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Good Deed, Good Name

It's the Gospel of the Kingdom. Acts 4.5-12

Acts (4)

Pray Psalm 72.12-15.
For He will deliver the needy when he cries,
The poor also, and him who has no helper.
He will spare the poor and needy,
And will save the souls of the needy.
He will redeem their life from oppression and violence;
And precious shall be their blood in His sight.
And He shall live;
And the gold of Sheba will be given to Him;
Prayer also will be made for Him continually,
And daily He shall be praised.

Sing Psalm 72.12-15.
(Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
The Lord the needy rescues when he cries to Him for grace.
All they who suffer violence find mercy before His face.

Let Christ be praised and all the gold of Sheba be His right.
Let blessings to His Name be told, and prayers made both day and night.

Read Acts 4.1-2; meditate on verses 5-12.

1. What did the rulers, elders, and scribes want to know?

2. How was Peter able to respond so boldly to them?

The religious leaders decided to let Peter and John think it over for an evening in the local jail. As if that was going to affect their testimony the next day. Following “due process,” the judge invited the apostles to explain their behavior – as if they didn’t know exactly what had happened.

Peter and John were filled with the Spirit, and the Spirit’s work is to testify about Jesus in and through the followers of Jesus (cf. Jn. 15.26, 27).

Note Peter’s emphasis: a good deed has been done to a crippled man (v. 9). We need always to make sure that good deeds back up our proclamation of the Gospel. Then Peter puts it right in their faces: “the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Good Name, that. Then the indictment: “whom you crucified…” Peter turns the tables of the trial and makes God, not men, the Judge: “whom God raised from the dead…” This is skillful, bold defending of the faith. Then the Gospel: only in the name of Jesus must (note that, Greek: dei,literally, “it is necessary that”) men be saved.

Imagine the shock those religious leaders must have felt. I wonder if any of them began to have second thoughts about what they’d done, or what they thought they’d done. Mere human power has no defense against the proclamation of the Gospel supported by the evidence of the Kingdom – healing, conversions, bold witnesses, undeniable and irrefutable facts, conviction of sin.

The religious leaders had erected strong walls against the Name of Jesus. These walls would need a bit more battering, but soon enough, they would come down (cf. Acts 6.7). Here the highest court of Jewish culture bore down on the faith of Christ. But entrenched cultural powers are no match for one man, filled with the Spirit of God.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Peter, now filled with the Holy Spirit, has gotten very busy preaching the whole Gospel of the Kingdom.

So far, on three different occasions, he has told them they are guilty of having denied the Lord Jesus, participated in His killing, and desperately need to repent. But, because Jesus is risen from the dead, having appeased God’s wrath, they also now can confess and turn away from their sin, and be the blessed recipients of God’s grace and forgiveness. (Acts 2.13-36; 3.12-26; 4.8-12) The whole truth. The complete Gospel.

And the capper, the third time, was to tell them that there is no other way. Absolutely none. If you want to be saved, this is it. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4.12). End of story.

They had been told this once before by Jesus Himself: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14.6).

Peter was refreshing their memory.

His work with the lame man was complete in a different kind of way. He used a good work and a good word to speak forgiveness and healing to him. “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3.6) There is no other way or name.

Our good works and good words should have only one purpose: to make God’s mighty power known.
“…He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power known” (Ps. 106.8).

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3.17). Good deed. Good Name.

And as we are making His mighty power known, we long for others to know Him too; so that “….every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2.11).

This is the whole Gospel of the Kingdom that we are also called to proclaim.

For we are “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” (Rom. 1.16). Proud to preach it!

For reflection
1. Why is the Gospel called the Gospel of the Kingdom?

2. What is the basic message of the Gospel of the Kingdom? How does one receive this Gospel?

3. What does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit”? How does one realize such filling of the Spirit?

The name of Jesus is given to men of every age and nation, as that whereby alone believers are saved from the wrath to come…And the followers of Christ should act so that all who converse with them, may take knowledge that they have been with Jesus. That makes them holy, heavenly, spiritual, and cheerful, and raises them above this world. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 4.5-14

Pray Psalm 72.15-20.
Praise the Lord for His Kingdom, which is coming on earth as it is in heaven! Seek His Kingdom and glory today for your life and Personal Mission Field.

Sing Psalm 72.15-20.
(Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
Let Christ be praised and all the gold of Sheba be His right.
Let blessings to His Name be told, and prayers made both day and night.

And let the earth abound with grain, let fields His fame proclaim.
And may our King forever reign and nations bless His great Name.

Now bless the God of Israel Who wondrous works performs.
And bless His Name, His glory tell both now and forevermore!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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