Most of you probably know the story of Acts 3, how Yeshua (Jesus) healed the lame man – through Peter and John. The man wasn’t even asking to be healed, but was apparently hoping for a handout. When asked about this healing, here’s what Peter said, refusing to take any credit for the spectacular healing-- but instead it led him to praise the name of Jesus (Yeshua).
Acts 3:16 “And His (Yeshua/Jesus) name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”
When asked “by what power and by what name (by whose authority) have you done this?” – Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, then proceeded to make it very clear that the healing took place by and through the resurrected Jesus Christ (Acts 4:7-12). The Jewish leaders then threatened the apostles and warned them to never speak in that name again.
We’re in a time when the whole nation of believers are being threatened and intimidated from even speaking the name of Jesus. We’re told we can’t have the 10 Commandments outside our court buildings. We can’t pray in schools or in the military without fear of retribution. There are groups out there that are fighting this, and worthy of our support (like Liberty Counsel and the ACLJ) – but it’s a steady, tiresome drumbeat that says “Keep God out of our lives, out of our country”. Our currency still says “In God we trust”. Our national pledge of allegiance still includes the words “one nation under God…” But for how long?
And then we wonder “where is God?” when bad things happen in our nation. Too many have told him they don’t want Him around – and then wonder where He is when things go badly.
Don’t be one of those. You and I – believers in the Messiah – must be like Peter. Listen to what said when he was threatened if he continue to speak about Yeshua, our King, our Redeemer and our Saviour.
Acts 4:18-34 “So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." 21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. 22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
'Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.' "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”
Now the point of this blog: what Peter said to the elders threatening him should be the same feeling and conviction that wells powerfully inside ALL of us – Acts 4:20 – “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Question: are you and I so filled with the joy of our Savior’s presence and how He has redeemed, reconciled us to the Father and saved us – that we can’t help but speak of him?
Or do you ‘buy in” to the notion that your religion should be and should remain a private matter and that you never, as a rule, talk about religion, sex or politics -- as the saying goes?
Click on “Continue reading” to help each of us become more like Peter and the early believers.
We DO have to acknowledge our Savior. Yes we do.
Romans 10:8-13 “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
There you have it. We can’t remain quiet about it. I do have a full sermon on how we must not be silent about our Savior. http://www.lightontherock.org/index.php/message/why-you-can-t-be-a-secret-believer-anymore And the one after that – “Your Greatest Sermon”.
It’s not really something that can be up for debate. When the Messiah was on the earth, there were many who believed in him but were afraid to say anything for fear of being kicked out of their synagogues. And back then you would be hard pressed to find work or really interact with people very much once you had been kicked out. So people kept their feelings to themselves. Even today, people are afraid of being thought of as being a part of “those crazy Jesus freaks” so they don’t say anything. Beware of preferring the praises of your friends above the praises of God (John 12:42-43).
But here’s what the Word says to you and me. Let’s start with the parents of the man who had been born blind and whom Jesus healed. They refused to clearly say who had healed him.
John 9:22-23 “His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."
John 12:42-43 “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
Luke 12:8-9 "Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. 9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In the entire context of the story in Acts 4 that I began with, Peter—the same one who just weeks earlier had denied knowing his Master and Teacher and Savior now ways “Yeshua has been resurrected and lives. He heals. He’s here in us and with us. And now we can’t HELP but talk about him and everything we’ve seen and heard about him personally! We just can’t stop ourselves from talking about him.”
You know how it goes. Once you’ve experienced something that just changes your life – it might be a gadget, or a new store you’re excited about, or a political personality whom you feel will bring real hope and change – you can’t help but talk about it.
How about you and me? Can we not help but speak of the wonders of Christ to all humanity and for us? If not, ask him to help you see who and what He is, to speak to you, to lead you, to excite you about your calling.
Are we so full of the life, the love, the power, and the wonders of our Savior that we just can’t help but talk about Him every chance we can? I had to stop and ponder that myself. It’s easy to “talk about” him in these blogs. But what about at work, at play, with brethren or neighbors? I want to be like Peter and know that I can’t help myself talking about him with my family, my friends, my neighbors – and with all of you.
I am finding myself more and more bringing up my faith in Christ and how he is changing me and our lives. I can’t help but speak of Him who stood up for me even when others might have been going the other way. When we all realize how much HE took on himself because of each of our sins and failings, when you really see that, know that and experience that – it will fill your heart. He who knows he’s been forgiven much - loves much, Yeshua said in Luke 7:47. And we speak from what is in our hearts. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Christ said that. So if we’re not speaking of him, maybe he is not in our hearts deeply enough yet. I pray that changes. We owe it to him to tell the world what an amazing Saviour we have. (OK you Brits, Aussies and Canadians and others; I will spell Saviour this way once in a while just for you!)
When you have such an awesome and amazing God who happens to also be your friend and Saviour and brother – you and I HAVE TO break out and declare his glory. We just have to. Or perhaps we aren’t full enough of Him inside us. Spread the word. Be like Peter – “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” Acts 4:20. Start today.
Psalms 40:8-10 “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart. I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness in the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, YHVH, You Yourself know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly.”
Don’t put it off. Let’s confess our Christ every chance we get. In fact, we’re looking for opportunities, OK? Combine this message with the one about “Your greatest sermon ever” – and then our speech will be 100x more effective.