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"No Other Name" (Acts 4:1-12) Easter 4B

April 29, 2012

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Fourth Sunday of Easter                         Trinity Lutheran Church   

29 April 2012                                         Murdock, NE                                       

                                                      + Jesu Juva +

Acts 4:1-12


Did you see the massive collision?  Or hear it?  Sure you did!  Just a few minutes ago from the lectern!  Wow!  An incredible impact!  What a pile up!  And two unschooled and ordinary men went to jail for it! 


What was the collision?  You heard it!  You felt it’s mammoth impact too! 


IT WAS A SERMON!  A sermon was preached to sinners!  By the apostles Peter and John!  The apostles preach a sermon that train wrecks into ears that will not hear and yet impacts with ears that do hear after a miraculous healing of a 40 something lame man. 


What a sermon!  It t-bones everyone within earshot!  It has such an impact that “many who heard the message believed and the number of men grew to about five thousand.” 


On the other hand the sermon really worried other people.  You know.  The usual round up of suspects!  The priests.  The captain of the temple guard.  The Sadducees.  The entire Sanhedrin, the high priest, and his family.  Worries turned to whispers.  Whispers turned into concerns.  Concerns led to secret meetings.  Meetings led to the preachers being arrested and jailed. 


That’s what you do with preachers who threaten your entire self-made and self-sustaining idolatrous way of life before the world and most especially before God!  Can’t be having preachers get in our faces and telling us that we’re not the measure of all things!  Good grief!  We won’t stand for that!


What did Peter and John preach?  Was it really that bad?  Let’s review.  Here’s the essence of the sermon:  “You crucified Jesus!  You put Him to death!  You are responsible!  You did it!  You rejected Jesus!  But God raised him from the dead!  He is risen!  Rejected, crucified, dead, buried, but raised from the grave Jesus is now the capstone, the cornerstone of everything we believe!  And because Jesus rose from the dead, He is the first fruits!  His resurrection ensures our resurrection from the dead!  The forgiveness that He won for all sinners will bear fruit for those who believe in Him:  the resurrection of the body and life everlasting!”


Are you ready to jail them too?  Are you grinding your teeth in anger?  Have you cupped your hands over your ears to protect you from such offensive preaching?


Or does such a sermon give you great joy?


Oh, Peter’s not done preaching!  He’s got a real zinger at the end of today’s text.  If you thought he and John were a bit too excessive with part one, get a load of part two!  Jail time might not be enough after Peter backs up, shoves the sermon into gear, and then puts the pedal to the metal to cause another major collision!  Another major smashup!   


Listen!  “Salvation,” Peter categorically proclaims, “is found in no one else than this Jesus whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead!  There is no other name under heaven given to men than the name of crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus by which we must be saved.”   


Now that’s a sermon that causes a huge pile up!  An enormous chain reaction!  After all, sermons with generic God-talk are fine and dandy! But never one so specific as Peter just preached!  Salvation only in Jesus?  Really? 


That’s not exercising religious diversity Peter!  Come on!  What about Buddha?  The many deities of Hinduism?  Shintoism?  Mormonism?  The Watchtower Society?  Judaism?  Masonry?  Islam?  Aren’t we stronger by being more diverse?  Doesn’t every religion have a bit of the truth?  Shouldn’t we be a religious melting pot?  Aren’t you a bit too narrow Peter?


Peter doesn’t back down!  He preaches the truth!  The truth of Jesus!  The truth of Jesus who saves!  “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  And that name is Jesus! 


Jesus alone is the Savior of sinners!  No one else is.  You aren’t.  And no other false idols are either!


Only the name of Jesus saves!  His name has the power to give you forgiveness, rescue you from death and damnation.  The name of Jesus protects you from God’s wrath against all your sin. 


There are loads of names in the world.  Names that can inspire you.  Names that provide you with nice role models to follow.  Name that can teach you morality.  Names that teach you how to gain and protect your wealth.  Names that help you get fit, lose weight, cut your belly fat and lower your cholesterol.  But there is only one name that saves you from sin, raises you from the dead, and gives you eternal life – the NAME OF JESUS!


Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!  He is the only door for the sheep.  He is the only gate to heaven.  “No one comes to the Father except through me,”  He promised.


The name of Jesus is an inclusive name.  In other words, He died for all.  The name of Jesus is also an exclusive name.  In other words, only He died for all.


Jesus achieved and won salvation for all sinners and it is only in Him that anyone has salvation. 


Jesus kept the Ten Commandments perfectly for you and so only in Him is there perfection for you. 


In no other name than Jesus is there forgiveness.  In no other name is there life.  In no other name is there salvation.  That is because no one else ever died and rose from the dead never to die again! 


The no-other-name-for-salvation has been given to you.  In your Baptism!  You bear His name as His baptized brothers and sisters. 


Therefore, you can call upon His name in any and every trouble.  You are given to cling to Jesus’ name in whatever suffering, trial, or temptation that comes your way. 


And like Peter and John, the time may come for you to suffer for Jesus’ name.  The time may come very soon (although I pray it never does) that by bearing Jesus’ name and by proclaiming His name as a Christian when you too may be jailed or even put to death! 


Whatever happens know this: that those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus WILL BE SAVED!


In the Name of Jesus.  

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