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Does It Matter What You Call It?

Does It Matter What You Call It?

   When we were learning to talk, we were often corrected by our parents or maybe older siblings when we called something by the wrong name.   That which is being taught is that the name of something matters.   This is part of learning as we grow up.   As we start to understand the significance of this we begin to call things as they should be called. We associate the things with the names we learn that go along with them

   This is nothing new. God employed the calling of things to name the creatures of His creation. Ever wonder why animals are called what they are?   Well, here’s the answer. Rather than “naming” everything as He created it, God brought them before Adam to see what he would call them. Genesis 2:19-20 is where we find this account.  And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.   

     Names are obviously important.   We use them to identify ourselves or others as we interact daily. For instance: “Hi, my name is: Dennis Strickland”, or “I’d like to introduce you to my wife: Linda”. Do these names matter? To me they do!    I am not very likely to walk up to you and say: “Hi, my name is Tom”. Not that there is anything wrong with the name Tom. – It’s just not mine!   If I am walking away from you and you call out “hey Tom!”, I am not likely to even turn back to you and ask if you are talking to me.   I would probably figure that you see someone named Tom and are calling out to get his attention, not mine.   To call out to me, one would use my name.   The same is true with God’s people.

   Why does this “name thing” seem to matter in all areas except religion?   When you get someone to drive you to your place of employment, to where do you asked to be delivered? Do you just have them take you to “some street” in town?   Do you not give the specific address, or name of the business at which you are employed? Then, what about the name that is on the check you expect to receive at the end of the work week?   Would it matter if your paycheck was made out to me?   I suspect that it would matter to you before I got to the bank.    

     As you go to the Doctor for a specific condition, does it matter if he or she pays no attention to the symptoms which you have, or the name of the drug given you to restore your health?   Of course it matters.   In fact, in any scenario I could present, most folks would point out how important it is to call things what they are. To do otherwise in many cases could cause disappointment, pain, injury, or in the most extreme cases, even death.  

     Why is it that many don’t realize or care if the name of the religious body with which they are associated is approved of God? Colossians 3:17 is explicit in its direction to the people of God in that location. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. The same thing applies to us today, including the name by which we are called. In the latter part of Acts 11:26 we are told that the disciples of the Lord; those doing what God authorized were given a name.   And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

   Why is it then, that many religious people who insist on being called Christian, also insist on being called by a man made name at the same time?     One that is a Christian is to wear the name of Christ and not the name of some man who started a denomination. God did not authorize those denominational names or doctrines.   Through the pen of Paul in 1Corinthians 1:10-13, the Spirit was telling them to be Christian one is to be called by the name God authorized, and not by a man’s name. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 

     One cannot be approved of God and wear the name of a man’s organization or follow man made doctrine.   According to Galatians 1:9-10, to wear the name of a body assigned by man, or to follow man’s doctrine is not pleasing to Christ. One who does is accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 

     Does it matter what you call it?   To God it does.   Let us strive to call things as God called them and do what God has directed in His Word.   Our eternity with God depends upon it.         Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ


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