The Apostles had been arrested because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. And the next day they were brought before the religious leaders and rulers in the temple. And they asked of the Apostles, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” And “this” was in reference to the apostles being instrumental in the healing of a man who was crippled.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed to them that it was by the name of Jesus Christ, whom they had crucified, whom God had raised from the dead, that this man was standing before them well. And then he said,
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).
And that is absolutely the truth! Not one of us can be saved from our bondage to sin and have eternal life with God apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ. For Jesus died on that cross in order that we might be crucified with him in death to sin. And he was raised from the dead so that we might also be raised to walk in newness of life in him. And our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (Romans 6:1-23).
Acts 4:13 ESV
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
Now I happen to be very fond of this statement. And the reason is this. Even though these people were opposed to Jesus Christ and to his apostles, they had the insight to see that these men were common uneducated men, and that they would not be able to speak as they did from their own natural selves. But what is even better is that they recognized that these men had been with Jesus. There was something about these men in what they did and in what they spoke that identified them with Jesus Christ. Awesome!
Now, do you suppose if we were the ones standing before the religious leaders of that time that they would say the same about us? Would there be enough evidence for them to recognize that we had been with Jesus? Would there be enough about us in the things that we say and do to connect us with Jesus Christ? If so, what would those things be? What is it about our character, our attitudes, our speech, and our behaviors that would immediately identify us with Jesus Christ, that we had been with him, in fellowship with him? Or would there be any such evidence at all?
For, you know, if truly we are in fellowship with Jesus Christ there should be evidence of that in our character, speaking, attitudes, and behaviors. It doesn’t mean we are absolutely perfect people (1 John 2:1-2), but that we are truly in relationship with Jesus Christ, and that our dependency is upon him. For we have left our sins behind us and now we are following him in obedience, and we are now operating in his power and strength and not in our own flesh.
Acts 4:14-20 ESV
“But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
Now in America it is not a crime to speak in the name of Jesus. In fact, our culture today has popularized the name of Jesus Christ to make Jesus more widely accepted. But in most of these cases, the “Jesus” they are presenting is not the Jesus of the Scriptures, not in his fulness. They have taken Jesus’ more acceptable character traits and made those the totality of who he was, and they have dismissed the character traits they didn’t like, and then they have added on to his character things which were not him, but to make him more like us. But they aren’t teaching the true Jesus, not in whole.
So, for the most part, we have the freedom in America to speak in the name of Jesus, but it depends on what we are speaking. If we are talking about these worldly images of the “Jesus” who is being presented in some of these modern movies or TV shows, that is safe territory. If we merely mention that we believe in Jesus, still safe. And if we espouse cheap grace, saying that all we have to do is “believe” (undefined) in Jesus and now all our sins are forgiven and we are on our way to heaven regardless of how we live, that is also still safe territory.
Nonetheless, if we start to teach what Jesus taught that we must surrender all to follow him, and that we must die daily to our sins and follow him in obedience, and that if we do not, that we do not have eternal life with God, well then that is where we are going to face opposition. And I am not speaking of opposition from the world, but from within the church (or what is falsely called church). For so many have adopted this notion that we can just make a profession of Christ as Savior and Lord and now we are good to go to heaven regardless of how we live on this earth. Not the truth.
Jesus Christ and his New Testament Apostles made it quite clear that the way to heaven is a narrow path, and it is hard, and few enter it. They taught dying with Christ to sin and following Jesus in obedience as required of God for salvation as part of our believing faith. And they taught that if we do not forsake our sins to follow Jesus in obedience and in righteousness, but we continue to make sin our practice, that heaven is not what awaits us when we die. We will die in our sins and we will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
But if this is what we teach, again we are going to be opposed, for it is not popular today to speak such truths. But we are not to let any opposition coming against us, no matter who is opposing us, to deter us from continuing to proclaim the truth of the gospel of Christ. For God is the one we must obey. He is the one we must answer to. And it is only the truth that will save people from hell and guarantee them eternity in heaven. So it is critical that we keep speaking the truth, and that we are exposing the lies, too, for many people are being lead astray by wolves in sheep’s clothing.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Hear my Voice
An Original Work / July 9, 2012
Based off Psalm 27
The Lord is my great salvation.
He’s the stronghold of my life.
When my enemies attack me,
My heart will not fear at all.
Though a war break out against me,
Confident in Christ I’ll be.
Of the Lord, I ask that I may
Live with Him eternally.
Hear my voice, Lord, when I call you.
Merciful to me You’ll be.
Though my relatives forsake me,
My Lord God will receive me.
Teach me Your way, O my Jesus.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
I will sacrifice to my Lord.
I will sing with joyfulness.
I am confident that I will
See the goodness of the Lord.
All the richness of His blessings,
My Lord has for me in store.
He asks me to be of courage;
To be strong and to take heart,
Patiently as I wait for Him,
And from Him to ne’er depart.