What's in a Name

Sermon delivered on December 20th, 2015

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25



One of my favorite Christmas carols is ...


Hark the herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn king

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinners reconciled"


This is clearly taken from the Scriptures ...

Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


Isn't that what the Christmas story is about. Christmas is about God's glory and man's good. So many people are afraid to come to God and they are reluctant to believe in God, because they have wrong ideas about God. They think that God is a mean and angry God. They have this wrong notion that God is hard to please. They picture God as this Being who is up in Heaven watching and waiting for someone to make mistakes so that He could hit him or her with judgment. Not true! God is a good God. And because He is good He desires nothing but good for us.


Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts (plans) that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

The Lord knows and committed to the plans He has for us and He declares it here in this verse - plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you and I, a future and a hope. He wants to give us peace and to give us a future filled with hope.


Consider the names given to our Lord

As soon as the parents find out that there is a baby in the womb, they begin the process of selecting name for the baby, which is by the way, a great privilege and responsibility given to parents.


In the case of Joseph and Mary, when they were told that Mary would conceive and and bear a son, they were also told what name they are to give the child. And the names given to our Lord affirm the goodness and faithfulness of God.


Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.


Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.


In Bible times, names were more than what you called a person. A name had meaning. It indicated a person's character and purpose or mission in life. 


Let us consider the two names given to our Lord.


Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.


The eighth day after His birth, He was formally given the name Jesus at His circumcision.

Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.


Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua (Jehoshua or Yehoshua), and it means "Jehovah saves" or "God is salvation." The angel told Joseph to name the child Jesus because "He saves His people from their sins." 


Jesus is an encouraging name!

Jesus is good news to the weary and burdened sinners. It is a very encouraging name to guilt-ridden sinners. Though He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and could have taken a more majestic name, the Son of God is content to call Himself Saviour.

Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


Jesus is a revealing name!

His very name, Jesus, implies that sin is our problem, that we need a Saviour. The Son of God was named Jesus because He came to solve our problem with sin. His mission was to save us from sin. 


Mark 2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his (Levi) house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16: And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17: When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.


Those seeking salvation may draw near to the Father with boldness, and have access with confidence through Christ. He delights to show mercy.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


Threefold salvation

The salvation He brings is a threefold salvation. The salvation He brings is past, present, and future salvation. He saves from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin and from the presence of sin. 


Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

I love it. He came to save His people from their sins. Notice the word used is not "IN" but "FROM." When God saves, He does not only delivers the sinner from the penalty of sin, but He also delivers the sinner from the power of sin. And praise God, ultimately from the presence of sin.


Great price and a great cost

He will save sinners from their sins at a great price, at a great cost, not to us but to Him. He will save sinners, by coming as a human baby and by living a sinless life, by dying in our place on the cross, and rising again to a victorious resurrection never to die again. 


Man of sorrows what a name

For the Son of God, who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim:

Hallelujah, what a Savior!



Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Emmanuel, I love that name. We do not usually refer to Jesus Christ as Emmanuel and the only time we hear that name is during Christmas season. But this is a very precious name. The name teaches us important truths about Jesus Christ and the way He cares for His people. 


First, the name Emmanuel teaches us that Jesus is both God and man, divine and human. It is not simply that a "man of God" or a "godly man" would be with us but the God Himself. The perfect Son of God manifest in human flesh is with us. What a glorious truth! We needed a perfect, infinite Being to offer a perfect, infinite atonement for our sins. We needed Emmanuel, God is with us.


Secondly, the name Emmanuel reminds us that God is always with us. We are always before the presence of God, whether we are aware of it or not. Even in times we feel alone. Even in times we feel forsaken. God is there with us.


Jesus has promised ...

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.


He is with each of His people constantly and available to them to meet their needs. When we serve Him, He is working with us. When we are in difficult places, He is with us to help us. When we are struggling and battling with sin, He is with us to help us overcome sin and temptation. When we fall into sin, He is with us to forgive and to cleanse and to restore. Even in the hour of death, He is with us.

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.


He will be with us for all eternity

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2: And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3: And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.


God with us all the days of our lives, forever!


"O my LORD, if I am to be forever with Thee, I have a destiny incomparable. I will not envy an archangel. To be forever with the LORD is my idea of heaven at its best. Not the harps of gold, nor the crowns unfading, nor the light unclouded is glory to me; but Jesus, Jesus Himself, and myself forever with Him in nearest and dearest fellowship." - C. H. Spurgeon


Closing Appeals

To those who are still unsaved

Friends, that is the Jesus who came into the world. He did not come so that we could decorate our homes, have Christmas parties, give and receive gifts. He came to save sinners. If you are a sinner, that is good news.

Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

"Unto you" is born a Saviorunto you personally. Is He your Saviour? Do you know Him as the Emmanuel?


Receive Him. Believe on Him. Trust in Him. Entrust your soul to Christ. And you will find Him as your Saviour and your Emmanuel!


There is no other name

Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11: This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.


There is power in His name

Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12: For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


1 John 2:12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.


1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.


To those who are saved

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what is this to us? What is the most honoring thing we could do to the One who came and saved us and to be with us.


Exalt that name which is above every name

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

There is a coming a day when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Glory to God in the Highest!


What's the most honoring, exalting, glorifying thing I could do for Him this coming year?

I believe the LORD's response would be, "Love Me with all my heart! And then prove it by your obedience!"