April 15, 2018

Rev. Mark Bartels



Gospel Lesson; 1 John 1:1-10

                          1 John 2:1-2 

Epistle Lesson; Luke 24:36-49

Sermon Text; Acts 4:8-12


The text we will look at this morning is from Acts, chapter four, verses eight through twelve.  I want to preface, before I read it.  It is a little unusual, but the church many years ago decided there was going to be a section in the Bible, an account in the Bible, that was going to be preached so that half would be preached on last Sunday, and the other half this Sunday.  It is about the healing of a man who was born crippled.  He had been crippled for over forty years, and Peter healed this man. 

Last week, Pastor Tweit talked about the first half of that event, taken from Acts, chapter three.  Today we are going to talk about the rest of the story, or as Paul Harvey would say, “Page two of this event”, of Peter healing this man who was born crippled.

Before we talk about it, if you would read through Acts chapter four, there is something that prominently repeats.  It is this phrase, “In Jesus' name”.  Or, “In the name of Jesus”.  It is in there over, and over, and over, again.  It is the focus of the man who was born lame. 

So, let's look a little bit of what it means to do something in someone's name.  I will use my name as an example, but you could use any name. 

My parents gave me a name.  My name is Mark.  I have had that name since I was born.  My last name is Bartels.  That is my surname.  So, Mark Bartels is my name. 

When you hear someone's name, you think of a certain reputation.  As soon as you hear my name you think certain things about me.  I have a reputation associated with my name. 

My name, Mark Bartels, can give certain people authority to do things they normally would not be able to do.  For example, if I sign my name on a check, and somebody gives it to a bank teller, my name on that check gives that bank teller the authority to reach into my bank account, and give my money to somebody else.  They could not do that without the authority of my name. 

If I gave you some posters, and said, “Hey, I talked to the people down at Woodman's, and they said Holy Cross can put up some posters on the bulletin board.”

And you were there tacking them up, when somebody said, “Hey, why are you putting those up here?” 

You would say, “Well, Pastor Bartels from Holy Cross said I could put them up.”  My name then gives you the authority to put them up.

So, my name can give people authority to do certain things.

Somebody's name can also give you the authority to go places you never normally could go.  For example.  My son's name is Matt Bartels.  He works at a factory that makes eleven million pop can lids a day.  The public is not allowed into that factory.  There is some expensive, sophisticated machinery in there.  You couldn't get into that factory.  But, I was able to get in to it.  Do you know why?  It was because I was able to go in, and say, “My son is Matt Bartels.” 

Then, they said, “Oh Matt!  Well, come on in.” 

Matt was then able to show me around.  So, Matt's name gave me the ability to go places I otherwise could not go.

But, my name only has limited ability to give somebody authority to do things.  My name, and Matt's name only has limited ability to get people to be able to go certain places.  Matt's name and my name could not get you into Buckingham Palace.  You could say, “I know Matt Bartels and Mark Bartels”, but they would not say, “Oh, well, come on in.”  Our names would not get us in to the White House, either.

But, there is a name that is above all names, the Bible tells us.  A name that is above all names.  The name that is above all names is the name Jesus.  Jesus' name gives us the ability to go places we would never be able to go, and do things we would never be able to do. 

That is what this reading from scripture today is really establishing.  Now that Jesus had risen from the dead, Peter is establishing the authority of the name of Jesus. 

Here is what happened last week.  Last week, probably about two months after Jesus had died, risen, and ascended into Heaven, Peter and John went to the temple in Jerusalem.  There at the temple, at the steps of a gate called The Gate Called Beautiful was a man, a crippled man, who had been brought there every day. He sat there daily begging, asking for alms. 

Peter and John came up to him, and they said, “Silver and gold have I none.  But, what I have, I give to you.”

Now listen to what he says. 

“In the name of Jesus,

get up and walk.” 

In the name of Jesus.   Peter wasn't saying, “In the name of Peter, get up and walk.”  If he had, what would have happened?  The man never could have gotten up, and walked.  He didn't say, “In the name of John, get up and walk.”  The man never would have walked. 

He said,

“In the name of Jesus,

get up and walk.” 

And, that man stood up.   He was able to do things he was never been able to do his entire life.  He was able to jump, and run!  He was able to go places he probably had never gone in his entire life.  He had probably sat at the steps of that temple, and never actually been able to walk into the temple, itself.  But now, he goes into the temple, doing things, and going places he had never been able to go before, in the name of Jesus, by the authority of Jesus' name, the name that is above every name.

Well, when that happened, (as you can imagine) a crowd gathered.  And as the crowd gathered, Peter took the opportunity (as Pastor Tweit said last week), to preach.  As he was preaching, toward apparently the end of his sermon, he began to preach that there is resurrection from the dead, through Jesus.  When he began to preach that, that was when the religious leaders became very troubled.  The Bible tells us they were very troubled of what Peter was preaching.  And so, Peter and John were all of a sudden surrounded in the temple.  They were surrounded by religious leaders, and, by the high priests.  They arrested them, and put them in jail.  It was toward evening. 

The next day Peter and John were let out of prison.  They were brought to Annas, Caiaphas, the priests, and the leaders of the people.  The same group that had Jesus on trial.  It was the same group who had found Jesus guilty of blasphemy.  This is not a friendly crowd.  And, you know what they asked Peter and John?  Here is what they asked them.  “In whose name did you do this?”  Listen to that.  “In whose name did you do this?”  In other words, they were saying, “Peter, you are just a normal, average guy.  Normal average guys are not allowed to stand up in the temple, and preach and teach.  And so, in whose name did you do it?  Did one of these priests here give you the authority to stand up, and preach in the temple?  Did Caiaphas give you the authority to stand up in the temple?  Did Annas give you the authority to stand up in the temple?  In whose name did you do these things?” 

Jesus had told his disciples, “When you are arrested, and brought before rulers in the synagogue, and the leaders, don't worry about what to say.  The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say.”

So, now look at your text.


Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit spoke.

Now, this is Peter.  He is a man who had a real love for lost souls.  He also was a man who had a real desire to defend his dear Savior's name.  So those two things now go into this answer, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Love for lost souls and the desire to defend the name, and establish the reputation of Jesus.

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit said to them, “Rulers of the people and Elders of Israel, if we are being questioned today for a kind act that was done for the lame man, as to how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and all of the people of Israel that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead!
So, the leaders asked Peter, “By what name did you do these things?”

Peter did not look at that lame man, and say, “In the name of Caiaphas the high priest, I say to you get up, and walk.”  Could the lame man have gotten up, and walked, if he had used Caiaphas as the authority?  And the answer is, of course, “No”. 

He did not say, “In the name of Annas the high priest, I say to you get up and walk.”  The man could not have gotten up, and walked. 

But he said, “That man was raised, was able to walk, because we said in the name of Jesus, get up, and walk.” 

The name of Jesus, calling on Jesus' authority, not Peter's authority, Jesus' authority enabled that man to literally get up, and walk.  Implying that Jesus has all authority, and all power, and implying that Jesus was not dead, anymore.  Jesus raised from the dead.  He was alive, active, and working. 

Then, Peter went on, and wants to establish the fact that not only the name of Jesus, which is above all names, has the authority to enable that man to get up, and walk, and that He has power over physical things, but Jesus also has all authority.  His name has all authority over spiritual things.  He goes on, and said

“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you builders,

which has become the cornerstone.” 

If there were stone masons who were building buildings, and they ran across a stone they thought would not work, they would throw it away.  Peter was telling the religious leaders, “You religious leaders, it is your job to build God's house, spiritually.” 

What had those religious leaders done with Jesus?  Well, they had 'thrown Him away'.  They got rid of Him.  They didn't like what He was saying.  They didn't like the fact that He was talking about sin, and the forgiveness of sin, so they got rid of Him.  They crucified Him. 

And now, Peter is saying, “He is back.  The LORD has laid Him as the cornerstone of the House of God.” 

A cornerstone is the part of the building on which everything else depends.  The weight of the building rests on that stone.  The shape of the building rests on that stone.  Peter is saying the name of Jesus is above all names.  And, the spiritual house of God depends on Jesus, on His name. 

And then, he goes on, and says this.  It is a famous passage in scripture. 

“There is salvation in no one else,

for there is no other name (what?)

no other name,

for there is no other name under Heaven,

given to people by which we must be saved.”  

The name of Jesus, the authority, the power of Jesus, is the only name that can save anyone. 

When I get to Heaven, someday, if I stand before those gates, knock on the door, and I say, “Hey, it is Mark Bartels”, my name is not going to get me into Heaven. 

They are not going to say, “Oh look.  It's Mark!  Come on in!” 

Or, if I say, “Hey”, knock, knock, knock, “It's Mark Bartels, and I know Matt Bartels”, Matt's name is not going to get me into Heaven. 

It is only the name of Jesus.  Only the name of Jesus, who He is, and what He has done, His reputation and calling on His authority that will get anyone into Heaven. 

We live in a day, and age where some people call it, 'The Mountain View of Salvation'.  It is this idea that everybody is at the bottom of this mountain.  Everybody wants to try to get to the top, and there are a whole bunch of different ways to get to the top – a whole bunch of different ways to get to Heaven, and be saved.  It is what we call a very pluralistic view of how to get to Heaven.  The teaching is kind of like picking ice cream.  You like one flavor, and I like a different flavor, which are different ways to get to Heaven.  Today's society says all religions fundamentally are the same, superficially different, but fundamentally the same, and they all get us to Heaven, somehow, some way. 

That is not what Scripture teaches. 

If fact,  Scripture teaches the opposite.  There may be some similarities in religions superficially, but fundamentally, fundamentally Christianity is profoundly different from every other religion.  It is the only way of salvation.  Only the name of Jesus, which is the name above all names, is the name that enables us to be saved. 

All other religions essentially teach this:  If you do what you can on your own, somehow, you can get to the top of that mountain, please God, and be saved.  Essentially, you save yourself. 

Christianity is fundamentally different from that. 

Do you know what the name 'Jesus' means?  It means 'Yahweh', or 'Jehovah', or 'The LORD saves', or 'The LORD rescues'.  We don't save ourselves.  The LORD saves us.  The LORD rescues us.  That is Christianity.  That is what Jesus has done.  God, in His mercy and compassion, doesn't make us come up the mountain to Him, because we could never do it.  We are too broken.  We are too sinful.  We are too guilty.  And so, Jesus, in His mercy came down to us.  He rescued us.  He died on the cross.  He paid for our sins.  He washed them away.  He lived a perfect life.  He rose from the dead.  He is the only way of salvation.

Thank God, by the mercy of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit, you have come to know that. 

Peter, by the power of the Holy Spirit, was given the task to speak that message to men, some maybe who listened, but many who rejected it.  We also have the opportunity in our lives to tell people about the name of Jesus, the one way of salvation. 

It is not like picking ice cream.  When picking ice cream (whatever flavor you want), there is really no implication as to what flavor you pick.  It doesn't bother me, and it doesn't bother you, what flavor I eat. 

But, with religion it is different.  There are huge implications as to what your religion is, and what your world view is.  There is only one way of salvation, and so it is incumbent on us to tell people the way of salvation, the name of Jesus.  There is no other name.  No other name.  It is the name that is above all names. 

Peter, at one point in his life was terrified to say that.  When people asked Peter, (when Jesus was on trial), “Oh, you are one of His disciples, aren't you?”, what did Peter say?  “I don't even know the man”.  He didn't want to even say he knew Jesus' name.  But then, he was brought to repentance.  He was forgiven by Jesus.  He was restored into the apostleship.  He was given the courage to tell other people, “That is the only way to get to Heaven”. 

There are times when you and I hide from the fact that Jesus is the only way of salvation.  We are afraid of what people will think, if we say, “Jesus is the only way to Heaven”.  We can be ashamed of the name of Jesus, as the only way. 

God forgive us.  And, He does, for Jesus' sake.  That is the kind of Savior we have.  We are completely, fully forgiven.  May God give us the courage, the courage, and the love of souls to spread the saving message of Jesus’ name.  It is the name that is above all names.  And there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved.