Named After Him
When people say your name, do they think in terms of honoring God?
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Well, I’m fine, thank you. Happy in the Lord. Glad to be alive and able to serve Him. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not, they’re new every morning. Great is they faithfulness,” that’s what Jeremiah had to say, and I join with him in the realization that if you and I got what we deserved, we would already be in hell. You think about that and realize that it’s true. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. Every minute you live in the blessing of God is pure grace.
Wendell P. Loveless who just this past year went to be with the Lord at an age of almost 100, I guess. My dear friend through my salad days when I was a student, he befriended me for whatever reason, I don’t know, but he was kind to me and was a friend to me. And he used to say, “I remember everything outside of the Lake of Fire is pure grace.” And so it is. I’m glad to be with you, and I’m so grateful, oh so grateful for the privilege of opening the word of God and just sharing some of these good things with you.
We’re looking at John’s Gospel for awhile. We’ve come now to chapter one verse six, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John. The same came for a witness to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light, the Lord Jesus Christ, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Well, let’s talk about this matter of John the Baptist. He was a most unusual person obviously and a wonderful person, according to our Lord who said that no one born of woman had been greater than he. A burning in a shining light, Jesus called him. “There was a man sent from God… ” I wanna think about these words just as they tumble off our lips. “There was a man… ” God deigns to use people. I wonder if you’ve thought about that truth enough to have it take hold of you in any practical way.
We look at Billy Graham, or we’ll read about Hudson Taylor, or David Livingston, or CT Studd, or DL Moody, and some of the other great people and we say, “God greatly used them.” Well, yes, of course He did. But you boil that whole matter down to its basic elements, and you have the fact that Almighty God, who is absolutely perfect, and holy, and omniscient, and omnipotent, and eternal, this wonderful God deigns to reach down and use for His purposes one of His creatures. “There was a man sent from God,” which tells me that if it happened once it can happen again. Our Lord Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth.” He said in another occasion, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” The fact is, beloved, that today God, who made the world and who runs it, is a great enough God to be aware of your possibilities and to use you in relationship with other situations and other people to accomplish His will.
God is the God who sends people. Have you ever, I wonder, have you ever prayed, “Oh God, send me to somebody today that needs you?” Have you ever prayed that? God knows how. He knows how to help you in business. I’ve told you this story, I think, once sometime ago, but let me tell it again. I spoke to a friend of mine in San Diego whom I had not seen for some years. As I looked at him, he appeared to be doing very well. He had on an expensive suit and a very fine necktie and a good pair of Florsheim shoes and he was driving a Cadillac. Now that would seem to indicate that he was feeling no pain, wouldn’t it? [chuckle] But I said, “Hey, how are you? I haven’t seen you since the days when you were in Ohio?” “Yeah,” he said. “I know that. That job was a dead end street. I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I resigned and I came on out here.”
“Oh,” I said. “You were in some kind of sales then. What are you doing now?” He said, “I’m selling insurance.” “Oh,” I said. “That’s interesting.” I said, “Do you have to call ‘cold turkey’ as we say? Or do people refer things to you?” “Well,” he says. “It’s a little of both.” But he said, “I’ll tell you how things work with me, Bob.” He said, “I have my office in the basement of my home.” And he said, “Every morning before I go on out to call on people, I’ll get all my prospect cards out, and I’ll lay them in a semi-circle on the floor and then I kneel inside of that semi-circle and I pray, “Dear Lord, send me to the right people today.” He said, “You know He does,” and he smiled broadly. You know He does. Well, does God know on whom you ought to call in a business way? Of course He does. Does God know which doors of service He wants to open for you? Of course He does.
We read in the book of the Revelation, “Behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man shall shut it.” Paul, the apostle, writing to his friend said, “A great door and effectual is opened for me, and there are many adversaries.” God knows how to open doors. God knows how to prepare the way. The impact of what I’m saying to you is, God can send you, beloved, today into somebody’s life to shine for Jesus. Now that shining may be of different kinds. It could be of something you say. John the Baptist proclaimed a message. It could be something you do. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” It may be you’re presenting the message of the Gospel to someone else. Among whom Paul said, “Ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life.” How you shine is up to you and God. But He does want to send you to somebody today. Will you pray that prayer? “Lord, send me to somebody today that needs you.” God will get them ready for you. You’ll find a prepared heart and an open heart, a man sent from God.
Now stop on the fact that his name is given here. He was a remarkable person. His name actually means “Jehovah is gracious.” A fitting designation, whose birth itself was a gift of God’s grace and whose manhood was the flower and fruit of God’s grace. John, he had a very distinctive personality. Now what about that? The point is, your name, whatever it may mean, your name identifies you in a special way. What do you think of when you think of Judas Iscariot? Huh? Oh my, your heart sinks with the realization that here was a man who betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ. Name! Your name means something, and you want to be sure that it honors your blessed Lord. When people say your name, do they think in terms of honoring God? That’s the question that comes to my heart as I think about all of this.
Oh my Lord, what do people think about when they say Bob Cook? I’ll tell you what I want with all my heart. I want people to think about God and His blessing. I want them to think about His truth and His holiness and His comforts and his love. I pray every day that what I say to you, the words and the very tone of my voice may be filled with the love of God, the blessing of God. That ought to be, it seems to me, one of the great concerns for all of us. John Smith, Hazel Jones, Art Brown, whatever it may be, your name ought to mean something in terms of the blessing of the Lord. You wanna think about that and dwell on it and pray about it? Pretty good idea, wouldn’t you say?
Yes, John the Baptist was well born; the best Jewish blood flowed in his veins. He was well trained. Jewish homes did not let go the training of children. Training tells more than birth in the formation of character, as you know. He was a man of courage. He dared to speak up in the face of authority and custom and prejudice. Witness his treatment of the dominant Jewish parties and even of Herod himself. He was a man of humility. He said as he faced the Lord Jesus, “I have need to be baptized by thee.” Then he was also a human being capable of doubting, but he took his doubts to Jesus. He sent his disciples to Jesus when he was there. John was there in jail and he sent some of his disciples and said, “Did I make a mistake? I’m rotting in jail. Are you really the Messiah? Are you really the one that I should have announced?” He was doubting, but he took his doubts to Jesus and had them resolved. Our Savior said, “Just look around you and go back and tell John what you see. The blind receive sight, and the deaf can hear. The dead are raised, the lepers are cleansed, and the poor have the Gospel preached unto them. You tell John what’s going on.”
I’m sure that when that delegation came back to visit John the Baptist there in the prison, and told him about it, he said, “No. I wasn’t mistaken. He’s the one.” The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the answer to doubts and doubters. We’ll get into that a little more when we get to the third chapter of the Gospel of John. “There was a man, sent from God, whose name was John.” Let your name, whatever it is beloved, stand for the blessing of God and the truth of God and the holiness of God and the righteousness of God. Amen? Well, time has run out on us, and I’ll have to get at this again the next time we come to consider the word of God together. I wanna talk about this matter of being a witness, ’cause it does challenge my own heart.
Father God today, may our names and our words point to Jesus. Amen. Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing.
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