6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This sermon focuses on the treatment of God’s name, some of the names of God, and the name above all names.


When the 1960s ended, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district reverted to high rent, and many hippies moved down the coast to Santa Cruz. They had children and got married, too, though in no particular sequence. But they didn’t name their children Melissa or Brett. People in the mountains around Santa Cruz grew accustomed to their children playing Frisbee with little Time Warp or Spring Fever. And eventually Moonbeam, Earth, Love and Precious Promise all ended up in public school.

That’s when the kindergarten teachers first met Fruit Stand. Every fall, according to tradition, parents bravely apply name tags to their children, kiss them good-bye and send them off to school on the bus. So it was for Fruit Stand. The teachers thought the boy’s name was odd, but they tried to make the best of it.

"Would you like to play with the blocks, Fruit Stand?" they offered. And later, "Fruit Stand, how about a snack?" He accepted hesitantly. By the end of the day, his name didn’t seem much odder than Heather’s or Sun Ray’s. At dismissal time, the teachers led the children out to the buses. "Fruit Stand, do you know which one is your bus?"

He didn’t answer. That wasn’t strange. He hadn’t answered them all day. Lots of children are shy on the first day of school. It didn’t matter. The teachers had instructed the parents to write the names of their children’s bus stops on the reverse side of their name tags. The teacher simply turned over the tag. There, neatly printed, was the word "Anthony."

Luanne Oleas in Salinas, Calif., Reader’s Digest.

In a listing of names by popularity we find that Michael, Jacob, Matthew, Joshua, and Christopher were the most popular boys names and Emily, Hannah, Samantha, Ashley, and Sarah were the most popular girl names. There are common names and unusual names. I went to school with a boy named Sundown. A man in Springdale is named Rusty Nail, my cousin had a friend named Chrystal Chanda Lear. But of all the names throughout the history of mankind, the names of God are the most special.


A) The treatment of God’s name in speech.

This is one of the most broken commandments of the Bible. People today misuse the name of God.

1) The word “Vain” here means emptiness – When we use the name of God with disrespect or without meaning, it is taking it in vain. Using the word God, Lord, Christ, or any other name of God without reverence is a serious offense to the God of Heaven.

2) Some think that using God’s name in vain is the only form of cursing. Eph 4:29

3) The scribes had such a respect for the name of God that when they came to His name, before writing it, they would stop, go and get ceremonially clean, come back and write His name, then go wash again, and come back and continue in their copying of the Word.

B) The treatment of His name in witness or action.

1) ILL. Danny that I worked with….wore a Christian cap and cursed horribly… “I’m not a Christian, I just found this cap and I needed one.”

2) If you wear Christian clothing or you put a Icthus (fish symbol) on your car, be careful that you carry the name of God well.

3) As a Christian, we are a representative of Christ to the lost world. II Cor 5:20 says we are ambassadors for Christ.


A) Jehovah-jireh—This name is translated as “The-LORD-Will-Provide,” commemorating the provision of the ram in place of Isaac for Abraham’s sacrifice (Gen. 22:14).

We serve a God of provision. He will provide all our needs according to His riches.

B) Jehovah-nissi—This name means “The-LORD-Is-My-Banner,” in honor of God’s defeat of the Amalekites (Ex. 17:15).

The banner was used to identify an army going into battle. Eph 6:12

C) Jehovah-shammah—This phrase expresses the truth that “The-LORD-Is-There,” referring to the city which the prophet Ezekiel saw in his vision (Ezek. 48:35).

I am thankful today that we can say, Jehovah-shammah, because God is here. In this place, when we come to worship, it is He that we worship, it is He that we serve, it is He that promises to meet with us, direct us, and bless us.


A) There is a false teaching in our day that says the God of heaven is the same God of many religions. This God sent forth many teachers, Mohammed, Buddha, Jesus, and others were all the prophets of God. Each is an equal and good way to God.

B) You can call on the name of other men til you are blue in the face but only Jesus has the power to save.

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