20 Norman Spencer Dr
Auckland 2104, NZ

The Names of God’s People

Sunday, 8th July 2018

Pastor Bruce McDonald

When God put Adam in the garden of Eden, He gave him two jobs – to tend the garden and to name all the animals.

“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. (Genesis 2:19-20)

Whatever Adam chose to call the animals that were their names. Names are so powerful. For that reason, there were a number of people in the Bible, who had their names changed: Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter, Joses became Barnabas, Saul became Paul, etc.

The name was more than just an identification. Often it was a signal of what the person was like or what they would do. The name is the character, and when we became followers of Jesus Christ, people or traditions gave us names to define us. This morning, Pastor Bruce shared these names with us.

1. Christians (Christianos)

“And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” (Acts 11:26)

“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” (1 Peter 4:16)

Christian means a follower of Christ. But the origin of the word means “an anointed one”. Christ in the New Testament is the word Messiah in the Old Testament. We need to know that God puts His anointing on us to do something. That not only should we know times when we feel the anointing – the presence of the Holy Spirit, but we are also to carry that with us into the world.

In the Old Testament only three groups could be anointed, the Prophets, the Priests and the Kings. But in the New Testament, EVERY believer is anointed. The disciples were told not to leave Jerusalem until they had received power from on high.

2. Disciples (Mathetes)

“But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.” (Acts 19:9)

The word disciple means “a learner” or “a pupil”. A Rabbi in the Bible time and today would have a group of followers called disciples. These people would want to be able to do all that the Rabbi could do, to know all that the Rabbi knew and also to be all that the Rabbi was. This is also why Peter wanted to walk on water when Jesus did.

3. Believers (Pisteuo)

“Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.” (Acts 5:14)

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (I Timothy 6:12)

The word believer means “to have faith”.

4. Saints (Hagios)

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father.We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people.” (Colossians 1:2-4)

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four eldersfell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” (Revelation 5:8)

Saints means to be sacred, ceremonially consecrated, holy, physically pure, and morally blameless.

5.Servants of God (Doulos)

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God,the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” (Romans 6:22)

“Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.” (Ephesians 6:6)

Doulos means a slave or a bond servant. In the Old Testament, people could become slave because of losing in battle or by becoming indebted and not able to repay their loan. When this happened, the person would serve as a servant for a time but then had to be released.

“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” (Exodus 21:5-60)

6. Witness (Martus)

 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12)

The word means a witness or a martyr. We won’t all have to lay our lives down and die for Jesus, although some may but we are all called to live as though we would. We are witnesses.