Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Acts 29 Daily -- Acts 4

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1As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. 4But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. 5On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. 7When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, "By what power, or in what name, have you done this?" 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people, 9if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by this name this man stands here before you in good health. ….

Think of it…5000 believed!

NOTE the disciples were asked IN WHAT NAME HAVE YOU DONE THIS? Then Peter has the opportunity to clarify it once more…BY THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, THE NAZARENE…BY THIS NAME THIS MAN STANDS HERE BEFORE YOU IN GOOD HEALTH. And then Peter goes on to elaborate on this NAME…

12"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." As a practicing Buddhist once said to me, “Jesus seems to trump everything else!” IN THE POWERFUL NAME OF JESUS….

Now we come to a most interesting observation that is encouraging to all of us…

13Now 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 as having been with Jesus. These normal, uneducated men were amazing as they spoke, because it was evident that they had been hanging out with Jesus.

The most compelling thing to all who were watching the happenings was the lame man, himself. It’s possible to argue with someone about who Jesus is on an intellectual basis, but when it comes to the reality of a lame man being miraculously healed…this was overwhelming! I call it the LAME MAN PRINCIPLE! It’s so much more powerful to hear from the healed lame man than the agents of healing. This is the highest credibility and most persuasive evidence of all to everyone! You see this in verse 14…

14And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply.

18And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard." 21When they had threatened them 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; 22for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

One more thing here in chapter 4…

32And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. 36Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

I’ve noticed that every ministry where Jesus is dynamically working within a fellowship there is always a few who become unusually committed to the point of great generosity. These few are used of God to literally launch a ministry to a whole new level. This was the case of Barnabas. And even his name says it all…the meaning of Barnabas is SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT. His example of selling a property he owned and giving it all to the local fellowship must have been a real encouragement to the young fellowship in Jerusalem. Later in this study we’ll see others who step forward—many business men and women—to underwrite the needs of the fellowship.

So, there you have it…God uses ordinary people, even uneducated and untrained, in unusual ways to do wonderful things! But the most effective thing in being persuasive about Jesus is to use the LAME MAN PRINCIPLE. Who are the “lame men” in your life—the people in whom you have invested your life…those fellow followers of Jesus who have experienced Jesus because of you? When they share their stories, people listen! By the way, this is at the core of what Jesus meant when He said that His disciples will do greater works than He did. The NAME OF JESUS is powerful all by itself, but there is nothing more attractive than the powerful NAME OF JESUS transforming someone’s life—forever!

In the name of Jesus,

Tim Timmons