Acts 4:10- 12 “…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. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.”
Peter got in trouble for preaching the name of Jesus. The Sanhedrin (the religious leaders) didn’t care about the lame man who was healed. They were more concerned that the name of Jesus was being spread around; ‘ “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” ‘ (Acts 4:16,17)
Religious people are always concerned about what the world thinks. The gospel of John clearly shows this deep seated affinity that religion has for the power of this world; “But they cried out, ‘Away with him, away with him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ ” (John 19:15) Jesus warned us about how the world would view His followers; “I have given them Thy Word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14) In James 4:4 we are told; “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
If you want to cross the line into the Kingdom of God you will have to walk under the banner of Jesus. Peter and the apostles did. Paul did. And they came up against the world and its religion. Peter’s reply was to say that they could not shut up; “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19,20) What is our reply? Silence? Backing down? Don’t expect any support from any world loving church.
When any god but God and any name but Jesus is promoted in the spirit of unfaithfulness TO HIS WORD, harlotry (adultery) is entered into. Years ago I found myself arguing with a group of laypeople and a clergyman about Jesus. Their claim was that there were other ways to salvation and Jesus was our way, perhaps a ‘brighter way’ but just our way. In exasperation I quoted John 14:6 and said; “If you don’t believe what Jesus said about Himself then what are you? Surely not Christian, – but simply well read people who happen to read the Bible also.” Their prime motivation was to appear open and inclusive to the world. They didn’t want to risk offending anyone having a different belief. They were all very religious and very worldly.
Hosea (4:9,10) spoke long ago of the eventual plight of religion conformed to the world; “And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.” What a sad thing to eat and never have enough! What a sad thing to build and build and build and never increase! Look around you and see the pattern.
As you read this, perhaps you feel the battle line forming in your own heart. Jesus! “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:10,11) The world and it’s religion(s) cannot accept this. Can you?
And how can you spot the power of His true church working in this world? The Bible shows us; “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” (Acts 3:6,7,8) The lame walk, the blind see and the wounded are healed, all by the name of Jesus.