Sermon: Exorcising our Demons


Even the most righteous people and institutions can be possessed by wrong attitudes. Let’s examine how only the authority of Jesus can heal what’s wrong with us. 


Perhaps we can learn how evil comes in many disguises, even religious ones.

Sermon Plan 

Are we healers or destroyers? Let’s look at healing since ancient times, the healing of a nation, healing prayer, evil attitudes, what owns us, exorcising our demons, how evil invades sacred times and spaces, and what constitutes teaching authority. 

1. Healers or Destroyers 

Are we healers or destroyers? There are more accounts of Jesus healing than any other person in the Bible (Mark 1:21-28). What can we learn from his healings? Could it be that with Jesus people have a higher priority than penalties and laws? Could it be that God is a God of compassion? Does Jesus want to heal more than people’s diseases? Does he also want to heal their lives? Why when Jesus healed people did he touch them, speak to them and use the physical means at his disposal? Not everyone has been given the miraculous gifts of healing that Jesus had, yet we too have opportunity to touch, speak and use the physical means at our disposal. A simple touch or word can heal or destroy. Jesus came to heal not destroy. Are we healers or destroyers? ( 

2. Evil Attitudes 

Jesus faced a demon with a critical spirit in the assembly (Mark 1:21-28). Where does such an attitude come from? What did the demon say? It muttered in effect, “What do you want here with us, Jesus, you outsider? Are you here to destroy us?” Even acknowledging who Jesus was, it had a negative attitude. If we find that our conversations revolve around tearing people apart rather than encouraging them, then let’s take the authority of Jesus over the evil in our hearts. Notice that the demon also possessed the man. Evil is about possession and control. Do we want to possess or control the church? If so, then we are acting like demons. Jesus came to set the church free, not possess it. Let’s cast out the demons of negativity in our lives by the authority of God. 

3. What Owns Us 

In Mark 1:21-28 Jesus faced a demon that possessed a man. The demon controlled the man’s life. What owns us? Alcohol and drugs possess some people’s lives, but that is less common as other things. What about greed and the desire to be affluent? Do gluttony and selfishness possess us? Are we possessed by various national materialistic dreams? Money is what possesses politics. Have we ever heard someone run on a poverty platform, giving more of what we possess away? No, we are possessed by politics that promises more wealth. What about envy? Does jealousy of others possess us? What about criticism? Does a critical spirit possess us? What about lust? Does covetousness possess us? Perhaps demon possession is not as rare as we might think. Is our world filled with demons that want to own and possess us? 

4. Exorcising our Demons 

In Mark 1:21-28 when Jesus exorcised a demon he did not perform an elaborate ceremony. He simply used his authority and told the demon to be quiet and leave. We all have our demons. While we look down our noses at the drunk or drug addict, we may be possessed by the demons of judgmentalism and selfishness. While we criticize the overweight person, we may be possessed by the demons of pride and ego. While we smile outwardly we may be battling the demons of depression and despair. Worshiping the gods of chemistry may work for a while, but drugs only mask our demons. Pharmaceuticals are like crutches; they are needed because something is broken. The long term solution is often to find the cause, exorcise the demons and change our lives so that they will not come back. 

5. Sacred Times and Spaces 

In Mark 1:21-28 Jesus entered a synagogue on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a sacred time under the Old Covenant and the synagogue was a sacred space for the Jews. In that sacred time and space, the teachers of the law believed that they had sacred authority, yet it was Jesus who taught with authority, effectively invading what they believed was their place not his. The one who was most outspoken about it was someone possessed by an unholy spirit. Think of it. The one who was most concerned with protecting what he thought was his sacred space was someone who wanted to possess it or had a possessive spirit. We confuse what is sacred to us with what is sacred to God. Let’s exorcise the demons of our own creation and get back to what is truly sacred. 

6. Teaching Authority 

What does it mean in Mark 1:21-28 that Jesus taught them as one who had authority? He did not teach like the Pharisees, yet they were the religious authorities of the day. They were known for nit-picky preaching. So, if religious authority does not make someone an authority to teach, what does? Let’s first of all look at the other extreme, those who teach as if they have authority, but their teaching is rubbish. Any ignorant fool can stand up and act like he knows it all, pulling ideas out of thin air and blaming the Holy Spirit for idiotic doctrines, but that is not what this is talking about either. To have the authority of Jesus, we ought to at least start by teaching what Jesus taught instead of inventing things that have no basis in the Bible. 


Even the most righteous people and institutions can be possessed by wrong attitudes. Only the authority of Jesus can exorcise our demons and heal what’s wrong with us.

Sermon: The Time has Come

What did Jesus really say when he preached to repent and believe the Gospel? 
Uncover some of the negativity associated with the word repentance and lead us to the positive truth.
Sermon Plan 
We will look at the meaning of “the time has come,” the “reign of God,” repentance and religion. 
The Time has Come 
In Mark’s version of Jesus’ ministry, the first public words out of his mouth were, “The time has come!” (Mark 1:14-20) Some translations render that as the time is fulfilled or simply put, “Time’s up!” (the Message). This goes against the idea that the kingdom of heaven is entirely future, after this life is over. The fact is that the time for God’s rule is both now and in the future. Parables such as the mustard seed and leaven indicate a reign of God that grows. If it grows, it exists now as well as in the future. The words repent and believe are said in a sense that something is present with us now, not to come over 2,000 years later. In response to that kingdom call, the disciples immediately left their nets. The time has come! 
The Reign of God 
In Mark 1:14-20 Jesus said that the kingdom of God has come near. The word reign is sometimes preferred to kingdom, not just to bow to gender sensitivities or other possibly suspect motives, but for good reasons. The word kingdom carries with it connotations of a small elite class that abuses and makes capital of the majority. Such “royalty” is totally foreign to the sovereignty of God. Words like reign or dominion help us understand that the kingdom of God is not necessarily understood by this world’s political terms. Others prefer to use the original Greek word basileia but using specialized jargon is useless for helping the average person understand God’s government. We enter that reign of God when we do God’s will (Matthew 7:21). It grows as more people submit to God’s dominion now and for eternity. 
Repentance not Penance 
Jesus preached repentance (Mark 1:14-20). Louw and Nida define it as the “result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness.” Friberg explains that it means to “change ones mind.” UBS calls it a “change of heart.” Repentance is not penance. Penance is restitution. A desire to set things right is good but no deeds can pay for our sins. The word penance and modern definitions of repentance which have been derived from it such as claiming that repentance is a “change of direction” do injustice to the concept of grace. Even John the baptizer recognized that any such change of life was not repentance itself but rather fruits of it (Matthew 3:8). We don’t perform to earn grace, but we do good deeds in gratitude for grace freely given by God. (Louw-Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. 1988. United Bible Societies.)(Friberg. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. 2005. Trafford Publishing.)(Newman, Barclay. UBS Greek New Testament. 1966. United Bible Societies.)(
Repentance, an Afterthought 
Is repentance negative or positive? Jesus did not use it in the negative sense of turning away from sin or changing our ways, but positively in turning to the Gospel. Nowhere in the entire New Testament are the words repent and sin together in the same thought. Repentance comes from two Greek words, “meta” meaning after or beyond or even outside, and “nous” meaning thought or reason. So “metanoia” or repentance is a life-changing afterthought, rethinking after we have sinned. Thinking outside the box and thinking outside of one’s self are akin to repentance. What did Jesus ask us to think about? He did not say “repent of sins.” Rather, he asked us to “REPENT AND BELIEVE” the Gospel, to change our minds and think in a positive direction. That positive direction is belief in the Gospel (Mark 1:14-20). 
Thoughtfully Believe the Gospel 
Jesus encouraged people to believe (Mark 1:14-20). Some bigots think that is mindless belief. In the original language belief is not a mindless activity engaged in by intellectually inferior, uneducated people. It is an intellectual evaluation. It means to be persuaded of and have confidence in the Gospel. It is a religious faith. It is a saving faith. It is not divorced from intellect. Contrary to many prejudices against those who believe in Jesus, his Great Commandment includes loving God with our minds. Belief can be either unthinking or thoughtful. The kind of belief that Jesus encouraged was to be thought through deeply not just rushed into without using the mind. Because none of us has access to all knowledge, all human belief is faith based upon best available knowledge. Belief in the Gospel is a reasonable, intellectual conclusion. (Friberg. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. 2005. Trafford Publishing.) (
Redefining Religion 
A fad today claims that religion and Jesus’ teachings are two different things. It defines religion differently than the Bible does (James 1:26-27) where it is simply a translation of a word meaning worship or ceremony. It is a neutral word which needs more explanation in a sentence to separate good from bad religion. Defining all religion as against Jesus is ignorance of the word’s meaning. It is part of a modern fad of interpreting the Bible by human whim rather than serious study, blaming the Holy Spirit for fanciful modern inspiration and ignoring his inspiration throughout Christian history. When Jesus announced that the reign of God is at hand (Mark 1:14-20), he was not speaking of a kingdom of this world, but ‘the nature of true religion, here termed by our Lord, "the kingdom of God."’ (Wesley, John. ed. by Thomas Jackson.Sermons on Several Occasions, The Way to the Kingdom, Sermon 7. 1872. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) 
The Religion of Jesus Christ 
Religion and Jesus’ teachings are not two different things as some falsely claim. The religion of Jesus Christ and that taught by human tradition may sometimes be two different things (Galatians 1:13-14). Jesus taught “true religion,” not “mere outside religion” but “religion of the heart.” His religion is a “participation of the divine nature.” That is where repentance finds its root, in a change of heart which results in outward good works. When hearts are void of repentance, then any ceremonies become empty religion. Ceremonies are not wrong. Jesus instituted the bread and wine, which are very important ceremonies of his religion. However, even that is empty religion if not accompanied by a change of heart. That is why the first words from Jesus in regard to the realm of God were for people to repent (Mark 1:14-20). (Wesley, John. ed. by Thomas Jackson. Sermons on Several Occasions, Preface, First Series, Consisting of Fifty-Three Discourses and Sermon 3, Awake, Thou That Sleepest. 1872. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library) 
The time has come. The realm of God is already here in the church. Now is not the time for negative focus on our own sins or those of others, but a positive change of heart oriented towards the reign of God.

Sermon: Come and See Jesus

How do we invite people to church? It can be scary and daunting, yet it is easier than we may think. We don’t need to take classes in evangelism methods. We don’t need special training. We just need to make an open-ended and simple invitation for people to come see for themselves. 
The goal is to help us realize that the way we invite people to come to Christ ought to consider examples from the Bible more than fads and other inventions of mere men. 
Sermon Plan 
Let’s take a look at Nathanael’s epiphany and how he found Jesus, and how he was found by Jesus. Let’s also look at how some do not find Jesus. The invitation is to come and see Jesus. Let’s also look at how this non-threatening invitation, totally unlike an altar call is a model for how we should invite others to come and see Jesus. 
Nathaniel's Epiphany 
When Philip invited Nathaniel to come and see Jesus (John 1:43-51), his encounter was a life-changing epiphany. Jesus revealed something simple about his previous activity and immediately Nathaniel realized that he was talking to the Son of God, the king of Israel. Those illuminating moments of the divine are magnificent. Many people encounter God in everyday events, but quickly pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on as if nothing happened. However, epiphanies are important moments not to be so easily dismissed. It is precisely at those times that we realize what are the deeper, important things of life, and the nature of reality beyond what our physical senses perceive. An epiphany is like when the background noise of this world’s distractions suddenly fades to nothing and the only sound left is the still, quiet voice of God. 
Finding Jesus 
When Philip told Nathaniel that they had found the one Moses wrote about in the law (John 1:43-51), Nathaniel’s initial reaction was disbelief. We may react in similar fashion today. Can anything good come out of Mexico, Maine or Mumbai? Our prejudices blind us to finding Jesus. It may not be geographical prejudice. It may be linguistic, someone with a different accent or grammar. It may be racial, someone of a different ethnic group or skin color. It may be denominational, someone of a different church background. It may be educational, someone of a different educational level or field. Bigotry is not logical, but it is built within all of us, and it prevents us from finding Jesus. Mother Teresa once said that the dying, the cripple, the mental, the unwanted, the unloved they are Jesus in disguise. (
Found by Jesus 
When Jesus found Philip he had a simple message (John 1:43-51), “Follow me!” That is the same message that Jesus gives to us today. The Christian journey is filled with mixed messages: “Follow a man! Follow a woman! Follow the rules! Follow the traditions! Follow the discipline! Follow the confession! Follow the whims! Follow the fads!” Yet none of those things defines Christianity. When we find Jesus, we are not satisfied with following him. So, we invent rules that neither Jesus nor the Apostles did and we ignore the things that Jesus taught. We follow our egos and worship our own ideas instead of the Christianity of Jesus. This passage contains one of the simplest and most profound definitions of what Christianity is all about. Let’s remember those important words that Jesus said when he found Philip, “Follow me!” 
Not Finding Jesus 
When Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, God was very angry with them (Numbers 12:1-9). Blinded by their criticisms, they failed to find God behind his servant. When David had the opportunity to avenge himself against Saul’s persecution, he refused because he found God in the picture. He said that he would not lift his hand against God’s anointed (1 Samuel 26:22-24). When Ananias and Sapphira lied to church leaders about their offering, they only saw people (Acts 5:1-10). They did not find Jesus in the picture. When people killed Jesus and the prophets, they did not acknowledge the presence of God (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16). Philip found Jesus (John 1:43-51) and became a true disciple. Like Nathanial, have we found the Son of God, the king of Israel, or have we only found faulty people? 
Come and See Jesus 
When Philip found Jesus (John 1:43-51) he told Nathanael who initially scoffed. Philip then invited him to come and see. When we tell people about our faith they sometimes scoff. Philip set a good example. He did not try to argue with Nathanael, but simply invited him to come and see for himself. That’s a great way to handle scoffers. Ultimately people must see Jesus to come to faith. Our local church has strengths. We are a praying, compassionate and giving church. We put on great pot luck meals. But, ultimately unless people find Jesus among us, they have not found the purpose behind it all. Like Nathanael, when people come and see Jesus in our midst, then they find faith. That’s the same invitation that Jesus also made to two disciples of John the baptizer, come and see. 
A Non-Threatening Invitation 
The invitation to come and see (John 1:43-51) is non-threatening. It is not an argument. It is not applying pressure or any kind of manipulation. Why are so many of us afraid to offer such a simple invitation? When people are tired of this world and its false advertising, let’s invite them to come and see Jesus. When people are weary and heavily laden with the consequences of wrong decisions, let’s invite them to come and see Jesus. When people are beset with every kind of worry and anxiety, let’s invite them to come and see Jesus. When people are tired of false religion, let’s invite them to come and see Jesus. Not once did Jesus’ disciples ask if others had given their heart to the Lord or where they would spend eternity. They simply made a non-threatening invitation. 
No Altar Calls Made 
Jesus and his disciples did not make altar calls. Charles Finney popularized them in the 1800’s. In Defense of the Altar Call Steve Deneff quoted Charles Spurgeon, who did not use altar calls. He criticized churches which no longer have altar calls as watering down the Gospel. Such rebuke promotes human techniques and also criticizes Jesus? Deneff claims that altar calls build an accountable community via testimony and confession. Are we more righteous than Jesus? Why not follow Jesus’ example? Altar calls are not a condition of salvation. They can cause false confessions manipulated by hype. They can be misused to promote a preacher more than Jesus. They are something seen, but faith is the evidence of things not seen. What did Jesus' disciples do? They often issued a simple invitation to come and see Jesus (John 1:43-51). 
Inviting people to church can be scary and daunting, yet it is easier than we may think. We don’t need to take classes in evangelism methods. We don’t need special training. We just need to make an open-ended and simple invitation for people to come see for themselves exactly what this Jesus thing is all about. Let’s each invite someone soon.

Sermon: God Invades Earth

What is an epiphany? Is it a big vision with smoke and thunder and loads of drama, or is it something quiet and off in a corner. The epiphany of Jesus was not a great and dramatic thing like the crossing of the Red Sea, but it was a revelation of God nonetheless.
God has invaded earth to bring world peace. The world scoffed. The power brokers tried to destroy it, but God came down anyway as a harmless child. The people of God ignored it, but pagans did not. Let’s take a look at that invasion today and see what it means for us. Let’s see if we can catch the epiphany.
The goal is to make us aware of which side we are on, God’s or worldly politics.
Sermon Plan
We will take a look at Matthew 2, the Magi, the Herods, the gifts, the worship and the politics. Why is it that non-Christians sometimes seem to have more faith than we do?
The Magi
Ever since we were children we have heard of the visit of the Magi after Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1-12). Who were they? The Greek term is magoi. Friberg defines this as wise men of the Magian religion, magicians or sorcerers. Louw and Nida prefer “men of wisdom who studied the stars.” An ancient historian, Herodotus of Halicarnassus called them interpreters of omens and dreams who perhaps still sacrificed to Persian gods. They were possibly baptized into the church many years later by the apostle Thomas while on his way to plant churches in India. Why did pagans show more belief than followers of God? Herod had access through the Jews who had even easier access, but most of them chose not to be interested. What is our reaction to the birth of Jesus?
The Herods
 In Matthew 2:1-12 we are introduced to Herod. The name applied to a dynasty of foreign Edomite (i. e. Idumean) kings. As clients of Rome their rule included Galilee and Judea during the time of Christ. They were known for military expertise, cruelty and being lovers of luxury. As subcontractors to the Roman Emperor, they enforced Roman rule, took taxes in the form of money, food and merchandise, and kept order. While taking taxes for Rome, they were also free to take for themselves. The excessive tax burdens led to unbearable poverty which, along with the imposition of emperor worship, led to frequent revolts by zealots. It was a precarious position with threats all around. So, the kingdom of God, while not of this world, was understood as a political force by the disciples, Jewish leaders and the Romans.
The Gifts
The gifts given to Jesus in Matthew 2:1-12 were gold, frankincense and myrrh. The number of the wise men is taken from the three gifts, but they could have been as many as twelve people according to eastern tradition. Gold was a gift for royalty. Frankincense and myrrh are aromatic herbs with healing properties [1]. Frankincense comes from the sap of Boswellia trees and used for incense, perfume and anointing oil (Exodus 30:32-34). As a gift it possibly symbolized Jesus' high priestly office. Myrrh comes from the sap of Commiphora trees, is bitter and another ingredient of anointing oil. As a preservative is was used to anoint the dead and thus foretold Jesus’ death on the cross. The gifts may have been seen as prophetic and symbolic of Christ as king, high priest and suffering savior.
The Worship
 When the Magi inquired about Jesus in Matthew 2:1-12 they said that they had come to worship him. This upset Herod who plotted to kill Jesus. These wise men of the east did not come merely to honor Jesus, but to worship him. When Jesus was tempted by Satan he was told to bow down and worship the devil. But Jesus replied that worship is something reserved only for God (Matthew 4:10), and he told the devil to leave. In Greek, the same wording is used for when a leper, a synagogue leader, the disciples, a gentile woman and Zebedee’s wife also worshiped Jesus (Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9, 17). Although it is popular for people to think of Jesus as merely a good man, he was God with us.
The Politics
 When the wise men from Babylon or Persia inquired about Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12) they had no idea of the politics involved. They only wanted to worship the Messiah and seem to have naively believed that others would too. However, there were a lot of power plays threatened by this news. Israel was ruled by a brutal foreign king, Herod, who was a client of the Roman Emperor. Herod was vulnerable. He had encountered trouble with Rome and Jewish zealots before and had brutally murdered many other potential rivals. Jewish leaders had made an uneasy peace with the devil by cooperating with Rome and its puppet king Herod. They had profited by this compromise and zealots rising up to free Judea were a threat to their arrangement. The kingdom of heaven and its Messiah were a political threat all around.
The Application
God is everywhere. We don’t need to look far. When we get our eyes on our things, we miss seeing God. Let’s take time to look.
God has invaded earth to bring world peace. The world scoffed. The power brokers tried to destroy it, but God came down anyway as a harmless child. The people of God ignored it, but pagans did not. What about us? Have we seen the epiphany?

Sermon: The Holy Name of Jesus


I once worked in a factory making typewriter ribbons. We made regular spools which retailed for 25 cents each. The same spools were wrapped in gold foil, placed in a gold box and sold for $2.50. People bought the name, a name which meant nothing. It was a deception. The same is true of many products on the market, we think that a name means something but it may be deception. The whole world is filled with such deceit, both in the private and public sectors. We learn not to trust one name and move on to another seeking a name that we can trust. Eventually, we learn that there is only one name that we can trust, and it’s not a name in politics or in the market.


We must learn how important and blessed the name of Jesus is. It means saved from all our troubles, help when there is no help, rescue when there is none, real liberation when all the false liberation promised by this world fails. It means real freedom that no other can provide, freedom from the consequences of all our collective wrongdoing, and it means freedom from death. No other name deserves such honor and respect.

Sermon Plan

My plan is to show how only the name of Jesus is the one we can put our trust in, how two Joshua’s in the Old Testament gave us clues to Jesus’ mission, and how his circumcision relates to our circumcision of heart. Only he can save us from the terrible consequences of our collective bad decisions, why we should honor the holy name of Jesus.

1.     In the Name of Jesus

Description: was named as an infant (Luke 2:15-21). So what does it mean when we pray, “in the name of Jesus?” There is no single account of a prayer in the New Testament using that phrase in a prayer. We can pray in the name of Jesus without a rote phrase. Saying the phrase is not wrong, but it can lose its meaning, degenerating to a mere signal that a prayer is over. How then can we pray in Jesus’ name as he said (John 16:22-27)? The word for name also means reputation, authorization, power behind the name, in honor of and even for the sake of the person named. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are praying in honor of the most sacred name, with his full approval and in awe of his most wonderful reputation. (Reference: Friberg, Timothy, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller. Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Baker's Greek New Testament Library. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. BibleWorks, v. 3.5.)

2.     Jesus & Joshua

Description: (Iesous) is from Greek for Joshua (Jeshua, Jehoshua). There were two men named Joshua whose lives were forerunners of Jesus Christ. It was under Joshua the son of Nun that Israel conquered 31 cities in the land of Canaan beginning around 1400 BC. Jesus (Luke 2:15-21) was given a name which means “God saves” because he was born to save each one of us (Matthew 1:20-23). We cannot save ourselves from death, but Jesus can if we let him. Joshua leading Israel into the Promised Land is symbolic of Jesus leading the saved into eternal life. A lesser known Joshua in the Bible, Joshua the son of Jozadak was the first person named as high priest after Israel returned from national captivity in Babylon (Haggai 1). Jesus is our high priest who offered himself (Hebrews 8:3-5). (References:; The Oxford History of the Biblical World. 1998. Oxford University Press;;

3.     Circumcision of Jesus

Description: most Jewish boys, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:15-21). We may think of it as a bloody practice and that opinion is not new. Over three thousand years ago, Zipporah accused her husband Moses of being a bloody man because of their son’s circumcision (Exodus 4:24-26). Some may even believe that it is a primitive practice that society should outgrow. Yet, modern scientific and medical research continues to show how far advanced the ancients were in this regard. The World Journal of Urology [1] concluded that positive benefits include decreased risk of HIV infection. Web MD [2] suggests that circumcision provides a 50% reduction in HIV transmission, threefold reduction in HPV infections which can cause cervical cancer, reduced syphilis and chlamydia, about 10 times less infant urinary tract infections, and virtual elimination of serious penile cancers. ([1] World Journal of Urology, Male circumcision and HIV infection risk, John N. Krieger, Department of Urology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA, Springer-Verlag 2011; [2]

4.     Circumcision of the Heart

Description: Jesus was circumcised as an infant (Luke 2:15-21) he gave no command for Christians to be circumcised in the flesh. Yet, the Old Testament spoke of a circumcision of the heart (Deuteronomy 10:15-17; 30:5-7; Jeremiah 4:3-5) which applies to both old and new covenants. God uses outward things for a lesson about more important inner things. What happens when someone is circumcised in the heart? Physical circumcision pictured what God really wants, a change in heart and soul, a different attitude (Romans 2:28-29). This is a focus on the things of the Spirit, not the letter of the law. We look to praise from God and not human beings. Belonging to a church or a special ethnic group does not impress God as much as a heart that loves him and our fellow humans.

5.     Saved from Terrible Consequences

Description: (Luke 2:15-21) was so named because he would save people from sin (Matthew 1:20-23). Wrongdoing has consequences both now and forever. Having false gods causes us to rely on things that cannot rescue us from calamity. Idolatry causes people to look in the wrong direction for help. Misusing the name of the Lord causes us to take the only one who can help lightly. Not taking a day of rest causes stress and early death. Dishonoring our parents causes broken families, poverty and crime. Murder destroys families and neighborhoods. Adultery breaks marriages and families, and spreads distrust and disease. Theft takes away the peace and security of our neighborhoods. Bearing false witness fills the land with false advertising and distrust. Coveting causes crime and war. Only Jesus can rescue us from the consequences of our bad decisions.

6.     Holy Name of Jesus

Jesus was named when he was an infant (Luke 2:15-21). It means “Jehovah [God] is salvation.” Salvation is liberation or help from God. Jesus would save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:20-23). His name would be the hope of the whole world (Matthew 12:15-21). The disciples complained about those who healed in Jesus’ name without authority, but Jesus said not to stop them. Anyone doing a miracle in his powerful name is on our side (Mark 9:38-40). The Catholic Society of the Holy Name is a fraternity that prays for those who blaspheme the name Jesus. In Greek Jesus’ name is Ἰησοῦς [capitalized ΙΗΣΟΥΣ] pronounced yay-soos. The first three letters capitalized in Greek were a common abbreviation for Jesus ΙΗΣ. In our English alphabet, those letters are written IHS, letters used to decorate churches everywhere.


Let us learn to appreciate, honor and revere the holy name of Jesus and let us teach others to do the same. There is only one name that we can trust, and it’s not a name in politics or in the market. No name other than the name of Jesus deserves to be treated with such honor and respect.