Philippians ii. 10
The Name of Jesus.
From a Sermon Preached in 1859.
FIRST, the name of Jesus has power as an authority. Behold, at the gate of the Temple called "Beautiful," there lies a cripple begging. Peter and John pass by, and the man looking up to them says, "Give me alms." Then says Peter gazing upon him, "Silver and gold have I none." Christ's followers are seldom rich----riches are certain cares, uncertain comforts, and frequent curses. There is an old prayer which John Bunyan says has grown rusty from want of use----"give me not riches." "Silver and gold have I none," says Peter, "but," he says, "such as I have, give I thee." Now, mark his words----"In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk;" and the man's limbs which had been long cramped up by disease, are loosed, and he leaps up, stands, walks, and enters the Temple, praising God. Then straightway, the Jews are roused to envy and rage, and thrust Peter and John into prison for that night. The next day they bring them forth before a great tribunal and say, "By what power or by what name have ye done this?" Then cries Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand before you whole." Again----Behold, Paul and Silas, followed at Philippi by a damsel with the spirit of divination. Behold, Paul, being grieved, turning and saying to the spirit, "I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her;" and see the spirit come out the same hour; and learn the wonderful power of the name of Jesus, weighty in unsurpassed authority as the awful name of Jehovah.
Oh, Christian, do you wish to see "the lame man leap as a hart," and to hear "the tongue of the dumb sing," and to behold "in the wilderness, waters break forth, and streams in the desert?" then use the name of Jesus as an authority. Speak in that name; warn, command, and entreat dying sinners in that name; and you will find men will listen, and tremble, and turn to the Lord; "for there is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," but the name of Jesus.
Now, I want to get a little closer to your consciences, if I can, while I show you the power of the name of Jesus as a test. Here is my authority. Turn to Col. iii. 17, and read, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus!" There is a plain command, and you will find, if you obey it, that your conscience will grow more tender to the touch, and its voice will grow louder to the ear, and your garments will be kept whiter than before, and the rod will fall more rarely. Now, if I want to detect the presence of acid in any liquid, a little test-paper will do it for me in a minute; and if, on account of the clear look and sweet taste of any pleasure, I doubt the presence of sin in it, and want to prove whether it be there or no, all I have to do is to use this holy test, "The name of Jesus," and it will show me the sin, if it be in the thing. I have sometimes received letters from persons wanting to know whether it was right to go to concerts or not. All I have to say to such is----try by this test for yourself: can you go to a concert in the name of Jesus? This is all I will answer. I know many of you are troubled with doubts about your pleasures; you are not always quite sure that they are quite lawful. Well, try them by this test. The next time you take a novel in your hand, ask yourself, before God, "Can I read this novel in the name of Jesus?" The next time you open that book of plays, ask yourself, "Can I read this in the name of Jesus?" The next time you receive an invitation to go to a dinner or evening party, ask yourself, before you consent, "Can I go in the name of Jesus?" I am certain that if you dealt fairly with yourself, and did no violence to your conscience, but obeyed the voice of God sounding within you, it would turn the course of your conduct into a different channel; and you would find the muddy, roughened stream of life, growing clear and calm in its passage through the valley of humility, under the shadow of the great Rock, Christ Jesus. Oh, do not confine that conscience in a dungeon, that should sit upon a throne, and put that passion on a throne, that should lie in a dungeon. I warn you that if you shut out conscience, you shut out Heaven; and if you shut in passion, you shut in hell. Some men act like devils, and dare to gag the mouth of conscience, and tie the limbs of God's ambassador, and double him down alive in a strong coffin, and wish him dead. But they cannot kill him; and the time is coming when God's despised ambassador shall become God's terrible executioner, who shall no more speak with the tongue but with the rod; for "he that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." May I beseech you, then, to try your every-day employments by this test? You, the business you are engaged in; you, the letters you write; you, the statements you make. Could any but a blasphemer open a public-house in the name of Jesus? Could any but a long-hardened liar state what was not strictly true in the name of Jesus? No, that name would scald their lips----they dare not use it thus. Oh, that men would use this test! It would soon sweep the world free from many an abomination, and holiness would triumph over sin, and God over the devil. Once more, I humbly ask you to try and practice this.
Before I pass on, let me dwell a moment on the power of the name of Jesus as a plea. I have sinned against God; God is angry with me; I want Him to forgive me; how shall I ask Him to do it? I come trembling to Him; I say, "O Lord, forgive me." God answers----"Sin shall not go unpunished." I bow down my head and weep, and I hear a sweet voice, like the voice of a dove from Heaven, whispering, "Jesus has died for you;" but I listen as one in a dream----I cannot speak----I am dumb with sorrow and despair. Then I hear another whisper from above----"Whatsoever ye ask the Father in My name, He will give it you;" and the voice, like that of a dove from Heaven, whispers, "Come and try;" and I lift up my voice, and cry with tears, "O Lord, forgive me for Jesus' sake." And I hear the words sweet and solemn, in a sound as deep as the ocean, and calm as the breath of Heaven, coming from the broad bosom of boundless love----"Thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace." Now, I turn to you, and Oh, I beseech you, let no power on earth or in hell prevail with you, to use any other name as a plea in prayer, but the name of Jesus----not the name of any saint, or virgin, or angel whatsoever; for God says----"There is no other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." And you, brother in the Lord, seal all you messages for Heaven with this name. It will give wings to the shortest prayer ever uttered to fly to God in a moment; it will be a key in your girdle to open the treasury of grace; a secret latch in the door, by which you may enter the inner pastures of communion; the rod whereby you can divide the waters of Jordan; and a pass which will hereafter admit you by the gates into the heavenly Jerusalem. Oh then, use it as your plea in prayer! If I had God's great book of remembrance open before me, I could point out more successful prayers, signed with the name of Jesus as their plea, than there are sands on the shores of the Atlantic! Oh, sweet name----
"By Thee my prayers acceptance find,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am own'd a child."
From: "Chimes" September 1897. Ed. by F. E. Marsh.