What's In A Name - April 14, 2018
James Collins

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Revelation 2:17 

On September 16, 2011, a California court granted Ron Artest’s petition to have his name legally changed to Metta World Peace. Artest, who played professional basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers, said, “Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world.” While I admire his intentions, I believe that he could have inspired young people without changing his name.

However, names are important. I grew up in the country. I grew up with people who had funny names like Lonnie Ray; or Bobby Joe; or Billy Bob; or Elvis Earl; or Cletus Bocephus; or my cousin Jimmy Joe Jeff Johnny Paul Ray Elmer Junior – we just called him Bubba. When we get acquainted with someone, we often use their nickname. For example, my daughter is named Abbigail. Most people call her Abby. My name is James. Many people call me Jim. When I was in the Army, I had a friend named Matthew. We called him Matt. Several of us were over at Matt’s house one day when someone rang the doorbell. Everyone yelled, “Get the door Matt!” His nickname became Doormat. I heard about a man that everybody called “Tex.” Someone asked him if he was from Texas. He said, “No. I am from Louisiana” The question followed, “Then why do they call you Tex?” He said, “Because I don’t want to be called Louise!”

In the Bible, God would often change a person’s name. When God would change a name it usually meant that something had happened to that person that had changed their life. Here are just a few examples:

Abram, meaning “great father” to Abraham, meaning “father of many”

Jacob, meaning “heel grabber” to Israel, meaning “he struggles with God”

Simon, meaning “he has heard” to Peter, meaning “the rock”

Saul, meaning “prayed for” to Paul, meaning “small”

If you are a believer, God will give you a name too. When we get saved, God changes us. We are made new. We are being changed into the likeness of Christ. To go along with the change, we will be given a new name. Revelation 2:17 tells us that Jesus will give us a white stone with a new name written on it. In Biblical times, a court would use a black stone for a guilty verdict and a white stone for a not guilty verdict. We are declared “not guilty” in Christ. We are given freedom, a new life, and a new name.

The point is: Do you have a new name? If not, you only have to accept Christ to get a new name. If you are already a Christian, what do you think your new name will be? What name would those who really know you give you? What name will the Lord, Jesus Christ, give you when your life has ended? What name will you have in eternity? Will your name be Gary the Gloomy or Gary the Glad? Carrie the Compassionate or Carrie the Cold-hearted? Shawn the Sour or Shawn the Sweet? Becky the Bitter or Becky the Beloved? You still can change your name. You don’t have to go to a court to have your name changed. You just have to change your life. It’s up to you.

By the way, Christ is not His last name. It is His title. It means Messiah, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. Don’t use His name as a cussword. Use the name of Jesus Christ as the name that you call on for salvation and forgiveness. He will give you a new name.

James Collins is known many names: Dad, Honey, Pastor James, Dr. Collins, Chappy. But the name that he is most proud of is Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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