Names for God’s People

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

I.  Names hold a particular significance in the Bible

    A.  When a child is born in this country, parents agonize on picking out just the right name.

        1.  Often the name is selected because it has a nice “ring” to it

        2.  Because a favorite relative has the name

        3.  Because a famous person has the name

    B.  Names in the Bible were given for different reasons

        1.  To convey an idea about a person

        2.  To indicate circumstances related to the birth of a child

        3.  Examples

            a.  Jacob and Esau - Gen. 25:24-26

                 (1) First child was named “Esau” because he was covered with red hair. Esau means “hairy”.

                 (2) Second child was named “Jacob” because he was holding on to his brother’s heel. Jacob means “heel catcher”, but it also means “supplanter”, such as when someone trips up another person. This name suited Jacob, because he later gains the birthright and blessings that should have gone to Esau.

            b.  Abram - means “high father”

                 (1) Changed by God to Abraham, which means father of a multitude.

                 (2) By accepting the name, Abraham showed his belief in God’s promise that his descendants would become a great nation (Gen. 17:1-7).

    C.  Names in the Bible describe the person (or group of people) and their relationship

    D.  By comparing the name to others holding the same name, we can learn more about the people.

II. A Kingdom

    A.  Dan 2:44 - God will establish a kingdom during the days of the Roman empire.

    B.  Mt. 16:18 - Jesus would build his church, which he also calls the kingdom of heaven

    C.  Mk 9:1 - It would come in the lifetime of the people listening to Jesus - coming with power.

    D.  Acts 1:6-8 - It would be start in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit comes

    E.  Acts 2:1-4 - We see the Holy Spirt come on the day of Pentecost and at that time, people are added to Christ's Church (vs. 41)

    F.  So in Eph. 1:20-23, we see that Christ is now reigning (i.e. he is a king)

    G.  Paul speaks of the kingdom, not in a future hope, but as a present existence - Col. 1:10-14

    H.  Christ is the king and we are the citizen

        1.  We owe allegiance, honor and obedience to our Lord

        2.  The laws that govern us come from the king and not the citizens.

III.A Body

    A.  If we continue in Colossians we see Paul also calls it a body - Col 1:15-18

    B.  Eph. 1:20-23 (already read) also calls the church as the body.

    C.  Eph. 5:23 - Christ is the head of the body

    D.  I Cor. 12:12-13 - Christians make up the parts of the body.

    E.  The head (Christ) directs the body in the way it should go.

    F.  As separate parts, we must learn to work together as a whole so that the whole church may benefit.

IV. A Family

    A.  Rom. 8:16-17 - We are God's children

    B.  Children don't always do as they ought. They must be taught and they are always growing.

    C.  God is the Father - Eph. 3:14-15. We take our name from him.

    D.  Christ is our elder brother - Heb. 3:10-12

    E.  Together, we are God's household - I Tim. 3:14-15

V.  What about you?

    A.  Won't you become apart of God's family, a member of his body, a citizen of the greatest kingdom that has ever existed?

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