IS THERE ANYTHING IN A NAME?

 

          In much of the religious world, the idea is prevalent that there is nothing in a name—that it does not matter to God what one calls himself religiously.  “After all,” they say, “we are all children of God, serving him in our own way.”  In no other walk of life would these same people use this kind of reasoning.  We all know that names are very important.  Most people are careful about the names that they give to their children.  How many people have you ever known with the name “Judas?”  Why?  Isn’t that name just as good as any other?  What difference does it make what you name your children?  Judas was the man who betrayed the Lord; thus, there is a certain stigma attached to the name.  For this reason, no one would name his son “Judas.”  And, isn’t “Jezebel” simply a girl’s name?  But, how many “Jezebels” do you know?  The character of the Jezebel in the Bible is enough to cause any mother or father to refrain from giving this name to their daughter.  There is something in a name.

                                         

          In the name that we wear religiously, we are to glorify Christ. (Acts 4:12). This is true both for the church and the individual Christians.  In the church of Christ, we recognize this fact; we teach vigorously that we should wear no other name; that it is sinful to wear the name of some man or some system.  The name we wear honors whoever or whatever the name signifies.  The sign in front of our church building, “CHURCH OF CHRIST” shows to the world that the church belongs to Christ.  We honor him with this designation.  Whenever, as individual followers of Christ, we call ourselves “Christians” we are still honoring Christ.                     

 

          However, we can fall short of the mark and honor Christ in name only.  We, as children of God, need to recognize that just being a member of the church is not enough.  It is not sufficient just to wear the name that honors Christ.  There are so many church members just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  They draw near with their mouth, honor him with their lips, but their heart is far from him. (Matt.15:8,9).  It is not enough to argue doctrine.  The Christian must have love in his heart for God, Christ, the church, other Christians, and the lost of the world.  So few actually have this kind of love.  I am afraid that a great many church members have more interest in self than in serving God. Examine yourself carefully, and let the name that you wear be more than just a symbol.