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God's Not Mad at You
What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

DECEMBER 21, 2020

/ Programs / Key Life / What’s in a name?

Steve Brown:
What’s in a name? Let’s talk about it on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Key Life is all about God’s radical grace. Grace that has dirt under its fingernails and laugh lines on its face. If you want the Bible to be a book of rules, you may want to stop listening now, but if you’re hungry for the truth, that will make you free. Welcome to Key Life.

Steve Brown:
Thanks Matthew. Hope you had a great weekend and I hope your pastor’s sermon as we move into the Christmas season was Christmasy, powerful, moving and reminds you to stop in the middle of the hectic week and be still and remember, and be glad. Hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. We’re going to do something that we rarely do on Key Life. In fact, only two times a year, we do it at Easter and we do it at Christmas, when I stop and Zach stops teaching whatever we’re teaching. And we begin to spend some time on Christmas texts in the Bible. And that’s what we’re going to do this week, this Christmas week, on Key Life. We’re going to look at a text in Isaiah. We’re going to talk about names, I have been studying, and I can hardly wait to tell you what I’ve found about names. It’s going to blow you away. And then we’re gonna look at the names assigned by the God of the universe, to the Messiah, when he came. That’s the direction we’re going to go in. But first let’s pray. Father, we come in here, your presence, tired, so much to do, and so little time. There’s the stuff we’ve forgotten, the stuff we overlooked, the things that we need to do. Father, you told us to be still and know that you’re God. Give us the grace of stillness in this season. Father. It all has to be done, but you told us to be still, let us stop and be still and remember and be glad. Father, you know, the people who are listening to this broadcast. And you know that for some Christmas is not a happy time and they’re listening for footfalls that are no longer there. They’re times of sadness and loss. Financial problems, you know, all of that. And you’re the God, the resource for every need that we have. Father, meet us, meet us in a special way during this week. And then Father for most of us, this is a joyous time, a time of family, a time of celebration, and we invite you to be at the center of the celebrating. Father, we’re so thankful that you came, that you entered time and space, that you loved us as much as a Cross. And we praise you and we worship you. And then father, this week as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, forgive him his sins, because there are many, they call him Reverend, and he’s not. We would see Jesus and Him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. You know, one of the most interesting studies in the entire Bible is the study of names and how they’re used in Scripture. And it’s not the way we use names. What’s your name? My name is Stephen or John or Jack or Sarah or Mary or Jane. What does your name mean? What do you mean? What does my name mean? I don’t know what my name means? It’s just a name. I didn’t choose it. My parents gave it to me and they didn’t know what it meant either. That’s why, that’s how we do names. The dictionaries maybe still do, but they used to have a list of possible male names and female names for perspective parents. And you’d go to the dictionary and pick a good name for your boy or your girl, but in the Bible, it’s different than that. I mean, it’s really different. There is power in the name. Now, when we sing that hymn, we’re talking about the name of Jesus, but there’s power in your name too, your real name, there’s power in knowing the name. You remember C.S. Lewis’ science fiction theology and the hero for those three books, or at least the first two, was Ransom. And Ransom is sent to a, if you haven’t read it, let me just kind of fill you in. But Ransom goes to this planet and it’s a fun book, Out of the Silent Planet. And on that planet, there is a new Eve and a new Adam and they haven’t fallen yet. And his responsibility is to make sure they don’t. And then there’s the evil figure of Weston who is the devil himself. And his purpose is to get the same thing to happen on that planet, that happened on our planet. And boy, Weston is one bad dude. You can, you can find out where he’s been on that planet by looking at the dead birds and the flowers that he’s ripped apart and he’s, and then Ransom realizes, that he’s got to do battle with Weston, and that’s the reason he’s been sent to the planet. And in a very dark night, he’s sitting there and he’s thinking, this is scary. I don’t know if I can deal with it. I don’t know if I can do this. And then out of the dark night, C.S. Lewis says there’s a voice. And the voice says, my name is Ransom too. C.S. Lewis understood something that every student of the Bible ought to know, and that is this. When we ask what’s in a name, the answer is a whole lot is in the name. There is power in the name. There is joy in the name. There is wisdom in the name. Now at some point, we’re gonna get to this text in Revelation, but listen to what God says.

To him who conquers

That means the one who belongs to Christ who will conquer because it’s his imputation, his justification, his adoption that makes it possible.

To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone,

And here it comes.

with a new name written on the stone which no one knows but him who receives it.

So, I don’t know what your name is now, but you’ve got another name and the name is Biblically accurate, because it reflects the power of the love of Christ who has named you. If you go throughout Scripture, you begin to find a number of places where names are mentioned. And I probably shouldn’t take as much time to do this, but let me do it in Genesis 32.

Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.”

And this is Jacob wrestling with the angel, maybe even Jesus himself in a way.

But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name is Jacob, but now it will be called Israel.”

You know what the name Israel means? It means one who strives with God. What an appropriate and prophetic name, if ever a nation was in contention with a God, it was Israel. God calling and loving and serving and striving, the reason the angel wanted to know Jacob’s name is because if you knew the name, you had the power. What’s in a name? A lot’s in a name. In the 13th chapter of Judges, we read the account of the birth of Samson. You remember an angel comes to the father of Samson and predicts the coming of a son. Do you remember the response of his father? He asks the angel’s name. Why did he want the angel’s name? The angel replies,

And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”

What’s in a name? A whole lot is in a name. You remember what Jesus did for Peter, when he called him? You’ll find the answer in John 1:42.

He brought him to Jesus. And Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas.”

In other words, your real name is the rock. In the Bible, names are really important and you’ve got a new name in heaven and it is the name accepted. It’s the name loved. It’s the name redeemed. It’s the name you shine, because there is power in the name. And when Messiah came, God said you shall name him. And we’ll talk about it tomorrow. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown, taking a break from our exploration of Galatians to talk a bit about Christmas. And today we heard about the significance of names and he touched on a few verses found in Revelation 2, Genesis 32, Judges, 13 and John 1. More Christmas teaching and thoughts from Steve tomorrow, be sure to join us then. Well, Christmas is coming in. And you certainly have heard that Santa has a nice and naughty list. Of course without Jesus, we would all belong on the naughty list, but it’s not for lack of trying right? Boy do we try to be good? But here’s the thing. What if it’s not about getting better? What if the reason we’re so bad is that we’re trying so hard to be good. What if our efforts at sin management not only don’t work, they can’t work. Well, Steve wrote about this in a booklet called Three Free Sins, and you can get your own copy for free, just by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE, right now. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email your request to Steve@keylife.org. By mail, write us at

Key Life Network
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If you’re in Canada, send your request to

Key Life Canada
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Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

Just ask for the booklet Three Free Sins. Finally, if you’re able, would you please give to support the work at Key Life? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope, or just text Key Life to 28950 on your smartphone. And in less time than it takes to write a check, you’ll be all set up. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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