Friday, March 27, 2020

In Jesus’ Name

Every blessing that God has given man from the foundation of the world, every prophecy, every wise saying, every miracle, has been given in the name of Jesus.  Before His Son was revealed, God did not mention His Son’s name because He was keeping him hidden until the appointed time, but God knew him, and God was the One doing the work.  Just as every man John the Baptist ever baptized was, in truth, baptized in the name of Jesus, even before John met Jesus, so every man who ever followed the law was following the law in Jesus’ name.  The fact that those who kept the law did not know the name of Jesus made no difference, for the God who gave the law knew.  Moses did not know the name of Jesus, but he told Israel to look for another who was coming after him.  He said, “A prophet like me shall the LORD your God raise up for you, from among your kinsmen; to him, you must listen!”  Moses spoke those words in Jesus’ name.
At the foundation of the world, when the Spirit of God moved over the face of the deep, it moved in the name of Jesus.  At God’s command, Joshua conquered the land of Canaan in Jesus’ name.  What difference did it make what Joshua knew?  God knew His Son was coming to that land!  When the Spirit of God came upon Elijah to judge the prophets of Baal, he slaughtered four hundred of them in the name of Jesus.  The Spirit anointed David to sing in Jesus’ name, and David sang, “My God, my God!   They pierced my hands and my feet!”  The Spirit moved Isaiah to prophesy that a virgin would bear a son.  Was that not done in Jesus’ name?  And Isaiah, again in Jesus’ name, cried out, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, and the LORD has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.”  Was Isaiah prophesying in his own name?  No, no more than John was baptizing in his own name before he met Jesus.
Noah was preaching to the world in Jesus’ name when he built the ark; Samuel preached in Jesus’ name to Agag when he hacked that wicked King to pieces.  Elisha’s dead bones preached in Jesus’ name to the dead man whose corpse was thrown on top of them, and the dead man woke from the dead in Jesus’ name and stood on his feet.  Daniel preached in Jesus’ name to the lions, and it shut their mouths so that they could not harm him.  All those things were done in Jesus’ name by the God who knew his name.
What a glorious blessing it is to live in this time, when God’s Son has been revealed!  We know his name!  And in his name, our prayers are heard by the God who sent him here to make a way for us to live in peace forever.

The Authority of the Body

If he won’t listen to the Assembly,
let him be just like a Gentile or a publican to you.
Truly, I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 18:17b–18

When Jesus left earth, he did not return, and he will not return for many years yet.  In the meantime, he did not leave either the world or his people without governmental authority.  Paul stressed the importance of government when he wrote to the Roman saints, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers, for there is no power but of God; the powers that exist are ordained by God.  Therefore, he who opposes the power is resisting the ordinance of God, and they who resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (Rom. 13:1–2).  Paul said that he spoke to the saints “in Christ’s stead” (2Cor. 5:20).  That is what every true man of God does, and it is as unwise not to listen to such a man as it would be to refuse Christ if he was here, for he is the one who has anointed that man to minister to you “in Christ’s stead”.
Beyond that, however, every child of God should know that any Assembly of saints, taken as a whole, also has authority from Jesus to watch over the individuals who are in it.  And it is as unwise to refuse to heed their collective judgment as it would be to refuse Christ if he was here, for he is the one who creates every assembly in every place, according to the will of God.  Paul ended a controversy in Corinth about hairstyles by saying, “If anyone is inclined to be contentious about it, we have no such custom, nor do the Assemblies of God” (1Cor. 11:16).  In other words, the mere customs of God’s people, taken as a whole, have authority over any individual member of the body of Christ.
There is an old saying that, “No one is above the law,” and that is true.  Especially is it true that not one among God’s children is above the judgment of the saints around him, for that is the law of God.  Be wise.  While you can, humble yourself to the judgment of the Assembly of God of which you are a part as well as to the man whom God anoints to watch for your soul.  Your safety is in that kind of humility.