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THE BIBLE'S GRAND THEME

The grand theme of the Bible is salvation!  A simple definition of salvation is deliverance from the power and effects of sin.  Scripturally, there is an initial New Testament salvation experience that brings dramatic change to one’s life.  This is reflected in many of the scriptural terms associated with salvation:


Repentance: A change of mind, a new way of thinking in God.
Conversion: A change of direction, a new way of walking with God.
Redemption: A change of ownership, a new Master in God.
Grace: A change of favor, a new standing before God.
Forgiveness: A change of judgment, a new pardon by God.
Deliverance: A change of bondage, a new liberty before God.
Faith: a change of confidence, a new trust in God.
Holiness: a change of living, a new conformity with God.
Reconciliation: a change of friendship, a new union with God.

The initial salvation experience is a result of faith and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In response to the question “what shall we do?”, the Apostle Peter answered, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).  This corresponds to the “new birth” experience Jesus spoke about in John 3:1-5.

Many people are wanting things to change in their life.  There is no greater change possible than what takes place in a person who receives the salvation Jesus Christ came to give.
 

TWO QUESTIONS 



Acts chapter 3 gives account of the first known miracle following the outpouring of the Holy Ghost.  The setting of the miracle is the beautiful porch of the temple called “Solomon’s Porch” at the 9th hour of the day, which was about 3 PM.

Peter and John were about to enter the temple via Solomon’s Porch when a lame beggar caught their attention.  This man was more than 40 years of age and had been unable to walk his entire life.

The two Apostles stopped and the lame man expected them to place some change in his cup and go on but instead Peter said the words which would forever change the life of the lame man along with another 5000 who would believe on Jesus Christ that day:


Acts 3:6 – “ . . . 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.”


Acts 3 

7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.


Acts 3:9-10

9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:

10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.


Peter preached a short message about the power of the name of Jesus Christ and many that heard him believed.


Jewish religious leaders were enraged that Peter and John were teaching the people so they took them and locked them up overnight.  The next day, rulers, elders, scribes, the high priest and much of his family gathered in Jerusalem to hear Peter and John.


7 “And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?”


Evidently, they got right to the point.  Under whose authority were Peter and John working?


Acts 4:8-14

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.


The miracle itself was undeniable.  In order to delegitimize the work that was done these leaders decided to ask two questions:


  1. BY WHAT POWER?

This had to do with authority.  Obviously Peter and John had not worked under the authority of the men who were deemed the leaders of the temple.  So, whose authority were they working under?


The miracle demonstrated that there was a greater power or authority in the temple than these Jewish leaders.  Jesus Christ scripturally is declared to be the “All, and in all” (Colossians 3:11), the Almighty (Revelation 1:8), the anointed one (1 Samuel 2:35), the Apostle and High Priest (Hebrews 3:11) and the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; (1 Timothy 6:15).


  • BY WHAT NAME?


The answer to this was obvious and heard by all that was within earshot when the miracle occurred, “Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”  Peter gave four reasons that name was used:

  1. Jesus is the resurrected one.  They had crucified Him but God raised Him from the dead.
  2. Jesus is a miracle worker.  It was by Him that this man stood before them whole.
  3. Jesus is the chief cornerstone.  This would have reminded these leaders of the Psalm which declared that the stone which was rejected has become the head of the corner.  They had rejected Jesus but he was now the head!
  4. Jesus is the only saving name.  Jesus is the great God and savior.  These leaders were monotheistic and knew there was only one God and that one God would be the one savior.  Jesus Christ was Emmanuel (God with us) (Matthew 1:21-23).  These Jews would have connected this statement with Isaiah 43:11,  “I, even I, am the Lord and beside me there is no saviour.”