Tuesday, October 11, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "No Other Name"

“No Other Name”
From Jerusalem to Pennsylvania: The Book of Acts
October 9, 2011
Acts 3&4

We return this morning to our ongoing series on the book of Acts that we’ve entitled from Jerusalem to Pennsylvania highlighting how the witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus spread the word from their hometown in such a way that it made it all the way around the world, even to us.

Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” And that’s exactly what happened, praise the Lord!

And it happened through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Last time we were in the book of Acts we read chapter 2 together and studied the day of Pentecost when the promised Holy Spirit came in power and the church was born.

What an exciting day that was!

Today’s story takes place after that event, but we’re not sure how long after.

Exciting things are still happening to and through the fledgling church.

And the apostle Peter will be at the center of the action again.

But something new will also crop up for the first time: opposition to the apostles and to their message.

We’ll see that, especially as we get into chapter 4.

You’ve probably noticed a theme that is running through our worship service today, especially in the song we’ve selected.

What is it?

The name.

The name of Jesus.

Today’s story includes Acts 4:12 which says, “There is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

No other name.

So today, in this message we want to think about the name of Jesus Christ.

A name is more than a word. It’s even more than a descriptive word. It stands for the person, their identity and in a powerful name, their authority.

So, we want to meditate together on no other name than Jesus.
Today’s story begins one day at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Chapter 3, verse 1.

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon.”

The song we teach our children says, “Peter and John went to pray.”

I almost titled this message “Peter and John went to pray,” but I have a hard enough  time talking about this text without singing the song, so I didn’t use that as the title.

Peter and John are both apostles. They’re quite a team. They were together that morning when they discovered the empty tomb.

They’re together again some day soon after Pentecost going up to the temple at a time when many other Jews went up to pray, the ninth hour, 3 o’clock. What happened then?

“They met a lame man on the way.”  Right?  V.2

“Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.”

He asked everyone for money.  That was his job.

He had been born unable to walk. Can you imagine?

Everyone knew this guy. We’re going to find out that he was over forty years old. He was like ten years older than Jesus.

And he had been disabled that entire time.  Notice what Peter does.  V.4

“Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.”

When you get their attention, when they talk to you, they are planning to give. That’s how it generally works.

But this time is really different.  V.6

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.”

Nu’ uh! Wahoo!


Can you imagine?

“I don’t have any money, but I do have the name of Jesus and am his authorized representative. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

And this was no psychosomatic healing.

This was congenital defect undone in a second.

And he didn’t just hobble around now.

He walked, and jumped and praised God!

We love to sing this one at home because you get to get all excited when you sing it.

It’s a great one for having boys.

“He went walking and leaping and praising God!”
“He went walking and leaping and praising God!”

And we leap around the room.

That’s what this guy did!

And they are the most public place in all of Jerusalem.

And there are people watching.  V.9

“When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. [Wouldn’t you?!] While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade.”

I love it that this beggar guy won’t let go of Peter and John.

We are never told his name, but he played a very important role.

He was a picture of salvation.

He was healed by the name of Jesus.

And what is salvation besides a complete healing by Jesus?

The crowd gathers. They are astonished. They are filled with wonder and amazement.

What is going on?!

Peter is going to make sense of this event. V.12

“When Peter saw this, he said to them: ‘Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?”

It is not us!

This is God.  The same God that you have always been taught about. V.13

“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus [No other name!]. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.”

There’s that word again. “Witnesses.”

We saw it with our own eyes, and we are give testimony to the fact.


Peter is witnessing.

And he is explaining the name of Jesus.

What does the name of Jesus signify?

At least this:

The servant of God. V.13

I think that brings up all of the Servant Songs from Isaiah.

Two of the Kids for Christ classes are memorizing Isaiah 53 right now about the Servant of the Lord.

It’s Jesus.

He is v.14, “The Holy and Righteous One.”

That’s what his name means.  “The Holy and Righteous One.”

No badness in Him. No darkness in Him. No unholiness, no wickedness.  Just Holy and Righteous.

And, Peter says, you killed him.  V.15

“You killed the Author of Life.”  King James, “Prince of Life.”

That’s who Jesus is.

That is what is signifed by His name.

But He is so full of life that He could not stay dead. V.15

“But God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.”  V.16

“By faith in the name of Jesus [no other name!], this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

It’s not us. It’s Jesus!

Where is this all going? V.17

“‘Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer [like Isaiah 53!]. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.' ‘Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.’”


That’s what this is all leading to.  Repent and turn to God. 

Because this is all a fulfillment of prophecy.  Jesus is the prophet like Moses predicted in Deuteronomy 18. If you ignore Him, you will pay the consequences. You will be cut off.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant!  He is the blessing promised to and through the offspring!

That’s who this Jesus is.  He is the suffering servant of the Lord.

He is all the Old Testament predicted.

Turn from your sins and trust in Him.

And be saved.


“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.”

Oh, doesn’t that sound good?

Don’t we all want that?  That our sins may be wiped out.

A little cleanser and then rub, rub, rub, and then it’s gone!

That is what we long for.

And not just forgivness.  V.19 again, “so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

Oh that sounds even better. Wiped out sins and times of refreshing.

Spiritual refreshment.

And more, v.20, “and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus.”

That’s send Him back! V.21

“He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”

Being saved by the name of Jesus means not just forgiveness and refreshment but being included in the restoration of all things.

Salvation is cosmic.  It will include, eventually, the whole universe being restored to what it always should have been.

But you only get to be included if you repent and trust in Jesus as your Savior.

You must believe in the name.

“To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”  John 1:12

Are you a child of God?

Have you been saved by the name of Jesus?

Do you want to be at the restoration of everything?
Do you want to enjoy the times of refreshing?
Do you want your sins to be wiped out?

The name of Jesus, the one who was crucified but was made alive, does that for sinners who turn from their sin and trust in Him.

That was Peter’s message to the crowd at the temple.

John is standing right there with him backing him up.

And there is the beggar guy, the former crippled who is holding on to them and not letting them go while he dances around.

And that’s how they were when the police found them.  Chapter 4.

Here’s where the trouble begins.  V.1

“The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.”

“Hands up. You’re under arrest!

You’ve been proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

You’re going to jail, buddy. You can talk to the court tomorrow. You’re under arrest.”

You can arrest the apostles, but you can’t arrest the gospel (Stott, 96)! V.4

“But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.”

That’s up from 3,000 that we saw last time.  Approximately 2,000 men believed the gospel through this preaching of Peter’s!

The gospel is unshackled and unstoppable!

But Peter and John are in prison.

And, I think that beggar guy is with them.

My guess is that even though they were in prison, they were still dancing.  V.5

“The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest's family.”

There are some familiar names.  Two of those were present just a couple of months earlier at Jesus’ trial.

How much do you expect Peter and John to get a fair trial?  V.7

“They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: ‘By what power or what name did you do this?’”

Because WE sure didn’t authorize this!

What power, what authority, what NAME did you do this in?  V.8

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple [and who could be against that?] and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He [Jesus] is ‘'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' [Psalm 118] Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.’”

Saved by the name of Jesus and no other name.

Now, we need to see how inclusive and exclusive this claim is.

For how exclusive.

There is no other name.  Not Buddha, not Muhammed, not Krishna, not Allah. Not Mary. Not Pastor Matt or Billy Graham.

No other name than Jesus.

If you try to get saved by some other name, some other identity, some other entity, some other institution, some other god, some other idol, some other philosophy, some other religion, some other name, then you will be lost.

“For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

That’s exclusive.  It just is.

But it’s also inclusive.

Because ANYONE who comes to God for their sins wiped clean through this name and no other name “must be saved!”

And will be saved.

Whosoever believes in God’s Son will be saved.

You don’t have to be rich, or white, or talented, or smart, or strong or religious or American or Western or go to this church or that church.

You just have go through Jesus.

“Salvation is found in no one else.”

But it is found in Jesus!

That was Peter’s message, not just to the crowd, but also the court.

Saved by the name of Jesus.

And the court couldn’t really argue with him. They were just about speechless. V.13

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. [Catch that. These guys didn’t go to our seminary, but they sure can preach. Oh, they had been with Jesus. That’s the only seminary that really counts!]”
“But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.”

What are they going do?

Everyone in Jerusalem knows what has happened. How are we going to stop this?

They try to put pressure on them.  V.15

“So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.  ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.’ [This name is the problem. Can we stop that?] Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.”


Peter and John have been told to cut it out.

What would you have said?

Peter says, “Yeah, right.”  V.19

But Peter and John replied, ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’ [Is that how you and I are? Can we say that? “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.]”

What do you do with guys like that?  Apparently, you let them go.

“After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old. On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.”

This is the first persecution that the early church has experienced.

They have had their run ins with the authorities.

What is the next step?  A prayer meeting, of course!

“When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. [You’re the Creator.] You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: [In Psalm 2] ‘'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.' [Yep, that happened.] Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. [But they couldn’t do anything on their own.] They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. [The Cross is God’s plan.] Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders [how?] through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’  After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

We’re going to stop there this week. We’ll pick up in verse 32 next time.

But we’ve got to see how and what these believers prayed.

They prayed to a Sovereign God who they knew was greater than any human authority and who cannot be thwarted in His sovereign plans.  He even uses the sinful acts of sinful men to accomplish His purposes.

That’s whom they are praying to.

And what do they ask this Sovereign God for?

They ask for miracles and signs to be done through the name of Jesus.

And they ask for BOLDNESS to speak the name of Jesus.

When was the last time that you and I prayed for holy boldness?

We have several outreaches that are being planned for the next weeks and months.

Who have you invited?

Who have I invited?

Does that take boldness?

Who are you praying for to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior?

Have you talked to them?

Speaking the name of Jesus.


We must speak it.

We must be bold.

And that will take prayer.

Our leaders for the Wednesday night prayer meeting have been reading a book called “And the Place was Shaken” taken from this passage.

God said, “Yes!” in a very earthshaking way.

Yes! I’ll give you boldness.

Pray for it.

Pray for holy boldness.

And (v.31) “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke th word of God boldly.”

May it be true of you and me.

Messages So Far In this Series:

You Will Be My Witnesses
Before Pentecost