9th Jul 2017

A New Name

By Andy Jarvis


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Jacob has grabbed a birthright, a blessing and a large number of animals, but now God grabs him, yet takes not what Jacob values, but what he is better off without; his fear, guilt and poor reputation. God then gives him a new name. Jacob loses, but wins. How does this affect me? After all Jacob was chosen by God, a child of promise and covenant? Jeremiah 31 and John 15 tell us that we are part of a new covenant, chosen by God for loving purpose. Jacob lived to survive. Do we have the same expectation of church or have we been chosen and appointed for more than Sunday services, Bible reading, prayer and singing?

A New Name Genesis 32:28, John 15:12-17, Jeremiah 31:31-34

This handout sheet was made available at the end of the message to those here in person.

Video clip referenced near the end of the sermon: scene from 'Mr Holland's Opus'

Sermon Notes

1. Read Genesis and John 15 passages

2. Last week we looked at this very mysterious episode between Jacob and God, where God, in the form of a man wrestles with Jacob. By verse 27 dawn is almost here and the man makes to leave, then comes a strange question, "What is your name?" Has he had a sudden crisis? 'Oh no! I never checked this was the right guy!' Why does he ask, because he doesn't need to know. He asks because Jacob needs to know. 'Jacob'. It reminds him of the truth about his life, of the sins he's committed, of the guilt he carries, of all he is trying to forget, of what he has been in the light of what was spoken over him.

3. He's given a new name, Israel because he has wrestled with God and has overcome. In truth God came and wrestled with him and overcame him, but in losing, Jacob has learned how to win. In God's kingdom some values are upside down; the last shall be first, the givers receive, those who die to self, find life.

4. Jacob grabbed Esau's birth right. Then he grabbed his father's blessing. Then he grabbed the pick of the flocks and herds from Uncle Laban and the household gods. Now God has grabbed Jacob. Is it payback time? No because God takes from Jacob all the things which steal from who God created him to be; the fear that drives him and gives no rest, the guilt that he can't forget, which blinds him to God's view of him and his name, the reputation he has, the cheat, the deceiver, the one he's desperate to lose. Jacob won because he lost. He won because he was prepared to allow God to lead.

5. What changes for Jacob? He going to take direction from God. His character is going to change (2 Cor 5:17 'If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.') and he's going to live for a purpose rather than merely hoping to survive.

6. What changed for 'Israel'? He lived in blessing. Ch. 33 He found the supernatural courage to face Esau and received reconciliation and forgiveness rather than revenge. Ch. 34 Rape, deception by his sons -just like Dad- mass murder and then increased wealth and fear- which came to nothing because God was protecting him (us) In Ch.35 God appears to him, remakes the covenant with him and blesses him. The Christian life is not plain sailing. His wife dies in childbirth and he gives the son a new name. His father dies aged 180 and the death unites the sons rather than opening the way for vengeance.

7. Gen 37-46 is called 'The account of Jacob' should that be Israel? What God told Abraham in Gen 15:13-14 now comes to pass. God sends Joseph to be the saviour of Israel, to place them where God wants them to save them and to wait until the time is right for the next move in God's salvation plan.

8. 70 of the family come to Egypt, not including wives. fruitfulness blessing.

9. So out of loss and pain we find a man much blessed; He has more favour with people. He becomes a God-fearing leader. He becomes trusting of God, no longer driven by fear. He experienced more of God because God blessed him.

10.Jacob was a man chosen apart from his brother, under a covenant. What about you and me? Read Jeremiah 31:31-34 'They will all know me-for I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.' God says we are going to know Him, not know about Him, but know Him. That includes each of us. And John 15:12-17 says 3 really important things; we have a new name, we have been chosen and we have a new set of rules to live by called love. Let HS speak

11.You were chosen for more than attending church, singing songs reading the Bible and praying. You are a new creation. You are a unique part of the body of Christ, having a gift we all need. You have been appointed not to convince people to come to church, but to herald & reveal the Kingdom of God, heaven on earth. You are not alone. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. You are God's friend, to whom He speaks, reveals Himself, reveals His work and His purposes and in whom He chooses to work. You were chosen for more than this!!

12.The disciples didn't follow Jesus because he preached good sermons, had a great worship band and served good coffee! They followed Him because He taught as one who had authority, because He had the words of eternal life, because He knew them and loved them, because He had power and because He was willing to share that power. They followed Him because He died and rose again. He had power over sickness, over nature, over life and death.

13.Following Jesus didn't mean just copying the rites of His life; teaching, prayer and breaking of bread. It meant revealing His power, listening to prophecy and the Holy Spirit, giving as He gave and going where He sent. I believe God wants to raise our eyes from the norm, from the limitations of our expectations, our traditions and our control and show us the freedom He won for us and the life in all its fullness that He has for us if we will love Him and die to ourselves. God gave Jacob a new name, a new character and a new destiny. When you believed in Him and were saved, He did that for you, but we still need to allow Him to lead. End with a clip from 'Mr Holland's Opus'. He is a music teacher, faced with a struggling flute player, under huge family pressure to succeed. He helps her to let go and trust him. God wants us to do the same.

Video clip - Prayer

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