We have been occupied with various aspects of the glory of the name of the Lord. In the first chapter we saw that the Name is a revelation of Himself; in the second, it was Jesus and the Name; then it was the hallowing of the Name; then the vessel of the Name. Now it is a matter of seeking to bring into view a few other things concerning the Name as they are brought to us in the New Testament, particularly after our Lord was risen from the dead.
Salvation in the Name of Jesus
The little fragment of Scripture which will underlie what we have to say now is found in 3 John 7: "For the sake of the Name they went forth."
As they went forth preaching, their preaching would be concerning the name of the Lord Jesus, and seeing that in the first place their preaching was to a world of unsaved, unregenerate men and women, their preaching would be salvation in the name of Jesus. That is the meaning of the name Jesus: God our Saviour, Jehovah Saviour. Their Lord had told them that that was what they should do. We have it in Luke 24 and it runs like this (these are nearly His last words to them after His resurrection before He was received up into heaven) "And He said unto them, These are My words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their mind, that they might understand the scriptures; and He said unto them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem."
The Name of Jesus, the Name of the Lord
But here is the statement of the fact that their preaching of salvation was salvation in the name of Jesus, and you know how they did it. Just pass on to the book of the Acts and to the very first preaching of the gospel to the world needing salvation; yes, to religious, orthodox Jews needing salvation, for it was to them that the first preaching took place. In Acts 2:21, this is declared in this first preaching, "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
And that, as you see, is a quotation from the Old Testament. So they have their gospel from the Old Testament as He told them, and they proclaimed that it is in the name of the Lord that men shall be saved, and the apostles here are making it clear. To them it is a settled conclusion that the "name of the Lord" applies to the Lord Jesus, because presently when Peter had paused or finished his address to these people, they did begin to call and he directed them immediately to the name of the Lord Jesus. Answering their cry, "Brethren, what shall we do?" he said, "Repent ye, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:37-38). The two things go together. "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord" and, "Be baptised... in the name of Jesus Christ." This means that the name of Jesus was the "name of the Lord". That was what they were getting at; that was really their point.
You go on to Acts 4:12, and again you have this declaration made in their preaching, "And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved." You could not have anything more emphatic than that. Salvation is in the name of Jesus.
And that is said again by the apostle Paul in other words well-known to most of us, in Romans 10:10-13: "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon Him: for, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Therefore salvation is in the name of the Lord Jesus, and it cannot be received in any other way than by calling upon His name. I emphasise that, because there are a lot of people, some of whom I have met, who say, 'Yes, we are quite prepared to acknowledge God and go to God, but we cannot recognise Jesus is essential to get to God.' Well, God says otherwise, and you can try it if you like, but you find that it just will not work. What I am really getting at is this, that when they (the religious Jews who were always calling on God yet were not saved) did call on the name of the Lord Jesus, something happened at once. They knew God in a way, they knew all about God's name, and probably could teach us a very great deal about God's name. These Jewish people in Jerusalem knew all about the name of the Lord, but they did not know the salvation of the Lord at all. But when they called upon the name of Jesus then they discovered His salvation.
Later a very outstanding and distinguished example is brought to us in the case of Saul of Tarsus. What Saul of Tarsus did not know about the name of God and about God would not be worth knowing. For he did not know the Lord until, with his face to the ground, he called upon the name of the Lord Jesus and then the great thing happened in his life. The great thing made him Paul the apostle. God has shut up salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Look at one more passage in Romans 10:14: "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?" That is the challenge. The apostle said, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved... How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?" (v.9-14). What does believing in the Lord Jesus mean? It certainly does not mean believing that He was a very good man, and it does not mean believing that He was the very best man that ever lived; it does not mean believing that He died for His convictions, laid down His life in His devotion to God and all that sort of thing. That is not believing in the Lord Jesus. It is believing that Jesus is Lord, and Lord in this Old Testament sense of God being the Lord God. The Lord Jesus has the name of God upon Him. Now, that is going to be seen in another way in a moment, but we are pressing this right at the outset, and it is good for us, the Lord's own people, to have this brought to us anew. The real meaning and basis and nature of our salvation is centred in Him because He is the Lord. "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9), and the Lord is the Lord Jesus. So first it is calling on the Name of the Lord, but realising that when you do that, God switches you immediately right over to His Son Jesus Christ. You cannot come direct to One whom you call God, ignoring or leaving out His Son. The two are One. They are the same. Jesus is God incarnate, and there is no salvation in the Lord except in and through and by Jesus Christ. If you will put that to the test, you will find that there is an answer. Calling because you believe, calling on Jesus Christ.
Baptism in the Name of Jesus
Then notice, they linked with that call when they began to cry out, when the feelings that were going on inside of them began to be audible, and they said, "Brethren, what shall we do?" The answer was, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ." You have that several times in the book of the Acts. You have it in 2:38, in 8:16 and again in 19:5 - "baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus".
You know that the commission to the apostles by the risen Lord was to "go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). Now in the book of the Acts every time it is, "in the name of Jesus"; not once do you find the full formula used of: "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit". Has something happened to change the whole thing? Well, you see, you are at once brought right to this very point that the name that Jesus bears is the name of the Triune God. It never says 'in the Name Jesus'. When Paul said, in Philippians 2:9, "Wherefore God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow", he did not say, 'in the name Jesus'. The name 'Jesus' need not be the name that is above every name, because probably there were tens of thousands of people with that name among the Jews. It was a common name. Joshua is Jesus. Hosea - it is another form of expression for the same name 'Jesus'. Although the name Jesus of Nazareth is precious to us, God invested Him with the name of the Triune God, so that He Himself said, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9), and "that all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father" (John 5:23); and, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). Well, we are anticipating a little. That was the whole point of the persecution. The persecution of the apostles and the early Christians was because they invested the name of Jesus with God, with Godhead, and the Jews said, 'That is blasphemy!'; therefore they persecuted them.
That was true not only with regard to Jews, but also Gentiles. They had their gods, their deities, and to put this One in the place of all the others and say that He is superior was provoking. The implication was that Jesus is not just a man like a multitude of other men with a common name such as Jesus, Joshua, or Hosea. No, God has invested Him; He inherits a more excellent name than the angels (Heb. 1:4); He has the Name. And what is the Name that is above, if it is not the name of God Himself, Jehovah the Lord? So when they baptised in the Name or into the name of Jesus, they were baptising into the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is the same thing. I am only concerned at the moment with the Name, and you cannot separate these. This is not another doctrine, to baptise in the name of Jesus as over against baptising in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is not something other, it is the same thing. It is that and it proved to be that, because they found God and they found the Holy Spirit when they were baptised into the name of Jesus.
But what did being baptised mean? At the beginning, it was a matter of going down into water, being buried and coming up again. It was a symbol, a figure of dying, of being buried and then being raised in newness of life. If they were baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus, they had died to every other name. They had the attitude that they died to every other name. No other name was of account to them; no other name was to be lived for or unto. There is only one name now which covered and embraced the whole of their universe. They were on new ground, in a new position, in a new relationship, and that ground and position and relationship was the Lord Jesus. Paul put it in another of his letters: "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that One died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him who for their sakes died and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14,15). "Unto Him." So you see, baptism into the name of Jesus declares that you have died to every other name, including your own name; you bear His name now. It is what we were dealing with in the previous chapter: bearing His name, His name called upon us, called by the name of the Lord - God's man, God's people, the children of God - called by His name.
There are many names seeking to take the place of His name, and it is going to be more and more so towards the end-time in which we live. There are names making a bid for world domination, to set up worldwide dominion in a name, a single name, if possible. You see the tide sweeping on. In the first World War we had several dictators, every one of them trying to get the whole world under his sway. But the thing has moved since then and it is becoming a single issue and the movement is clearly in the direction of the whole world under one name. The final issue is becoming clearer. There are two names in this universe and "His name shall endure for ever" (Psa. 72:17). The other will be gone for ever. It will be a good thing to be in the name of Jesus in the last resort. "Neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved" but the name of Jesus.
The Constituting of a People by the Name
The next thing which follows in relation to the Name in the New Testament is the constituting of a people into a defined people by the Name. I am not going to talk about the church. I am keeping to simpler terms, a people constituted as such by the Name. You will remember that when the early church came up against some difficulty over Jews and Gentiles, the problem became acute in regard to the union of Jews and Gentiles who had been before this time kept strictly apart. This problem arose when they preached the Gospel. I am so glad that the thing came up spontaneously; it was inevitable. You cannot preach one name and have two people. If you are going to preach one name, everybody has to come onto common ground, and so the very preaching of the name of Jesus raised the issue of the separation of people; Jews on the one hand and Gentiles on the other. And so it arose, as it was bound to do, and they had to meet and have a serious talk about it. In the discussion Peter, who had proclaimed this Name in the very first preaching, and had been the mouthpiece of the rest on that great day of Pentecost, this Peter got up and said, "Brethren", and then he began to quote an Old Testament passage, saying: "God visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name" and ultimately, "that the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called" (Acts 15:6-17). "A people" - singular - a people constituted such; a single and a singular people by the name of the Lord. And that is implied in their baptism, for Paul wrote again elsewhere and said, "In one Spirit were we all baptised into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13); constituted a single people. We talk about the Body, the church, but here, a people constituted by the Name.
There are a lot of practical values in that, but we will concentrate on two quite simple ones for the present. The simplest is that all who own Jesus Christ as Lord, all who are upon the ground of His name as Saviour, are one. It is that that constitutes the oneness and unity of the church. It is the Name. There are many ways of bearing that out and carrying that home. One of the most powerful ways is to recognise how Satan hates the name of Jesus so utterly that his major business ever since that Name was proclaimed as the basis of salvation, has been to split and divide God's people. Every division, every separation of the Lord's own people is a dishonouring of the name of the Lord Jesus, whether it be between two or between even multitudes. It is the work of Satan to dishonour and bring reproach upon the name of the Lord. Listen to that great heart-cry from the Lord Jesus recorded in John 17, where His heart is going out to the Father: "I manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest Me"; "I made known unto them Thy name"; "That they may all be one, even as We are one"; how? We bear the same Name. "I have given them Thy name; the men which thou gavest Me, I have given to them Thy name". It is in the Name that the oneness is found, and that cry to the Father was born of the knowledge of the work of the great adversary as the divider and schism-maker, the one whose work has ever been to cause God's universe to be shot through with discord, disruption, hatred and wars. The Name is the ground of a constituted oneness.
Remember that, and do not make something more than that the ground of oneness.
I know that we can be experientially more and more one, and this increasing oneness comes about as we go on with the Lord and discover together more and more of what the Lord is, but our basis is not the more and more. It is not the plus, the extra. Our basis of oneness is that we bear one Name, the name of the Lord. That is simple, but it goes to the heart of a lot, and therefore we must deal with every matter of division, everything coming between us, even two of us, or between companies of the Lord's people. We must deal with it all for the sake of the Name. If we are out of harmony, if we are divided, there is reproach upon the Name, and we must say, 'This does not glorify the name of the Lord, His name is dishonoured by this.' And that is sufficient motive for dealing with it all; a constituted oneness by the Name, recognising that it is on that ground that we are one.
Their commission to this world was in the Name. "For the sake of the name they went forth." That is a simple statement, but it embraces a great deal more in the New Testament. It is quite clear from the very consequences themselves, that is the outworking of things, that they were conscious of being commissioned by this Name, that they were going into the nations solely in the interests of this Name, to bear this Name, "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me", their Lord had said, "in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). "Witnesses unto Him". And how did they witness to Him? Simply by declaring Him, His Name, Jesus as Lord. The commission was the commission of the Name.
Do we add something extra to that? If so, that accounts for a lot of the trouble. We have a lot of names, labels, titles, a lot of things that we have not seen clearly to be a matter of the Name. If only in all the work of God, in all Christian activity, one single issue was kept in view - His Name. It would settle all the disputes among Christian workers. It would settle the question of divisions among Christians in Christian work. It would be a mighty motive behind which the Holy Spirit would be the dynamic, for it has ever been so. The Holy Spirit has committed Himself to that Name. He never commits Himself unless the Name is the one single and all-governing concern; not a teaching, a movement, a campaign, an institution, not anything else, but only the name of the Lord Jesus. If that was brought to bear upon everything in Christian work there would be a tremendous difference. The Lord would come in in a new way. It is not a matter of this or that thing, teaching, interpretation, name or anything else. The Lord sweeps all the names out and brings in one Name! Do not talk about things by names, keep the Lord always in view; it is the Lord. So their commission was the Name, by the Name, and nothing else.
Suffering for the Name
And in their going forth for the sake of the Name, the Lord being with them and working through them in mighty ways, they found that they had to suffer for the Name. That Name involved them in suffering, because the name of Jesus is the name of the Lord, and there are many other gods and lords belonging to this world. There is, over all the other gods and lords that men worship, the one who is called the god of this age, who "hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving" (2 Cor. 4:4). If you come up against that other system with its great head, that involves suffering. They found it to be like that, but they knew it would be like that, and to know it is to really undercut a good deal of the poignancy and the trouble that comes upon you. If you do not expect it, you are very much disarmed and broken down, but if you are aware this is what will happen, it is a help on the way.
These first Christians went forth for the sake of the Name and they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the Name (Acts 5:41). They took joyfully the spoiling of their goods (Heb. 10:34). "To you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer in His behalf" (Phil. 1:29). Now, this is an easy thing said, and it is easy to get ourselves into trouble by saying these things. That is put to the test very soon. But we observe the fact that they had reached the position where the Name involved them in suffering and they did not interpret this as something gone wrong, as something unexpected. They took it as a part, not only of their commission, but of their privilege. Why? Because the Name was so dear to them. They would suffer anything for that Name.
Vindication by the Name
My last word for the present is that going forth for the sake of the Name, having the Name ever and always as the one interest and concern, governing everything, and accepting all the consequences of their faithfulness to that Name in much suffering and affliction, the early Christians were vindicated by the Name. Oh yes, some of them died the death of martyrs, were executed in different ways, but they were vindicated. There is a New Testament, there are their names! Are they vindicated? Read it. What do we owe to this New Testament? We owe all our knowledge of the Lord to this. We owe our comfort in the conflict and suffering to this. It bears the name of these people. They are vindicated! In us they are vindicated; in the whole history of the church they are vindicated. They are vindicated in heaven and we are going to see their vindication, and if it please God, we who bear the Name and suffer for the Name are going to be vindicated with them. That is declared here. They, without us, cannot be made perfect (Heb. 11:40).
What vindication do you want? Do you want tangible rewards, houses, lands and all that sort of thing because you have lost them? They all go sooner or later anyway. If you get them back, they still have to go. We brought nothing into the world, and we shall take nothing out (Eccles. 5:15). All we desire is to know that we have been well-pleasing unto Him, that we have been able to serve the interests of His Name, and that there is something that stands for all eternity to the glory of His Name by our having borne it. So they went forth for the sake of the glory of the Name.