fact, because Jesus is still out to seek and to save more sinners, also in and through us and your and my Christian testimony concerning Him?

 

What is in a name? So tremendously much when speaking of the name Jesus! The Saviour’s name above every name, one divinely chosen, delightfully proven, and infinitely inviting still. Oh, don’t miss this good news of the Christian gospel with the Saviour’s birth and the Christ-child being called, Jesus. Hallelujah! Amen!  

 

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