Name Above Every Name

The Name Above Every Name

 

“Therefore 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”

(Phil. 2:9-11).

 

                These verses are part of what theologians call the Christ Hymn – a song that was used in worship by the early church.  There are two mains stanzas of the song.  The first pertains to the humiliation of Jesus in verses 6-8.  Paul tells us that Jesus was willing to leave the glory of heaven to come to earth and take on human flesh.  Not only that, but He was willingly subjected to torture, “even the death of the cross.”  He humbly experienced the most awful torture anyone has ever endured.

                But thank God the song has a second stanza!  The first stanza details the humiliation of Jesus, but the second emphasizes His exaltation.  By virtue of His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus defeated death once for all.  Therefore, God granted Him a name above every name – Jesus.  The name Jesus is a transliteration of the Hebrew name

Yeshua

, meaning “Yahweh (God) is salvation” – a fitting name for the Son of God and the only Way of salvation (John 14:6).

                Notice that the worship of Jesus doesn’t stop at the front steps of the church.  The Bible tells us that every person from every age is going to bow down at the feet of Jesus and acknowledge Him as King.  Every person in heaven and earth is going to worship Him!  But did you notice the words “those under the earth?”  Even those who have been cast into hell will acknowledge that Jesus is the Savior they refused to acknowledge while they were alive.  Truly, there is no one like Him!  Bless that wonderful name of Jesus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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To Live is Christ

To Live is Christ

 

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”

(Phil. 1:21).

 

                Have you ever been in a win-win situation?  Perhaps something like this:  Let’s say it’s your birthday.  Your spouse and your mother haven’t talked about the details of your party, so both of them decide to make you a cake.  Your spouse makes a nice big chocolate cake.  Your mom makes a coconut cake.  The good news is you love both, so no matter what you pick you come out a winner either way.  Eat up and enjoy your birthday!

                As followers of Jesus Christ we are in the greatest win-win situation of all time.  Paul said, “to live is Christ.”  In other words, Paul is going to live each day for the glory of God as long as God gives him life.  Think about what life with Christ means.  Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and that more abundantly” (John 10:10).  As long as Jesus is the Lord of our lives, we have the promise of an abounding life on this earth.

                But what happens when this life is over?  Paul says, “to die is gain.”  Wait a minute – it sounds like he’s calling death a good thing.  Could that possibly be right?  Absolutely – for a Christ-follower, death is the doorway into the greatest life we’ll ever know.  When a believer dies, there is no more suffering, pain, tears, sickness, sin, or anything else that causes harm.  We’ll be in the presence of Jesus forever and nothing could be greater than that!  Let’s agree with the Apostle Paul – each day with Jesus is a great day, but eternity with Him is even better!  “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).


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The Whole Armour of God

The Whole Armor of God

 

“Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against all the wiles of the devil.”

(Eph. 6:10-11)

 

                Did you know that there is someone plotting your destruction?  There is someone who hates you so much that he is devising a plan to ruin your life and send you to hell.  His name is Satan and he is a powerful adversary.  The Bible says he “walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).  There’s no way you or I could overcome a lion by ourselves, but sadly there are people who try to overcome Satan every day in their own strength.  He often chews them up and spits them out.

                The truth is we are in a battle every day.  Yet, our battle is not against “flesh and blood” (Eph. 6:12).  In other words, we’re not really warring against one another.  Rather, our battle is against Satan and all his demonic minions.  It is a battle we will not win by ourselves.  The only way we can be victorious is to “put on the whole armor of God.”  Paul doesn’t leave us to wonder what that armor includes.

                First, we must put on the helmet of salvation which comes through faith in Christ.  Then we must put on the breastplate of righteousness – that is, seeking to do the will of God at all times.  Next we must gird ourselves with the belt of truth.  We’ve got to separate ourselves from all the lies of the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44).  We must have our feet outfitted with gospel of peace.  We must share the good news with those who still need to hear.  Finally, we take up the shield of faith for protection, and the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) so we can resist our enemy.  Only in arming ourselves this way will we cause the devil to flee from us (James 4:7).

 


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Filled with the Spirit

 Filled with the Spirit

 

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”

(Eph. 5:18)

 

                Alcohol is a major industry in our country.  Every year, about $211 billion in alcoholic beverages are sold in America.  I don’t know about you, but I really don’t have any use for alcohol for several reasons.  First, it can be a bad witness.  What if someone were to see me drinking alcohol?  Would they be inclined to do the same?  Also, it is poor stewardship because alcohol is expensive.  Couldn’t our money be used on something else?  With all the other beverage alternatives, alcohol just seems to be unnecessary.

                Of course, that’s not to mention all the lives that have been ruined by alcohol.  Just think of all the fights it has caused.  Think of all the mothers who have lost their children because they were driving under the influence of alcohol.  As a pastor, I routinely I minister to people whose lives have been hijacked by booze.  People have lost their jobs, their homes, their cars, their families – all as a result of consistently filling themselves with intoxicating beverages.

                There’s got to be a much better way.  Paul provides the alternative – “be filled with the Spirit.”  Filling oneself with alcohol leads to dissipation (wastefulness), but being filled with the Holy Spirit leads to a life beyond our wildest dreams.  Understand that there’s a difference in being “indwelt” by the Spirit and being “filled.”  The Holy Spirit came to indwell you when you placed your faith in Jesus, but being filled with the Spirit is something that occurs every day as you pursue a closer walk with God through prayer, Bible study, etc.  Put away the spirits, and be filled with the Spirit! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Expose the Works of Darkness

 Expose the Works of Darkness

 

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”

(Eph. 5:11-12)

 

                Probably the most misquoted verse in all the Bible is “judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1).  Jesus commanded that we should not make premature judgment of any person or situation, but that’s not to say that we should fail to use spiritual discernment as we assess the facts.  Remember, Jesus also said “you will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16, 20).  The Apostle John also instructed us to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1).  In other words, God has called us to use spiritual criteria to determine if something is good or evil.

                That brings us to today’s verses.  God has commanded us to “be holy, even as I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16).  That means that we are to separate ourselves from “the unfruitful works of darkness.”  Lying, stealing, adultery, pornography, etc.; all these and many more are the works of a lost person.  Since God has saved us through faith in Jesus, He has called us to depart from the evil acts.  Peter said it well – “We have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles” (1 Pet. 4:3).

                Rather than doing evil deeds, God has called us to expose them.  This is where it’s easy for a Christian to get in trouble.  We live in a culture that commands us to mind our own business.  That’s impossible for us as followers of Jesus.  Christ has called us to be salt and light.  Sharing the Gospel is the best way to illumine someone else’s life, but these verses not only instruct us to emphasize the good, but to expose the evil.  Why?  So God’s people will be kept from the paths of sin.  Make it your aim today to lovingly light the world by exposing the darkness.


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The Danger of Anger

 The Danger of Anger

 

“Be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath nor give place to the devil.”

(Eph. 4:26-27)

 

                Someone once explained to me the subtle difference between anger and danger – only the letter “d” separates the two.  When a person is angry, danger is probably not too far away.  Anger leads to all sorts of danger.  One can be physical danger.  We’ve all heard stories where someone got so enraged that he started beating someone else.  Sadly, many women and children have felt the effects of anger and physical abuse.

                Anger also produces emotional danger.  I know the old saying says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Unfortunately, that saying is very wrong.  For many people, their emotional scars run deeper than anything they’ve ever suffered physically.  Many people struggle with saying some very nasty things when they are angered.  Even though the person may not have meant what they said, the damage was done when the words were spoken.

                And of course, the greatest damage anger does is spiritual.  Anger adversely effects our relationship with God.  So what’s the solution?  The Bible says “be angry and do not sin.”  That tells me that anger, in and of itself, is not sin; but left unchecked it can lead to sin.  Remember, our Savior angrily turned over the money-changer tables in the temple, but in His case He was angry for a righteous cause.  But self-serving anger needs to be snuffed out as soon as we feel it rising within us.  Otherwise, we will “give place to the devil” to have a field day in our lives.  Ask God to remove your anger and replace it with His love and forgiveness. 

 


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