The Word, The Spirit, and The Name
Three great spiritual forces propelled the advance of the gospel in the Book Of Acts: THE WORD, THE SPIRIT and THE NAME OF JESUS.
(1) The proclamation of the Word of God challenged people to faith and repentance.
(2) The power of The Spirit of God opened spiritual eyes, bore witness to the victory of filled believers with the heavenly life, gave them heavenly boldness and heavenly zeal, and gave them a mouth and a heart to proclaim the word in the power of the Spirit.
(3) The use of the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth applied the Victory of Jesus’ Death, Burial & Resurrection, against the devil, sin and sickness.
(I) THE WORD
The Book Of Acts is the account of the advance of the word of God from Jerusalem to the nations.
“The word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem.” (Acts 6:7)
” When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God.” (Acts 8:14)
“Now the apostles.. heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.”(Acts 11:1)
“The word of God grew and multiplied.” (Acts 12:24)
“And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues.” Acts 13:5
“Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent.” Acts 13:26
“On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.” (Acts 13:44)
“Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.” Acts 15:7
“And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. Acts 18:11
What was this “WORD OF GOD” that the apostles were inspired to preach? What was this “WORD OF GOD” that spread throughout Judea and then to Samaria and then to the Gentiles? It was not the teaching of the Old Testament – although it was foretold by it. It was not the letters of Paul – although those letters contain the teaching they proclaimed. It was the proclamation that Jesus had successfully atoned for the sin of the world and that all who turn to Him in faith can receive reconciliation with God and a new Spirit to empower them to live a righteous life. It is the proclamation that Jesus is now enthroned as King of the Universe and invites all people to find refuge in His care.
This is the message – THE WORD OF GOD – He gave His followers to proclaim. He gave no mandate to preach any other message. We can have our own opinions about global warming, economic and social policy, etc. but none of these things are the WORD OF GOD that was proclaimed in the Book of Acts that turned the world upside down! This WORD OF GOD is neither Catholicism nor Protestantism, neither fundamentalism nor liberalism – it is the bold proclamation of the victory of Jesus. Millions in every continent still need to hear it –
the word of His victory;
the word of His grace;
the word of His invitation
the word of His accomplishment;
the word of His Kingdom!
(II) THE SPIRIT
The second great hero of the Book of Acts is the HOLY SPIRIT. It is He who emboldened and filled the disciples. He gave them a mouth, fearless love and energy beyond their own to go everywhere with the WORD OF GOD. He guided them, directed them, restrained them, moved upon their listeners and bore witness to the truth of their message by signs, wonders and various miracles.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. .. and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1 & 4)
“Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33)
“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”(Ac. 2:38)
“When they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:15&17)
“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, ‘John indeed baptized with water but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”(Acts 11:15-16) “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6)
The Book of Acts is the account of how the Holy Spirit empowered and led the first disciples. It is also the account of how the gift of the Holy Spirit was received and imparted to both Jewish and Gentile believers. The Holy Spirit is not only the leader of the body of believers but He is also THE GREAT GIFT that they announce to the world.
The message of the Acts of the Apostles is not only how all men can be justified by faith in the work of Jesus. It is also the message, which proclaims THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. We do not see the phrase “Are you born again?” as we do in John’ gospel. What we do hear over and over is “Have you received the Holy Spirit?” This is the message we are to carry to the nations. Have you received forgiveness of sins AND have you received the Holy Spirit – to empower you to live as a son/daughter of God with a new righteous nature? Their central focus and mission (unlike many churches today) was to ensure that all believers received the Holy Spirit?
(III) THE NAME OF JESUS
The third great hero of the Book of Acts is THE NAME OF JESUS. As we recover the life and power of the Book of Acts we also rediscover the authority THE NAME OF JESUS they used in prayer and in ministry.
They spoke in the Name of Jesus. They acted in His Name (and not in their own names) as His representatives. They took authority over sickness and over evil spirits by the use and power of the Name of Jesus.
Using The Name In Prayer
Jesus gives His followers the privilege of asking God Our Father for anything we need to fulfill His calling and His plan for us on the earth. He did not give us the right (as has been mistakenly taught by some overboard prosperity teachers) to ask God for anything we want to fulfill our carnal ambitions, but He did give us the right to ask for anything we need to fulfill His destiny for us on the earth and to do His works and ministry throughout the earth! Jesus gives us His own name to ask the Father for our legitimate needs.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ASK IN MY NAME, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14-12-14)
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15-16)
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (Jn. 16:23-24)
Using The Name In Ministry
He gives us the right to use His Name in ministry against every power that oppresses us or those we minister to.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)
It is this use of the Name that we see the apostles demonstrate in the Book of Acts. At the Gate Beautiful Peter and James commanded in the Name of Jesus a lame man to receive healing. The man was instantly healed.
“Then Peter said, “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)
Peter did not pray for the man’s healing he demanded, with the authority that Jesus had given him, that sickness leave the man’s body and life could come.
Peter… responded to the people: “Why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? … And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3:16)
Peter explained that it was authority of Jesus’ victory over sickness that had brought life to the man and not his own piety, anointing or power. Jesus has given His followers the right to use His name to apply His victory in situations where there is faith to believe and receive. The authority of Jesus over the dominion of the devil was won on the cross. But it remains for us (His followers) to apply that victory to the lives of the believers. The NAME OF JESUS represents His authority over all that oppresses. Healing has nothing to do with the charisma or power of the preacher or the denomination he represents – it has everything to do with the authority of the Name of Jesus!
The victory was won by death and the resurrection of Jesus. The follower of Jesus who acts in His name is authorized to reinforce HIS victory against sickness and evil spirits through the use of Jesus’ Name.
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
“ And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.” (Phil. 2-8-10)
Demons are not subject to the charisma of any man but must submit to the Name of Jesus who has despoiled them of their authority. Followers of Jesus have the privilege of applying the authority of the Victory of the Name of Jesus to sickness and to situations where people are oppressed with depression, despair and crazy thoughts.
Through the Holy Spirit Jesus anoints all believers in Him to be His witnesses – through the Name He gives us the authority to apply His victory to situations of need.
The recovery of the potential anointing of all believers to proclaim the WORD of GOD and the authorization to act in the name of Jesus is an often neglected, but absolutely essential key to the advance of the gospel in these days.