Summary: There are people around you who are not only watching you but keenly observing your every action and reaction. Their only open Bible and to see Christ is you. During the past years and till to date many believers have continually put the name of Christ at
Opening illustration: In a New York Times interview, a widely recognized man voiced his displeasure with a fast-food chain in whose TV commercials he had appeared. He felt that the quality of some of the items he advertised had been diminishing. Since people associated his name with the product, he didn’t want the corporation’s lowered standards to damage his own name.
The Lord is also jealous for His name. In Ezekiel 36 (quickview) , He declared that He had been disgraced by the rebellious practices of His chosen people Israel. They had “profaned” His name among the nations (v. 21). The same thing happens today when we as Christians live in disobedience to the Lord. Our sinful actions reflect poorly on Him. We’re not just hurting our own reputation when we fail to live up to God’s holy standards - we’re giving unbelievers an excuse for their low opinion of Him.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus carefully protected the name of His heavenly Father. If we fall short of His example, we can be sure that the Lord will keep His promise to discipline His people for His “holy name’s sake” (v. 22). God’s jealousy for His character should motivate us to live more faithfully for Him. Let’s live for the Lord - for His name’s sake. (Illustration from Mart DeHaan, Our Daily Bread)
Introduction: Now you are God’s representative and that’s a heavy responsibility to be God’s representative, but that’s what we are. And the people are drawing their conclusion of Christianity, of Jesus Christ, from what they see you do. That’s heavy. God help us that we will be proper representatives of our Lord. That people will come to know that He is so loving, that He is so kind, that He wants to help, that He will go out of His way to help. And let us, O God, be a true representation of what You are to the world around us who so desperately need to know the truth about God.
Paul writing to the Corinthians said, "You are my living epistle, and you are known and read of all men" (II Corinthians 3 (quickview) : 2). People may never pick up a Bible to crack its pages, they may never read the Bible, but they’re reading your life. And they’re drawing their opinions of Jesus Christ by what they see in you.
Now, God said when Israel was scattered into the nations, they profaned the name of the Lord. They caused people to hate God. They didn’t represent God in those nations where they were scattered, and so people were cursing God and cursing the name of God. And so God now declares, "Look, not for your sake I’m going to bring you back. Not because you’re so good or you’re deserving, but for My name’s sake I’m going to do it. My name that has been profaned among the heathen."
(A) How do we put God’s Name at stake?
1. It is all about I, ME, MY - Selfish (vs. 17, 19)