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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - No Other Name

Robert Jeffress - No Other Name

Robert Jeffress - No Other Name
TOPICS: Unstoppable Power, Persecution

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". Persecution is on the rise not only around the world but in America as well. If you support Christian values like the sanctity of life and the institution of marriage, then you can expect to be mocked and ridiculed. So, how should we respond not if but when persecution comes? The answer is found in the model of the early church. My message is titled "No Other Name," on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".

If you remember your American history, you'll remember that Vice President Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton weren't the best of friends. In fact, they would end up in a duel in 1804 that would cost Hamilton his life. Hamilton's story that is told in the wildly successful musical by the same name recounts the first time Hamilton and Burr met on a street in New York. And Alexander Hamilton asked Burr for some advice about how to succeed in his career, and you remember the answer. "Talk less, smile more. Never let them know what you're against or what you're for".

Unfortunately, too many churches, too many pastors, have adopted that philosophy when it comes to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Don't say anything offensive, you'll lose your crowd. Don't say anything that divisive, or you really won't be successful. And yet, the most offensive thing you can say when sharing the gospel, that Jesus is the only way to heaven, that offensive claim was the cornerstone of the early church, and it is the claim that landed the apostles right into jail for the very first time.

Today, we're going to look at why truly there is no other name than the name of Jesus. If you have your Bibles, turn to Acts chapter 4. Acts chapter 4, we've come to the first instance of persecution in the newly birthed church. Unlike his sermon on the day of Pentecost, when he had three points and an evangelistic invitation at the end, this time Peter wasn't even able to finish his message until he was accosted by the religious officials, and we see that in verse 1 of chapter 4 where the apostles are arrested because of the name of Jesus. Look at verse 1, "As they were speaking to the people," that is Peter and John, "The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them". They interrupted them.

Now remember, the priest watched over the sacrifices, they were in 24 divisions, they rotated their service. The captain of the temple guard, he was second in command to the high priest. He was in charge of the policing of the temple area, guarding the treasury. It was this captain who, two months earlier, had presided over the arrest of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. It's a very powerful man. And then the third group that came to the apostles were the Sadducees. They were the sect of Judaism, the elite sect of Judaism, the educated sect, or so they thought. They ran the rabbinical schools, and interestingly, they were like the deists of the enlightenment era.

They believed that God created the world, but then he left it alone. They didn't believe in anything supernatural. They didn't believe in angels. They didn't believe in heaven or hell, or life after death, and so they were particularly offended by the teaching of Peter and John. Verse 2 says, "They were greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And so they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening".

Now that evening had come, it was unlawful to have a trial, so they put them in jail. And they probably thought maybe a night in the clinker would cool their jets a little bit as well. But even though Peter and John were in prison, guess what? The Word of God wasn't in prison. The Word of God kept working. Verse 4 said, "But many of those who had heard the message of Peter and John believed, and the number of the men came to be about five thousand". Remember after Pentecost, it was 3,000, people kept being added to the church because of their belief in the message. They were in jail for the night, so what happened the next day?

Well, verse 5 says not only were they arrested in the name of Jesus but, secondly, they were tried because of the name of Jesus. Look at verse 5, "On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem, and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent". Do you know who John and Alexander were? Neither do I, I don't know who they were. Nobody knows who they were. We never find them mentioned again here. We don't know who John and Alexander were, but we certainly know who Annas and Caiaphas were. Caiaphas was the current high priest. He succeeded his father-in-law, Annas. And so, they bring Peter and John before them.

Look at verse 7, "They placed them in the center, and they began to inquire, 'By what power, or in what name,'" underline that, "have you done this"? The could have said, "Well, we did it in the name of God, we all believe in God". No, no, what name have you done this? Verse 8, "Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit," now, Peter had already been baptized with the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2. The word "fill" means to control. Peter was filled, he was controlled with the Holy Spirit. "And he said to them, 'Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man became well,'"

I mean, this was on the borderline of being cocky. Peter was saying let's rewind here for a minute. Do you really want to put us on trial for healing somebody? Is there a law against healing people? But if you wanna go down that road and you wanna know who it is that gave us the authority, I'm happy to tell you who it was. "Let it be known," verse 10, "To all of you and to all the people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, you murdered, whom God raised from the dead. It is by this name this man stands before you in good health". It was the name of Jesus. And by the way, if you wanna keep talking about the name of Jesus, let me tell you this as well, verse 12, "There is no salvation in anyone else. There is no name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved except the name of Jesus".

Now, I would be guilty of pastoral negligence if I didn't stop here for a moment and point out what this verse is saying. There is salvation in no one else except the name of Jesus. There is no salvation for Muslims in the name of Mohammad or the name of Allah. There is no salvation for Buddhists in the name of the lord Buddha. There is no salvation for Jews in the name of the God of Israel, Yahweh, apart from Yahweh's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And some of you say, "Well, that's antisemitic to say something like that". I've been accused for years of being antisemitic. They keep pulling up my quote when I said Jews can't be saved by Judaism. I stand by that. Jews can't be saved by Judaism.

There is salvation in no one else, and lest you think that is antisemitic, who is it that said that? Peter, Peter said there is salvation in no one else. Was Peter a Southern Baptist? No; was he a Catholic, sorry to tell some of my friends? No, he wasn't Catholic. He was a Jew. He was a Jew, and yet he said there is salvation in no one else. He was simply saying exactly what his counterpart to the Gentiles, Paul, would say later on. He would say there is salvation in no one else. He was a Jew, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, Paul was, and yet he believed it was only through Jesus that we are saved, and where did they get such an idea? That teaching came from a Jewish rabbi they had listened to named Jesus the Nazarene. He is the one who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me".

This is a foundational teaching of the Christian faith. And by the way, will you notice the Son of God in whom their salvation has a name? Notice the emphasis on the word name, name, name. By what name did you do this? It is by the name of Jesus the Nazarene. There is no other name under heaven. The Son of God has a name. When you share your faith with other people, don't just talk about God. Don't think you're gonna be clever by saying, "Well, my faith is in God". Or when you pray, using the ultimate cop out, "We're praying this in your name," whatever the heck that is. No, the Son of God has a name, his name is Jesus the Nazarene, and that's what Peter said. By the authority of Jesus the Nazarene. He is a real person. He was born in a feeding trough in Bethlehem. He grew up in Nazareth. He ministered all over Judea and Samaria. He was tried before Pontius Pilate, he was raised again on the third day.

That is the person in whose name we are saved. The Son of Man has a name, his name is Jesus. People say, "Well, you know, Pastor, you don't have to be that specific. We all worship the same God". Have you heard that before? We just have different names for the same God. For example, they'll say with Islam, "Well, Muslims, and Christians, and Jews, we all worship the same God". No, we don't worship the same God.

Allah, the god of Islam, he is a fake god. He is a fake god that is found in a fictional book, the Qur'an, that was written by a false prophet named Mohammad who slept with a nine-year-old girl. That is the god of Islam. He is a fake god. We worship the true God, Jehovah, who is revealed in God's inspired, inerrant Word. Allah is a fake god who has no sons according to the Qur'an. The true God, Jehovah, has one Son, and his name is Jesus Christ, and there is salvation in no one else except the name of Jesus. That's what the apostles believed. That is what they said. What was the reaction of these Jewish leaders when they heard Peter throw it into their face like that?

Look at verse 13, "Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them having been with Jesus". They were surprised at the power of Peter and John's words, of their confidence, of their courage, why? Two reasons, first of all, from their perspective, these apostles were ignoramuses, they were untrained, uneducated, simply because they hadn't graduated from an accredited school, a rabbinical school that the Sadducees ran. How could they be so knowledgeable without going through our schools?

But the second reason they were amazed is the began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. When Peter spoke, they said, "Hey, isn't that the same guy who was hiding outside of Caiaphas's house, talking to that servant girl? Wasn't it the apostles who deserted Jesus on the day of his death"? They were amazed that these men who were cowards before were now such courageous witnesses for the Lord. What changed them? They had seen the resurrected Christ, and that's what gave them the courage to do what they do. So, what happened? Well, these leaders realized we've got a problem. These guys aren't about to back down. And furthermore, we've got a man whose been healed, we've got an exploding movement called Christianity, what are we going to do? So, they said well, maybe we can just threaten these guys and tell them not to preach in the name of Jesus.

And so, notice, thirdly, the apostles were threatened because of the name of Jesus. Verse 18, "And when they had summoned them," that is Peter and John, "They commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John refused to back down, and they answered to them and said, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge.'" You know what he's saying? He's really getting bold here. He's saying, hey, if you wanna have a little debate about civil disobedience and whether we ought to obey you or obey God, you can have that debate all day and all night, but that's not our problem.

We know what we're going to do. We will not stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. There is no compromise here. Their compromise would have been very easy and understandable at this point. Peter and John could have said to themselves, "You know, we're not doing the church any good while we're here in prison. This church needs leadership. It's exploding in growth. We don't wanna give up our platform and ability to have an influence in the world and to preach the gospel, so maybe we'll just make a little bit of a change and we'll refer to God instead of Jesus. We'll talk about the Messiah without actually naming the name of Jesus. What harm could that do"?

They said we're having none of it. We're not going to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. They understood there was something special about the name of Jesus Christ. What's in a name? Salvation is in the name of Jesus. There's salvation in no other, and if we waffle and waiver on that, we might as well disband as a church. There is no other name under heaven given above men by which we must be saved. How did they react to this? How did this react to this? Did they punish them? No, verse 21, "When they had threatened Peter and John further, they let them go, finding no basis on which to punish them on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened". And that leads to the result of this episode.

Fourth, the early church was strengthened because of the name of Jesus. Look at verse 23, I love this. "When they had been released, they went to their own companions," that is the church, "and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and they said, 'O Lord, it is you who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.'" They prayed this magnificent prayer of thanksgiving to God, and they closed the prayer in verse 29. This is the church praying, "And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that your bondservants may speak your word with all confidence".

God, give us the same confidence our leaders, Peter and John, displayed, that we might speak the name of Jesus with confidence. And what was the result of that? Verse 31 said, "And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak the word of God with boldness". That was the beginning of the explosion of the church. When they saw the boldness of their leaders, they said, Lord, give us that boldness as well. What does this passage say to us today, 2,000 years later? I want you to jot down very quickly three timeless truths from Acts chapter 4. First of all, believing in the name of God offers the only way to heaven. That's the most basic truth in this passage. This isn't theological or theoretical, it's practical truth. There's only one way for you to be saved. There's only one way for me to be saved, and it is by trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. There is no other salvation path other than faith in Christ.

Years later after this experience, the Apostle John, when he was an old man, wrote these words in 1 John 5:13. "These things have a written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know you have eternal life". Second truth, sharing the name of Jesus is the most loving thing we can do for others. It's the most loving thing we can do for others. Don't fall for this line that you're somehow a bigot or a hate monger if you insist to people that Jesus is the only way to be saved. That's the most loving, compassionate thing you can do for other people. Inviting them next Sunday to hear Lee Strobel, you're not doing something that's going to hurt them, you're doing something that's going to lead them to salvation.

I was years ago seated next to a guy on a flight, I can't even remember where I was going, but I was talking to him about his relationship with God. And he said something that surprised me, he said, "Oh, Pastor, I used to be a Christian until I gave it up". I said, "Really? What caused you to give up being a Christian"? He said, "I just could not worship a God any longer who was so intolerant that he would send people to an eternal hell for simply not believing in his Son". And I said to him, "Just imagine for a moment that this plane we're on were to crash, and that flight attendant up there were to stand at the front of the burning fuselage and wave a flashlight and said, 'Follow me, there's one way out of this burning plane.' Would you accuse her of being hateful and intolerant because she has insisted there's only one way out"?

No, you would thank her and you would follow her. When we share with people there's only one way to escape a burning in hell forever and ever and ever, it's not out of hatred we share that, it is love and concern. Sharing the name of Jesus is the most loving thing that we can do for another person. And finally, proclaiming the name of Jesus will lead to persecution, don't be surprised. In Acts 4:11, Peter prophesied that. He referred to Jesus from the Old Testament as the cornerstone which the builders, meaning the Jews, rejected. In 1 Peter 2:8, he called Jesus a rock of offense, a stone of stumbling for people. In John 16:33, Jesus said, "In this world, you will have persecution".

Now, listen to me, don't let this escape you. If your life is devoted to sharing Jesus as the only way to heaven, you're gonna be persecuted. Trouble is going to come into your life, and the trouble that comes into your life may seem not to have anything to do with sharing the name of Jesus. Just out of nowhere, you may experience trouble. Don't misunderstand the source of that trouble. Satan is very subtle. He knows exactly what it will take to shut you up. He will send things in your life to distract you, to discourage you, even to destroy you, things that have nothing to do, possibly, with sharing Jesus, but the goal is very, very clear, to shut your mouth from proclaiming the name of Jesus to anybody. And what is true for you and me individually is true for us as a church. Listen to me, church, there is salvation in no one else. There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
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