11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. (I Cor. 3:11-13)
So what’s in a name? Why such a fuss? Here’s something that I think is important to understand. Our Lord said that when we pray we pray in His name right?
25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” (John 16:25-28)
So what does it mean to pray in His name? It’s not just some magic words is it? Aren’t we praying in His character and nature? Here’s another example from the book of Revelation.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’(Rev 2:17)
So in this Scripture the Lord is talking about giving His faithful disciples a new name. When you think of receiving a new name, isn’t there some kind of change taking place? When you think of who you are in Christ now compared to who you were before Christ, hasn’t there been in a change in your character and nature? Haven’t you been given a new character and nature by the working of the Holy Spirit in your life?
So what’s in a name? A name represents the character and nature of that which is named. When we think of how some things or individuals are named different emotions and reactions are evoked based on our understanding of that name. Some names like satan can bring on emotions of fear, loathing, contempt and so on. (Talking in a general sense here.) Some names like Disney World evoke happy and excited emotions. And of course the name of Christ can evoke all kinds of emotions based on a persons relationship with the Lord. So when we name something or someone we are naming it\them based on the character and nature we perceive it to have.
Which brings me to the point of naming an assembly of Saints. I struggle to understand how we can name God’s work. First, it’s His and not ours. Second when we look at the example of the apostles in Scripture, no where do we find that they named their assembly. Why not? Because everyone understood they were disciples of the Christ by word and deed. They were all one in accord with each other. One Body, One purpose functioning by the Holy Spirit.
Today we have a fractured view of Christianity. Whether true or false it’s a fractured witness because each denomination claims to have the truth when in fact they are only displaying a partial witness of Christ, if at all. If this wasn’t true there wouldn’t be so much confusion.
The truth is Scripture shows only one Body of Christ, One bride whom Christ is the bridegroom. So what kind of Bride is the Bridegroom preparing? One that is Holy and Righteous by the Blood of the Lamb. If we each are members of that pure Bride that Christ is preparing for His return, what manner are expected to walk?
One more point. Christ is teaching us to walk in the Kingdom principles. If we are walking in the Kingdom, then we have no need of names, structures or any added doctrine. In other words, if we can’t imagine something being in existence when Christ returns, it’s likely that we don’t need the practice now as we walk in the Kingdom.
“In other words, if we can’t imagine something being in existence when Christ returns, it’s likely that we don’t need the practice now as we walk in the Kingdom.”
In other words if it’s something that will be burned up like chaff why we would we add to His work?
I like the verse in Corinthians about foundations. It doesn’t mean it is impossible to lay another foundation, but is speaking of Christians having only Christ as their foundation. No other foundation can be compatible with Christ, nor would another foundation be necessary. He is enough, He is adequate.
When Christians attempt to lay other foundations, one’s they think are compatible with Christ, those foundations end up competing with Christ. That diminishes Christ’s preeminence and if left unchecked will eventually overshadow Jesus entirely. Mickey’s example here fits the bill perfectly. Building a church, regardless of whether it is supposed to be used in honoring Jesus or not, is laying an alternative foundation- it is doing something Jesus states should not be done. Even after all these years of bad fruit as a result of such decisions, men continue to believe in the validity of church.
What’s in a name? It depends upon the source and the situation. At one time man was given the opportunity to name living things, those things God created and brought to the man to be named. Today, and consistent with most of mans failures and Satan’s counterfeits, man attempts to create something, names it and then brings it before God and then asks Him to bless it. And we wonder how everything God so backwards…..
Thanks Al. You’re right, there’s much we can do without if we really have Him.
I’ve mentioned before about a dear lady who is the wife of an elder who joined brother “J’s church” to help them build the “new sanctuary” several years ago. They are quite proud of their “work” and it really is a nice place to gather. Brother J is now gone to be with the Lord, yet the building remains, and so too the pride of the “church.” A while back I attempted to gently show this dear lady and her, now elder husband the difference between a physical building and the gathering of the called out elect of God. But their building program and the traditions of men driven home by a visiting preacher kept them from seeing His Truth. She sent me the visiting preacher’s cd to hear, which included disparaging remarks regarding wolves along with references to friends of the church who must be cut off. She ended with her morning devotion reference to psalm 150 and praising Him in His Sanctuary. The issue as pointed out elsewhere by me has to do with this being a psalm of David who was a man of war and forbidden to build the temple, which then was built by his son Solomon, thus His Sanctuary was not and is not a temple building or church, but is wherever He chooses to dwell.
Recently she was informed that she had some growths attaching themselves to ovaries and other organs, and so the church prayer chain went into effect. We too were contacted by her and her husband for prayer as well. This past Sunday her church prayed for the divine miracle of delivering us from this tribulation and do not allow this cup to have to be drank. This prayer is considered mature by most folks attending churches… My wife’s prayer as well as mine when we met with them went more along the lines of Father, your will be done, as you already know our wills. But lord, most of all let this spiritual growth spurt as you deliver your own through tribulation bring a wonderful testimony and glory to Your name, much like the delivery of Daniel, Hananiah , Mishael and Azariah . (Yes, what is in a name?)
Today she lays in a hospital, in a town 2.5 hours from home, with her husband at her side and some unsaved relatives, and none of those church members present. She had major surgery and now faces both an uncertain future and chemo/radiation in her flesh. We, that is my wife and I got the first call from her husband. Seems the flesh has a way of decreasing in tribulation and walks through fiery furnaces and lions dens…seem too that He has a way of increasing in those times as well. And finally it seems that we who walk in the Spirit have a witness that becomes more crucial as this world and the tribulations promised wax worse and worse.
You see, that church has a very “special name” among the denominations. A name that is more official than “brother J’s church.” They call themselves “The Church of Jesus Christ in God.” It had a meaning once back when, but like every other work of man the created got worshipped more than the Creator. I’m sure they meant well, in fact I knew most of the original founding members there, including several of my own wife’s family. They were and are salt of the earth people…But they are now blind to His Truth thanks to men’s traditions, even though this particular fellowship has much more in common then most “jesus franchises” out there. This is due in great part to Brother J’s lifelong walk with the Lord. He meant well and taught well, but he never could overcome the traditions of men that permeate men’s buildings. Brother J was and is a brother, now asleep in the Lord, yet even his own children serve themselves and not the Lord, thanks to church culture.
We need to be very careful in our walks to remember these to verse paraphrases. The whole world is under the sway of the evil one, and God’s will is that in EVERYTHING Christ Jesus has the pre-eminence. Thus every thing and every one not totally sold out to Jesus and His pre-eminence are to some degree or another under the sway of the evil one. This includes each and every one of us the moment we cease walking in him.
“An honest man, when confronted with His Truth, either conforms himself to that Truth, or at that very point ceases to be an honest man.”
It’s good to see we’re remaining likeminded brother.
What a tragic situation, reminds me of those who join Amway- they’re promised the world, that is until they give up on it…..then they’re abandoned by all who obviously have more important things to defend and care for.
I like your reference to Daniel’s friends. In every church study I have ever seen these three men are called by the names the evil empire gave to them- but those were not their names! How would you or I like it if people ignored our real names and started calling us something else? Mickey might be the exception…lol…..
Like it or not, we’re all destined to learn the hard way sooner or later. Better to begin rejoicing in our sufferings now knowing their from Him, then to live in the fantasy that sufferings are all from the devil. Jesus didn’t triumph around His sufferings but through them and so shall we. I once learned the hard way because I had too, how much more are we blessed in wanting to.
Thanks for sharing Mickey and staying in touch with our brother Al. I just got back from a trip visiting him and his family in Nebraska. What you see here is what you get. Just truth, and a willingness to stand firm when it matters.
I might point out that those folks traveled that far thinking there the surgery would be laproscopic and not full blown surgery. Further, most folks attending their church, think that ‘if you just have enough faith…” employing yet another tradition of men, rather than the Word in context. I finally got my father in law out of that mindset prior to his passing, by asking him to point out to me all the 200 to 2,000 year old saints who kept their faith and lived. His final days appeared to go from defeat to a peace that passed all understanding as he held services in his hospital room for employees and visitors, even leading his former PCP to Christ Jesus through his preaching Christ crucified!
If you are looking for your miracle, I guess you want it confirmed with minimally invasive surgery and a one night stay… AS my wife is fond of saying, “God has my back!” She is a 2 time cancer survivor, and our peace through it all was due to the fact that He delivers through the fire, through the flood, through the desert, through the plagues, through the sea (stormy or red) and THROUGH THE CROSS! Both His and ours. We sit at His feet like Mary, and do not concern ourselves with the many troubling things like Martha.
What you’ve written, brother, is simple, yet, profound. Isn’t this the way of the Holy Spirit? Isn’t the truth right on the surface for those who are solely dependent upon Him, clinging to the nail-scarred hand? Isn’t it hidden in plain sight by those whose hearts blind them?
All I see and do came about by His Work in me. I realize today, more than all my yesterdays, that all I deserve is the lake of fire. As I sit here this morning, repenting yet again for my dreams of last night even, I realize that man’s heart truly is deceitful above all things and would run to do wicked if not for the Comforter still restraining and decreasing me.
Having prayed to our Lord to bring to mind all my past sins, and seeing this come to pass I now wonder if there is any end to this process! This is a very dangerous prayer (in a good way) and it truly does and will humble a man. Discernment Ministry is a very good thing, particularly when the light of His His Holyness is turned inward. Like the prophet of old, the more I see Him high and lifted up and the trane of His Holyness filling His temple, the more I see myself and all mankind as the unclean menstrual rags with unclean lips that I am/we are.
This process has begun to drive from me any elevation I thought I might have had above both the wicked in the world, and the wicked in what attempts to pass itself off as Christianity. I also now realize that while they are in all probability lost and blind to His Truth, all I am is found and awake to His Truth. Further, that if I don’t allow Him to produce fruit through me, and I attempt to produce on my own, I too can be cut off. Victory is a Man and total surrender is my portion. Thus not I but Christ through me is the Narrow Path after the Straight Gate….This Path ever narrows but leads to nothing less than Christ Jesus as Pre-eminent Victor!
Al, I came back and read this again this morning because I really enjoyed it the first time, particularly, what you said concerning John 16 and Revelation 2 and also the point about why waste time building up anything that will be destroyed [at the end].