Archive for October, 2013

Nothing To Say

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.  And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

Acts 4:11-14

After seeing the lame man healed, walking and standing amongst them, the chief priests and people could not say anything against the things that Peter and John had said.  I’m sure they wanted to say something against it, but with the evidence standing there in front of them, it was not easy to find something that they could say.

If something is truth, there is no use arguing with it.  That is the reason it is important to talk to people about two things: the Bible and your personal testimony.

People can try to argue with the Bible all they want, but it is truth.  Deep down, people know that the Bible is truth, but they don’t want to admit it.  My opinions or anybody else’s opinions really don’t matter.  What the Bible says matters.  When speaking to people, we need to make sure that we are giving them the undeniable truth from God’s Word.

We can also use our personal testimony.  Many Christians don’t realize just how powerful their testimony can be.  This man was lame.  He spent years not being able to walk.  But now he was there, standing before them.  That kind of testimony is impossible to argue with.

We were once bound in the chains of sin.  But now we walk free in Christ.  That is a powerful testimony.  We need to use it!

They Had Been With Him

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is one other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:11-13

There are times that we don’t speak up and say things that we should say because we are nervous.  Sometimes we don’t want to sound silly, so we are quiet when we should not be quiet.  Sometimes people get nervous about telling people about the Lord because they are fearful for one reason or another.  This is a good passage for those fears.

Peter and John were not super intelligent men.  They were not highly educated.  They were not great Bible scholars.  But they spoke and preached with great boldness and power.  And after hearing them preach with boldness and power, the people listening were shocked.  What they said next tells us all that we need to know: “…they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

Peter and John didn’t need five years of Bible college to do what they did.  They needed to have been with Jesus.  All they were doing was telling these people the truth about Jesus and about what they had done to Him.  All they had was what Jesus had told and their own personal testimony to the truth.  But, as it turned out, that was enough.  These people recognized that they had been with Jesus.  They recognized the power of Lord coming through Peter and John.

That is a good lesson for us.  We don’t need to know everything in order to witness to people for the Lord Jesus.  We just need to know Him.  If we know Him and spend time with Him, others will be able to tell.

The Only One

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 4:11-12

Acts 4:12 is one of the most powerful and important verses in the entire Bible.  “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  It shows us the one way.  It shows us the only way.  If we would be saved, this verse shows us the way.

There is no other name in world or even in the universe whereby a man might be saved.  Jesus Christ is the only way.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of Jesus Christ.  Men have searched for another way and have many other ways to try, but none of them have worked nor will they work.  He is the only way.

The context of these verses is Peter speaking to some of the rulers and high priests.  They had rejected the only way and had crucified Him.  But here they were getting a second chance.  After hearing these words from Peter, there can be no questions or mistakes.  Peter told them exactly what they needed to hear.  Peter told them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

We all know that they would come to reject it again, but it does not change the message.  It does not change the truth that saves every man, woman or child in the world who gets saved.  Salvation comes only through Him.  There is truly “none other name under heaven given among men whereby ye must be saved.”  It’s all Jesus, only Jesus and forever Jesus.  What a wonderful Saviour!

Every Time

And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.  And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Acts 4:6-11

In the first part of the book of Acts, we find Simon Peter preaching several times.  It is interesting to note that in each of these sermons, his message is virtually the same.  The setting change, the audience changes, and the introduction changes, but the message stays exactly the same: Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

Peter is among the first men to preach the gospel that we know: the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  No matter how the conversation starts, Peter bring the focus as quickly as possible to Jesus, and his death, burial and resurrection.

That is exactly what we are supposed to be doing.  That is the same gospel that we should be preaching and teaching.  No matter our audience or opening subject, we can always bring the conversation to Jesus.  We can always speak of the gospel.  Peter preached it then and we should preach it now.

Unto You First

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.  Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

Acts 3:25-26

There is nothing greater in the world than receiving the good news of the gospel.  On the other hand, there is no greater responsibility in the world than receiving the good news of the gospel.  No story in history illustrates this truth better than that of the nation of Israel.

In this passage, God tells the nation of Israel that “Unto you first God… sent his to bless you…”  The Jews are God’s chosen people.  When God sent His Son Jesus into the world as a man, He sent Him to the Jews.  Jesus ministered to the Jews.  He healed their sick, caused their blind to see and made their lame to walk.  He went about them “doing good.”  He came to them, loved them, preached to them and showed them the way.  What did they do with this honor and responsibility?  They rejected Him and crucified Him.

Now, Jesus has risen from the dead and ascended back into Heaven.  Now God has given the ministry of pointing people to Jesus to the disciples.  And where do they start?  They are to start with the Jews.  Once again, they were first in line.  He came to them at His first coming and He sent His disciples to go to them after His resurrection.  What did they do with that honor and responsibility?  They rejected Him a second time.  The gospel ended up going to the Gentiles, where it was received, believed and where it flourished.

The nation of Israel had two prime opportunities to accept the Saviour.  They rejected Him both times.  What have we done with it?  It is a great privilege, but it is also a great responsibility.

O Say But I’m Glad (Hymn)

O Say But I’m Glad
James P. Sullivan (1930)

There is a song in my heart today,
Something I never had;
Jesus has taken my sins away,
O! say, but I’m glad.

Refrain
O, say but I’m glad, I’m glad,
O, say but I’m glad,
Jesus has come and my cup’s overrun;
O, say but I’m glad.

Wonderful, marvelous love He brings,
Into a heart that’s sad;
Through darkest tunnels the soul just sings,
O, say but I’m glad.

Refrain

We have a fellowship rich and sweet,
Tongues can never relate;
Abiding in Him: the soul’s retreat,
O, say but I’m glad.

Refrain

Won’t you come to Him with all you care,
Weary and worn and sad?
You, too, will sing as His love you share,
O, say but I’m glad.

Refrain

Christians should be the happiest people in the world.  Christians have a inner joy and peace that others do not have.  If anyone in the entire world should be able to sing a song like this, it is a born again Christian!

It’s Jesus

And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, great wondering.  And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this?  or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?  The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.  But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

Acts 3:11-15

Peter isn’t shy here.  There is no hint of denying the Lord here.  After healing the lame man, Peter used the opportunity to preach to these people.  He told them that Jesus is God and that they crucified Him.  He didn’t mince words: “…ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”

These men thought they had heard the last of Jesus when they had Him crucified.  But now, not too many days later, here was a man in front of them accusing them of murder.  They were telling them that it was through the power of a risen from the dead Jesus that they had healed the man leaping and walking in front of them.  They had not heard the last of Jesus.  There he was in front of them again.

We can never get away from the Lord Jesus.  Even if we reject Him, He will be there.  Someday, He will be there – right in front of us again.  We need to accept Him and stay with Him.

Rising Up and Walking

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  And he leading up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping and praising God.  And all the people saw him walking and praising God:

Acts 3:6-9

When Peter told this lame man that he something far greater than simple silver or gold to give him, he said something interesting.  He told the man to “rise up and walk.”  You don’t usually tell a lame man to rise up and walk.  But, thus is life when you are serving the God of Heaven.

After being healed, this formerly lame man did something interesting: “he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping and praising God.”

Notice that this man did not stay laying on the ground after being healed.  He immediately got up, leaped and walked.  In fact, it mentions leaping and walking twice in these verses.  He got up, started leaping and walking and kept leaping and walking.

When a person meets the Lord, they shouldn’t keep laying there in their sins.  They should leap up and walk.  And they should keep leaping and walking as long as they are alive.  How often do Christians seem to get backslidden and flounder around in their sins?  It’s a sad condition and one that should not be.  Just as this lame man did not continue to act lame after he was healed, so should the Christian not act as if he is not forgiven after he has been forgiven.  It is not necessary and a dishonor to the Saviour.

Something Better

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.  And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God.

Acts 3:1-8

This is a great story.  Peter and John were going to the temple and they came across a man who had been lame his entire life.  He was sitting there to ask alms of the people who passed by.  He wanted money, but these men had something far better to offer him.

Peter famously said “silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”  Peter didn’t have silver and he didn’t have gold.  But He did know the Lord Jesus.  He did have the power of the Holy Ghost living in him.  He had far more than this beggar realized.  And he gave it to him.

This beggar went away healed and praising God.  What do people leave with when they come to us?  Do people leave us the same or do they leave us knowing the Saviour?  Knowing the Lord is infinitely better than having a little silver or gold.  What a wonderful Saviour!

Singleness of Heart

And they , continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Acts 2:46-47

There is much in the book of Acts dealing with the establishment of the church.  These verses give us a small glimpse into the nature and practice of the early church.  The thing that sticks out to me in these verses is the singleness of purpose of these people.  “…continuing daily with one accord in the temple.”  “…eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”  “…having favour with all the people.”

So often in today’s church, we find gossiping, rumors, bitterness and cliques.  Those things were unheard of in the church described here in this passage.  These people were together in every way.  They were there, continuing in the faith daily in the temple.  They were eating their meat with gladness “and singleness of heart.”  They were thankful and happy people.  Contrast that with the complaining hypocrites found in so many churches today.  We have certainly come a long way, and not in a positive direction.

They were known for “Praising God.”  Is today’s church known for that?  Or are today’s churches known more for bakes sales and ice cream socials?  Are our churches all about God and praising Him, or have we shifted in the direction of man-centered churches?

The early church ad “favour with all the people.”  Again, have we lost this testimony?  If you ask many people about “church people,” you will hear about nothing but hypocrites and jerks.  Why is that?  Could it be that there are hypocrites and jerks in the church?

Reading passages like this about the early church really puts things into perspective.  We need to love one another and honour the Lord in our churches today.