Happy December! Happy Advent!
We started a new message series last week. The new message series is “He Will Be Called.”
Your name is so important. Yet, you did not choose your name. You had no say in the matter. But God knew your name before you were born. It is your name that is either written or not written in the Lamb’s book of life. And it is your name that you share when you introduce yourself before you share anything else.
In Philippians 2:9 it says there is a name that is above every other name. It is the name of Jesus and it is at his name that every knee shall bow. 700 years before Jesus would be born, the Prophet Isaiah gave Jesus four names in Isaiah 9:6. This verse reads:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
During the season of Advent we will be looking at these four names of Jesus (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace). Last Sunday we looked at Wonderful Counselor.
Jesus is qualified like no other as the Wonderful Counselor. He has compassion and empathy like no other. He understands what we are going through better than we know ourselves. It says in Hebrews 4:15:
For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
And even better than knowing what ails us, Jesus knows what cures us. We have no counselor as wonderful as Jesus, our wonderful counselor. As we think about Jesus being our wonderful counselor we want to:
1) Be brutally honest with him. Jesus already knows what we are struggling with. If we are not honest with him, we are only fooling ourselves. He is not fooled. Yet, pride has a way of making us keep our masks on. We hide behind our pride unwilling to admit our weakness and our need for help. The are many who would do well to speak with a counselor but will snot do so, because they are afraid of admitting their weakness. But the best way for the Wonderful Counselor to help us is for us to be willing to open up to him.
2) Listen to him. This takes effort and discipline. The Wonderful Counselor speaks, but in our hurried and busy lives we too often fail to take the time or the effort. Jesus promise is that if we seek we will find, if we knock the door will be opened, and if we ask it will be given. Seek his voice in His Word. Seek him in the quiet. Seek his voice in the gathering with other believers. Seek his voice and the Wonderful Counselor will respond.
3) Do what he says. This is a lot easier said than done. A rich young man came to Jesus and asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus said to keep the commandments. The rich young man said, “Yes, I have done that.” (Mark 10:17-20)
But the very next thing it says is that Jesus looked at him and loved him. Jesus is about to tell this man something he did not want to hear, but something he needed to hear. Jesus knew what ailed this man. It was his love of possessions. Jesus also knew what the cure was. It was to give these possessions away (10:21). But the rich young man was not willing to take this step. It was too hard, even though life was not working out as he had hoped. (Mark 10:22)
How sad, Jesus offered him a better way, but he was not willing to go down that path. The disciples were amazed at this. They asked, “How can anyone be saved?” (Mark 10:26) God shows us the way, but too often we are unwilling to follow.
Jesus response is “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!” (Mark 10:27) It is only by God’s power that we are enabled to do what he says. We ask for God’s strength and his Spirit to do what he says. It is not about finding more will power in myself. It is about receiving more God-power on my knees.