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What's in a Name? or, The Yellow Pages!

 

 

What's in a Name? or, The Yellow Pages!

    Because of the possibility that this article may upset some people, I will say this first. We, in the body of Christ, need to become very aware of the fact that anything we do as a corporate body that detracts or subtracts from the cause of Christ (in the earth) is wrong for us to do! As I was thinking about putting this article on the Web, I remembered how strong the anointing of the Lord was when I wrote it. The thoughts about the yellow pages came while I was writing, and then, as I was finishing I actually typed, "I don't know about you, but I'm convinced." I sat for a moment, realizing the Lord had a big hand in writing it. With that, all I can do is ask you to read this with the cause of Christ in your heart and soul.    We as Christians, the corporate body of Christ, need to understand what is in a name and what a name is. It is important that names are right, especially in a move of God. Names describe and affect the outcome. That's why God changed names in the Bible, so things would come to pass.

Genesis 17:5
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

    God changed Abraham's name from Abram, meaning "high father," to Abraham, meaning "father of a multitude." God did this to bring his name into agreement with what He had made Abraham. Every time people spoke his name they were establishing what it meant. In other words, God brought the men of the earth into agreement with Himself, by changing Abram's name to Abraham. When men spoke it, they were not only agreeing with God, but also decreeing what Abraham's name meant.
    Jesus said His words were both spirit and life. Words produce. You can build up a person with words, or tear down a person with words. The world was framed and became manifested by God's words. When you speak a name you are calling forth, declaring what it means, or establishing what it is!
    What does God call His church? The Bible refers to the church as the "church" and never divides it up into individual names like man has.

The church at Corinth,
The church at Philippi... Etc.

In the book of Revelation, where Jesus is correcting the various churches, it says,

And to the angel of the church of Smyrna, write;....
And to the angel of the church in Pergamose, write;....
And to the angel of the church in Thyatira, write;....

    Here we see the Lord refer to the church as the "Church" in/of a certain place. In all of the correction that came from the Lord to the churches in Revelation, there is nothing about changing or taking on a name. It is easy to see that the name is the same (church), just descriptive of where the group was located. The location was only given so specific information would reach particular groups.

To further explain, let's insert a common church name into what was written in Revelation.
 

And to the angel of the church of Methodism, write;....
or
And to the angel of the Methodist church, write;....

    The reason this is not like what's in the book of Revelation is that Methodist or Methodism is representative of a type of belief, not a place. In the Bible the "church" was representative of "one's belief" or "who they were" and the rest had to do with location. The name, the "church," encompasses all that God says it is. The word Methodist, Baptist, etc., indicates sects, types of beliefs, and eliminates and/or restricts portions of what God says the "church" is to be.

The yellow pages?

    If you've been praying for unity to come into the body of Christ, the church, and you really mean it, let me show you something that will stir your spirit and your soul. Suppose we rename all the churches in Oxford, Kansas with what God calls them. The Methodist church would be, "the Church at 117 N Kansas, Oxford." The First Baptist Church would be, "the Church at 113 E Myrtle, Oxford." The Oxford Christian Church would be, " the Church at 120 W Clark, Oxford."

The telephone book's yellow pages would look something like this!
 

the Church at 117 N Kansas, Oxford...........455-2547
the Church at 113 E Myrtle, Oxford............455-2527
the Church at 120 W Clark, Oxford.............455-3659
the Church at 415 W Maple St., Oxford......455-3561
etc. (Numbers not real.)

    I hope you can see the resounding effect this would have on the public: to open the phone books of the world, and see all churches, all over the world, "in unity" about who they are! ................... Can you see the power of a simple united front? Someone just might think we have something the world doesn't, namely Jesus! But now they open the phone book and all they see is division, a divided body of Christ! You see, God always knows best.
    Does this division of names affect the public? Yes, it sure does! I've had more than one person ask me, "Who's right and why do we have all these denominations?" Some have experienced the Lord only to disappointedly find His body divided. I know one person who has rejected Jesus, at least for now, because of this very thing.
    If we refer to the church as God does, we would say, "the Church at Oxford, KS." Could we reverse this and say, "the Oxford Church", "the Wellington Church", "the Wichita Church," etc.? The reason the reverse is not right is because of emphasis being placed on the name of the town instead of "the Church." Where do you think the emphasis should be? We must return to the format revealed in the Bible, "the Church at Oxford, etc." It really comes down to do we love Jesus and His cause or do we love a particular group (sect) of people and/or their specific cause?
    Names, other than the one given by God, have only brought confusion and division into the Lord's church and into the world. The Lord's church is called the "church" in Heaven and if it was called the "church" on earth, it would eliminate a lot of confusion. We pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!" There is confusion on earth, not in Heaven. Who's the author of confusion? It is the devil, who comes in while men sleep.
    God speaks in the Bible of His people playing the harlot, both the nation of Israel and His church. Harlots stand on street corners and are of similar to each other. They are in competition for clients and sometimes each other's clients. They dress differently to show or suggest they have something the others don't. The dress that the church in the world has on, what the world sees, is a building and a name. The people (the church) go into the building and a name every time they attend. You can go in and not take on the name but if you keep attending, you take on that name and everything it implies. What a shame! It doesn't make sense to call the church something other than what God does. It's like calling an apple, an orange. God calls it the "church" but man labels it something else, for man's purpose, for purposes of competition. "Look at me, I'm different." We are the body of Christ but the world sees a divided body of Christ because of names.
    One needs to stop and really look at what the yellow pages would look like for more than a moment, so I have reinserted that image.
 

the Church at 117 N Kansas, Oxford...........455-2547
the Church at 113 E Myrtle, Oxford............455-2527
the Church at 120 W Clark, Oxford.............455-3659
the Church at 415 W Maple St., Oxford......455-3561
etc. (Numbers not real.)

    Think about it! The leadership of the churches would have a major attitude adjustment! Sermons would change! The cause of Christ would most certainly be enhanced!

Let's look again at what God said to Abraham.

Genesis 17:5
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

    Could God, being absolute truth and absolutely flawless, legally have done with Abraham what He did if He had left Abraham's name, Abram, meaning "high father," instead of Abraham, meaning "father of multitudes?" NO! Could Abraham become who God had ordained him to become had he kept the name Abram? NO! Has the church become what God called it to be? NO! Are all these names that men have labeled the church having a dividing, hindering effect on what God wants? YES! I've heard a lot of Christians go on about the fact that we, the Body of Christ, need to come into unity. If we'll come into unity with God we'll find ourselves in unity.
    Remember, it's the acts as a corporate body that determine whether a woman is a harlot, or a Bride. A true bride brings attention to her husband, not herself. When God's own people do not agree with Him about their corporate name it is an act of harlotry! Whenever we say the Baptist Church, or Methodist Church, or any other name, we are calling forth something less than God intended. God wants a lot more for His people than they are enjoying. Let's glorify God and not our denominations, nondenominational names, etc. Do the names in the phone book matter? It does to the Lord or He wouldn't have brought this to our attention!

The Revival God Wants



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