I recently read through William Greenhill's The Sound-Hearted Christian (with five additional sermons) which was reprinted in 2010 by Soli Deo Gloria Publications (ISBN 978-1-60178-099-7). In this post I'll be looking at his third sermon titled "Do All in Christ's Name." Mr. Greenhill notes that Colossians 3 is full of exhortations. The Apostle Paul exhorts the Christians to set their affections on things above, to mortify their earthly members, and to put on Christian practices.
Colossians 3:17 commands Christians to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. However, this verse says nothing about thoughts, so the author asks, "Are thoughts free therefore?", and answers: "Thoughts are not free. We say that thoughts are free, and they are free from man; for he can take no cognizance of them. But they are not free from the Lord. He knows and observes them...our thoughts should be regulated and ordered answerably so they may be approved of Him [Christ]. They initiate our words and our actions, and are included in words and actions," (pp. 154-155).
Given the exhortations found in Colossians 3, Mr. Greenhill contends that "[a] Christian's words and actions should all be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," (p. 156).
First, he tells us what it is to do things in the name of the Lord Jesus. Christians who do something in the name of the Lord Jesus is
- To do it by the authority of Christ
- To do it by the strength of Christ
- To do it in the stead of Christ
- To do it according to the will of Christ
- To do it for the sake of Christ
- To do it to the honor and glory of name of Christ
- To do it by invoking Christ
Next, he tells us why we are to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Christians are to do things in the name of the Lord Jesus because:
- We are impotent of ourselves
- We are called Christians
- It will warrant our actions and secure them
- We are bought by Christ and are not our own
- We are members of Christ's body
- This is to live a Christian life indeed
Then, he applies the doctrine:
- If Christians are to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, then they have great reason to be humbled because we have done evil and neglected good.
- If all must be done in word and deed in the name of the Lord Jesus, then no thoughts, words, or actions are to be conceived which are not authorized by Christ.
- Christians who do not do all in the name of the Lord Jesus miscarry in their undertakings and have guilt and fear upon their spirits.
- If Christians are to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, then nothing must be done in their own names.
- Christians who do all in the name of the Lord Jesus by their thoughts, words, and actions have an eye to Jesus Christ; they are followers of Christ.
- If Christians must do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, then all success is owed to Christ.
- If Christians must do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, then those who bear His name should examine their actions.
- If Christians are do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, then all their thoughts, words, and actions must be in His name; therefore, see that there is warrant from His Word for them.
Finally, Mr. Greenhill exhorts Christians to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and gives four motives. Christians should do all in the name of the Lord Jesus because:
- It will assure them that Christ approves of them, will be with them, and will make their actions successful
- What is done in His name, out of respect for Him, carries sweetness in it
- It is a special means to both prevent sin and promote holiness
- It will unite the heart of God and Christ abundantly to them
The author gives sage advice on how to do all in the name of Jesus: "We should, every morning at least, actually mind and intend the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and so go on all the day in that intention...And if we find it to lag (as it will quickly do), we should renew our intentions and thoughts in the name of Christ and send up secret prayers to heaven: 'O Lord, I desire to think in Thy name, to speak in Thy name, and to act in Thy name.' This we may and ought to do, and not to rest altogether in a habitual inclination and disposition. They who do it most often will order things best, best for themselves, and best for Christ's glory and advantage," (p. 176).
"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him," (Col. 3:17).