Summary: This sermon examines the significance of the name Jesus Christ.

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As we continue our series in The Apostles’ Creed I would like to examine today what it means to believe in Jesus Christ. Please listen as I recite the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

and born of the Virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended into hell.

The third day he rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy Catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

Charlie Stink’s friends and co-workers constantly advised him that he should change his name. Finally, Charlie Stink agreed, and so he went to court to complete the process.

The next day, back at work, his associates asked, “And so? Did you change your name?”

“Yes I did,” was the reply, “But for the life of me I can’t see what difference it is going to make.”

“Well,” his friends asked, “What did you have your name changed to?”

“I changed my name to George Stink.”

Names have meaning. And no name has had more meaning throughout the history of the world than the name Jesus Christ.

Today we begin the second (and longest) section in the Apostles’ Creed. This section deals with the second Person of the Trinity, our Lord Jesus Christ himself. Here we learn about the Person and Work of Christ.


Today I want to examine the significance of the name Jesus Christ.

I. The Significance of the Name Jesus

First, the significance of the name Jesus.

The English name Jesus comes to us from the Hebrew name Joshua, which means Jehovah is salvation or Jehovah will save. This is simply shortened to savior, as the Heidelberg Catechism states (Q/A 29).

This is the name given to Jesus by the angel in Matthew 1:21: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

The name Jesus signifies to us the salvation of God.

Now what does salvation mean?

The central theme of the Christian gospel is the salvation of God. The gospel proclaims that as God saved Israel from Egypt and the psalmist from death (Exodus 15:2; Psalm 116:6), so he will save all who trust in Jesus from sin and its consequences.

This salvation from sin and death is wholly God’s work. We read for example that this is so in Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” And we also read in Jonah 2:9, “Salvation comes from the LORD.”

The Hebrew words that express the idea of salvation in the Old Testament have the general sense of deliverance from physical danger or moral distress (cf. Psalm 85:8-9; Isaiah 62:11).

In these passages the Septuagint (i.e. the Greek translation of the Old Testament Hebrew) uses Greek words that mean to save from death or dangers, as well as to preserve or to heal. New Testament passages that speak of salvation use all these ideas to explain the acts of God on behalf of the spiritually lost.

Salvation delivers the believer from the wrath of God, the dominion of sin, and the power of death (Romans 1:18; 3:9; 5:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

God liberates sinners from the natural condition of being mastered by the world, the flesh, and the devil (John 8:23, 24; Romans 8:7, 8; 1 John 5:19).

He frees believers from the fears that a sinful life generates (Romans 8:15; 2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 2:14, 15).

And he also frees believers from the vicious habits that enslave them (Ephesians 4:17-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Titus 2:11-3:6).

Although Christians have already received salvation, we will only experience the benefits of salvation in their fullness when Jesus returns at the end of the age (Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 1:3-5).

Salvation is accomplished through what Jesus did in history and by what he continues to do in believers by the Holy Spirit. The basis of our salvation is Jesus’ death on the cross and the righteousness he achieved for us in his active obedience.

It is realized in our lives as Jesus lives in us (John 15:4; 17:26; Colossians 1:27) and we live in Jesus, united with him in his death and risen life (Romans 6:3-10; Colossians 2:12, 20; 3:1).

This vital union, sustained by the Spirit through faith and formed in our new birth, presupposes our eternal election in Jesus (Ephesians 1:4-6).

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