Aug 19, 2018 – What a Powerful Name It Is
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Series: Sing a New Song (Theology in Contemporary Songs We Sing)
Acts 3:1-4:12 (ESV)
3:1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
4:1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, 6 with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 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.”
How does faith in the name of Jesus make people strong (v16)?
I) Power is located in a person
- “the name” (3:6,16, 4:7, 10, 12) – who has acted in this event?
- 3:15 “you killed the author of life, whom God raised from the dead”
II) Power comes through relationship
- “faith in the name” (3:16)
- 3:12 “as though by our own power or piety”
III) Power is expressed with certain characteristics
- 4:12 “there is no other name under heaven given among men”
- “what a beautiful name… what a wonderful name… what a powerful name” (3:10)
Questions for Reflection
- How do you deal with feelings of weakness? How do these feelings affect you?
- In what ways can faith be a source of strength?
- What does it look like to join your life with Jesus and walk with him in life? How would you explain this to someone who knows nothing about Christianity?
- Are you more prone to under-functioning (depending on others, not fully taking responsibility or doing all you need to) or over-functioning (taking on too much responsibility, hesitant to ask for help)? How does this shape your experience of walking with God (or your view of God)? What steps can you take to grow in this area?
- How do you feel about God’s power? What negative feelings do you have? What positive feelings?
- Do you see beauty in the person and work of Jesus?
- Would you describe the gospel of God’s forgiving grace and healing as wonderful (full of wonder)? Does it bring delight to you? How will your view or experience of God’s power be shaped by whether or not you find delight and awe in God and what He has done?
- How can being rooted in God and walking by faith in Jesus help you steward whatever power you have in your life so it is expressed in life giving rather than life destroying ways? How can your power be expressed so it is seen as beautiful or wonderful?
Prayer of Confession
Our God and Father, we acknowledge our weakness, and yet confess how we still seek to live by our own strength. We don’t trust you as we should. We don’t understand what true dependence on you looks like. We use our own strength for our own glory, and we seek power for corrupt purposes. We also acknowledge how in our weakness we resent those who have power. Forgive our lack of wonder and marvel at your goodness, and through the powerful name of Jesus bring life to our weak souls. Forgive us and bless us, and empower us for your service. Amen.