Matthew 18:5 “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
We’ve been studying the word “name” as it is used in the New Testament when referring to Christ. As we have learned the Greek word for “name”, “onoma”, has several different meanings depending on it’s use in the verse and context of the scripture. Today we will look at the Biblical definition for “name”, “onoma”, meaning “representing the authority of Christ”. We looked earlier at another definition that is similar to this one, “in recognition of the authority of (sometimes combined with the thought of relying or resting on)”. These are similar in definition, but yet different.
In Matthew 18:5 we see the use of the definition of “representing the authority of Christ”. Jesus said that if we would receive a little child in His name, “onoma”, representing His authority through the little child that we would be receiving Him. This is what happens when one stands before another as an ambassador of Christ, or His representative on the earth. God sees us as His little children. As ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ, those who have been called to represent Him when standing before a group presenting Him as Savior and Lord, as the only true God through whom salvation comes to mankind, are to be received as if they are representing the authority of Christ. They are not Jesus, but they are standing in His authority and so are to be received with the respect due them as representatives of God. Jesus said that the ones who receive those ministers are as if they were receiving Him.
Matthew 10:40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
Jesus also gave us a warning about those who stand “falsely” in this authority.
Matthew 24:5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
There is a difference between “representing the authority of Christ” and “claiming to be Christ”. This is what Jesus is referring to in Matthew 24:5. There will be those coming in the last days who will portray themselves as Christ and will deceive many. We must be aware of this and always mindful that this will be a part of the scene in society before the Lord Jesus returns again.
True authority is substantiated by the Father.
When judging the true authority of the Father from the false we can look at the Holy Spirit and how He represents the authority of Christ to us.
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
Anyone who comes representing himself as being “in the authority of Christ”, or in His name, will speak the truth about who He is and testify of who Christ is to you. The words that he speaks will line up with the Word of God. He will speak truth, not lies. He will glorify Jesus, not himself. Anyone who exalts himself and does not give the glory to Jesus is not a true representative of Him.
John 16:13-15 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
You can tell a true representative of Christ who is “standing in His authority”, or in His name, as being one who always speaks the truth about who Jesus is, always turning others away from himself to direct them to the Lord Jesus, and always giving the glory to Jesus! This is how you tell a true representative who is “standing in the authority of Christ”, or in His name, from a false representative. The false will always draw attention to himself, taking credit for what has been done and portraying himself as more than just a vessel that God is flowing through to touch people for Jesus. The glory belongs to Jesus, not a person!
Jesus said when His disciples asked Him to show them the Father that if they had seen Him they had seen the Father. (John 14:9) His representation of the Father so closely resembled the Father that you couldn’t tell one from the other. In fact, He said it was because He was in the Father and the Father was in Him and we know that Jesus is the 2nd person in the Trinity, God the Son.
John 14:10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
Even Jesus said that He didn’t speak anything on His own authority. We can identify the false by looking at the real. When someone comes representing the “authority of Christ”, or in His name, they will not ever have the desire to take the credit for what only belongs to God. The false can be seen by their works, or the fruit that is born from their lives.
Matthew 6:15-23 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Man will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
False prophets who come to us falsely “standing in the authority of Christ”, or in His name, will bear fruit for themselves, not for Him. Their agenda will be to promote themselves, not God. Jesus said He came not to do His own will, but the will of the Father.
John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
There is a true definition for the Greek word for “name”, “onoma”, which means “standing in the authority of Christ” and there is a false. Our responsibility as believers is to make sure we do not fall for the false one who comes in sheep’s clothing, claiming to be representing the “authority of Christ” but speaking out of their own agenda. I have given you some scriptures showing the true use of the name of Jesus and that of the false. May we all seek to know the Lord Jesus more fully and completely so that when the time comes to make that discernment we will choose properly.
Father, I thank You for the name of Jesus and the definition that it holds of representing the authority of Christ. I know that You have given that authority to true representatives of Yours. May we be clear in our assessment of those who stand before us claiming to be Your representatives. Father, I pray for discernment today for each one of us to be able to identify the false from the true. Father, as we move into the last days before Jesus returns may we not be deceived by those who come identifying themselves as Christ, but may we turn away from deception and embrace the truth that is set forth in Your word and truly lift up those who honestly are Your representatives in this earth! Help us, Father, to identify the false and to encourage and promote the true as they share the way of salvation through Jesus Christ to the lost. Amen.