Sermon delivered May 18, 2002 by Chaplain Dan Petsch, USN

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the King James Version KJV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

The Name Above Every Name

Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

I want to thank you all for the honor of being here today and for the cordiality my wife and I have been shown here today. We thank you very much. You're a wonderful church. It makes me almost miss the civilian ministry. I am enjoying very much what I am doing. The is a ministry that is greatly needed in our armed forces today.

Let's open our Bibles to our scripture reading for this morning. Philippians 2, I'm just going to read verse 9 for you today. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.

What's in a name? You know, Shakespeare once said that "There's nothing in a name." He said that "A rose that is called by any other name is just as sweet." Well, it is with great joy that I tell you that after all the suffering that William Shakespeare caused me in school, I could tell you that he's wrong. Now, I'm going to prove that to you this morning, I hope.

Listen, If I gave you a check for a million dollars with my name written on it and you took it to your local banker and you presented it to him, He would laugh in hysterical laughter. "What's this? This means nothing." But if I give you a check for a million dollars with the name of Bill Gates signature on it, your banker would fall on his knees in great reverence because the name of Bill Gates is something in the halls of finance.

What's in a name?

One day a big fierce lion pounced on a monkey in the jungle and demanded, "Tell me the name of the king of the jungle!" The frightened monkey said, "Well, you're the king of the jungle, Lion." And so the lion let him go.

The next animal the lion met was a Zebra. He pounced on that zebra and demanded, "Tell me, Zebra, Who is the king of the jungle?" And that zebra who was terrified, said, "You're the king of the jungle, O Lion." So he let him go.

The lion then came up to an elephant. And he asked the same question. The elephant grabbed the lion with his powerful trunk, twirled him around and around like a dish towel and threw him fifty feet and he smacked his head against a tree. The lion got up, shaking his head, and said, "All right, all right! Just because you don't know the answer to the question, there's no reason to get mad at me."

What's in a name?

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:1 KJV, A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.

One day, I read a story about a rancher who lost his beloved dog. So he put an ad in the newspaper trying to recover that lost pooch of his.

A great name, but didn't fit the profile, did it.

I read a story about two brothers who terrorized the Midwestern town that they grew up in. In fact, they were the heads of this town. They were really bad brothers. They cheated their customers in their business dealings. They were unfaithful to their wives. They abused their kids. They kicked the dog. I mean, these boys were just bad bad brothers.

As fate would have it, the older one died. So, the younger one went to the local pastor (there was only one pastor in this western town) and he said, "Pastor, I want you to do the funeral sermon for my brother. In that sermon, I want you to tell everybody that my brother was a saint." The pastor said, "You've got to be kidding. Everybody knows what kind of man you brother was. And the kind of man you are. I can't say that to those people out there." "Pastor, I'll make it worth your while." He pulls out his checkbook and begins to write, "One hundred thousand dollars." The pastor took the check.

A few days later came the day of the funeral. The church was packed. Everybody hated this guy, but wanted to make sure the guy was really dead. That's why they all showed up. So the pastor is preaching away. He was telling the congregation, "... you know what kind of a man this was that is lying here before you. You know how he cheated you in your business dealings. You know how he treated his wife, his family. But compared to his brother right here, this man was a saint."

What does a name mean?

What do you think of when you hear the name, William Shakespeare? You probably think: great poetry, perhaps. What do you think of when you hear the name, Judas? Traitor. What about the name, Adolf Hitler? Monster? Pervert? What do you think of when you hear the name, Beethoven? Great music, don't you?

But my friends, there is a name above every name, and it's a precious name. It's a powerful name. It's even a saving name. It is a conquering name. It's an eternal name. It is the name of Jesus, Who is the Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father.

When the smallest child whispers the name of Jesus in his night- time prayer beside his tiny bed, every demon on earth trembles in absolute fear. When that name is whispered over tortured lips of those who are sick and suffering, disease begin to disappear and suffering and pain stop because of the power and majesty of the mighty name of Jesus. Mention that name, which is above every name, and immediately, fear begins to vanish and faith is born. The black clouds of depression are forced to roll away. The shackles of misery and habit are broken instantly. New life bursts being because of the mighty name of Jesus Christ.

Mention that name, which is above every name and instantly God will open the prison doors and set the captives free. I'm telling you that Jesus can set you free from everything that holds you captive today. Mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally. Because I know Him to be the great Liberator. When you call upon that name, my dear friend, blind eyes begin to see, deaf ears begin to hear, and the dumb can speak, the lame can walk with glory because Jesus is the Great Physician.

When the early disciples spoke that name, nearly two thousand years ago in the upper room, it cause the wind and fire of Pentecost to fall down on them. My prayer for you, my dear friends, is that God would let the wind and fire of Pentecost come right here to McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church, that you would have the power and the presence of the Living God right here.

When you mention the name of Jesus,

You know, the prophet said in Isaiah 9:6 KJV, And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. And according to that text, Jesus is my friend. He's my Savior. He is my deliverer. He is my Counselor. He is my Comforter. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and He is our soon coming King.

I mentioned earlier that the name of Bill Gates will open the doors of finance. The name of Albert Einstein will open the doors of science and physics. The name of Beethoven will open the doors of music. But the name of Jesus will open the gates of heaven and shut the gates of hell. His name is above every name. Every title that man gives to himself, whether it's king, prince duke and even lord, are given simply to gratify their egos and their vanities.

Alexander the Great, what a highfalutin name that is, was a man who died suddenly at the ripe old age of thirty three. He was not a great man. He could not even conquer his own passions. Herod the Great. There's a lofty title for you. He was a moral monster who murdered nine of his ten wives for no reason at all. He was the man, who by legal decree, demanded that his only son be executed on the day he died so that Israel would mourn, because he knew that Israel hated him and loved his son. He was the same man who decreed that all the innocent children to be slaughtered when Jesus was born in His manger.

My friends, there was one man who walked across the stage of human history Whose greatness is greater that human tongue can tell. He is called the Great I Am. He is called, the Great Physician. He is called the Great Shepherd, Who guides and provides for those who love Him.

Never in human history has there been a child who is born the living God from the womb of a the virgin, but Jesus was. Never was there a man who was wounded by Satan and yet crushed him at Calvary's hill, but Jesus did. Never was there a man who was the Savior of men, yet crucified by men, but Jesus was. Never was there a person buried in the grave for three days and yet on that third day arose from the dead just as He said He would, and Jesus did.

You know, many have been to the tomb of Ulysses S Grant. I've got news for you. He's still there. Many have been to the grave of Abraham Lincoln. He's still there, too. Many have been to the grave of Thomas Jefferson. And he's still there. But when you go to the tomb of Jesus, it's empty, for He has risen. And He alone is the living God Whose name is above every name, Who is worthy of our praise and honor and glory. Amen and amen.

His name is above every name. He is our joy. He is our hope. He is our salvation.

Now, I've got a question for you. Do you know Him? Do you know Him as your personal friend? Do you know Him as the Lord of your life? Did you know that He is here right now among us? And He walks the aisles of this beautiful church that you have with His nail-pierced hands. And you know, He's reaching out to every one of you, everyone here. His hand is stretched out to you. He can take the life of one who is fearful and lonely and give it a new meaning. He can take your marriage that is almost destroyed and give it a fresh beginning and a new love and a new hope and a new joy. He an take every fractured relationship in your life that you had and make it a beautiful thing. His is a name above every name. There's a song that says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

Beloved, I believed that most Christians in America, and in general, and most Adventists in particular, need to fall in love with Jesus all over again. You know, we have fallen in love with churches and in love with chapels, and fallen in love with denominations and we have fallen in love with doctrines. But, you know what, I believe that it is time to get back to basics. To fall in love with Jesus all over again. He is the lover of our souls, who has redeemed us. Did you know that he has made us kings and priests unto God Himself? Only Jesus can save, and only Jesus can give us hope. His name is above every name.

In the Scriptures, and I looked this up one time, there are over two hundred illusions to Jesus in the Bible. For instance, and I don't have time to give you all two hundred of them, He is called

  • the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Bright and Morning Star, the Bread of Life, the only Begotten of the Father.

    You know what, There are not many Sons of God, just one Son of God. And there is only salvation in His name. He is the chief corner-stone. He is the Day Star. He is my Deliverer. He is Immanuel. He is God with us. He is the Light of the world. He is the Lamb of God. He is the God of all hope. His name is above every name. Let's give Him glory and honor. Amen and Amen.

    His name is a saving name.

    You know, that angels said to Mary one day, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." - Matthew 1:21 KJV. The Bible says in Acts 4:12 KJV, Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved. The only One that can save you this morning, my dear friends, is Jesus.

    Let me tell you that your salvation is not depending on your good deeds. It is not dependant upon your baptism. It is not dependant upon your good looks and your money. The only way that you are ever going to see heaven is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. And Jesus said in John 14:6, ..."I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me. Jesus said, "I am the Way." He didn't say He was A way. He said He was THE way. Dear friend, the Bible teaches us in Psalm 40 that you and I were caught in a horrible pit. We were sunk down in the mire and the mud of this world. There is nothing we could do to get out of that pit. We have tried climbing, but we couldn't seem to get anywhere. There was no way for us to climb out of the pit. We tried calling for help, and some folks stopped by and tried to help us.

    I heard a story about a man who went into a pit one day and he couldn't get himself out. A Christian Scientist came along and said to him, "Brother, you only think you're in a pit." A Pharisee came by and said, "Only bad people fall into a pit." A mathematician came by next and calculated how far he fell into the pit. A new reporter came by and wanted an exclusive story on the pit. A fundamentalist preacher came by and said, "Brother, you deserved the pit you're in." A realist came by next and said, "Hmm. That's a pit. A scientist came by and calculated the pressure in pounds per square inch to get him out of the pit. A geologist came by next, and he told him to simply appreciate the rock strata surrounding him in the pit. A county inspector came by and wanted to know if he had a permit for that pit. A self-pitying person came by and said, "You haven't seen anything until you've seen my pit." A charismatic came by and said, "Just confess, brother, that you're not even in a pit." An optimist came by and said, "Things could be worse." A pessimist came by and said, "Things will get worse." But my friends, Jesus came along, seeing the man, He took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit, set his feet on the solid rock to stay and established his goings forth. You know what, I am glad Jesus didn't just lift us out of the pit and leave us hanging over the pit; The Bible says that not only did He lift us out of the pit but He set our feet on a solid rock, never again to fall into a pit. What manner of man is this....?" (Matthew 8:37)Let me tell you. He's a saving Man. His name is a saving name.

    He saved me when I was undeserving. I don't deserve the good things He's given me. And, neither do you. He has blessed me, and, yes, He's blessed you in so many ways that you would have to agree with me. He has been marvelous in our lives. There's nothing that you an I did to deserve to be saved. Yet in His love for us, He will save us anyway.

    The Bible says, in Romans 5:8 KJV, But God commendeth His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for u. While we were still in the things of the world, with our backs turned away from God, God loved us anyway and chose toe give us His Son to die on that old rugged cross so that we could be saved. His name is a saving name. If you want to go to heaven, you must meet this saving Man or you're not going to get there.

    You know, people often say to me, they said it when I was a pastor, they say it to me now as a chaplain. "Chaplain, God can't save me. I've sinned too greatly in my life." Friends, That's a bald-faced lie. There is not a person in this room who has lived a life so steeped in sin that the grace of God can't redeem you. You say to me, "You don't know what I've done!" Just one prayer in Jesus' name and it's all gone from your record.

    I read a story about a chaplain in World War II. He worked in a hospital. There was a fierce battle going on and one of the soldiers was brought to this hospital. His wounds were such an injury that they thought he was going to die. One day, the chaplain wanted to do some ministry, so he walked into the room of that man. The guy looked up from his hospital bed and said, "Get out of my room. I don't want to ever see you in my room again." The chaplain walked out.

    Then he came back in a few days and he was carrying a large vase of flowers. He set in on the bedpost right next to the man. And the man looked over. The man began to cry, and he said, "You know, I love flowers." The chaplain said, "You know, flowers are a beautiful thing. And God knew that we needed beautiful things in our life."

    This man that was stricken by his war wounds and probably going to die, said, "Chaplain, I really want to apologize to you for throwing you out of my room the way I did. You know, if you know what I've done in my life, I have done every rotten and evil thing I could ever imagine. Why, if I wrote my sins on the wall of this room, they would cover the whole room."

    The chaplain reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a pen and said, "Son, go ahead and write. Write over every wall. Write everything. Write on the ceiling if you wish. Write every evil thing you've done and then I'm going to write one thing. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins."

    Life is filled with a lot of stress and strain, isn't it. I imagine all of us know that to be true. Don't they call this the "Mallox" generation? Life is full of stress. Sooner or later you're going to come to a crisis in your life that you can't handle. You will face stress in your marriage, your health could deteriorate, You could have some difficult times with your children. Just ask my mother. She'll tell you. Somewhere, Sometime, something is going to happen that money and power and fame and influence can't affect. And what do you say when bad things happen to very good people? What do you say to parents standing beside the shallow grave of an infant taken suddenly and tragically in death?

    When I was pastoring in Bakersfield, there was one family in particular that I was very close to. They had invited me into their hearts and they had given me the high honor and privilege of ministering to their family, especially in major crises. In fact, I officiated at the funeral of six of their immediate family in a five year period.

    The one funeral I will never forget is the funeral of a boy named Steve. A seventeen-year-old boy. He was a big good-looking kid. All the girls made goggle eyes at Steve. He was a great athlete, pretty good in school. He was into outdoor lore, this Indian kind of lore. He used to camp out in tepees and all this kind of stuff.

    One day, on a Sabbath afternoon, Steve was at home. Steve collapsed on his bed and didn't wake up. His grandmother, Dora, called me and left a message on my answering machine. "Pastor Petsch, please get over to Mercy Hospital right away. Steve has stooped breathing." When I got home, I got on the phone right away and called Dora and said, "Dora, what's up?" She told me. And I raced over to Mercy Hospital and ran into the emergency room and they ushered me back in.

    They took me in to a back room inside the emergency wing. And I don't know what has happened. Steve's father is there with his sister. I said, "Jim, I tired getting over here as quickly as I could. "What happened? How's Steve?"

    He looked at me and said, "Pastor, Steve is dead." What do you say? "Where is Steve right now?" "Well, he's in the room over there with his mother." "May I go in?" "Yes."

    So, then I weaved myself around behind all those curtains, and there I see Steve stretched on a gurney and his mother is standing by his head and she's holding his head in her hands. I can see that Steve is dead. The color of his face. I've seen death before. Steve is dead. And the mother is crying and stroking his face. She said to me, "Why? Why?"

    Folks, I didn't have an answer. There are some things that I just couldn't do. What do you say to her? Do you just go up and say, "Jesus loves you?" That's kind of disingenuous, isn't it? I mean, she's suffering a tragedy like this and all I could do, the only thing that I could do was I cried with the mother.

    But I know this: There's a day coming when the voice of Jesus is going to raise Steve and everybody else that loves Jesus. And we're going to be raised and transformed in the newness of life. And we're going to meet him in the air, and we're going to be with him forever. That is her hope. His is a name above every name.

    In the chaos of the dark and dismal hour of your life, Jesus will come. That name that is above every name. Into the darkness of your life He comes with His flaming light. In a moment of sour comes peace that passes all human understanding. The sob will become a song. In Proverbs 18:10 it says, The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

    There are a number of pictures in the Bible that reflect the strong tower of the Lord. I can only share one of those with you right now. And it is a beautiful picture.

    It is a picture of Abraham climbing Mount Moriah with his son Isaac in tow. Abraham knows that Isaac is going to be sacrificed on that mountain. Isaac looks to his father and asks that heart stopping question, "Father, where is the lamb for the sacrifice? You have the dagger, you have the wood, but where is the lamb?"

    In my sanctified imagination I see Abraham reaching down into the very fiber, the core of his being, in the reservoir of his soul, he says to himself, "Jehovah-jireh." Which literally means "God can see to it." It implies that God will provide.

    It's a great relationship between visions and provision, but I want to stay with the original translation. God can see. When Isaac asked Abraham, "Where's the lamb, Dad?" Abraham could have said, "I can't see how God is going to get me out of this mess." Have you ever asked that in your life? "How is God going to get me out of my mess right now?" (See Genesis 22:3-14)

    By faith, Abraham ran into that strong tower and said, "Jehovah- jireh." "God can see." I want you to hear me. "God can see what you can't see." And in my sanctified imagination, on the other side of that mountain, unseen by Abraham, was a ram, the answer that he had been looking for. An angel of the Lord was holding that ram by the horns. And they had a little conversation. The angel said to the ram, "Ram, do you hear that man on the other side of the mountain? He is saying, 'God can see.' You and I have an appointment on top of that hill in just a few minutes. If Abraham keeps going, we're going to keep going." And I'm sure the ram resisted because he was less than enthused about his prospects.

    But when Isaac asked Abraham, "Papa, where is the lamb?" Abraham could say, "God can see." And Abraham went to the top of that mountain. And he built that sacrificial altar, saying to himself, "God can see." Then he took his son, Isaac, and he tied up his hands and he tied his feet, laid him on that altar and said, "God can see." And he lifted his razor-sharp dagger ready to thrust it into the chest of his only son, Isaac. And he looked into the face of God and said, "God can see." And the Bible says and then only after he had done everything God had told him to do Abraham looked and saw a ram caught in the thickets.

    Now, I want you to hear me on this one, my dear friends. Rams don't get caught in thickets unless an angel tied them up there. When you obey God, God will drag the answer by the horns and either tie it into your life and you can not escape it when God provides for you. many of you today are facing a great crisis in your life. I challenge you today to run into the strong tower of the name of the Lord and say, "Jehovah-jireh God can see."

    You see no answer right now. And you're tempted to say, "I don't know how God is going to get me out of this." Don't submit to your fear. Hold on to God's unfailing mighty right hand and say in faith, "Jehovah-jireh. God can see." Run into the high tower of the name that's above every name. And keep confessing, "God can see. God can see."

    I tell you today, my friends, those of you who are hurting and lonely, God can see. He sees how you are. He see the tears that go down your cheeks in the midnight hour. He sees the lump in your throat and the hurt in your soul. He sees you and He is leading you step by step to whisper the name that is above every name. He's calling you back into the strong tower that can give you the answer. the answer is the name that's above every name. The name of Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior, Amen and amen!

    And now, may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting, Amen.


    Hymn of Praise: #XXX, song
    Scripture: scripture
    Hymn of Response: #XXX, song

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