26 October 2007

"Blessed Be"--the name of the LORD (part 2)

Part 1 here.


His name is to be sanctified. His name is to be MAGNIFIED.
Psalm 34:3—O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

This is why we come together to worship Him. I hear so many people say—in fact I was talking to a gentleman the other day who said this—“I know the Lord, but I don’t need to go to church to worship Him.” To this I would say, “Why would you not want to be with other believers lifting up your voice to sing His praise, and hearing with all attentiveness to the preaching of His word?” For so many years, I thought Sundays were all about watching sports and getting drunk. I used to work 3rd shift in this one factory. And on Saturday nights we would clean the place and get done about 7 AM Sunday morning. Do ya think I ever planned on going to church on those Sundays? Yeah, right.

The first thing on my mind was getting a Sunday paper, then going home and making a pot of coffee, and spending all morning reading the paper. Then I would take a nap, wake up, and go get a 12-pack and watch football all day. Or racing. I believed that God existed, I believed that He created the universe, I believed that Jesus was the Son of God, I believed that He died on the cross for the sins of mankind, I believed that He rose again the third day...I believed all of these FACTS.

And I was as lost as a duck in a dog show!!

I had no desire to be around Christians, I had no desire to go to church, and I had no desire to go to Sunday school. But if you had asked me, I would have told you I was going to heaven when I died. So when someone says, “I know the LORD but I just don’t think I need to go to church,” I actually do wonder if those people are saved or not. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t get saved by going to church--there's no such thing as "salvation by osmosis." But anyone who says that they are saved, and doesn’t have a desire to be in the house of God and be around fellow believers, and join together to praise His name—why not? Why not?? “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” The writer of Hebrews tells us to not forsake the assembling of believers. Why? Because we are to encourage one another, to lead one another, to love one another. We can't do that if we aren’t around one another!

I want to look deeper at that passage from Hebrews. And I want to show you the reason the writer is encouraging us to be around other believers in a church setting. Listen to the whole passage, from the Weymouth New Testament, because it doesn’t water down the text, but really emphasizes it.
Hebrews 10:23-27—Let us hold firmly to an unflinching [acknowledgment] of our hope, for He is faithful who gave us the promises. And let us bestow thought on one another with a view to arousing one another to brotherly love and right conduct; not neglecting—as some habitually do—to meet together, but encouraging one another, and doing this all the more since you can see the day of Christ approaching. For if we wilfully persist in sin after having received the full knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains in reserve any other sacrifice for sins. There remains nothing but a certain awful expectation of judgement, and the fury of a fire which before long will devour the enemies of the truth.

In other words, if we say that we are Christians, and we see the day of the Lord fast approaching, we should be gathering together even more than we ever have. Not for what we can get out of it. Boy that burns me up whenever I hear someone say that. “I used to go to church, but, I just don’t get anything out of it any more.” It ain't about us!! It ain't about us!!It’s about God!! And glorifying Him and His name!! It’s about what we can give to others. So that we may rejoice with those who rejoice in the “same precious faith” as the apostle Peter called it, and join with one another and say, O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!

The name of the LORD is to be sanctified. It is to be magnified. It is to be GLORIFIED.
Psalm 29:2—Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Over the years, we have taken the names of many people and applied them to certain things. If someone goes and buys a new car, we say, “Well, aren’t you just a regular John Rockefeller.” Folks that play golf, if you hit your tee shot, and it goes off into the woods, they’ll tell you to “take a Mulligan.” Joe Palooka was a boxer in an old comic strip. And it used to be that somebody that saw a guy trying to start a fight, they'd say, “Knock it off ya big Palooka.”

Often times, we’ll give each other nicknames, based on that person’s name. And unless that person objects too strongly, we won't think too much about it. But when we consider the name of the LORD, it’s more than just not bringing His name down. It’s more about lifting His name up. What was the first thing Jesus told us to pray when we pray? “Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Hallowed. Revered. Respected. Held in the highest sense of awe.

That, my friends, is what it means when we say, “Blessed be the name of the LORD.” And you see, blessings go both ways. When a blessing comes from above, it means that God has given us something that we didn’t deserve. Salvation is the greatest blessing He has given us. Because we did not deserve it. We were wicked, wretched, dirty, rotten, stinking, filthy sinners. But for some reason that had nothing to do with us, He looked down from His throne, picked us up out of our sins, cleansed us with the blood of a lamb without spot or blemish, made us righteous, and declared us to be children of God! 1st John 3:1Behold—whenever you see that word “Behold,” it means, “y’all need to hush on account-a I'm fixin to tell ya somethin’!” Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…”

And because He has caused His blessing to fall upon us, we should be sending a blessing back up to Him. I’ve heard this one phrase a few times, and at first it sounded pretty good, but the more I think about it the more I realize it’s kinda backwards. That “When the praises go up, the blessings come down.” It’s not so much that that kind of thinking is wrong. But so many people use it the wrong way, thinking that “Oh, if I just praise Him a little louder, He’ll give me everything I ask for!” That’s the wrong way to look at it. We should bless Him because He first blessed us, 1st John 4:19.

O How I love Jesus.
O How I love Jesus.
O How I love Jesus--why?
Because He first loved me!

Or how about this one:

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me./And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love The for wearing the thorns in Thy brow./If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now!

He doesn’t show His love by giving us cars, or money or health, but with salvation that does not come from anything we can do, but it comes from faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave His life for us, Galatians 2:21. And even that faith does not come from ourselves, Ephesians 2:8. And listen to the words of this song:

I can sing in the troubled times/Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step/And I fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up/Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord,/When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath/Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels/And the saints around the throne
How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough?
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

--From "How Can I Keep From Singing Your Name?" by Chris Tomlin

God’s name is to be sanctified. His name is to be magnified. His name is to be glorified. Because His name was given to Him who was CRUCIFIED.
Philippians 2:5-11 (James Murdock translation). And think ye so in yourselves, as Jesus the Messiah also thought; who, as he was in the likeness of God, deemed it no trespass to be the coequal of God; yet divested himself, and assumed the likeness of a servant, and was in the likeness of men, and was found in fashion as a man; and he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, also, God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is more excellent than all names; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [beings] in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus the Messiah is the Lord, to the glory of God his Father.

Jesus Christ—our Lord and our Savior—has been one with the Father eternally. Yet at one point in time, a little better than 2000 years ago, He left His throne. He set aside His deity; He came to this planet, wrapped Himself in this rotten, disgusting, filthy flesh, and walked the Earth. And whatever the Father told Him to do, He did it. Whomever the Father told Him to save, He saved them. Whenever the Father told Him to heal, He healed.

And when the Father told Him to offer up His life as a lamb without spot or blemish to pour out His blood on the altar of the cross, He did it! And the wrath of God—all the anger, all the hatred, all the rage, and all the fury that God possesses—came crashing down upon the shoulders of His Son. When it should have come down, with all the weight and justice of heaven, on us!! But because Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient to the will of God, the Father has given to Him the name that is above every other name!

And on that day, when the last trumpet sounds, and the name of Jesus Christ is sounded forth, throughout Heaven, and over the earth, and into the deepest pits of Hell, every knee of every person, living or dead, will have to bow before that name! Whether you want to or not! Whether I want to or not, and trust me, I do! Whether your neighbor across the street wants to or not, they will have no choice! They will have no say in the matter. It will not be a request. God will not say, “If you would like, you can bow before my Son. Whattaya say?” EVERY knee WILL bow!! EVERY tongue WILL confess! EVERY voice in Hell WILL cry out in agony and despair and dread of their eternal fate and EVERY voice in Heaven WILL sing for joy because of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and for the glory of God our Father. The name that is above all names! Blessed be the name of the Lord!

In the last psalm he wrote, King David said in Psalm 72:17-19--His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who [alone] doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. When we think too highly of ourselves, as we foolish humans are like to do, let us consider the name of the LORD our God. Let us embrace it, reverence it, and hold it in the high estate it deserves. For as it says in another Psalm, Psalm 86:9-10—All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you are God alone.

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