– by Dennis Loots
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4: 8-12
This is what we believe in, and on what we stand. We live in a world that is increasingly going to bring pressure to bear on the Church, and on God’s people. They will question everything, and even laws may be passed against us, but we must be certain that this is one of the definitive statements from Scripture, on which we stand. We have summed up God’s marvellous plan of Salvation, his only plan of Salvation.
We live in a world where plans are made constantly; life is governed by plans for the future.
Scripture says that God has made a plan; it is largely rejected, and largely not listened to, yet for those who believe and for the Church, this is the plan.
In the book of Hebrews we are warned and told, “How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?”
In Romans 1:16 the Apostle writes: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” In the Gospel the power of God is revealed. It is a righteousness that comes from Faith, from first to last. This is a marvellous plan – as God’s people we need to rejoice in it, and respond to it. In Acts 3, Peter and John are involved in a great miracle; they heal a man who has been lame since birth. He had spent his days at the temple asking for money – on this day, Peter and John felt drawn to this man by the Holy Spirit, and were filled with Faith from God. Peter intervened and said: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” The man ended up getting a lot more than what he had asked for – he asked for money and got healed.
You would think that the people and the religious leaders back then would have been overwhelmed, and would have rejoiced in this, but rather, they felt so threatened by this, that they arrested Peter and John. In Acts 4, Peter and John had to appear before the leaders and give an account of how this miracle came about. It is in this context that Peter says: “it is in the name of Jesus who you crucified… Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved”.
So I want to ask, what is it about this plan? What do we need to be reminded of? What is it that so captivated the hearts, minds, and lives of these men, who at one stage cowered in an upper room, but were now prepared to face the authorities and to make their statements and in fact die for them? What is it that makes this plan so special?
1. The first thing is that God’s plan is an exclusive plan.
The Bible says that Salvation is found in no one else, “…For there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” It is a pretty clear statement, an exclusive plan. Jesus Himself said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Paul writes to Timothy and says: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus”. Thus the message of Scripture, and God’s marvellous plan of salvation, makes this an exclusive plan – there is no other plan out there. There may be lots of ideas, philosophies, books, teachers, pressures, but Scripture clearly states that this is an exclusive plan.
We live in a world that in some senses loves exclusivity. Exclusivity is normally associated with something special, or expensive, or it applies to some people who can afford it, or who come out of a particular background. We have television shows, magazines, restaurants, hotels, resorts, and neighbourhoods, that are marked as exclusive “this belongs to those who can afford it, and those who are special”.
However, God’s exclusive plan has nothing to do with money, or status, or who you are, or where you come from, or how much power you have – it is only exclusive in that Salvation is found in Jesus alone. Anything else that promises Salvation, or hope, or something or another, that excludes Jesus as Lord and Saviour, is simply false and leads to nowhere. This is from Scripture. Yet we live in a world that will continually challenge this, and it will only get worse. The devil will mount his onslaught. They will say there are many other names. They will say “There is Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, there is human progress, there is science, there are all kinds of theories, we need to be open, we need to be open minded, we need to be sophisticated, and so forth.” Formerly Christian countries are even beginning to pass laws that are bringing pressures to bear on the Church, and on this message. Even in the Church, this message is being compromised. But I want to remind you of what the Bible says.
Regardless of what anybody says, “there is no other name”. Only Jesus can save us. There is only one saving man, and His name is Jesus, and when you embrace Jesus and you commit and listen to what He has to say, He excludes any other leader, every other system. The Christian faith is not just some practical process of finding your way to God; it is God’s way.
Perhaps there are some of you who are struggling with this, who hear all of these things that are out there in the world. We make no apology, and we are going to have to stand strong on what we believe in the days ahead, that God’s marvellous plan says it is Jesus, and Jesus alone. It is an exclusive plan.
2. The second thing is that the Bible tells us that this plan is an exalted and glorious plan.
It is not an ordinary plan, but one that has come to us by God. This is we read about in Hebrews, in the book of John, in the book of Romans, when we talk about the Gospel, this Salvation, we are not talking about anything given by man, but rather something that has come to us, been poured out from the heart of the living God himself. God has intervened, and has given us this salvation. It has been given as a gift.
Essentially, one of the words that we often talk about is “revelation”, and what revelation means is that “something becomes known that we never knew before”, or “something becomes known that we can only get to know in a certain way”. When we talk about God revealing His plan of Salvation, what we are saying is that we couldn’t have known it any other way, but God chose to reveal this to us. What we have in Scriptures is God revealing His plan of Salvation, and this is what this passage is all about. Peter says, “there is no other name” and the way that we know that and understand that is because God has spoken, He has revealed it. This is from Him. Everybody worships something or another, but God clarified the whole thing by intervening in human history, in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture says, over the course of history, God has slowly but surely revealed Himself, through the Old Testament, through the Prophets, through the history of Israel, God has slowly but surely revealed His plan of Salvation.
Just over 2000 years ago, God himself came to town, and He revealed Himself, now righteousness from God is revealed. The message of Scripture is that this exalted and glorious plan was infleshed in the Lord Jesus. I always say when people say to me “what is God like?” there is actually a simple answer to that – He is like Jesus!
This is what the book of Hebrews says:
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word…” – Hebrews 1:1-3
There is no other name, other than the name of Jesus, because God stepped out of eternity, and revealed Himself to us.
That’s why Paul said “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings Salvation to everyone who believes…” That’s why the book of Hebrews warns us “be careful that you don’t neglect or ignore the strayed Salvation”. That’s why at Jesus’ baptism, God’s voice spoke and said, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him”. There is no other Salvation.
Why listen to all the other distortions, and the philosophies of men, when the real deal has come to town? It is a glorious plan that we, as God’s people, rejoice in.
3. The third thing is that it is a dependable, and reliable plan.
There are no ifs, maybes, buts, and all the rest of that here. The Bible says that if we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, then we will be saved. I am reminded all the time that our Father doesn’t work in ifs, buts, and maybes. His plan is always an exact plan. He spoke this world into being, its seasons, its beauty, its days, its years and months. We can fly to the moon because we know that it is dependable. There are certain laws at work, and we can plan around them, because God’s creation is exact.
I read a little while ago that the tilt of the earth is exactly 23.4 degrees. If that tilt changes, by any minute measure, life as we know would be in danger. And if God took such care about creating the world, He took care about this great Salvation as well. The Scriptures tell us powerfully, yet in great simplicity as well, “All who call upon the Name of the Lord, will be saved”.
Just listen to some Scriptures:
“I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear Him.” – Ecc 3:14. In the book of Proverbs “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” When God set out to redeem sinners from their sins, it wasn’t some haphazard maybe, if, plan. It was an exact plan. I want to tell you, if you’ve trusted in the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you can know the assurance “because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” – 2 Timothy 1:12.
One of the great verses that I go to all the time is Romans 8:1, when the enemy comes to accuse, I remind them that “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.
And so I want to ask you, if you are a believer, I want to challenge you again. Bless God, worship Him, thank Him for this plan, it is exclusive. There is no other name. It is exalted. It comes to us from God himself. “All who call on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” If you’re a Christian, celebrate. The pressure is coming folks, and we are going to have to stand strong on this. We, as God’s people, are going to have to stand and say that there is no other Name that we depend on, or rely on.
You either respond to Him now and receive Him as Saviour, or you will hear those words “Depart from Me, I never knew you…”