Pastor Sonny really brought home the Acts 19 message this morning with this example of our culture’s view of Christianity. In fact, I found his sermon to be highly effective at creating a personal awareness / conviction on the subject. I couldn’t help but question the reasons behind our sometimes all too obvious restraint of discussing Jesus with others. Are we really fearful of referencing Jesus’ name when we define our faith or share our beliefs? Do we, as Christians, tend to go “God” in order to avoid lifting up the name of “Jesus?" Are we ashamed?
In Acts 19, Paul brought revival to the city of Ephesus. Once dominated by pagan worship and occult practices, Paul built upon the “name of Jesus” to change hearts and change culture. In verses 1-7 we find Paul teaching that the name of Jesus brings salvation, (see also Acts 4:12). In verses 11-16 we learn that “in the name of Jesus” great miracles were performed and that there is power in His name. Finally, it is in verses 17-28 that evidence of this change is demonstrated and “word of the Lord (Jesus) spread widely.”
I think Sonny’s last question is one that should really challenge us; “Is His name held in high honor?” Not only are we to be forthcoming in our testimony of Jesus, but for a name that can bring salvation, power and change, we need to be extremely careful not to cheapen it. Perhaps, if we / I decided to answer this question daily, and work to successfully accomplish “high honor,” then local papers might just find the reference as commonplace and not worthy of criticism.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus....there’s just something about that name.....”
- Bill & Gloria Gaither