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What's in a Name?
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In Bible times, “names not only described the attributes, character and destinies of the individuals named but became at times synonymous with the person.”* This is why the third commandment forbids the misuse of God’s name. It’s probably the one that’s broken the most. It’s hard to turn on the TV or watch a video without hearing “God”, “Jesus” or “Christ” used as an expletive. What’s in a name?

*R B Zuck (1991), A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament.

God’s Name Represents His Character

1. What did God proclaim to Moses? Exodus 34:5-7


“Then the Lord … proclaimed his name . . . ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.’”

2. In what ways can Christians dishonor God’s name?

•  By not practicing what they profess. Matthew 15:8, 9
    “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
•  By breaking a promise to God. Matthew 5:33
    “Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.”
•  By being careless in our speech. James 1:26
    “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
•  By being untruthful. Leviticus 19:12
    “Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God.”

A Name Shows Ownership

3. What three things happened to Jesus at the heart of the gospel of salvation? 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

“I want to remind you of the gospel . . . [by which] you are saved . . . [which is] of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

4. How and when do we become part of the family of God? John 1:12

“To all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

We immediately become part of God’s family and “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). 

Baptism—Symbol Of Our Adoption

5. In whose name are people to be baptized? Matthew 28:19

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

6. In what way does baptism by immersion symbolize the three events of the gospel? Romans 6:3-6

“All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him . . . in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead . . . we too may live a new life. . . . For we know that our old self was crucified with him [Jesus] so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”

7. Whose name is written on those who overcome? Revelation 3:12

“Him who overcomes . . . I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem.”

We become overcomers by faith in Jesus as God and Savior (1 John 5:4-5).

8. At what name will the entire universe eventually bow? Philippians 2:9-10

“Therefore God exalted him [Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

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Bible Discovery by Errol Webster. Reprinted with permission by SIGNS. Biblebay © 2012, Westlake Village, CA.