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All In - Part 5, An "All In" Name
Miles McPherson - November 8, 2015

Message Recap

We’ve discovered in this series how Abraham was called out of his land and how through him God would create a legacy. In the past weeks we have seen how Abraham pursued an all-in legacy, had all-in trust, honored God, and was challenged not to take shortcuts to fulfill what God had called him to do. This week we will talk about the changing of Abraham’s name.

Up until now in this Genesis story, his name is Abram, meaning “exalted father,” but God now changes Abram’s name to “Abraham,” meaning, “father of multitudes,” and Abram’s wife, Sarai becomes “Sarah,” meaning “princess.” At this time, Abraham is 99 years old and Sarah is 90.  They have no children between them as Sarah has been barren, yet God tells them that He will give them a son through whom them will have a kingdom of descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky. God changes their names as a sign to everyone around them that He has given this promise.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”Genesis 17:1-16

When you come to church, are you coming to “check the box” or to hear from God and be changed? We should all be coming to be changed.

God changes Abram’s name to Abraham as a sign that He is changing Abram’s identity. His is giving Abraham a new promise and a new legacy, which requires faith to change from what they have been.

So how about you? When you come to church, are you coming to “check the box” or to hear from God and be changed? We should all be coming to be changed! Walking with God leads to a dynamic life.

A new name signifies a faith claim on a new loyalty.

How would you like to be known differently from how you are known now?
Faithful to God?
A Bible reader?
A generous person?
A servant?
A prayer warrior?

Embracing a new name means that you desire to be loyal to a new thing, a new identity. For example, maybe you see yourself as a victim and have identified with that for a long time. Maybe you blame others for all the wrong in your life and are afraid that if you let go of the victim identity, you will lose who you are. But changing your name means being willing to allow your identity to change by faith, according to God’s promises.

A new name signifies the death of an old loyalty.

Who don’t you want to be anymore?

Pastor Miles shared that when he first came to California from New York, his manner was much more direct than most people here were used to, so he may have been perceived in a shocking or abrupt way in his new surroundings. Once someone pointed this out to him, he realized he needed to pay attention to how others around him perceived him and alter his manner so that he could interact more effectively in a new place.

What about yourself do you need to stop being? Maybe it’s time to let go of that identity and move on to a new one.

A new name signified a kairos moment in your life.

Kairos refers to a specific and powerful moment in time. While chronos time is the passing of time or the duration of an event or activity, it is sprinkled with special kairos moments. For example in your chronos timeline of life, you may experience kairos moments such as winning a game, finishing a degree, meeting your spouse, having a child, buying a home, starting a new job, etc.

Make today a kairos moment by asking God to change your name.

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.

On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, and his son Ishmael was thirteen; Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day. And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him. Genesis 17:27

Abraham laughed because he and Sarah were already old and he could not imagine that God’s promise of a son could actually come to fruition.  Yet upon God’s reassurance, on the same day Abraham takes all the men of his household and they are all circumcised as a sign of faith in this promise – and as Pastor Miles commented: that is commitment!

Abraham’s faith is measured by his quick response. How quickly do you do what God tells you to do? What would God say He wants you to start doing? Stop doing? Continue doing?

Here are some examples:
Start reading your Bible every day
Start listening to Me
Start trusting Me
Start releasing and being generous, because I gave you everything you have
Stop thinking you have to do everything yourself
Stop trying to do My job
Start going to church every week and having fellowship every day
Stop being religious; it doesn’t impress me. Start surrendering your heart to Me.

So what is the new name you want to have? You may not know now how to pursue this identity, but you can start today by faith, trusting that God will surround you with the resources, time, energy, counseling, people, etc. that you need to be transformed.

Examples of New Names

Generous   KindnessEncourager
JoySelf-ControlledSatisified in God alone
PeaceContentedLover of others
PowerfulGiftedGood Neighbor
PatienceFully Committed   Faithful

A new name signifies a faith claim on a new loyalty.
A new name signifies the death of an old loyalty.
A new name signifies a kairos moment in your life.

1. No longer do I want to be loyal to being _____________.
2. I want to be known as ____________.
3. I want to start today!

LORD, GIVE ME THE NEW NAME OF: __________________________
SO THAT I CAN: ______________________

All In

This 6-part series unpacks what it means to be ALL IN and equips us to invest in the eternally significant. In Part 5, Pastor Miles unpacks more of Abraham’s story, challenging us to choose a new name for ourselves that will represent our loyalty to God.

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