The Name Above Every Name

Bible Book: Philippians  2 : 5-11
Subject: Name of Jesus; Name Above All Names; Jesus, Name of; Jesus, Lord

Shakespeare asks the question, "What's in a name?" It's a good question. Did you know that up until about the 1100's most people only had one name? It was only beginning in about 1100 that we started talking about surnames or second names. The Bible gives one name to people, and often identifies people by their parentage. For example, in the Bible it is Abraham the son of Terah; it is Moses the son of Amram; it is Joshua the son of Nun; and it is David the son of Jesse.

You see, in the culture in which Jesus lived, and the culture in which Jesus was named, names had significance. In other words, a child was to live out the name that he was given. The names had rich, significant meanings.

Today names really do not mean very much to us. Have you ever thought about some of the most common names in America? For example, there are thousands upon thousands of Jim Smiths in America. It's a good name, but it's a very common name. And I understand that there is a Jim Smith Club in America with over 50,000 people registered in the club.

Every year they meet out in Las Vegas. And one of the highlights of the Jim Smith Convention is a softball game in which everyone participating is named Jim Smith. Even the umpires are named Jim Smith. They get a big kick out of announcing each batter by saying, "And now coming to the plate is Jim Smith." And, of course, every batter is Jim Smith, and every fielder is Jim Smith.

Now, a name is important, and it saddens me to think about the loss of the significance of names. But did you know that even the publicity agents of the Hollywood movie stars realize the importance of a good name? Through the years, many of the Hollywood stars have not kept the names they were originally given. For example, consider the name Fred Astaire. That sounds like a good Hollywood name. It is just a stage name. His name originally was Frederick Austerlitz. Jack Benny's name was Benjamin Kubelsky. Tony Curtis is the stage name for Bernard Schwartz. And when Doris Day was born, her name was Doris Van Kappelhoff. Kirk Douglas' real name is Issur Danielovitch Demsky.

Would you like to know the real name of John Wayne? His real name was Marion Michael Morrison.

It probably would not surprise you that Stevie Wonder is just a stage name. His real name is Steveland Morris. And then a few years ago there was a country and western singer who died by the name of Conway Twitty. Can you believe that's a stage name? I want to tell you something. If I didn't like my name and wanted to change it, I would not change it to Conway Twitty. Conway Twitty's original name was Harold Jenkins.

But, you see, in Hollywood everyone knows that if you have a name like Dash Riprock that you will go far in the movie industry. Some people change their names whether they are a movie star or not. I heard about this man by the name of William Stinks who decided that he wanted to change his name. You could appreciate the fact that a man with a name like that might want to change it. So he began the legal procedures for changing his name. The clerk of the court said, "What is your name?" He said, "My name is William Stinks." The clerk of the court said, "How do you want to change your name?" He said, "I would like to change it to Bill Stinks." I suppose if you don't like your name you can change it.

Well, today I want us to consider the greatest name in the history of the universe. It is the name of Jesus, because the Bible says that "God has given him a name which is above every other name." So we want to talk about the name that is supreme above all names.

I. The Supreme Position of the Name of Jesus

I want to tell you that the name of Jesus is the greatest name ever uttered. You see, Mary and Joseph did not give Jesus his name. It says in Matthew 1:21 that the angel said to Joseph, "and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." That name is the most prominent name in position of all names ever given. There are three reasons as to why it has a supreme position.

First of all, it is the most important name of all of the names on the earth. There are many other names that are important. Some people's names are important because they are evil. These names are not repeated because their reputation was tainted or shaded in darkness. For example, you don't find many girls today named Jezebel. You don't find many little boys today named Nero or Herod. You see, those people lived such despicable lives that nobody today wants to name their children after them.

It is interesting to think about the fact that when Paul was alive, he was looked down upon as being a slave and an insignificant creature; whereas, Nero was considered the most important man in the civilized world. Now, almost two thousand years later, we name our sons Paul and we name our dogs Nero. It's funny how things change throughout history.

Years ago Dr. R. G. Lee preached a sermon on the name of Jesus. Dr. Lee said that there had been many great men who had lived throughout history. And then he began to recount them. He said you can talk about Demosthenes as being a great orator, but so was Homer. You can talk about Beethoven being a great composer, but so was Mendelssohn. You might think about Longfellow and his poem "Crossing the Bar," but there is also Tennyson and his "Song of Light" which ranks right up there with it.

You can think about Plato being a great philosopher, but by the name of Plato you can also write the name of Socrates and Aristotle. Many people say that Shakespeare is the greatest author who ever lived, but right beside his name you can write the name of John Milton who wrote the world's greatest epic and John Bunyan who wrote the world's greatest allegory.

You might talk about how Alexander the Great conquered the world, but also beside his name you must write the name of Julius Caesar who conquered the world in his day.

In the world of sports you have your Michael Jordan in basketball, but you also have your Shaq O'Neal. You've got your Joe Montana in football, but you've also got your Steve Young. You've got your Babe Ruth in baseball, but you've also got your Hank Aaron. You've got your Martina Navratilova, but you also have your Steffi Graff.

On and on you can go. Write the name of any great man or woman and you will find another man or woman just about as good, and just about as great. That is not true with the name of Jesus. You write down the name of Jesus and there is no other name that you can place at the same strata as you place the name of Jesus. That's why the Bible says that "God has given him a name which is above every other name." It is the most important name.

But not only is it the most important name, it is the most inclusive name. That name includes more than any other name. You think about my name, Gerald. What does it include? I'm a pastor. I'm a father. I'm a husband. I'm a grandfather. I'm a preacher. I'm a friend. There are several things that my name includes, but not really very much. But you think about the name of Jesus. Have you ever thought about all the things that His name includes and encompasses? Jesus himself said in Revelation 1:8, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Jesus was everything good to everybody.

To the artist He is the fairest of ten thousand, and the One who is altogether lovely.
To the astronomer He is the light of the world and the bright and morning star.
To the baker He is the bread of life.
To the banker He is the hidden treasure.
To the builder He is the solid rock and the chief cornerstone. To the farmer He is the sower who went forth to sow.
To the florist He is the lily of the valley and the rose of sharon.
To the horticulturist He is the true vine.
To the judge He is a man without fault and the One in whom there is no guile.
To the juror He is the faithful and true witness.
To the jeweler He is the pearl of great price.
To those in government He is the eternal king of kings.
To the newspaperman He is the tidings of great joy.
To the philosopher He is the word made flesh and the truth of God. To the preacher He is the word of God.
To the servant He is the good master.
To the sick He is the great physician.
To the sinners He is the suffering Savior.
To the statesman He is the desire of all nations.
To the theologian He is the author and finisher of our faith. To the toiler He is the giver of rest.

He was, and is, and ever shall be friend of the friendless, lover of the loveless, shepherd of the wandering, hope of those who have none, and the desire of the disconsolate. If I had a hundred tongues, and if I had a hundred heads, and each of these tongues would speak for a hundred hours and they would only talk about Jesus, I would not come close to exhausting the riches and the greatness of the name of Jesus.

Ah, you see, the name of Jesus includes all that you will ever need in this life and in the life to come. It is the most inclusive name that has ever been given among men.

But not only is it the most important name and the most inclusive name, but it is the most irresistible name. Have you ever thought about that name, Jesus? You know, some names in the Bible give me trouble. Some time ago I was teaching on the book of Isaiah, and I came to the name of one of Isaiah's sons - Mahershalalhashbaz. That is, by the way, "Maher-shalal-hash-baz." That is a hard name to pronounce. But you think about the name of Jesus, the simplicity of it. It is so simple that it is profound. It fits the tongue of a tiny little child first learning to talk. And it also fits the tongue of a gifted orator. I love to hear children talk about Jesus and sing about Jesus.

Have you ever noticed how the children of Christian parents are often programmed to answering Jesus all the time? I heard about this preacher one time who gathered the children around him in a worship service for the children's sermon. He said, "Now, boys and girls, what is small and brown and has little ears?" Nobody said anything. He said, "Come on, kids. It's got a busy tail and it climbs trees and stores nuts." Nobody seemed to want to give an answer. He said, "Don't you know, it's a furry little creature with sharp claws." Finally one of the little girls said, "Preacher, I know that the answer has got to be Jesus, but it sounds like a squirrel to me."

Sometimes after the worship service I will ask a child if they know what I preached about that day. And they will invariably say, "Yes, Dr. J., you preached about Jesus."

I'll say, "What was your Sunday School lesson about today?" They will say, "The lesson was about Jesus."

They know that they're never wrong to give that answer. And I've got news for you, friends. Jesus is the answer. He is the answer to every question in life. He is the solution to every problem in life. The name Jesus is so irresistible, it just has to be spoken.

By the way, did you know that Satan is preoccupied with the name of Jesus? Now, we as believers joyfully pronounce the name of Jesus, but what has Satan done with the name of Jesus? He can't forget about it. He can't resist it, so he has tried to make it a profanity.

We've got a good number of golfers in our church. Have you ever gotten in a foursome with some people that you didn't know and had the experience of having one of the guys hit a ball off the tee, and it slice into the woods, and then him take the Lord's name in vain?

That happened to me one time. This guy was really a good golfer. He hit the ball into the woods, and he said, "Jesus Christ." I said, "Where?" Try that some time. We got up on the green, and he said, "What do you do?"

I said, "I'm a preacher." That just blew his golf game for the rest of the day.

But have you ever noticed, that's what people do? A fellow who is not a Christian hits his finger with a hammer, and he's not going to say, "O, Buddha" or "O, Abraham" or "O, Paul the apostle." He's going to say the name of Jesus. Now, it grieves my heart that he is going to use it in a profane sense, but that in itself is evidence that Satan has to do something with the name of Jesus.

Have you ever thought about it? Those very people who profess His name with profanity one day will profess it as Lord, but it will be too late for them to be saved. Satan has to do something with the name of Jesus. It is absolutely irresistible.

Dear friend, you go ahead and pile up all the great names of men and women who have ever lived. And you can pile it up until it forms a Mt. Everest of names. And then you must ascend light years beyond that point to finally come to the name of Jesus, because of the supreme position that it occupies. It is greater than all the rest.

II. The Supreme Power of the Name of Jesus

Now, there are many things that we can say at this point, but let me mention three things that the name of Jesus has power to do. First of all, the name of Jesus has power to save.

Do you remember what Peter said there in Acts 4:12? He was talking to both Jews and Romans who were serving many gods. He said, "There is none other name given among men, whereby we must be saved - there is no other name, only the name of Jesus." Now, dear friends, I want to tell you that     the name of Jesus will save you.

I want to misquote a verse for you. I want to misquote Romans 10:13 and see if you catch it. Romans 10:13 says, "Whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved." Doesn't that sound good? But that's not what the verse says. The verse does not say "whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved." Do you know what it says? It says "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

You say, "What's the difference?" Now, you follow me. You know, there are a lot of people today who claim to have some kind of belief in some good lord somewhere. They say, "O, I believe in a god. I believe in a supreme being." They call upon that lord. They can call upon that god all they want to, but, dear friend, it is not until they call upon the name of Jesus that they are saved. You know, there are some people who tell me sometimes, "You know, the good Lord and I are okay. We've got all of our business straightened out." You never hear them mention the name of Jesus.

Dear friend, I want to tell you that His name is Jesus. And that is the only name that will save you from your sins. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by me."

If you are here this morning and you are looking for a Savior, may I recommend to you the Lord Jesus Christ!

The second thing that this name has the power to do is that it has the power to spoil. Now, I have chosen that word carefully because the name of Jesus has the power to spoil the works of Satan. Jesus himself said in Matthew 12:29, "If you're going to bind a strong man, first of all you must break into his house and spoil his goods."

In Colossians 2:15 the Bible says after Jesus was crucified "having disarmed principalities and powers, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." You see, that's what Jesus came to do - to spoil the work of Satan. You know, in the name of Jesus we can still have the power to spoil the works of Satan.

Jesus sent out 70 disciples, and He said, "I want you to go and I want you to preach, and I want you to cast out demons in my name." The Bible says that those 70 disciples came back so excited, because they said, "Even the demons are subject unto us in your name."

You see, in the name of Jesus there is the power to spoil the works of Satan. You remember what happened over in Acts 3? Peter and John went to pray and they met a lame man on the way. And he held out his hand and asked for alms. This is what Peter said: "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."

You see, the name of Jesus had power to spoil the works of Satan in that man's life. I want to tell you today that the name of Jesus has the power to spoil Satan.

Now, did you know that we are in a battle? We have an adversary. We have an enemy. And Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy...." Now, dear friend, that's what Satan wants to do to you. He wants to kill you. He wants to steal every blessing you have, and he wants to destroy you. That's what Satan wants to do to this church. He wants to kill it.

He wants to steal every good thing in the church, and he wants to destroy it. That's what the thief does.

But in the last part of that verse, Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Friends, I want to tell you that the only way that you can defeat Satan and resist him in your life is in the name of Jesus.

Did you know that Satan is allergic basically to three things? Satan is allergic to the blood of Jesus. He is allergic to praise. And he is allergic to the name of Jesus. Did you know that all three of those combine whenever you speak the name of Jesus. When you name Him and exalt the name of Jesus and claim the blood of Jesus, Satan flees.

There is a book by Paul Billheimer entitled "Destined For The Throne." Billheimer says that when we lift up the name of Jesus, Satan flees. He says that when we praise Jesus, Jesus is enthroned and Satan runs like a scared dog. But he said, on the other hand, when we are critical and bitter, Satan is enthroned and the Holy Spirit leaves. So you see, dear friends, it is very important that you use the name of Jesus - not as a magical formula; not as a magical incantation. But in all that the name of Jesus includes, it will spoil the works of Satan.

But there is a third thing. The name of Jesus has the power to save. It has the power to spoil, but also it has the power to supply. In Philippians 4:19 the apostle Paul said, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Now, dear friends, it doesn't say that He will supply all your wants, and you need to make a distinction between wants and needs. God may not supply all of your wants, but He will supply every need that you have if you trust Him.

Now, if you had some money down there in the bank, and you went to the bank and you took out your checkbook. Let's say you have $200 in the bank and you write a check for $100. And you tear out that check and you take it up to the teller. You don't have to get on your knees and beg that teller, do you? You don't have to say, "Please, ma'am, please give me this money. I need it desperately." No. You can just write a check. It's yours. It is deposited there for you. You have the authority, you have the right to come and receive those funds.

Friends, why under heaven do we come to God and beg and plead and grovel when the Bible says "my God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory." I tell you, that is a blank check and it has already been signed by the name of Jesus. He has the power to supply everything.

Ron Dunn tells the story about taking two of his sons to a little carnival out in east Texas. And this is the kind of carnival where you buy tickets in order to get on various rides that are provided at the carnival. Ron Dunn said that he got organized and he walked up and he bought about 100 tickets. And then he would stand at the gate of one of those rides, and the boys would file by him. He would tear off the designated number of tickets for that ride and give those tickets to the boys. He said everything was going fine until about the fourth ride. And one little boy reached out his hand. And Ron Dunn said he tore off the designated number of tickets and started to give those tickets to this boy.

And he realized that he had never seen that boy before in his life. He took those tickets back, and he said, "Sorry, son, these are not for you."

Ron Dunn said that his little son was right behind that boy, and his son said to him, "Daddy, this is my new friend and I told him that if he would ask you, you would give him the tickets to ride this ride." Ron Dunn said, "I didn't raise a liar. There you go, little boy, enjoy the ride," and he went right on through.”

Now, friends, that might be a crude illustration. But the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is making intercession for us right now. And when I ask for something, do you know what He does? He says, "Father I have told Gerald that if he asks you anything in my name that you will give it to him."

And God the Father, in some sense, must say, "Well, Son, you're not a liar. Here, have the things that you desire." That's what it means to pray in the name of Jesus. It doesn't mean to tack it on at the end of your prayer, "In Jesus' name. Amen." It means to come on the basis of the promise of Jesus. He has the power to supply all of our needs.

Now, the name of Jesus has a supreme position. It is a name above every other name. It has a supreme power to save, to spoil the works of Satan, and to supply every need. But finally and lastly, let us think about:

III. The Supreme Profession of the Name of Jesus

Do you know what our passage in Philippians says? It says that one day "every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Have you ever watched any of the Rocky movies about the underdog fighter from Philadelphia? You know, he's in some of those fights in his movies, and he's the underdog. During the first part of the fight he is bloodied, and he's about to lose the fight. And all of a sudden the theme of the movie begins to play, and the crowd begins to get into the fight. And they start chanting, "Rocky, Rocky, Rocky!" And Rocky gets a little bit of extra strength from somewhere and he knocks the guy out.

If you go to Atlanta Fulton County Stadium to see the Braves play, you will find that sometimes the people in the stadium will begin to chant the name of one of the players. I remember last year at the sixth game of the World Series when Dave Justice hit a home run and scored the only run of the game. The people started chanting, "Justice, Justice, Justice."

Dear friends, I've got news for you. One day we'll be in heaven and the sound will be like the sound of many waters the Bible says. We will come before the Lord Jesus and together profess praise to His name, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!"


"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and honor and glory and might and riches and dominion." You see, everybody is going to profess. I can say one thing for certain about everybody listening to me today. Everybody's tongue will say, "Jesus is Lord." The Bible says "every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess." But, dear friends, do you know that there are going to be two different scenes in that day. One group of people will profess His name in joy, and another group of people will profess His name in judgment.

Now you say, "What's the difference?" If you profess His name in this life and practice the lordship of Jesus Christ in this life, one day in heaven you will profess His name in joy. If you do not profess His name in joy and follow Jesus in this life, one day you will profess that name in judgment. I imagine on that day everybody will realize the folly of their ways. But there will be no place to run. There will be no place to hide. I want to tell you what they will do. They will bow their knee before Jesus, and they will say, "Jesus, you are Lord." But it will be too late.

So let me suggest what you do. Why don't you go ahead and start saying, "Jesus is Lord." And not only say it, but live it. Let your lives be a testimony that Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Boss, and Jesus is Master. If you'll do that in this life, then on the last day you will profess it in joy instead of judgment.