Monthly Archives: April, 2015

Overcomers: New Names

Names are something that have had different meanings all through history. Unfortunately, we live in an age when names are rather neglected parts of our existence. We have come to a place in time when names are almost second-thoughts. But in different ages names meant a great deal. At some points in time they were closely guarded, because it was believe that to know someone’s true name was to have power over them. At other points in history, names were very carefully considered because it was believe that names had the power to change or influence the kind of person a child would become. At still other points in history, a person’s true name was not given to them until their character had revealed itself in puberty or adulthood. In fact, it was not uncommon in some periods of history for people to have more than one name throughout their lives.

As we continue our journey this week though chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, looking at “those who overcome”, we will come to a promise from Jesus to give us new names, names only known to Jesus and the individual. While there have been many attempts over the centuries to explain and understand this new name, I have always taken a rather simplistic view of the matter: Jesus knows me better even than I do. He knows me, not in my fallen, sinful state, but in the redeemed, purified, justified state that will be “me” when I spend eternity with him in heaven. That new “me” will need a new name, a name that identifies me not as the broken person I am now, but as the redeemed son of God that I will be then. That new name will embody everything God intended me to be when he breathed me into creation.

I think that is pretty cool.

Overcomers: Don’t worry…be happy

I know, it’s not Tuesday morning, but I’ve had a bit of a down week after the activities of Easter weekend. Plus it has been that God has filled my time this week with unforeseen but very welcome interactions with some people. I once heard a pastor talk about how you should never fill you schedule more than 80% full because you can be certain that God will fill the other 20%. While he was talking to pastors at the time, I believe this truth should extend to all Christ-followers, especially if you follow him expecting him to interfere with your life. I didn’t have much on my agenda this week, and I think God has used that to bring some interactions into my life this week. And they have been wonderful. If we plan ourselves too tight we leave no or little room for God to direct us. Just a side thought for this week.

Easter weekend. Good Friday “Way of the Cross” walk and community service. Easter Sunday early morning worship time, followed by a continental fellowship and our 10:30 service. A full time and all of it so very worth-while. But the focus of this blog is to review the sermon from Sunday. To that end, we looked at Revelation 2:8-11, Jesus’ letter to the church at Smyrna. Smyrna was a persecuted church, and it needed encouragement, which is what Jesus gives them.

Sermon Big Idea:
The Biblical cure for worry is perspective. All things in this life pale in comparison to the eternal glory that is waiting for us when we believe in Jesus. That sounds very pastory and full of Christianese doesn’t it. Let’s try it this way: Jesus is waiting for us in heaven with eternal life in his hand. When he hands us that gift, the worst of the things that we experienced in this life will fade into the blissful abyss of forgetfulness.

Sermon Points:

  • We all worry. Some worse than others, but we all worry.
  • Worry is a useless activity, but how do we get free from it?
  • The Christians at Smyrna knew what suffering and worry was. They were severely persecuted by both the Romans and the Jews.
  • Jesus encourages these Christians by providing them with perspective: that even if they suffer to the point of death, the crown of life is waiting for them.
  • We need to recognize that everything we worry about here in this world is nothing in the eternal life that waits for us.
  • No matter what we face in this life, none of it can touch us in the life to come.
  • Not even the very fires of the second death (Hell)
  • The truth of this claim comes in the truth of what we celebrate on Easter Weekend. That Jesus died our deaths to pay for our rebellion against God AND he conquered even the power of death when he rose from the grave.
  • “Cast your worries and cares on God, for he cares for you.” That care is not just care in this life, but ultimate care in the life to come.

Follow-up Questions:
What do you worry about? Do you trust God with it? Even more importantly, do you see that worry in it’s correct light, in the light of the life that is waiting for us when we believe in the victory Jesus secured for us as our ultimate Passover sacrifice?

Questions for families with children:
Ask your children what they worry about and why. Then help them pray about it and ask God to take their worry from them.