- Sermon Notes
The Power and the Name
As we pick up our story through the book of Acts, Peter and John were on the way to the temple and saw a man begging for alms. Peter said to the man, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you; in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!” Peter seized him by the right hand and raised him up and immediately the man was healed. With a leap, he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
A great crowd gathered and were gazing upon Peter and John with amazement and marveling at this miracle. So Peter replied to the people, “Why do you marvel at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we made him walk?”
Peter explained that God has glorified His servant Jesus and on the basis of faith in His name the man was healed. He then told the people to repent and return that their sins might be wiped away in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, saying, “For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”
That’s where we pick up our story in chapter 4. We read in this chapter that 5,000 people who heard that message believed, but the Jewish leaders along with the captain of the temple guard came upon them and laid hands on them. They were arrested and put in jail until the next day since it was already evening. These were the same Jewish leaders that didn’t like Jesus at all. They were the legalists who had taught the way to God was through keeping the letter of the law and living under the burden of it. Yet Jesus taught that He was the fulfillment of the Law and that He was the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father but through Him.
It’s interesting that among these Jewish leaders were also Sadducees. These are the ones who didn’t believe in any form of resurrection, they didn’t believe in angels and they didn’t believe that anything miraculous was possible. Yet, the next day, the man who was healed stood next to Peter and John. It was irrefutable evidence of the power of God.
When Peter and John said they were witnesses that Jesus was raised from the dead, they had nothing to say in reply, seeing that the man who had been healed was standing right next to them. When Jesus had a confrontation with the Sadducees He said, “You are mistaken, not understanding the scriptures nor the power of God.” Matthew 22:29.
Actually, there are a lot of “theologians” today that also deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ and try to explain away the miracles because they don’t believe it’s possible. Maybe that’s why they were –sad-u-see.
I. Live by Faith in His Name
- There are several key verses in this chapter that help us understand and take hold of God’s desire for us.
- One of those is verse 10. Peter said, “By the name of Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, this man stands before you in good health.”
- In the last chapter Peter said, it is on the basis of faith in His name that God moved in power.
- Paul wrote in Philippians 2: “God bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
- Peter said some amazing things as he stood before the Jewish leaders. One of the keys to understanding the name of Jesus is found in verse 12, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
- This is exactly what Jesus was saying in John…
John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
- I know this is not a politically correct statement, but when you have the name which is above every other name, you really aren’t very concerned about being politically correct.
- Personally, I would be much more concerned about being simply correct, rather than being politically correct. I would rather stand on the truth than a compromise. Jesus is the only way to the Father and God proved that by raising Him from the dead.
- In fact, let me be so bold as to say; if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then He is a liar and all the disciples were liars and I would want nothing to do with it. But if He was raised from the dead, then I’m going to build my life on what He said and did.
- This was exactly the point Peter made in verse 11 when he said that Jesus is the stone which was rejected, but which became the chief cornerstone.
- Here, Peter is quoting from Psalm 118, the very Psalm they were singing and shouting when Jesus came into Jerusalem we call the Triumphant Entry.
Psalm 118:20-29 This is the day which the Lord has made
Matthew 21:43, “Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing the fruit of it. He who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”
Luke 6:47-48, “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and lives according to them, he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.”
- We also have to see that when Peter said this he was filled with the Holy Spirit. That makes all the difference in the world.
- Before Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, he denied the Lord in the darkness and was filled with fear; he was also brash and always sticking his foot in his mouth. See the difference is his life now.
- The Holy Spirit is the life of God. The scripture says we were dead in our trespasses and sins, but He sends the Holy Spirit that we would wake up.
Ephesians 5:14, For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 5:18-20 Be continually filled with the Spirit.
Illus - When I went to OSU I discovered a better “spirit.”
Luke 11:9-13, The heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
II. The Key to Change; be with Jesus
- Verse 13 - They observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men and they were marveling and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
- What a powerful statement! What insight in what it means to be transformed; having been with Jesus.
A. Have this confidence in God
- I love that phrase, “They observed the confidence of Peter and John… And recognized them as having been with Jesus.”
- There seem to be two things we can observe in people; either they are filled with fear, insecurity and self-doubt, or they are filled with self-confidence and self-assurance.
Illus - To quote the famous British philosopher, Elton John, “He has a self-sufficient swept back hairdo, pretty certain that he’s got it made.”
- We know God doesn’t want us to live with fear and insecurity.
2 Timothy 1:7, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.
- But neither does God want us to be self-sufficient and self-confidence, but rather God confident. That’s faith, that’s being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 13:6, So that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Illus - In our study through Jeremiah, we came upon an interesting verse…
Jeremiah 30:6, 10-11, “Ask now, and see, if a male can give birth. Why then do I see every man acting like a woman in childbirth? Why have all faces turned pale? ...Fear not, O Jacob My servant, and do not be dismayed, O Israel; for I am with you to save,” declares the Lord.
- Notice the prayer of the disciples in verse 29, “Grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence…”
- They are filled with the Holy Spirit and they are witnesses of the power of God; they are filled with faith and the confidence that God is with them.
Psalm 71:5, You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.
Psalm 27:1, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?
B. Your teacher is Jesus
- In verse 13 it says they understood that Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men.
- That’s what they thought, but they were wrong.
- It’s true they weren’t formally trained in their theological institutions, but frankly, some of the deadest Christians I’ve ever met had enough letters behind their name to make alphabet soup.
- But they walked with Jesus for three years and had a personal encounter with the resurrected Christ. That’s the best training possible.
John 8:31-32, Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Illus – Some of the most effective Calvary Chapel pastors don’t have great degrees, but they do have the Word written on their heart!
- What does the word disciple mean? It is one who is being taught.
- This is the power of the transformed life; faith is built by hearing the word of Christ, knowing the truth will set you free; to abide in God’s Word is to be with Jesus.
- But we need to be teachable, we need to desire a deeper walk of faith, a deeper relationship. We need to say to the Lord, “Be my Teacher! I want to learn!”
- But you have to also know your way won’t work.
Judges 17:6, In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.
Proverbs 12:15, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Job 23:12, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
Illus - When a woman is pregnant, she has cravings based on what her body needs. May we have spiritual cravings for what our soul needs.
C. In Jesus life has new purpose
- Being with Jesus changed everything. Peter was changed from a fisherman to a fisher of men.
- In the prayer of the disciples in verse 29, they ask that they may speak God’s word with all confidence.
- In verse 31 God answers their prayer by filling them with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak the word of God with boldness.
- The Word of God changes lives. May we pray for a boldness to speak His word and see lives changed as well. What a privilege. What an honor.
Illus - Pray that God would bring someone into your life with whom you can share your faith and see their life transformed. It will transform your life as well.
2 Corinthians 5:9, 14-15, Therefore we have as our ambition… to be pleasing to Him… For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this… That He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Acts 4:1-31 NASB
27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus." 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.