I want to talk about the NAME – the Name JESUS, the power of the living Christ.
[Read Acts 3:1-16]
This was the first recorded miracle of the disciples in the book of Acts.
• This was unlike the Peter and John that we read about in the Gospels.
• Here they were bold and confident. They saw a need and gave a command; it was a prayer for healing.
Peter’s words revealed what he believed. His actions exposed his deep conviction.
• They believed Jesus has the power to heal and He was present. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, this man can walk.
• Jesus may have been gone, but it felt like He was right there. Replace Peter and John in this scene with Jesus and it would seem like a page from the Gospels.
The truth of the matter is Jesus was there! He healed this man!
• Who else could have done it? Peter? John?
• That was what the crowd was thinking. Peter had to explain: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (Acts 3:12)
This was not the work of man.
• “It was Jesus! The one you disowned. The holy and righteous One and you crucified Him!”
• 3:15 “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” He is the One who did it!
• 3:16 “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”
That’s the power of the living Christ. He is alive and present, through the Holy Spirit.
• He promised the disciples: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20)
• Peter did not called out to a dead man’s name! They were calling out to their risen Lord and Master, the One whom they’ve seen and talked to for 40 days after His resurrection.
The disciples were keenly aware of His presence. They knew His presence. They knew His power. That gave them courage and confidence.
• So can you and me today, if we believe it.
(1) BELIEVE in His Presence
Are we sure of His presence today? Or are we more disturbed by His “absence”? That’s why we ask the question, “Where is God when it hurts?”
• We tend to “feel” more of His absence than His presence. His absence is not the truth but we feel it. His presence is real, but we have a hard time believing it.
• We need to be convinced that He is present with us. We are more keenly aware of his absence than presence.
The fact is, we don’t need to FEEL, we just need to BELIEVE. He said so.
• We pray that the hymn we sing so often - Because He Lives – will always be true for us, especially during the dark moments in our lives.
• Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.
Choose to believe in His presence and we will see His works.
• Brother Lawrence, a 17th Century Christian monk, wrote a classic called ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’. He talks about the need for the practice or the development of an awareness of the presence of God. We need to make an effort to practice it.
(2) KNOW the AUTHORITY we have in Christ
Peter believed in the authority of Christ’s Name. It was given to them at the commissioning.
• Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:18-19)
• If all authority in heaven and on earth is in the hands of the One who send us, then there is nothing for us to fear. No one, no power, is above that authority. It is supreme.
That was clearly demonstrated here. We see exceptional power flowing in the Name of Jesus.
• This man, who has never stood, walked and jumped. Never mind if you have not done it before. God needs no precedent.
• Acts 4:22 reveals that he was over 40 years old. It does not matter if you are like that for 40 years, God can always do a new thing. There can always be a first time with God.
God’s ultimate will for this man was not for him to beg for the rest of his life.
• He has a higher calling - to bear testimony to the great works of God.
• Once the disciples asked, “Why is this man born blind?” Jesus answer was: “So that work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3)
The disciples believe and expect Christ’s works to continue, and they will continue through them.
• They believe it. And the saw the healing power of God flowed, in response to their faith.
(3) God’s Power Flows through FAITH
Peter: “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” (Acts 3:16)
• Faith in Jesus unlocks the power of God.
• God responds to our faith. In his ministry on earth, Jesus often challenged the sick that comes to Him to BELIEVE. Do not fear, only believe!
Pray in the Name of Jesus and believe. Pray in faith. God responds to faith.
• When we pray, we are asking the Lord to do what ONLY He can do.
• What are you believing Christ for? What do you really need? Tell Him!
This crippled man has, all his life, been asking for what man can give.
• But ‘silver or gold’ is not really what he needs. Right? What he really need is to walk and be able to make a living himself.
• His need is to know the Saviour of his life. Only JESUS can change his life.
• God gave him his true need – that which is most important, most precious, and most significant.
• C. S. Lewis says, "God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want." (In his book Problem of Pain).
Pray and believe God for what ONLY God can give.
• Don’t settle for second-best. Don’t settle for what is temporary and transient. Pray and believe God for miracles.
• I’m not trying to be optimistic; I just want to put God back in the right place, and not box God up with my finite mind.
• Hudson Taylor: “Many Christians estimate difficulties in the light of their own resources, and thus attempt little and often fail in the little they attempt. All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence with them.”
Don’t be like the crowd. Look at them. They were all in the temple courts at the time of prayer (3:1).
• They were the more pious and spiritual lot. Yet they were surprised that a healing took place. They came to pray but did not believe God would do anything.
• They were ‘unbelievers’ and Peter had to point them to Christ. “Repent and turn to God.” (3:19)
The object of our faith is JESUS. Our faith is in Jesus. God responds to our faith in Jesus.
• Acts 3:16 “It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” Even our faith is aided by God. There is nothing for us to boast about.
• When interrogated by the Sanhedrin, the religious council: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.” (Acts 4:8-10)
It’s all about Jesus.
• Signs and wonders point us back to Jesus Christ. Don’t seek for signs and wonders; they are not and cannot be an end in themselves.
• We crave for Jesus and amazing things follow. We don’t go for the healing, we go for the Healer; we don’t go for the gifts, we go for the Giver!
The OBJECT of our faith is all that matters.
When I was studying at a seminary in Chicago, they have a beautiful lake in the campus. During the winter, it becomes ice. Students can take a short cut walking slowly across the ice. Would you dare to?
You may say you have faith, but it really doesn’t matter. You can say you’re daring, but it doesn’t matter. What is important is how thick the ice is, and can it take your weight?
How can I be sure? I was there only for that winter. So I waited, until I see people walking across the lake on ice. If you see a fat person walking across, better still.
It does not depend on your faith, confidence, or courage. It all depends on what you put your faith in. The object of your faith is everything.
What do you put your faith in, or WHO do you trust. That answers everything.
• If He is Jesus, then you can be rest assured; everything will be fine ultimately.
• It is because the object of my faith is Jesus that I am not afraid today, that I am confident and secure. That explains why Peter and John were so bold.
The works of Jesus Christ will not stop with His departure. They will continue, through you and me.
• In fact, it will increase, as the Lord said. John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
• We have more disciples today than in Peter and John’s time. God is doing these greater things through you and me today. Believe it.
We have nothing to offer, in and of ourselves.
• Peter does not even have enough pocket-money to help a beggar.
• “But what I have I give you,” he said (Acts 3:6). That’s what we have – JESUS.
• Jesus is all we need and Jesus is all we have. Go tell someone this week.