Colossians 3:17

Do All In the Name of the Lord Jesus



A. What does In the Name of Jesus Mean?

This is an expression we hear often.
Here we are told to do all things in the name of Christ.
We are to receive one another in Christ’s name.
The apostles did miracles in Christ’s name.
But most often we are told to pray in the name of Christ.

1. The expression speaks of believers operating as God’s representatives. What we do in His name, we do as His representative.

a. Micah 4:5 – In the Old Testament, Israel was God’s chosen nation.
• They were known by God’s name: Israel Prince of God! (El)
• They were God’s witnesses upon the earth. They bore His name before the gentile nations.
• Isa. 43:10 – Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
• They were witnesses because they KNEW Him.
• There was no nation like Israel.
• When they walked with God and obeyed His laws, it could be said, “What nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them as the Lord our God is in all things….”
• Other nations walked in the name of their gods… and their behavior reflected it!
• Israel was to walk in the name of the Lord God… and that should be reflected in their lifestyle.
• They represented Jehovah before the world of nations. They walked in His name.

b. Acts 9:15 – Jesus said that Paul was sent out to “bear My Name” before the nations and kings.
• To “bear” carries the idea of bearing up upon one’s shoulders a weight… that is carried around.
• Wherever Paul went, he carried with him the name of the Lord Jesus.
• He became known as the representative or an ambassador of Christ.
• He was associated with Christ and the followers of Christ.
• He was identified as a ringleader for Christianity.
• Very often, carrying the name of Christ became a HEAVY weight… a burden… because of the persecution that went along with it.
• In those days, if you represented Christ—the One whom the world hated enough to put to death—you became the object of the world’s wrath.
• They can no longer take it out on Christ… He is in heaven.
• Hence, they take it out on the one who bears His name.

c. While we are not apostles as Paul was, and may not be called to bear the name of Christ before many nations, kings, and Israel, we DO in another sense BEAR the name of Christ.
• Acts 11:26 – Believers today are called “Christians.”
• That is because we are identified with Christ. “Christ ones.” We belong to Him.
• Nowhere in the Bible are we called Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Methodists, or Congregationalists… but Christians… brethren… believers of Christ not followers of men.
• We don’t walk in the name of our organization or denomination.
• We bear Christ’s name in that we wear it everywhere we go. We ARE Christians.
• Paul spoke of believers as epistles of Christ… known and read of all men.” (II Cor. 3:2-3) We are like an open book… and the book is entitled: “The Christian Life” or “Christ Lives in Me.”
• This book is observed and read by men all around you. What are they reading? Are they getting the right message as they read us?
• We walk in HIS NAME… His label is attached to each of us as believers.
• Not everybody likes that label. At times there is a price to pay for doing things “in the name of Christ.”
• I Peter 4:16 – “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
» We bear His name, and sometimes suffer for it!
» This is especially true of believers in countries like China and Saudi Arabia.
» John 15:21 – Speaking of persecution, Jesus said, “?But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake.”
» The world does not like His name, nor do they like those who bear His name and walk in His name.

d. In the name of Christ means that the believer is a witness or testimony for Him. We represent Christ in all we do and say.

2. It speaks of our delegated AUTHORITY.

a. Wherever we go, we represent HIS name… with authority delegated to us from Him. He authorizes Christians to be His witnesses on earth.
• II Cor. 5:20 – we are ambassadors for Christ.
• We speak to other men in His name… we represent the Lord and do so in His authority.
• John 16:23 – we are to ask the Father (pray) in the authority of the Son. (We can approach the Father only because of the work Christ has accomplished for us…) Christ authorizes us to come to the Father through Him… in His name.
» In the Old Testament, the believer could not enter into the Holy of Holies before God. He would be instantly killed.
» Only the High Priest had the authority to enter the Holy of Holies… and only on the Day of Atonement…
» But today, EVERY believer has the authority to come right into the very presence of God in the heavenly Holy of Holies.
» This is true because of the AUTHORITY Christ gives us… because of the value of His shed blood.
» We are able to enter into God’s presence in the NAME of Jesus Christ… in His authority.
• Some have illustrated the authority of His name this way: If a man gives you his check and signs his name to it, you are able to cash that check at the bank… because that man’s NAME on that check gives you the authority to do so. You are cashing the check in his name… under his authority.

3. This also speaks of our great PRIVILEGE.

a. We are Christ’s own possession. We are Christ ones.

b. We are Christ’s representatives… ambassadors for Him.

c. We work in His name!

d. We work under His authority!

e. We represent heaven on earth!

f. We represent a holy God before a sinful world.

g. This is an awesome privilege: everything we do in word or deed is to be done in the NAME of Christ… as His representatives. (3:17)

h. It IS a responsibility, but also a privilege! An ambassador is a wonderful position to hold to represent the USA in a foreign country. But being an ambassador is especially significant if we are ambassadors for the Living God—and before the whole world!
• And God has prepared us to represent Him.
• We are redeemed by the blood of Christ (1:14)
• We are indwelt by the Person of Christ (1:27)
• We are in possession of all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ. (2:3)
• We are complete in Christ. (2:10)
• We are risen with Christ. (3:1)
• Our life is hidden away in heaven with Christ. (3:4)
• We are ruled in our hearts by the peace of Christ. (3:15)
• We are called into one Body in Christ. (3:15)
• We are enriched by the Word of Christ. (3:16)
• That believer is equipped to represent the Lord and to work in His name.

4. In the name of Christ has MEANING.

a. This meaning should affect everything we do in that name.

b. When we pray, “In Jesus Name Amen” is not a formula.

c. It ought to have meaning. We say it sometimes like Catholics say the Hail Mary… without thinking of what it means… what we are saying.

d. His name is holy. We should not treat His name with disrespect by slurring through it. That’s tantamount to using His name in vain.

e. It is good to SAY those words as we pray… but it is more important to recognize the meaning of what we are saying.

f. This phrase (in Jesus’ name) should not be restricted to our prayer lives.

g. Paul expands on it here to include all of our words and deeds. Every portion of our life is sacred to God.

h. This is what it means practically, that in ALL things, He might have the preeminence… for all things are to be done in His name… not just praying or preaching.


A. Whatsoever Ye Do

1. Paul has been speaking about the Christian life in general.

a. He spoke of putting off the old lifestyle and putting on the new lifestyle.

b. Paul listed for us several examples of each… things to put off and things to put on in verses 8-14.

c. Rather than record for us an exhaustive list of each and every article of clothing to be put off or on, Paul summarizes by saying, “and WHATSOEVER ye do.” That includes everything else!

d. We are familiar with praying in the name of Christ. Paul extends that concept. It isn’t only our prayers that are said in the name of Christ… but EVERYTHING we say… and everything we do!

e. This is comprehensive… all inclusive… all encompassing.

2. If the Word of Christ is richly dwelling in our hearts, then that will affect EVERY area of our lives… for out of the heart are ALL the issues of life. (Prov. 4:23)

a. Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. The Word of Christ is to richly dwell in our hearts as well.

b. A parallel passage in Ephesians speaks of the believer also being filled with the Spirit…

c. They are both quite the same: filled with the Word of Christ and filled with the Spirit have the exact same results.

d. They both result in a Christ centered life… for it is the Word of Christ is all about Him… and the Spirit came to magnify Christ.

e. Everything we do or say ought to be an expression of the influence of Christ in us… His Word, His Spirit, His life lived in us…

f. Every thought, word, or deed is to be done in the consciousness of His indwelling presence… and in harmony with His indwelling Word.

g. It is all to be done in HIS NAME…

h. Christ is thus the OBJECT of our attention… and the object of our affection… the object of our thoughts… It is HE we are trying to please… and not we ourselves.

• This results in singing to the Lord… AND whatever else we do or say is also for the Lord… in His name… for His glory.

j. Consciousness of His indwelling presence… and our relationship to Him is the guiding principle in everything we do… the way we live our lives.

k. Nothing is to be done without Christ. Nothing is to be said without awareness of His presence… and in His name.

l. If Christ is our life… then everything in our life revolves around Him… He is our goal… He is our end… He is our object… He is our joy… He is our motivation… He is our Lord… He is our purpose for living… so that it is no longer I but Christ. His name is what counts… no me, myself, and I!

m. None of us live unto ourselves any more. We don’t eat without Him… we don’t drink without Him. We don’t go to work without Him. We don’t play baseball without Him. We don’t watch TV without Him. We don’t read a book without Him. We don’t converse to other people without Him. We don’t make decisions without Him.

n. Whatsoever we do or say needs to be connected to who He is… with the name of Jesus Christ… who He is.

o. Notice here that Paul explains that the Christian life is not simply manifesting certain moral qualities (unsaved men can duplicate that…)

3. The Christian life is manifesting moral qualities that stem from an indwelling LIFE… from Christ Himself and the Word of Christ.

a. The Christian life is living IN HIS NAME… as one who is identified with Him… with the risen, glorified Savior!

b. Christ reigns within… in the heart… He is Lord… He is life… He is the goal (Christlikeness) and He is the object of our focus and affection of our minds and hearts.

c. There isn’t a thought, word, deed or motive or intent of the heart that Christ does not affect for the yielded believer.

d. Nothing is beyond His Lordship… His authority… His direction…

e. This has been the whole focus of this epistle thus far: Christ is to have the preeminence in everything…
• He is Redeemer; Savior; Sovereign Creator; Sustainer; Lord; Head of Body; the Enthroned One in Glory.
• AND, He dwells in our hearts… Christ IN you…
• WHO He is and WHERE He is ought to be the controlling factor in all we do and say… and think or intend!

f. One author wrote: Christ is the preeminent One and everything revolves around Him.
• The chapter began (vs.1-4) with our identification WITH Christ. (in death and resurrection and seated with)
• Then Paul developed the thought of the believer being conformed TO Christ. (vs. 8-14 – putting off and on)
• He continues to describe the believers’ appropriation OF Christ (vs.15-16 – letting His peace and His Word dwell and rule within)
• Now (vs.17) he speaks of the believer as speaking and doing FOR Christ (as His representatives).
• As Paul put it in 3:11, “Christ is all and in all.”

4. Paul’s point here is that WHATSOEVER we do is to be done in the name of Christ.

a. Everything we do or say is connected to God in one way or another.

b. There are no secular or sacred compartments to our lives. This makes everything we do sacred in one sense… is to be done for the glory of God… in His name… for His reputation.

c. The fact of His Lordship over us means His Lordship over every tiny detail of our lives… which theme later develops into our home life in vs. 18-22.

d. The law was not nearly as all encompassing as grace.
• The Law gave many external regulations, but they only dealt with certain aspects of life… but was quite limited.
• As long as you obeyed the rules, you were blameless before the Law.
• But grace goes so much deeper. It covers absolutely every tiny detail of our lives… whatsoever ye do or say!
• It is not entirely a written code, but in addition to the Scriptures, it is an indwelling PERSON!

e. Paul was addressing a specific error in Colossae: the cult like false teachers who were a mixture of pagan philosophy, Jewish legalism and traditions.
• To combat ALL these errors, Paul simply points the believers to Christ.
• Christianity is not a policy (as the false teachers were assuming), but a Person.
• Jesus Christ IS Christianity.
• In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And we are complete in Him… and His Word is to richly dwell in us.
• In Him and in His Word we have all we need for life and godliness.
• He affects EVERYTHING we do or say… for it is all done in His name… for His honor… and as a manifestation of His life.

B. Whatever we do is to be done in light of the fact that we are identified with Christ… as His representatives.

1. His name is linked to us. We are called by His name: Christians!

2. The testimony of the Lord on earth is connected to US… to our behavior.

a. Whatever we do or say needs to be filtered through this truth. We are associated with Christ.

b. We are living EPISTLES known and read of all men.

c. We are His ambassadors.

d. Our behavior is a reflection on HIM… either good or bad.

e. We should be concerned about the reputation of Christ before men…

f. And this should affect our words and deeds. (How will my action be perceived by others? What will they think of Christ if they see one of HIS behaving this way?)

3. Because this is the case, we need to use caution in all we do or say.

a. Would you want those words… or those actions associated with the name of Jesus Christ? (Oh, that’s how a Christian behaves? I want no part of it!)

b. Our actions as His representatives can either attract people to our Savior or turn people away.

4. Suppose the USA sent an ambassador to a little island country.

a. And suppose that that ambassador was rude, loud mouthed, obnoxious, arrogant, and wanted nothing to do with the people of that island.

b. The islanders would not think well of America… the land he represents. (If that’s what America is like, who needs it?)

c. They are basing their views of America on our ambassador! (Right or wrong… that’s the basis for their concept of America.)

d. And folks in the world base their concept of Christ on Christians… those who walk in His name.

5. We ought to HONOR the name we represent… Jesus Christ.

a. I don’t know if it still exists, but there was a time when folks were concerned about their family name… and brought up their kids in such a way that they did not drag their family name through the mud.

b. There was a sense of honor associated with a family name.

c. As believers we should not do or say anything that would bring dishonor to the family name… to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

C. Whatever we do is to be done in light of the fact that we are under His authority. In His name means His representatives… and those sent out under His authority.

1. Prov. 3:6 – in all thy ways acknowledge HIM. (Know Him… be conscious of Him; be aware of Him; be mindful of Him and who He is.

a. In the New Testament, Christ dwells within us.

b. This ought to heighten our awareness of Christ.

c. The Old Testament saints did not have access to God. They dwelt on earth and God was in heaven. And yet, they were to acknowledge Him in all their ways.

d. How much MORE should we acknowledge the One who lives within us?!!? Acknowledge Him in ALL our ways… in word and deed…

e. If He is LORD, then acknowledge Him as such in all we do… as those who are under His authority… in His name.


1. Notice that the main exhortation in this verse (do) is italicized.

a. It does not appear in the original, but was supplied by the translators.

b. It NEEDED to be added to make the English flow. It is clearly IMPLIED.

c. We are to do everything as unto the Lord.(Rom. 14:6-8)
• Whether we eat or drink… acknowledge the Lord Jesus and give God thanks!
• We don’t live unto ourselves. We don’t own ourselves. We are the Lord’s possession.
• Therefore, we are to acknowledge His Lordship over all and do everything “as unto the Lord.”

2. The principle in this passage can be used in a supporting role in determining God’s will in those doubtful areas of life.

a. Can we DO this in the name of Jesus Christ, or would it dishonor His holy name?

b. Can I do this as a representative of Christ? Or would this action mar the reputation of Christ before men?

c. Operating our lives “in His name” provides some boundary lines for our walk…

3. I Cor. 10:31 – all is to be done for the GLORY of God.

a. This passage follows a lengthy section on Christian liberty.
• In fact, this verse serves as a summary of all the principles previously discussed.
• Jesus summarized the Old Testament law with two commands: Love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law hangs on those two commands.
• In a sense, the whole Christian life hangs on this principle: live for the glory of God.
• We are not to live for self, or self will, but for the glory and honor of God.
• Our entire lives are to be dedicated to this goal: to bring glory to God.

b. Whether ye eat or drink… the interpretation has to do with eating and drinking associated with things offered to idols…
• But the application goes way beyond the immediate context.
• Whatsoever = takes the application to every other area of life as a believer.
• Every detail of life is to bring honor to God… right down to eating and drinking… working… interacting with people… raising a family… our speech…
• Eating and drinking is something we do every day… several times a day.
• Bringing glory to God is something that ought to concern us every day!
• HOW do we eat to the glory of God? By eating with a grateful heart… enjoying it and thanking God for the food… giving Him glory as the Provider… by eating moderately… by eating with a concern for the Temple of God… by being willing to share our food if need be… by being willing to eat something else rather than offend a brother…
• His glory (and not our self interest) should be on our minds all day long… every day…
• Christianity is a LIFE, not a religion.
• Every day is holy to the Lord… and every moment of every day.

c. Acts 19:17 – The power of God manifested in the lives of the apostles was made known and the NAME of the Lord Jesus was MAGNIFIED.
• We should desire for Christ to be magnified through our lives.
• Consider the meaning of magnification: it makes HIM big…
• When others see us or hear us talk, it should magnify Christ, not self.
• Our ordinary lives… lives of joy, contentment, peace, submission, harmony, order – magnify Christ… and attract others to our Savior.
• It’s not so much singing a great solo in church or preaching a message… but the ordinary lives of Spirit filled Christians that truly magnify Christ.
• Has Christ made a difference in your home? Others are watching.
• Has Christ made a difference in your work ethic at the factory or office? Others are watching.
• Has He made a difference in your clothing?
• Has He made a difference in your use of money?
• Has He made a difference in your use of time?
• Has Christ made a difference in your speech?
• Others are watching and listening.
• We honor and glorify Christ in our daily lives when we walk by faith in Him… when we acknowledge our weakness and rely upon His strength… when we seek His will… when we submit to His authority… when we have no confidence in the flesh but yield to His Spirit… when we lean not on our own understanding but instead acknowledge Him in all our ways… when we are content with His ways… when we manifest His joy in daily living… when we display His love and grace to others.
• It’s not the parting of the Red Sea that brings glory to God, but the giving of a cup of water to one who is thirsty… the eating and drinking… the ordinary, everyday life… dedicated to the glory of Christ.

“Whatsoever” includes what we eat and drink; what we read or watch; where we go; what we listen to; what forms of entertainment we involve ourselves in; what we do at work; what we do with our time…

e. Imagine if we all lived by this rule every day?!
• What a restraint this would put on our activities.
• We would be compelled to examine our hearts… examine our speech… examine our entertainment… examine our activities… and put it all under the microscope to determine if it brings glory to God or not.
• This is SELF restraint… exactly what a mature exercise of liberty leads us to do…
• Christianity is not a code, but a life… a life led by the indwelling Holy Spirit… a life of self control… a selfless life lived for the glory of God!

f. Bringing glory to God ought to be the overriding concern in ALL of our lives… and on a daily basis. Am I living for the glory of God or not?
• This should be put to this test.
• Can I engage in this or that activity for the glory of God? Can I do it in His name?
• Some things will obviously fail this test! (robbing a bank; neglecting the Word; not being faithful to the local church.)
• But other issues are not quite so obvious.
• Before we engage in any activity, if we are doubtful, we should ask:
» Can I pray and ask God to bless the activity… and thank Him for it?
» Can I do this for the glory of God?
» Can I do this in the name of Jesus Christ?
• If we can’t, then we shouldn’t even consider it.


1. Present participle: it speaks of continually being thankful to God… in EVERYTHING we do or say.

2. Hearts filled with the Word of Christ and hearts overflowing with melody sing with GRACE (thanksgiving).

3. But not only should our singing be done with a sense of thanksgiving, so should everything we do or say!

4. Gratitude to God ought to characterize the whole life of a believer. (I Thess. 5:18 – in everything give thanks!)

5. Don’t be anxious. Be thankful! (Phil. 4:6)

6. Eph. 5:20 –parallel passage: “always for all things in His name!”

7. Whether or not we can offer thanksgiving to God for our words or deeds ought to be another good indicator as to whether we should be doing it in the first place!

a. Should I watch this movie? Can I really pray and give God thanks for it… or would I be embarrassed to thank God for it… especially if it is a movie that curses His holy name!!!

b. This is a good test for MANY activities in life.

c. If we can’t in good conscience give thanks to God for it, then maybe we ought to think twice about doing it!

d. And however the Lord leads in making such a decision, we should follow His leading and do as He leads. And when we do, we should not do so grudgingly… but cheerfully and with thanksgiving! Grateful that God loves us enough TO lead us!

8. Thanks TO GOD – and the Father… even the Father. (Some understand God to refer to the Holy Spirit here…)

9. BY HIM – through Christ.

a. Christ is our access to God. (John 14:6)

b. We are to thank the Father for all things in Christ’s name.

c. Christ is our Mediator… it is only through Him that our prayers and praises reach the throne of God.

Back to top of page

Back to Chapter-3 Index

Back to Colossians Index

Back to Bible Studies