“You Have Not Denied My Name” (1)
As the believers in Christ
we should never take
any name for ourselves
besides that of “Christian,”
one who belongs to Christ
It matters a great deal to the Lord that we as His believers not deny His name. He specifically appreciated the church in Philadelphia for this:
“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an opened door that no one can shut, for you have a little power and have kept My word and have not denied My name.”
— Revelation 3:8
And because this church, in keeping “the word of [His] endurance,” had not denied the Lord’s name, He promised her the reward of the pre-tribulation rapture (Rev. 3:10).
Yet, as we saw in the previous Note, Satan is much more subtle in his efforts to make us deny the Lord’s name than we realize. He works on us in this regard not only in great matters, but even in the small events of our daily lives. (See “The Word of My Endurance” • 3.)
One of the most common ways for believers to deny the Lord’s name today is to identify themselves as members of some denomination or sect: “I’m a Catholic,” or “I’m a Baptist,” or “I’m a Presbyterian,” or “I belong to such-and-such a free group.”
The apostle explicitly condemned taking up such sectarian names for ourselves:
For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
— 1 Corinthians 1:11-13
Surely this is to deny the name of Christ, for it is to take another name for ourselves beside the name of Christ. It is to say that we belong to something or someone other than Christ Himself. In reality, we should never consider ourselves as anything other than believers in Christ or as Christians, those who belong to Christ Himself.
We might feel this is a small point, but in reality, it is a great matter, and if we violate this principle, it will be very difficult for us to grow and develop in Christ as we should. The reason for this is very simple and direct: we have cut ourselves off from the unique fellowship God called us into when we believed in Christ, namely, the fellowship of God’s Son (1 Cor. 1:9).
But then, what is the proper basis for the believers in Christ to gather together as a church, to have a proper fellowship with other believers? We will consider that in our next Note in this series.
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— 12 August 2023 —