What words or ideas come to your mind when you hear the name, Kennedy? What about Carnegie? Ford? Rockefeller? Judas? Hitler? Behind every name is a story, an influence, a legacy. What’s in a name?
Last names were often derived from and created to preserve what a particular family was known for, like what they did for a living. The last name, “Carpenter,” for example, would have told people the line of work that family was involved with. Last names can indicate where your family came from and what their customs and cultures were.
My maiden name is Senseman which is German. It is a longer form of the German word “sensel” which is an occupational name for a stockbroker, probably derived from the Latin word “census.” I guess you could say I come from money or at least from people who handled it! J Trust me. No silver spoon here, people.
My married name, Pratt, is English. Its origin has two possibilities. A “pratt fall” is a comedic fall done by an entertainer where a person falls down on their “blessed assurance.” J It also could come from the English word “prate” which means to babble or talk without meaning. I’ll let you decide if any of those definitions fit me, however, remember, I married into that name.
Acts 4:7-12 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or WHAT NAME did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: 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. 11 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone’”. 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
I want to talk to you this morning about the name that I have built my life on, placed my hopes in and have banked my eternal destiny on. It is the name that defines who I am becoming. It is the name that has signed for my ransom. It’s the name that is first on my lips when I am in trouble. It is the name that I bless and praise and proclaim probably 50 to 100 times a week. It’s a name I habitually use and the mention of that name brings me great comfort whenever I use it. It is the MIGHTY NAME of Jesus!
We see from this passage in Acts four at least four things about the name of Jesus which I want to point out to you.
First of all, the name of Jesus is an EFFECTIVE NAME.
The word, “effective, when used as an adjective, means, “adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result.” For example, effective steps toward peace actually bring peace.
It also means, “actually in operation or in force; functioning.” For example, the law becomes effective at midnight.
Finally, it also means, “prepared and available for service.” And the dictionary gave military service as an example.
I want to tell you that Jesus’ name is effective. It accomplishes great and mighty things, producing results that leave people speechless. It is a force like no other, and it is available for use by all who have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord.
We see the effectiveness of Jesus’ name when we read in Acts 3 that the reason Peter and John are being questioned about Jesus’ name by the elders, rulers, and teachers of the law is because they had used Jesus’ name to provide healing for a man who was crippled. Pick up the story with me in verse one of chapter three.
1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
When something is effective, it is effective all by itself. You don’t have to help it. You don’t have to prop it up. You don’t have to add to it. Listen, the name of Jesus is effective all by itself to bring healing to anyone, anywhere, at any time. It produces results, it is fully functional, is in excellent operation and is always available to be used. We may not have the world’s wealth, have the greatest education or be multi talented, but what we have is what the world needs. It is the name of Jesus and it is effective and powerful to produce whatever is needed in any situation.
In the case of Peter and John, the name of Jesus was effective for healing!
Take a look at Mark 16 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
According to Mark 16, the name of Jesus is effective to accomplish signs and wonders.
In Acts 16, the disciples were followed around by a girl who was demon-possessed and she would follow them shouting “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” Now it’s great to have publicity for what you are going about, but the Scripture leads us to the conclusion that what she was doing and the way she was going about it was completely annoying and was becoming a problem. Verse 18 says, “She kept this up for many days.”
That’s annoying! That would absolutely wear me out; someone following you around yelling the same thing over and over for days? I can hardly stand to hear “Mom, mom, mom” three times in a row when my kids are hollering for me to go where they are so they can ask me a question. Seriously. Verse 19 says, Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
Do you see how effective using Jesus’ name was? Immediately, the spirit left her. I have been a part of two demonic deliverance sessions myself and have seen the power the name of Jesus has over demonic strongholds.
Mark 16 says that in Jesus’ name, they would speaking in new tongues, new languages that they hadn’t learned, but that the Holy Spirit enabled. Check that one off in Acts 2 at Pentecost where tongues of fire rested on the heads of those who were gathered in the Upper Room and they all started speaking in known languages that they had never learned. People who had gathered in Jerusalem from different places, who spoke different languages, all of the sudden heard God speaking to them in their own language. In the same passage in Acts 2:21, Peter was able to explain why they were speaking in these unknown tongues. It is so that everyone could understand that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
If persecuted to the point of having to deal with snakes and drink poison, Jesus is saying in Mark 16 that His name provides a protective armor for us, giving us immunity by a divine protection from harm. Not that a snake bite or poison couldn’t kill us, but that in the name of Jesus, we would triumph still.
The name of the Jesus is effective as a great protection for us. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are safe.”
The name of Jesus makes our prayers effective. John 16:23-24 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask IN MY NAME. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
The name of Jesus is not only an effective name, but it is also an
EXCLUSIVE NAME. Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in ANY OTHER (NAME): for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Not Buddha. Not Ghandi. Not Confucius. Not Mohammed. Not Joseph Smith. Jesus. That’s the name. All roads don’t lead to salvation. Having a higher power doesn’t get you there. It is only the name of Jesus where salvation is found.
John 14:6 Jesus says, “”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He didn’t say, I’m one of many ways or even a few ways, but this is it. You can’t use your grandparents’ name or your parents’ name or any other name when you meet Jesus face to face. People who have accepted Jesus and taken his name, becoming Christians, will be given entrance into heaven. People who have rejected Jesus’ name will be cast into eternal judgment.
His name is exclusive because He is the only one whose power, authority, life, death, and resurrection back up His claims about Himself.
The fact that Jesus’ name is exclusive causes problems for many. Our world hates the word, “exclusive.” Carl Sandburg said that the word “exclusive” is the worst word in the English language. But, I want you to know that Jesus Christ Himself made many exclusive claims.
Just look at John’s gospel. Jesus claimed to be the eternal God [Jn. 1:1; Jn. 8:58]. He claimed the exalted position of judging the world [Jn. 5:22]; and He claimed to be the only Savior of the entire human race [Jn. 14:6; Jn. 10:9] and he backed up every claim when He was raised from the dead and appeared to over 500 people on multiple occasions!
Do you see why Peter made his exclusive claim in our Acts text today? Jesus Christ is not a local god vying for the affection of other nations. He is the one, true God who has been declared to be the exclusive Savior of the entire world!
“Well, I think we should just be more open in our thinking. After all, we are living in postmodern times and we need to be sensitive to everyone.” Listen, no one is more open that Jesus. No one is more sensitive than Jesus. No one cares more about what you’re going through than Jesus. He has a “whosoever will, may come,” policy, and you don’t get any more open than that.
“Well, I just don’t think you should preach about a gospel that is exclusive unto itself.” You ought to rejoice that Jesus’ name is exclusive because it is His exclusivity that makes it possible for EVERYONE to receive the salvation Jesus offers. Only Jesus, who is God, who is above all things, has the authority and right to say, “Anyone can come to my party.”
For Jesus Christ is the exclusive Savior who inclusively invites the entire world to be saved. Take His word in John 3:16—“For God so loved the world, (sounds pretty inclusive to me) that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Anyone can be saved . . . if they come to Jesus.
The fact that Jesus’ name is exclusive points to the fact that it is an ELEVATED NAME.
Philippians 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him THE NAME THAT IS ABOVE EVERY OTHER NAME, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
No one is more talked about than Jesus. No one is more controversial than Jesus. No one will escape the name of Jesus. It’s above every other name. Don’t you see that’s why Satan tries to degrade Jesus’ name? Don’t you see how our culture has misused the name of Jesus? Rather than surrender and submit to that precious name, it is often slurred and used in slang and profane ways.
No one says “What in Allah’s name is going on?” No one texts “OMB” for “Oh My Buddha” or puts “OMC” on their Facebook for “Oh My Confucios.” It’s the name of Jesus that is misused with swear words and with anger because Satan wants to tear down the name. Do you know that Satan is terrified of Jesus’ name?
Have you noticed that you can say “God” or “Spirituality” or “Higher Power,” but when you use the name of Jesus, it creates problems? People say it’s divisive. This whole smokescreen about removing Jesus’ name from everything is a tactic of the devil to try to keep us from the power and deliverance that is associated with Jesus’ name. I’ve got news for the enemy this morning. You can’t tear down what is exalted over all because there is nothing above or over it strong enough to pull it down. The name of the Lord is sacred. It’s a holy name. At that name angels bow down, demons tremble, and Satan has to flee.
The name Trump may open doors of finance. The name Einstein may open doors of brilliance. Michelangelo may open doors of art, but the name of Jesus will open to you the doors of heaven!
Psalm 8:1 “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is YOUR NAME in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” Not only is His name above everything in earth, but it is exalted over everything in the heavens as well.
It was the name of Jesus that the disciples were using to heal the crippled man. That’s what threatened the religious leaders.
In Acts 4:16 the leaders had a meeting to discuss the use of the name of Jesus and said, “What are we going to do with these men?” “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
They called what was happening, a “thing.” Why did they need to stop this “thing” from spreading? Because they couldn’t control it. It wasn’t a religion they could manage. It wasn’t a “God in your pocket” anymore. Jesus was more than out of the box. He was out of the tomb and they couldn’t handle what that meant. It was going to change the status quo and they thought if they could somehow disassociate Jesus’ name with what was going on that they could put an end to the new ways of experiencing Jesus and His power that were happening everywhere.
The disciples knew they had nothing if they didn’t have the name of Jesus. They weren’t about to try to do the works of Jesus in their own power. They told the Sanhedrin they wouldn’t stop and they couldn’t stop. They said they couldn’t help but tell and do what they had seen and heard and experienced, and that they would continue on in Jesus’ name. They knew it was an elevated name, and that as a result, there was power in Jesus’ name; the kind of power they needed to do the ministry of Christ.
One of my Facebook friends is a self-proclaimed, very educated atheist. She joined a group called, “No, I don’t want to talk about Jesus.” My take on her joining that group is simply that the name of Jesus threatens her way of life. She doesn’t want to talk about Jesus because once you do you have opened the whole can of worms that God must be God in order to have pulled off the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus. There is too much historical evidence about Jesus’ life and ministry. There were too many witnesses to the resurrection for it to have been a hoax. The only way to try to quell the “thing” that God has done and is doing is to try to avoid having to talk about Jesus.
Church that is why we must lift up the name of Jesus! We must profess, confess and praise the name of Jesus. It is the name above all names, and He is the proof that God exists and has intervened in human history to save us all. Remove the name of Jesus and you remove any hope of salvation for the world.
Jesus’ name is an effective, exclusive, and elevated name and finally, it is an EMANCIPATING NAME. Romans 10:13-“Whoever calls upon the NAME of the Lord shall be saved.”
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his NAME.” John 1:12
Jesus’ name points to His mission.
Matt. 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus [Yeshua, Hebrew for ‘salvation’], because he will save his people from their sins.”
What does it mean to “call upon the name of the Lord?” It’s far more than saying the name of Jesus. After all, Jesus even says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” Matthew 7:21
Calling on someone is an expression of a need. Babies call their parents through cries because they are in need of something. Even as adults, whenever we call upon someone, it’s because we have some kind of need, even if it is just that we’re bored and have a need for fellowship.
If there is a maintenance issue here at the church, I recognize that I don’t have what it takes to make things right, so I call upon Harold Parsons to come tend to it because he has great skills which enable him to solve the problem. At tax time, I realize what is needed is beyond my understanding, so Roger Rabel is the one I call upon. If one of our cars has a problem, Randy Parsons is the man we call upon. He’s the authority on fixing broken cars. In each of these situations, I recognize my limitations and acknowledge my need by calling upon someone who is capable to meet my need.
To call upon Jesus is to recognize that I stand in need of something that I can’t provide on my own. He is the One qualified to emancipate me, to free me from sin. I can’t save myself, so I call upon the One who possess the authority and qualifications to meet my needs.
Beyond recognizing my limitations and acknowledging my need, in all of the scenarios I mentioned a minute ago with Harold Parsons, Roger Rabel and Randy Parsons, there was another element involved in calling on them for help. It was trust or faith that they actually would fix what was wrong or provide what was needed. When I drop my car off at Teays Valley Auto, I’m not worried about my car. I’m not calling Randy every five minutes to ask if he thinks he can provide the necessary service. I’m confident he can. There is faith that my car will be taken care of. There is great freedom in being able to call on Harold, Roger, and Randy. I’m free from the anxiety and worry that always comes with a task that’s too big for me to handle. I’m able to be at peace when they are called upon.
In the same way, calling upon the name of the Lord is an expression of faith and trust that brings great freedom and peace. It brings freedom from sin and peace with God and frees me to advance and move forward in the will of God. Ps. 20:7-“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord.”
Call upon the name of the Lord. Whatever is binding you this morning, be free by calling on Jesus. For over 2,000 years the name of Jesus has not just reformed alcoholics, but transformed them. It has purified prostitutes, made liars tell the truth, turned haters into lovers, produced physical, emotional and spiritual healing and more. Most of all, it has saved souls from hell!
Have you discovered some limitations in your life? Do you realize you have needs that you can’t meet? Have you discovered the emancipation that comes as a result of calling on the name of Jesus? Have you experienced the effective power of God at work in your life by calling on the name of Jesus? What’s in THE name? Power over Satan, power over sin, power of death, deliverance from addiction and destructive behaviors, all kinds of healing, and eternal salvation. Why not call on His name for what you need this morning?