Friday, September 22, 2006

In Jesus' Name

Do you ever wonder what that means? To do something “in the name of Jesus”? My great friend and fellow Thinkling Phil, who happens to pastor a church in Texas, recently posted a piece on what it means to pray “in Jesus’ name”. It’s a good post; you should read it.

Some people didn’t buy it when I said it before, but I won’t be persuaded otherwise – the point of all this stuff is Jesus.
The Church is called the Body of Christ.
We receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The very word “Christian” means “little Christ.”
The Bible says that in Him and through Him all things hold together. It says we are joint heirs with Christ.
Jesus is the entry into the kingdom of God, and apprenticeship to him is the substance of life in that kingdom.
The entire Old Testament foreshadows the coming of the kingdom of God, and just who do you think is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
The first four books of the New Testament, the books which detail the coming of the kingdom and its gift of salvation, tells whose story?
The book of Acts records the acts of whose apostles?
The epistolary works of the New Testament explain to the Body of Christ how to receive, live, and teach the gospel of Christ in the manner with which the body of Christ lived and preached the gospel of Christ in the four Gospels about Christ.
The Revelation of John says a certain someone is the Beginning and the End, and that he’s coming back to rule the new heaven and the new earth. (Hint: It ain’t Joel Osteen.)

Without Jesus Christ (who is God), we could not see or know God, much less be called children of God. The full glory of YHWH God would destroy us in the briefest exposure, while just a touch of Jesus’ robe brings healing.
Jesus is our advocate, our substitute, our ambassador, our sacrifice, our high priest, our scapegoat, our savior, our Lord, our king. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Still don’t think the point is Jesus? Take it up with Paul. Read the book of Colossians. It won’t take long; it’s only four chapters. I’ve read it a few times in just the last couple of days, because it is so thrilling and so comforting. It is just an incredible letter, written by Paul to a group of believers he probably never visited but nevertheless wanted to comfort with a reaffirmation of the real gospel. The Christians in Colossae were becoming susceptible to a blend of Greco-Jewish philosophy that taught that ceremonial and religious asceticism and traditional rituals were the way to appease “spiritual forces.”
And Paul was all “oh no you dih-int.”
So in the four chapters of his letter to the Colossians, he affirms that while final sanctification awaits us in the last day, the present already holds our completion in Christ alone. The point of this whole Christian church thing – according to Paul – is Jesus.

So in Colossians 1:15-22 we read that Jesus Christ is preeminent. Just read those eight verses and see if you think we can speak of Jesus too highly.
In 2:2 we learn that the “the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery” is Jesus.
In 2:6-7 we read that we are to walk in Jesus, to be rooted in him and built up in him.
In 2:17 we learn that religion is just a shadow of the future, but the substance of that future belongs to Jesus.
In 3:11 we learn that Christ is all and is in all.
In 3:15 we are told to let the peace of Christ rule in us, and in 3:16 we are told to let the word of Christ dwell in us.

In 3:17 we are told to do everything in the name of Jesus.

Why in the name of Jesus? Because it is his name we bear. Because if you are a Christian, you live in his world and know it (and want others to know it too). Because you serve in his kingdom and serve him as king. Because there is no other name under heaven or over earth, including yours or yo mama’s, by which you have been saved.

Doing everything in the name of Jesus is the new covenant application of the commandment “Thou shalt not worship any other god.” When you live, pray, and teach “in Jesus’ name,” you are acknowledging that the meaning of life is Jesus Christ.


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