We are all given names that we did not choose. There are our legal names of course, but we are named in other, more subtle ways as well. Often, these are names that exaggerate our flaws. Flakey. Lazy. Class Clown. We sometimes spend our lives trying to earn a new, better name. But what name does God want to give us. Join us this Sunday as we look at Jesus’ letter to the church of Philadelphia.
At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in.
Isaiah 62: 1-3, 10-12
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
Go through, go through the gates;
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
clear it of stones;
lift up a signal over the peoples.
Behold, the LORD has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
And they shall be called The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the LORD;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
CONFESSION OF SIN:
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us, that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
SONG TO CONSIDER:
©2013 Kevin Twit Music (ASCAP)
Bowed with fruitless, sorrow down;
By the broken, law convicted,
Through the cross, behold the crown;
Look to Jesus; Look to Jesus; Look to Jesus;
Mercy flows through Him alone.
Love will make your, obedience sweet;
Christ will give you, strength to bear it,
While His grace, shall guide your feet
Safe to glory, Safe to glory, Safe to glory,
Where His ransomed captives meet.
Blest the ears that, hear His voice;
Blessèd are the, souls that trust Him,
And in Him, alone rejoice;
His commandments, His commandments, His commandments
Then become their happy choice.
Light to newly, opened eyes,
Like full springs in, deserts dreary,
Is the rest, the cross supplies;
All who taste it, All who taste it, All who taste it
Shall to rest immortal rise.