Summary: Salvation, sharing Jesus, Our mission
THE FOCUS OF OUR FAITH
Acts 4: 12, 13 (p773) April 22, 2012
If you remember what we’ve been sharing the last couple of weeks together is that the resurrection of Jesus has become the foundational belief for the church. Although Jesus indeed died on the cross, God raised Him from the dead. He appeared to the Apostles and many others for 40 days after the resurrection. He prepared the leadership of the church, His family for His ascension. The Holy Spirit has been given. Peter and the others preach “the good news” that Jesus, the Messiah died for our sins, but conquered its penalty through the resurrection…
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
3,000 plus respond to this message on the day of Pentecost, the church’s birthday. They repent of their sins, they’re baptized into Christ and they commit themselves to serving a risen savior and each other.
Peter and John, two of the Apostles, the 1st apostles to view the empty tomb, take the lead in going out to the community with the message. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon they go to the temple courts because it’s prayer time. Lots of people are there. One of the people there is a man crippled from birth. Peter and John heal this man in the name of Jesus. He walks, jumps, praises God…
People witness the celebration and are astonished. The man who has been healed latches on to Peter and John like super glue (wouldn’t you?!!).
And as the crowd gathers, Peter preaches. Acts 3:12-21 (p772)
Not everyone is thrilled with this miracle or Peter’s preaching. Acts 4: 1-4 (p772)
The same individuals who plotted and put Jesus on trial: Caiaphas, Ananias, the High Priest and his family bring Peter and John from jail and ask, ”By what power or what name do you do this?!!!” And Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit says, ”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.”
Peter shared from the Old Testament scripture from Psalm 118,”The Stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.”
It’s here, before the High Priest and leaders of the Jewish nation Peter shares our text: Acts 4: 12, 13 (p773)
One of my favorite parts of the story is that since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say!
So what do we learn this morning about our focus and where it should be?
1. Jesus is the only way of salvation. “Salvation is found in no one else.”
That is a tremendously unpopular and narrow point of view. Jesus didn’t say I am one of the ways, one of the truths, one of the chances to live. He boldly says, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Peter shares what Jesus exclusively claimed. There is only one way to be saved—Jesus. No other options.
(Brit Hume is a news commentator on the Fox News Network. He was asked his personal opinion about what Tiger Woods needed to do to get his life back together. He said, “I believe Tiger needs Jesus Christ in his life. Like all of us he needs to repent and be forgiven.”)
Now I could care less if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, whatever. But if you are a Christian and you believe in the scripture, what Brit Hume said is exactly what Tiger and anyone else needs. So why did a nuclear bomb go off for this statement? I’ll tell you why—if you say Jesus is the only way of salvation it’s intolerant of Tiger’s Buddhist belief and heritage. It offends other religions that claim to have the answers for Tiger’s failings.
Folks saying Jesus is the only way of salvation and that there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved is narrow. It’s exclusive. It’s intolerant of other avenues. No wonder the writer to the Hebrews, a group of people who constantly thought being good enough under the Laws was salvation wrote “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and profector of our faith.” (Heb 12:2)
Satan doesn’t mind Jesus being in our peripheral vision. A name we heard from our parents or grandparents. Someone from our childhood, a name we spoke, a belief we had.
I have a video I need to share with you. It’s David Platt, the author of “Radical” and “Radical Together” sharing why asking Jesus into your heart is superstitious and unbiblical. One of the most courageous videos I’ve ever seen a minister make. By the way, David Platt ministers at a huge Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama. We do some of the same things with baptism in the Christian Church that David Platt says the Baptists do with the “sinner’s prayer.”