In the Bible, the names that are given to God teach us volumes about His character. And today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll presents our next teaching series, and this time about the beautiful names ascribed to God. Each one reveals something special, and each one helps us understand how to elevate Him in praise. In John chapter 9, we read about a man who was born blind. His encounter with Jesus sparked a huge controversy in the community. Let's allow the story to unfold as Chuck continues his message titled, We Call Him Lord. His disciples asked Him, saying, Rabbi, that's one of the titles of Jesus.
It means teacher. Rabbi, when they saw this man blind from birth, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus said it was neither this man sinned nor his parents, but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him. Jesus came to him, verse 6, and he spat on the ground and made clay with the spittle and applied the clay to his eyes, and he said, Go wash in the pool of Siloam. And he went and washed, and he came back seeing. Wonderful. Miracle.
Verse 8. The neighbors therefore and those who previously saw him as a beggar were saying, Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg? Now, does that blow anybody else away? I mean, would you stand at your front porch and say, Isn't that the same guy that we've seen all along begging? I mean, wouldn't you say, Oh, it's wonderful.
Tell me about it. How in the world did you get your sight? But they say, Isn't this the same one that used to be over there selling pencils? Isn't that the same guy that didn't have sight before?
And that's not my all. Others were saying, This is he. Still others were saying, No, he looks like him. That's not the same one. And he kept saying, Well, I am the one. I am the one. I am the one. I am the one that was blind. I am the one. I am the one. Isn't he?
No, it's not the same one. He's just bagging this incredible dialogue. Always amazes me. We said, Verse 10, Well, how were your eyes open? Just tell us how it happened. Now we just want to know. He said, The man who was called Jesus.
Look at the progress. Rabbi, now we got the man who was called Jesus. He's a man. And he went away and told me to go away and wash and I did that and I received his sight. They said, Where is he? And he said, I do not know. So they brought him to the Pharisees.
This ought to be fun. Brought him to the Pharisees, him who was formerly blind. Now it was the Sabbath on the day that Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. And again, again, therefore, the Pharisees who were asking him how he received his sight, he said to him, He applied clay to my eyes and I washed and I see. Pharisees were saying, This man is not from God because he does not keep the Sabbath.
Give me a break. Nobody in the room said, Praise God. They said, Now when was this? It was on the Sabbath. He broke the Sabbath.
Incredible. This man is not from God. Can a man who was a sinner perform such signs? There was division among them.
Here was a guy that's just been given sight and he's dancing all around. There's a theological argument over whether he should have done it on the Sabbath. Some of the Pharisees were saying, This man is not from God because he doesn't keep the Sabbath. Others said, How can a man who was a sinner perform such signs?
There was a division among them. And they said, Therefore, the blind man again. What do you say about him since he opened your eyes? And he said, He's a prophet. See, he's had a little time to think about it. He was a man, but he must be a prophet.
The title is growing. The Jews, therefore, did not believe it of him that he had been blind. You're not really the one who was blind. This is a fake.
You're not the one. They questioned him saying, Is this your son? They called the parents in.
God bless the parents. It says they called the parents in, the ones of the very one who had received his sight. And they asked them, Is this your son who you say was born blind? How does he now see? His parents answered and said, We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. And how he now sees, we do not know. Or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him.
He is of age. He speaks for himself. Yeah, right. Little backpedal. We don't know. You think they weren't afraid of the Pharisees?
You think the Pharisees didn't intimidate the common Jew? Not even parents would speak in defense of their son. We don't know. He's our son.
How did all this happen? We don't know. He's of age.
Ask him. The second time they called a man who had been blind, Give glory to God. We know this man is a sinner. He said, Whether he's a sinner, I don't know. One thing I do know that whereas I was blind, now I see. They said to him, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes? And he answered, I told you already and you didn't listen.
Why do you want to hear it again? You don't want to be one of his disciples, too, do you? I love that. Hey, you're not getting interested, are you?
That is terrific. This guy. The long and short of it is, verse 35, Jesus heard that they had put him out and finding him, he said, Do you believe in the Son of Man? He answered and said, Who is he? Lord, that I may believe in him. Jesus said to him, You have both seen him, and he is the one who is talking with you. He said, Lord, I believe.
You talk about progress. A man, a prophet, kurios, Lord. The first Lord is like sir, and it was so used in those days. For example, verse 36, Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?
Oh, good, the margin reads that way, yes. That's a good rendering of kurios there. But down in verse 38, Lord, that isn't sir, that's Lord, I believe. Before we get deeper into that, one man has taken the time to number the names of Jesus through the New Testament and came up with 42 of them. Very interesting, intriguing names, very interesting names.
Very interesting, intriguing lists. Jesus, man, God, Son of David, Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, the Servant of God, the Good Shepherd, the Divine Physician, Savior, Prophet, King, the Stone, the Bridegroom, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Door, the Vine, the Way, the Truth and the Life, Resurrection and the Life, the Judge, the Land, the Scapegoat, Apostle, Forerunner, Surety, Mediator, High Priest, on and on and on, Alpha and Omega, the Image of God, the Head, the Bright and Morning Star, the Word, Lord. Amazing series of names, all connected with our wonderful Lord, Jesus Christ.
Wonderful subject to pursue on your own. The names of Jesus. His name is Lord, we call him Lord. Without question, Lord became the most commonly used title of Jesus after his resurrection. Without question.
Didn't happen quickly. Mark uses it in its full theological sense of the word only a very few times. Mark's the first of the Gospel writers. Matthew, a few more times than Mark. Luke, if I number correctly and I try to look at every reference, there were many times Luke uses Lord, but I counted about 17 times he uses it in the full significance of that word, Lord, kurios, like we're trying to describe it.
John, even more than that. So as time progressed, Lord became increasingly more often used. And Paul, if my numbering is correct, about 200 times or more. Sometime his chapters will use Lord no less than 13, 14 times in one chapter. It was clear to the apostle that Lord was his title. A magnificent section of scripture that we have looked at before is Philippians chapter 2 beginning at verse 5. I love it because it takes us from the cross all the way to the throne.
And it highlights that wonderful name. Philippians 2 5, have this attitude in you, in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, that has reference to his eternity past, before there ever was Jesus on earth, he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. Meaning what? This is a grand theological truth.
Get it. While he was eternal God in the presence of the Father, a member of the Trinity, he didn't regard his position as co-eternal and co-existent with the Father, something to be grasped or held on to. But he willingly at the Father's wish relinquished himself of that incredible all glorious imperial position as a member of the Trinity in heaven removed from the sin and the horrors of this earth. He didn't consider that to be held on to and he came to this earth. You're going to see the process of his coming and what occurred right in this passage. Although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself.
Let's be real clear as to what that means. Jesus gave up the voluntary use of his divine attributes. He did not give up his divinity. He did not give up his deity. When he left heaven and came to this earth, he gave up the voluntary use of his divine attributes. All the time he was on this earth, 33 and a half years, he waited on the Father's will before he did his deed.
I do always those things that please the Father. Some have taught when he emptied himself, he gave up his divinity. He gave up his deity. When he was on this earth, he was merely a man.
Wrong. He gave up the voluntary use of his divine attributes. He lived under the Father's authority, doing the Father's will.
That's not true. He's not through yet. He emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant. That is, when he was born, he was born like you and I, except for the presence of sin in our lives. He knew no sin, did no sin, and had no sin. Except for the sin factor, he was just like any other birth. Being made in the likeness of men, being found in appearance as a man.
Remember that. On this earth, Jesus didn't glow. There was no aura, no halo. He didn't walk around like some artists have shown him, though in their era, that was the way you represented divinity. But he didn't spend his days in folded hands and spotless garments. He looked just like another Jew.
That's what threw the Pharisees a curve. They thought he was just the son of a carpenter. He claimed to be Messiah. But he did the works that no one else could do.
He said the things that spoke of authority. He looked, however, just like another man. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. This is a wonderful point.
It might be a little point, but it's a wonderful point. Not on the cross, but a cross. In other words, a cross kind of death was his. He left the glories of heaven, and he came to a cross kind of death, the worst kind one could die. And God stamped his approval upon him at the resurrection. Verse 9, therefore God highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name. Name, name, name. You think names aren't important? God gave him a name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
He doesn't miss anyone. And that every tongue should confess Jesus Christ is, there's the word, Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Believe it or not, someday, some grand day, every living human being, every human being who has ever lived and died will be brought back and will declare he is Lord. Some to spend eternity with him, some to spend eternity in hell. But there will be the ringing reminder of those that plunge into a Christless eternity.
He was, he is indeed Lord. It's a powerful statement in scripture. And it will be to the glory of God the Father. Remember, remember the purpose of ministry, it is to glorify God. The very last statement where humanity says Christ is Lord will be to the glory of God the Father.
And that's worth getting excited over. The meaning of the term, kurios, wasn't invented by Christians, it was adopted by Christians. It had been used for years among the Greeks. It's a noble term. The best synonym for Lord is authority, authority. In the secular world, Lord was used to refer to a domestic authority. A father was called a Lord. A master as opposed to a slave was called the Lord. An undisputed owner of property was called the Lord of the property or the Lord of the vineyard. One who made decisions over other individuals in military commanders were called at times Lords of the troops. Aristotle used it to describe men who had moral authority, strength of character, men who were decisive in times of struggle and stood firm in morality.
They were called Lords. This also is where the rub came because in those days, Caesar was Lord. I want you to hear the words of William Barclay. It's very clearly described where the rub is.
Listen. It was precisely that creed that brought the Christian church into head-on collision with the Roman Empire. It was that creed for which the Christians were martyred and for which they were prepared to die. The Roman Empire was a vast heterogeneous mass of men of all races and nations and tongues. Above all, it needed a unifying bond and power. Very early, men began to think of Rome as divine.
Now follow this progress. Very early, men began to think of Rome as divine for Rome gave them a security and a justice they had never known before. They made for themselves a goddess named Roma. But the spirit of Rome was embodied and incarnated in one man, the emperor. At first, it was the dead emperors who were regarded as having been elevated to be gods in the heavenly places. But bit by bit, even the living Roman emperors began to be regarded as gods. Temples were erected to them and they were worshipped as divine. This began in the east where men were much more susceptible to ideas such as this. At first, the emperors were embarrassed by the very suggestion of their divinity. They allowed the worship in the east but they forbade it in the west.
But the plain fact was they could not stop it. The worship of the emperor spread all over the empire and then the Roman government began to see that here was the very unifying principle they needed. Here was the thing which would well the empire into one. Caesar worship became the keystone of Roman imperial policy.
So the last step came. The Roman government made Caesar worship compulsory. From one end of the empire to the other, they made it the bond which held the empire together. Once a year, a man had to come and burn a pinch of incense to the godhead of the emperor and began to say Caesar is Kurios. This was the test of his loyalty as a citizen of the empire and having done that, he could go away and worship any kind of god he liked. But that affirmation of faith in Caesar, he must make. This is precisely what the Christians would not do. They would not take the name of Kurios and give it to anyone else in earth or in heaven. For them, Jesus was Lord and nothing would make them say Caesar is Lord. And so they chose to die for their faith and they died in the agonies of the cross, the flames, the arena, and the rack.
Kurios was the one word creed for which Christians were ready to lay down their lives. Don't you dare use the term Lord lightly. It is like no other word when it's meant in that sense of imperial sovereign authority. He alone deserves that title.
Remember the chorus? King of kings, Lord of lords, Jesus is Lord of all, all my possessions and all my life. Jesus is Lord of all. It's great theology. That's the right term to use. That's the right name. To call him Lord means that no other one in our life has a place of authority like he.
Let me give you some simple little words to remember following sort of an A, B, C, D fashion. When we call him Lord, A, we affirm our allegiance. It's like pledging allegiance to our sovereign savior. We affirm our allegiance when we call him Lord.
Lord you have my trust, my allegiance. B, we bow to Christ's authority. When we call him Lord, we bow to his authority. C, we commit to him all we are and have and hope to be. We commit to him all we are and have and hope to be. A, we affirm our allegiance. B, we bow to his authority. C, we commit all we are and have and hope to be.
Don't go over that list too quickly. Whatever your position, it's under the authority and lordship of Christ. Whatever you have, it really is under his lordship. Whatever you hope to have or be, it's his.
And D, we dethrone our own will and way. That is why it is so important that we realize what we say when we call him our Lord Jesus Christ. His name is wonderful.
His names are many. When we call him Lord, we give him full authority. Have you done that?
Have you done that? Have you embraced him as the savior, not a, but the savior to deliver you from your sinfulness and to bring you to God safely. I invite you to turn your life to him, over to him completely and without reservation. Now, if you have not, may we bow. There is no more epical, more important moment of the day than now when you say in your heart, down deep where no one can see, I acknowledge you, Christ as Lord, my Lord. I affirm my allegiance. I bow to your authority.
I commit all I am and have and hope to be. I dethrone my will and my way. Jesus is Lord. Our Father, cause this message to burn within us. Remind us that we are not our own.
We have been bought with a price. Hear from us, our Father, in a practical way as we release to you, progressively, the things that we have held onto, in fact clutched. Hear us as we say to you, help us, assist us as we learn how to release, how to give up, how to dethrone our own will. Stay near us, encourage us, comfort us, quiet our fears.
For there are some who have trusted others only to have it blow up in their faces. Give that individual especially a reassurance that with you all is safe. We thank you for the names of our Savior. We thank you this moment for the name Lord and we acknowledge him as that through Christ Jesus. Amen. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you insight and thank you Chuck Swindoll. Though we've never met, you've been my spiritual Father. Well on behalf of this Pastor and countless others like him, we want to thank all those who give generously. Your contributions are channeled directly into making a life-changing impact on those who hear Chuck's teaching and sometimes this includes leaders in local churches. To give a much needed donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or you can give online at insight.org. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us again when Chuck Swindoll continues to present his study called His Name is Wonderful.
That's Monday on Insight for Living. The preceding message We Call Him Lord was copyrighted in 1987, 1992, and 1998. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 1998 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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