Anything In My Name?

John 14 14 b

Q. Jesus said in Jn 14:14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. I know He did not mean tagging “in Jesus’ name” to everything I ask, e.g. to win the lottery, but is it really anything? What about the salvation of family and friends? Surely that is according to His will, but not everyone is saved.

A. First, Jn 14:14 is a conditional “if” statement, the condition being to ask “in My (Jesus) name”. If the condition is fulfilled, the petitioner can ask anything and Jesus will do it. So the key turns on “in My name”. What does that mean? The phrase “in My name” appears 17 times in the NT, 16 times of which are in the gospels referring to Jesus, and once in 1 Co 1:15 referring to Paul, which we can ignore since our focus is on “in Jesus name”.

To these we might add the phrase “in His name”, which appear 6 times in the NT, all referring to Jesus. The complete list is as follows, with the verse in italics and my comment in regular font:

“In My name”
Mt 18:5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; (also Mk 9:37; Lk 9:48) Here “In My name” = Me, as if the person was receiving Jesus
Mt 18:20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Jesus is in the midst of those who gather in His name. “In My name” represents Jesus personally.
Mt 24:5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. (also Mk 13:6; Lk 21:8) Those who come “In My name” present themselves as if they were Christ. Again “In My name” = Me
Mk 9:39 But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. “In My name” = in My authority
Mk 16:17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; Again “In My name” = in My authority
Jn 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. “In My name” = as if I was asking it, according to My will
Jn 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 that I said to you. “In My name” = to replace Me, as My substitute
Jn 15:16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. “in My name” = as if I was asking
Jn 16:23-24 Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. Again, “in My name” = as if I was asking
Jn 16:26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; “in My name” = as if I was asking

“In His name”
Mt 12:21 “AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE.” “in His name” = in Him
Lk 24:47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. “in His name” = in His authority
Jn 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, “in His name” = in Him
Jn 2:23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. “in His name” = in Him
Jn 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. “in His name” = in Him
Acts 3:16 And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; “in His name” = in Him

On the basis of all the passages, “in My name” means as Jesus Himself would have asked, personally, according to His will and, in His authority. Now if you ask like that, of course you could ask anything and He will do it, since it is His will. You would not be asking anything selfishly, in your own interest, not for the Father’s glory.

Concerning the salvation of your family and friends, I believe not only your wish and the Lord’s desire are involved:

1 Tim 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
• 2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

but also that of your family and friends:

Mt 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

So notwithstanding your and our Lord’s desire to save them, if they are unwilling to repent, the Lord will not force them. Each of us is responsible before God to follow Him or reject His offer of salvation.

God’s Will (3 of 3)

God's will 14

(Continued from yesterday)

So far we’ve talked about God’s will in general, for all people. What about His will for you and me in particular? How can we find out? I can think of 8-10 ways, but will limit myself to the most important five.

The first one is prayer. If I don’t know what you want, the best way to find out is to ask you. Similarly, if I don’t know God’s will in a particular issue, the best is to ask God directly in prayer.

Jas 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Obviously, if our relationship is not good, you would not tell me. Similarly, if you want to know God’s will, you need to be in a good relationship with God.

Php 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
• 1 Thes 5:17 pray without ceasing

Do you pray about everything, or only those big things you can’t handle yourself? How often do you pray? Without ceasing?

Secondly, through Scripture. How would God answer your prayer? Often through His word – the Bible.

Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

God would bring up verses you’ve read or studied before to guide you what route to take. But how can God bring verses up to memory if you’ve never studied the Bible? Often believers don’t know God’s will because they don’t know the Bible. Some Christians read 3 chapters a day and read through the entire Bible in about a year. That’s not bad but you don’t retain too much that way. A better approach is to read 7 chapters a day, but repeat it for the week. This way you remember not only what each chapter said, but also the flow. The Holy Spirit would remind you from what you put into your mind and heart which is the right way. Saturate yourself with God’s word, and you’ll never go wrong.

Thirdly, through godly counsel:

Prov 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
• Prov 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.

God leads us through the counsel of wise, trustworthy people. Usually they are older, more mature, and have nothing to gain or lose from our decision. Often they are not in our immediate family or our best friends. This way they are not motivated by selfish reasons, or emotionally attached. Often they want to think and pray about it before offering any advice.

Fourthly, God accomplishes His will through circumstances.

Php 1:12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel

Paul did not ask for his imprisonment, but through it all the guards heard about Christ, and encouraged others to testify without fear. So both favorable and unfavorable circumstances can be used to achieve God’s will.

A fifth principle is that God leads us into His will by giving us an inner assurance of peace.

Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When deciding between two or more alternatives that you have been praying about, sometimes one of the options will give you a greater peace. Often that option is God’s will.

Isa 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

God made known some of His will for us. He desires for us to be saved, sanctified, sorrowful when we fail, willing to suffer for Christ’s sake, and thankful in everything. We can find out His will through prayer, studying the Bible, listening to godly counsel, discerning our circumstances, and following the peace that God gives.

Let me close by giving you this challenge:

Start small – you may think what can I do? Our small effort doesn’t matter. But it does! Start by finding out how God can use you to help others.
• Start here – wherever you are, whether in Canada, or China, start right there. God will lead you step by step. It is easy to steer a moving car.
Start now – don’t wait till you’re established in your career, or after you start your family. Don’t procrastinate. Start now.

Ask God to help you. He will.