Worry to Wise - Good Name
I hope that you are enjoying our series in the book of Proverbs so far
Even more than enjoying it I hope that these messages are speaking to you and having an impact on your life
The book of Proverbs is full of truth statements that, when applied to our lives, will lift us out of a life that is full fear and anxiety and give us a life that is full, just like Jesus promised us we could have
My aim throughout this series is not to just give you really good inspirational quotes that you can hang on your wall but to give you practical steps to walking in the wisdom of God’s ways which ultimately results in that fulness of life
With that in mind this morning we are going to take a look at a passage that can have a major impact on our lives if we allow it to
Let’s open up to our text this morning which is the first verse of the 22nd chapter of the book of Proverbs
A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.
Now I feel that I must admit to you that the message I am about to preach is not the one that I originally intended to preach
Originally I had this great outline put together with 4 practical steps to developing a good name; 1. Live by principle (beliefs) 2. Live with integrity (actions) 3. Live with intentionality (purpose) 4. Live with eternity in mind (treasures)
Sounds like an awesome sermon doesn’t it?
But then as I started the writing process and did a little more study something happened that changed the direction of my message
It has to do with the difference between what I think it means to have a “good name” and what God thinks it means to have a “good name”
To demonstrate what I mean I want to draw your attention to something that happened to Jesus one day
In Jesus is just going about His business preaching the kingdom and preparing the disciples for what was about to take place as they made their way towards Jerusalem
It was in the midst of this ordinary day that Luke records that a gentleman approaches Jesus to ask a question
Now this is not just any ordinary gentleman, Luke uses the Greek word “archon” to describe him
The reverse interlinear for New Testament word studies defines this word “archon” as “one invested with power and dignity, chief, ruler, prince, magistrate”
In other words this man that approached Jesus on this day was someone that everyone around would have considered to have a “good name”
Important, probably from a prominent family, wealthy and “invested with power and dignity” and he walks up to Jesus, I believe in complete sincerity unlike others who had been trying to trap Him and the following conversation takes place
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.
In this short discourse we can see the heart of our proverb this morning because Jesus totally challenges our idea of what it means to have a “good name”
There’s a popular phrase in our society today which is “truth bombs”
A “truth bomb” is when you say something that is so profound that it explodes into our conscience
I’m going to drop a truth bomb on you right now so get ready...”What we allow to define us, we give the power to shape us!”
I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in
The man in our story has allowed material wealth, influence, popularity, and keeping all the rules to be the basis upon which his “good name” was defined
He had heard of Jesus and that Jesus was doing things different than the status quo and that it was making an impact across the entire nation and so he wanted to add that to his list, he wanted to strengthen his good name by adding Jesus’ philosophy to it
There’s one problem with that, Jesus doesn’t add something to the mix, that’s not how He works
Instead He redefines the entire equation of how we define “good” by telling this man, “No one is good—except God alone”
Jesus says, ‘You’re calling me good because of my reputation, because of my popularity, because of what you have heard about me but goodness doesn’t come from any of that. Goodness is from God and God alone’
You want to talk about dropping a truth bomb!
Jesus could have just dropped the mic right then and there and people would have had an awful lot to ponder
But Jesus isn’t just about shock and awe, Jesus is about people and transforming people and so He offers this man an opportunity to step out of his “good life” and instead inherit a gooder life, a richer life by selling all that he had acquired and giving it to the poor and becoming a disciple of Jesus
Now I think that it’s important to point out here that Jesus is not advocating poverty over prosperity but is instead offering a whole new definition of “goodness”
A person can be poor by worldly standards and still be rich in Jesus and likewise a person can be wealthy by worldly standards and be rich in Jesus
In fact the very next verse after our text reads
Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.
Jesus makes it clear that it is not what we have accumulated in life, like reputation or money, that gives us a good name it is all about our “source”
It is when we are plugged into Christ that we receive true riches and a name that is good
Earlier on in His ministry Jesus tried to get this point across to His disciples when, after He had sent them out to do ministry, they returned rejoicing about all the great things that they were able to do and likely the reputation or “name” that they received because of it
However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
If you’ll allow me to paraphrase His response, He tells them not to get excited over what has taken place and the all the resulting fame and notoriety
Instead, He tells them that they ought to rejoice that their names have been recorded in the lambs book of life because of their relationship with Him
To rejoice because in Him they have been privileged to learn the things of God that even those who have dedicated their lives to the study of the scriptures have not learned
To rejoice because in Him they have gotten to know the Father in a more intimate way than anyone ever thought was possible’
Then to drive home His point He turns to His disciples and tells them that the kings and the prophets of the Old Testament would have given up all of their wealth and prestige and notoriety to trade places with them, to have the experiences they had with Christ, to hear Him and see Him and walk with Him
How do you define a “good name”?
Be careful about your answer and really think it through because remember it is how you define this term that is going to have the power to shape us and who we become
Is your fulness found in Jesus Christ and the life that He gives or is there something else in the mix that you are trying to add Jesus to?
Let me bring this message to a conclusion by clarifying for you just 10 of the benefits that are ours simply because we have put our hope and trust for a “good name” in Jesus Christ instead of some other means
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—
“Enriched in every way”!
A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
But I caution you this morning that when you strive for that “good name” that is better than great riches to make sure that you it is the correct “good name”
Because what we allow to define us, we give the power to shape us and we want to be shaped by Christ and Christ alone
The good name that we need if we are to be successful in life, if we are to move from a life of anxiety and worry to a life of wisdom is the name that is above every name
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Christ is Enough