Jesus' Name

Jesus' Name

Josh Masters |

There is power in the very name of Jesus, and the life of the church should be rooted in that power.

 Jesus’ Name
Church Extended • Message 6
Joshua J. Masters
May 16, 2021


His name is power over darkness,
Freedom for the captives,
Mercy for the broken …

It’s a beautiful lyric.

But do we really believe it?
Does the very name of Jesus have power or is that just a poetic turn of phrase?

Well, think about this. When the angel visits Joseph he says,
“[Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, [WHY?] because He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21 (NIV)

He will be called Immanuel, which means “God’s with us,” right?

Christ’s power to forgive sin, His sacrifice to bridge the gap between a Holy God and a broken person is directly tied to His name. It’s everywhere in Scripture.

A. There is POWER in the name of Jesus.

There is power in the very name of Jesus, and the life of the church should be rooted in that power.

Today we continue our series walking through the Book of Acts.

And if you look closely, you’ll see the entire book has a focus on the name of Jesus and the Lordship of that name.

It’s illustrated again and again.

But do we truly want to see the power of Jesus’ name revealed in our lives?

That’s what we’re going to focus on today by looking at Acts, Chapter 19.

We’re on page 893 if you’re using the Bible available here at Brookwood or you can follow along using the Brookwood app.
So, you can go ahead and turn or swipe there in your Bibles.

And as you do that, let me give you a very brief recap of where we left off last week.

At the end of Chapter 18, we saw the conversion of Apollos in Ephesus, right?
Then Apollos leaves to go on a missionary trip, ending up in Corinth.

Now, Luke, who wrote the Book of Acts, returns to following Paul in the narrative. Paul has left Antioch and is now arriving in Ephesus after Apollos leaves.

All the Chess pieces are on the board. Are you with me?

Chapter 19, Verse 1:
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers.
Acts 19:1 (NLT)

For those keeping track, this is Paul’s third missionary trip, and as he arrives in Ephesus, he runs into this group of believers.

And Paul’s encounter with these men will reveal this...

B. The power of Christ’s name is…
1. Revealed through the HOLY SPIRIT.

In fact, the Holy Spirit is sent IN the name of Jesus to reveal the power of Jesus.

Jesus said:
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26 (NIV)

“And when [the Holy Spirit] comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment ... Righteousness is available because I go to the Father…
John 16:8–10 (NLT)

So, the Holy Spirit is sent IN Jesus’ name to advocate for and guide believers.

But He’s also sent to show unbelievers their sin and reveal the power of that name to save them.

Look for that as we walk through the discussion Paul has with these men.
Let’s read the whole encounter and then we’ll break it down.

… [Paul] reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them. “No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked. And they replied, “The baptism of John.” Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the One who would come later, meaning Jesus.” As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
Acts 19:1b–7 (NLT)

Now, this passage has confused a lot of people. And theologians love to debate this passage because there are three things theologians love:
--The Bible
--And drinking coffee while they argue about the Bible.

Here’s the struggle.
Are these twelve men saved when Paul encounters them?
And if they are, why don’t they have the Holy Spirit?

What do you think? Do you think they were saved?

Let’s look at the sequence of events.

Paul comes across these twelve men and they call themselves disciples or learners. That’s what the Greek says—not believers like we see in the NLT. So, they call themselves disciples.

But Paul immediately picks up that something is amiss… so he asks, “When you believed did you receive the Holy Spirit?”

And they say:
“We didn’t even know there was a Holy Spirit.”

Hmm. So, Paul probes a little further and says, “Well then, if you don’t know the Holy Spirit, what baptism did you experience?” (apparently, they already told Paul they’d been baptized)

And they tell him, “The baptism of John” (or John the Baptist).

OH! Now Paul sees what’s happening here. So, Paul explains:

“John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the One who would come later, meaning Jesus.”
Acts 19:4 (NLT)

Remember, this is a transitional time for the church. They didn’t have Twitter or Snapchat to communicate information. Paul couldn’t send a tweet saying, “Jesus rose from the dead #Repent #Messiah.”

It took years for information to filter across the known world.

So, these men are still disciples of John the Baptist under the Old Covenant, looking for the Messiah.

But through the baptism of John, the Holy Spirit had already revealed their need for repentance and their need to be made right with God. So, I believe—and you study it for yourself, but I believe these men fall under the category of Old Testament Saints.

They experienced faith the same way Abraham, Moses, and likely Apollos from the last chapter experienced faith. But they hadn’t met the Messiah.

And now, Paul arrives and preaches the Good News of Jesus to them. And what happens?

Verse 5:
As soon as they heard this, they were baptized [in what?] in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.
Acts 19:5–6 (NLT)

There’s the power of Jesus’ name.

When Paul laid hands on them, that was a sign of acceptance in the culture—inducting them into the family and fellowship of the church.

But they received the Holy Spirit the moment they proclaimed Jesus as their Messiah and Lord.

And now, the transitional period of the church is coming to an end. This is the fourth time we’ve seen a group of people receive the Holy Spirit in Acts. First the Jews, then the Samaritans, then Gentiles, and now, these men representing the Old Testament faith.

And never again do we see a gap between faith and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They happen simultaneously now.

But the beauty of this encounter is that it offers us the rare opportunity to examine that moment between when the power of the Holy Spirit reveals the need for repentance by convicting us of our sins and when the Holy Spirit reveals the incredible power of salvation in the name of Jesus.

You can’t have one without the other.

So, the power of Jesus’ name is revealed through the Holy Spirit, which leads to salvation.


The power of Christ’s name is… also
2. Resisted by the WORLD.

Let’s keep reading. Verse 8:
Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way.
Acts 19:8–9a (NLT)

Who is the Way?

Before being called Christians, believers called themselves followers of the Way because that’s a name and title Jesus gave Himself.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NLT)

But even after three months of hearing the good news from Paul, the hardened hearts of those in this Synagogue remained offended by the name of Jesus.

So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
Acts 19:9b (NLT)

(Who names their kid Tyrannus? His friends called him Rex)

So, Paul is forced out of the Synagogue.

If you live in the power of Christ’s name… if you want that in your life, you WILL face opposition.

Because the name of Jesus is offensive to those who want to be their own Lord and its power is a threat to their reign.

And for Paul, being forced out of a building is the least of his problems.
There were multiple plots to kill him, he ends up in prison, and entire cities are thrown into chaos.

Now, we don’t have time to get through this entire chapter in detail but let me just summarize. After Paul leaves the Synagogue, verse 23 says:

About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way.
Acts 19:23 (NLT)

That’s because as the name of Jesus became more exalted in the city, the name of Artemis (who was their goddess) started losing prestige.

The idol they worshipped was threatened by the name of Jesus.

So, the entire second half of this chapter is devoted to the riots that took place in the city, dragging Paul’s companions into the amphitheater—and causing confusion and anarchy everywhere.

Now, I’d really like to keep moving forward here—but it’s difficult to have nearly 20 verses in Scripture about rioting without acknowledging the riots we’ve seen in our own nation over the last year.

Because at the deepest level, the riots we’ve seen in America are the same as this one in Ephesus.
Because they’re rooted in the same thing. Idolatry.

Our idols may look different, but the heart issue is the same.

All rioting is rooted in idolatry and the hatred of anyone who doesn’t worship the same idol I do.

And whether it’s a group of people
storming the Capitol under a counterfeit banner of liberty.

Or a group of people burning a city
under a counterfeit banner of equality,

Or a group sitting at home justifying the behavior and participating in online riots—it’s all idolatry.

Regardless of what political side you fall on, some of us in the church have to start asking if we’ve been worshipping an idol rather than the power of Christ’s name,
which is the only thing that will bring…
and justice,
and hope,
and compassion back to this nation.
The world resists the power of Christ’s name.
We need to stop enabling and being part of that.

That doesn’t mean we never act against injustice—but before we take any action, we evaluate our motive. Are we truly operating in the power of Christ’s name for His glory? Or are we operating for our own.

Am I resisting the power of Christ’s name or relying on it?

Because if we have more opposition in our lives over our politics than we do because of our faith, we have to evaluate whether we’re truly living in the power of His name.

And here’s why…

The power of Christ’s name is…
3. Received in FAITH.

Through faith, Paul received the power to do amazing things in the name of Jesus.

Verse 11:
God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.
Acts 19:11–12 (NLT)

Now, the Apostles were given these extraordinary powers because they were teaching the Good News of Jesus Christ using only the Old Testament.

It’s all in the Old Testament, but the miracles verified what the Apostles were saying about the Messiah in the Jewish Scriptures until the New Testament could be written.

And even though we don’t have apostles today, and it may look different, the power of Christ’s name is still received through faith alone.

And in the next verse, a couple guys are about to learn that the hard way. Look at verse 13:
A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”
Acts 19:13 (NLT)

Even though they were Jews, these men were practicing sorcery. They used spells and incantations to do magic. So, they hear Paul is doing miracles in the name of Jesus, so they add the name of Jesus to the list of their magic words.

How do you think that went?

Go to verse 15:
But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
Acts 19:15–16 (NLT)

“I know Jesus, I even know Paul, but who do you think you are?”
The demon knew they had no authority in Christ because they had no faith in Christ.

The name of Jesus is not a spell you can manipulate for your own gain.

Christ’s name is not a magic word that forces situations or God to bend to your will.
On the contrary, it’s when you surrender to the power of Christ’s name that He gives you access to His will.

They had no faith IN the name of Jesus.
They had no respect FOR the name of Jesus…
So, they had no power THROUGH the name of Jesus.

But listen to me very carefully!

Some of you have been praying for a miracle and it hasn’t happened.

Please hear me. That DOESN’T mean you’re like these men.

Sometimes the power of Jesus’ name is revealed in the endurance and strength to walk through a trial. And though it may not feel like it, that might be a greater miracle. Because God can transform you and your family through hardship.

Right now, Paul is healing people in the name of Christ. But very soon, He will be chained to a wall in the name of Christ. Not because he lost faith but because God wanted to strengthen it and build a greater legacy in his life.

Probably the most misused verse in the New Testament is Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me… but it’s not a pep talk to achieve your life goals. Look at it in the context of the verse Paul wrote as he sat in prison:

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12–13 (NLT)

That verse is not about getting what you want.
It about having the peace of Christ when you don’t.

That’s the power of Christ’s name… peace and hope in all circumstances.

Listen. Physical miracles are not the greatest manifestation of God’s power.
Jesus walked away from doing miracles multiple times.
Because the greater miracle is what God does in someone’s life.

Let me show you something, quickly. Flip over to the end of today’s reading.
Chapter 20, verse 7.

This is one of my favorite scenes in the New Testament and it’s kind of hilarious.

On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. [This is actually the first time we see an organized worship service on a Sunday] Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight.
Acts 20:7 (NLT)

So don’t miss that.
The language actually indicates that there was a lot of discussion.

--He was preaching,
--and answering their questions,
--and explaining the Gospel until midnight because he wanted to make sure they understood the faith before he left.

Verse 9:
As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!”
Acts 20:9–10 (NLT)

Now, some of you complain when Perry or I go 10 minutes over on time. I want you to think about this passage next time that happens… which might be today.

Paul talks for so long that this guy falls asleep and falls from a third-story window to his death.

How can we be sure he was really dead?
Because this was written by Luke, who’s not only an eyewitness but a doctor.

So, Paul rushes down, throws himself on this young man’s body (in almost the exact same way we see Elijah do with Elisha in the Old Testament) [1 Kings 17:21; 2 Kings 4:34-35] and the young man is brought back to life.

But then what happens?
They all say, “How wonderful! We’ve finally seen a miracle” and go home. No.

Verse 11:
Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left.
Acts 20:11 (NLT)

He goes back to preaching!
Until morning!
That’s awesome.

Now, we could do a whole message on just these few verses but here’s what I want you to notice today.

The miracle wasn’t the goal.

In fact, even though Paul responds with compassion, the physical miracle here is really a sidenote to what God is truly doing that night—revealing the truth of His word and changing lives.

Even though Paul had to leave on a 20 mile hike the next morning, he stayed up all night teaching because the power of Christ’s name was changing lives.

The physical miracle only happened to allow the REAL work to continue.

When we think of the power of Jesus name, we too often limit Him to physical miracles and miss the eternal miracle He wants to do in our lives.

Don’t just look for the power of Jesus name to end the trial.
Look for the power of Jesus name IN the trial.

Now, let’s go back to the men who tried to use the name of Christ without faith in that failed exorcism.

When people in Ephesus saw the difference between the men who got pummeled by a demon without faith and Paul’s faith to perform miracles in the power of Jesus’ name, they took notice.

And it began to transform their community.

The power of Christ’s name is…
4. Revered when it’s REVEALED.

Verse 17
The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars [50,000 pieces of silver].
Acts 19:17–19 (NLT)

Just for context, to earn 50,000 pieces of silver, the average worker in Ephesus would have to work for 160 years, six days a week, assuming they bought nothing and didn’t pay taxes.

So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.
Acts 19:20 (NLT)

The name of Christ was transforming Ephesus, and OUR communities will be transformed when we allow the power of Christ’s name to be revealed by the Spirit in our own lives.

Remember, we started this morning by saying the power of Christ’s name is revealed through the Holy Spirit.

And when that happens, His name is exalted, honored and revered—and that reverence spreads through families, communities and then nations. That’s the answer.

And we only get to see a glimpse of that right now.
One day the glory of Christ’s name will be fully revealed.
And on that day, when we really see it, we will fall to our knees.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross:
… God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9–11 (NLT)

Right now, we have a choice as to whether we honor His name.
But one day, when the Spirit fully reveals His glory, we won’t be able to hide from the light.

At the name of Jesus Christ.
Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.
But for some, it will be too late.

And Paul knew that day was coming.

So, he wasn’t desperate for physical miracles.
He was desperate for his life to reflect Jesus.
He was desperate to share the hope of Christ to the lost and hurting.
He was desperate to proclaim the name that had the power to save him from a life of pride and murder and selfishness.

And a changed life like that is the real power of Jesus’ name.

Let’s pray

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