Sermon: For His Name's Sake - Psalm 23

The Power of Praying in God's Name

  1. Calling on God's Name
  2. Make a Name for Yourself
  3. What's in a Name?
  4. For His Name's Sake
  5. Praise His Name
  6. He Is Lord
  7. He Is Personal
  8. The Definitive God
  9. Misusing God's Name
  10. The God We Call Father
  11. In the Name of Jesus
  12. My Favorite Name

Scripture passage: Psalm 23:3 and selected Scriptures

Repeatedly we are instructed to live for God's name sake.

  • God guides us for his name's sake (Psa. 23:3);
  • God forgives our sins for his name sake (Psalm 25:11);
  • God leads us for the sake of his name (Psalm 31:3);
  • God delivers us from sin for his name's sake (Psalm 79:9);
  • God deals with us out of his goodness for his name's sake (Psalm 109:21);
  • God lets us live for his name's sake (Psalm 143:11).

Here's the point: God does what he does for his sake, not ours. We often want to know and do God's will, want forgiveness and deliverance of sin, and life on this planet for our sake. Why? Because we think, if we have all of those things it will make us happy, cause us to be blessed, give us provision. God says, "I want to give you these things - but not for your sake, but for my sake."

We exist as God's people, alive and thriving in God's kingdom, to embody his name. When God acts for his name's sake, he is acting in accordance with his revealed character and to uphold the honor of his revelation, which has been staked upon his people.

Let's take a closer look at Psalm 23 - The Shepherd Psalm. As we studied previously, one of God's names is Jehovah-Rohi, The Lord our Shepherd. Think about sheep and shepherds for a moment. Sheep exist for the benefit of the shepherd? Sheep were lead into zones of comfort in order to be prepared for zones of discomfort. In other words, sheep were expected to produce a profit for the shepherd. The shepherd took care of the sheep, not for the sheep's benefit but for the shepherd's needs.

Likewise, we, God's sheep, exist for God, the Shepherd. To change or alter that relationship in any way would turn us into idolaters, where we use God for our benefit, rather than allowing God to use us for his benefit. We live for him.

God's reputation is at stake by the way his followers live. We are his hands and feet in the world. We are his ambassadors. We represent God to a watching world. When we fail to live righteously we are hurt, but the name of God is hurt more. When we fail to take God's lead we are damaged, but the reputation of God is damage greater.

Have you ever bragged on your children? "Billy passed the bar." "Jamie's in her first year of residency." "Sally has three kids and bought a house on the lake." We brag on our kids because it makes us look good. God wants to brag on his children, too. He wants to say to a watching world: "Tim always finds himself in tempting situations, but he is faithful." "Betty works at a job where her boss wants her to deceive the clients, but she is honest." "See Sue, it would be so easy for her to be joyless in her desperate situation, but she's joyful." God wants to say of each of us: "Those are my sheep, my children, my followers. I'm proud of them. They make me look good."

When we understand the relationship we have with God, then we look to him in a different light. We see him through his name that benefit and provide for us. We look to him as

  • He in whom I trust
  • He that calls you
  • He that speaks
  • He that is mighty
  • He that is true
  • He that gives strength and power unto his people.

Knowing him and his name, we know the special bond that we have with him - a bond that a sheep has with a shepherd. The shepherd protects and cares and calls his sheep by name. Isn't that a wonderful thought? We are to know God's name and by the same token the God of the Universe knows each one of us by name. We are his.

Rick Ezell is the pastor of First Baptist Church, Greer, South Carolina. Rick has earned a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology in preaching from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rick is a consultant, conference leader, communicator, and coach.

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