Fairmeadow Community Church of The Nazarene
April 25, 2021
  • What A Beautiful Name
  • Acts 4:5–12 NRSV
    5 The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11 This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ 12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

    By what Power or by what Name?

    Acts 4:9 NRSV
    9 if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed,
    The powers that be are really giving it to Peter and the apostles. How dare you heal a man? How dare you follow a teacher we tried to snuff out! If Peter and the apostles were in it for success and influence it was not going well by any measure, amen? Arrested. Charged. Put on the hot seat and questioned about their actions. Thank God it was that they were being faithful, that’s why. Thank God it was that they had healed a man rather than because they did harm.
    But Peter was doing this for all the right reasons. He doesn’t retaliate, he answers respectfully and clearly. He realizes this is a scary moment. But it’s also a scary good opportunity.
    The world will apply pressure. Other religious people and leaders may mean well and challenge us even when we are trying to authentically follow Jesus.
    This is because these leaders lost track of following God closely and began to act like corporate board members of a religion-related business. How do we protect our bottom line? How do we protect our influence and position in the culture?
    But here’s the thing that we can’t know for sure. How much was their question simply an accusation that Peter and his friends were using demonic powers to do unholy things and how much of it was these mystified leaders just really blown away and wanting to know?
    For us today at one level the question itself is just very clarifying and helpful.

    What is the power source of our lives?

    Leslie Phillips- Strength of My Life
    In this classic song Leslie writes:
    Well, my tears are pushed away now for the Sake of morning rush 'til the Bible on the table catches my eye And I read that you are near to the hearts that Break with grief And I realize that I don't have to try To live life myself, because you're ready to help, me live And everyday I look to you To be the strength of my life You're the hope I hold onto Be the strength of my life Be the strength of my life Strength of my life Be the strength of my life today
    Each day has it's problems, it troubles and it's tears And it seems I'm always anything but strong When I learn to know my weakness, I understand your strength And even when the hard times last so long I won't try by myself, I'll just ask for your help Each day
    By what power or by what name have you lived your life? By what power or by what name are you living today?
    If you want to see everyday mountains moved in your life come to the place where you can answer this question. By what power or by what name are you living?

    No other name

    Well Peter’s on a roll so he doesn’t stop now. He gets down to the heart of the matter. Your standing in life doesn’t matter. Whether you are ruling elders who had Jesus put to death or rogue religious prisoners having to apologize for healing someone, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do with Jesus. So consider it carefully.
    Acts 4:12 NRSV
    12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”
    Think of Peter who is saying this. He was the first to realize Jesus was the Messiah.
    Matthew 16:16 NRSV
    16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
    But he wasn’t the first to figure out all that Jesus is. Mary and Thomas helped us see. Peter had denied him and he was completely broken by the experience. But Jesus came to him. In the movie, The Robe the soldier who gambled for Jesus’ garment is haunted by the fact that he participated Jesus’ crucifixion. Is wife is a follower of Jesus and he wants to be also, but he doubts he could ever be forgiven. One of my all time favorite scenes shows us the mature Peter that we don’t always think about. Deep in the catacombs of Rome he secretly comes to meet with this man. There he is looking wise and compassionate. The man pours out his heart and explains why he doesn’t qualify. Then Peter tells him his story. That he denied Jesus three times when it mattered the most. We know the rest of that story how Jesus appeared to him after the resurrection. How Jesus asked him again three times if he loves him. Then Jesus restored him and told him to take care of the sheep. And here is Peter doing just that. I know it’s just a movie and I hate to give hollywood too much credit. But Peter tells him if Jesus can forgive me, don’t you see that he can surely forgive you as well? It’s just a movie and that exact scene probably never happened. But in that scene it’s like Peter is putting his arm on all of our shoulders and letting us know that Jesus truly saves. He truly forgives. His grace and forgiveness are for everyone, even you. Even me.
    So Peter didn’t just pray a prayer for forgiveness and go back to fishing. Peter went all in to living the Jesus life.
    Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. That means he can save us from spiritual death. It means he shows us what is important in life. It means he shows us how to live and how to treat others. It means that sin doesn’t have to rule our lives anymore. You can put it behind you and move forward, set free from your past.
    The only name under heaven by which we must be saved. Now we’ve abused this verse: this is not the verse that we use to beat up other religions and say our religion is the best one. Jesus is unique and of course I believe he is the true and ultimate path to God. But Jesus is not a bouncer at the gates of heaven trying to keep people out. “No man comes to the Father...” doesn’t mean “you’re not gettin’ in...” It means that everyone who comes to the father, everyone who experiences eternal life does so because of what Jesus did for all of us. Far from a bouncer Jesus is a bridge by which everyone can be saved. He is the path to God the Father because he is God the Son.
    He is not willing that anyone should perish. Whosoever will may come. But come to Jesus.

    Where do you find salvation?

    Family? Job? Money? Possessions? Sex? The approval of friends?
    I’m not asking what you would say you put your trust into. Most of us know enough to know what we should say to the preacher if ever asked this question.
    But I’m asking you to look within and ask yourself. Be honest, because there’s lot riding on it. Whether it’s finding peace to get through one of your hardest days or facing death itself, it matters.
    No other name is as great as the name of Jesus. No other love compares to his. No other way brings more peace and reconciliation. No other life is more abundant and freeing. Jesus, that’s the name to know. Jesus.
    Jesus saves. Has he saved you? Let’s pray...
      • Acts 4:5–12NRSV

      • Acts 4:9NRSV

      • Acts 4:12NRSV

      • Matthew 16:16NRSV

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