Not part of my talk
Saturday night I prayed fervently to know the deeper meaning of the phrase in the name of Jesus Christ. I specifically wanted to connect it somehow with the Atonement. I asked my Heavenly Father to reveal to me the meaning. I specifically asked for a dream or some way to understand better the phrase we use so often. The next morning, I attended my 6:30 am High Council meeting. The Stake Presidency showed us a video that was from the Apostles training all General Authorities right before General Conference. They all shared different things as part of the training. Elder Nelson got up and said these words (from memory)… “Brothers and Sisters, when we use the phrase in the name of Jesus Christ and do things in His name as far as we can tell the scriptures teach us that this means His work and more specifically His Atonement”
I about fell out of my chair. That was the exact answer I was looking for. Elder Nelson gave the answer almost 2 months ago, the day before General Conference. The Lord knew I would be giving a talk on this subject, He knew I would be at my meeting and orchestrated a simple answer to my prayers so amazingly! Needless to say, I was grateful and amazed…
Start of Talk
My fellow brothers and sisters, it is a pleasure to be in your ward this morning… to share some of the things the Lord has placed in my mind and in my heart. I have a burning testimony of the Savior and His work upon the earth. We are so privileged to be a part of it…My desire today is to speak, teach and testify of Him whose Gospel this is... and in whose work we are engaged. My prayer is that you will feel deep down within your souls a greater love for the Savior and a deeper desire to be like Him. Isn’t that why we are here? Because we love Him and want to be like Him.
Jesus Christ is known by many names and titles—some of the most common are Jehovah, Son of God, Lord, Redeemer, Messiah, Savior and God. Of the 120 sections in the Doctrine and Covenants that are revelations from Jesus Christ, at least 68 of them He identifies Himself in the 1st verse by a name or title. Each name and title can convey a different message, principle or teaching to us. Each name or title can remind us of who He is, what He has done for us and what He will do for us. Some examples from the Doctrine and Covenants are:
15:1 “Listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer.”
19:1 “I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.”
27:1 “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.”
29:1 “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins.”
42:1 “Hearken, O ye elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together in my name, even, Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, the Savior of the world; inasmuch as ye believe on my name and keep my commandments.”
My brothers and sisters, the world has profaned, blasphemed and taken in vain the name of Jesus Christ as well as many of His other names and titles. However, one of my favorite names or titles for Jesus Christ is SAVIOR. The world and Satan haven’t figured out a way yet to take that one in vain. I hope and pray they never do. He is my Savior… not just from sin, but from mortality. He saves me daily from my sins, temptations and weaknesses.
I often feel as Peter did in Matthew 14
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him
He is my Savior, my Lord and my God.
D&C 42:1 also uses the phrases “in my name” and “believe on my name.” It is not just about the words in these names and titles…there is something else. The phrase, “in His name” or “in the name of Jesus Christ” means much more. Consider these verses:
2 Nephi 25:13 “all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God.”
Mosiah 3:9 “salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name”
Acts 10:43 “through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins”
Acts 4:12 “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
John 20:31“believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
Matthew 12:21 “And in his name shall the Gentiles trust”
D&C 20:29 “And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God”
All ordinances are performed in the name of Jesus Christ, except two. Baptisms and Sealings are performed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
We all have the opportunity to invoke the name of Jesus Christ in all talks, prayers, testimonies, lessons….
Why? What does it mean… What is the Lord conveying to us by these phrases.
Shortly after Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden.
5 And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
7 And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
8 Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
His name is His Atonement.
(This next part came to me like a lightening bolt as I sat on the stand during the sacrament. As I listened to the prayer, my eyes shot open realizing that we invoke His name twice during the prayer)
Each week when we bless the sacrament, “O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ…” or we ask our Eternal Father through the Atonement of His Son to bless and sanctify the bread, symbols of His Atonement.
Then, we “witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son” or we show our Father that we want to take upon us the Atonement of His Son throughout the coming week.
May I invite you at family prayer tonight to discuss briefly the phrase, “in the name of Jesus Christ” with your children? Please discuss what it means, what it invokes and the sacred use of it. Too often in the Church it is the colloquial ending to anything we do. Too often it is slurred and sped through without meaning. Too often we don’t think what we are saying. May we reverence Him and His name, which is His Atonement in all that we do in the Kingdom.
In D&C 35:2 it says “I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God…”
Many years ago, I had the privilege of touring the Holy Land. One day as I got on the bus something dawned on me. I was in a country with Jews, Muslims and Christians… All fighting, arguing and conflicting with each other. However, all of them believe in and are striving to follow the same God…Jesus Christ.
Jews worship Jehovah who we know as the pre-mortal Jesus Christ. They rejected Him as the mortal Jesus. Some people erroneously think that the Jews worship the Father, but that is incorrect. They strive to worship the God of the Old Testament, who is Jesus Christ.
Muslims believe in Allah who is God. Allah is a generic name for God. Allah is Jesus Christ. Muslims have no idea that the God they revere and worship actually came to earth and was crucified for their sins. From the Quran:
“He is God: there is no god other than Him. It is He who knows what is hidden as well as what is in the open, He is the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy. He is God: there is no god other than Him, the Controller, the Holy One, Source of Peace, Granter of Security, Guardian over all, the Almighty, the Compeller, the Truly Great; God is far above anything they consider to be His partner. He is God: the Creator, the Originator, the Shaper. The best names belong to Him. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him: He is the Almighty, the Wise.” [Quran, 59:22-24]
When He comes again, it won’t be too hard for the nations of the earth to accept Him… they already believe in Him, they just don’t realize all He has done for us. When He comes again Philippians says…
Philippians 2:9-10 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth”
Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. May we reverence Him and His name, which is His Atonement in all we do in our lives.