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FAITH AND THE NAME OF JESUS

A.     Introduction:  While Jesus was on earth, He made some wonderful statements about faith. Matt 21:17-22;  Mark 11:22,23
     1.     Jesus said we can move mountains and kill fig trees with mustard seed faith.
          a.     We have been talking about why these promises Jesus made don't seem to work for us as He said                     they would.
          b.     One of the things we have discovered is that Jesus made these statements in connection with                          believers doing the same kinds of works He did while He was here on earth.
     2.     Jesus said that His followers could do the kinds of things He did -- speak to demons, diseases, storms,                fig trees -- and see them respond to our command just as they responded to His command. John 14:12
          a.     Before He left earth, Jesus authorized us to speak His words and do the works He did in His name.                Matt 28:17-20; Mark 16:15-20
          b.     And, Jesus personally guaranteed that He would back us when we speak His word to do His works  in His name. John 14:13,14
     3.     Mark 11:12-14; 20-23--When Jesus spoke to a fig tree and it obeyed His command, the disciples were                amazed.  Jesus used that incident to teach them (and us) about how He did what He did and how they (and we) can do the works He did.
          a.     Jesus explained to the disciples (and us) that we are to have the faith of God. v22
          b.     This kind of faith speaks and believes that what it says shall come to pass. v23
               1.     That is how God works.  He speaks and expects what He says to come to pass. Gen 1:3;
                    Isa 55:11
               2.     That is how Jesus did the works He did -- killed the fig tree, cast out devils, and healed                               people. Mark 11:14; Luke 4:39
               3.     That is how we do the same kind of works Jesus did.
     4.     In order for you to do the works of Jesus and operate in mountain moving, fig tree killing faith, there are some things you must know.
          a.     You must know that you are authorized to speak in the name of Jesus and to do His works.
          b.     You must know what you are authorized to speak to and change.
          c.     You must know that God backs His word and will bring visible results in your case.
     5.     When we say “You must know”, we mean you must be fully persuaded and completely convinced.  That will happen only as you take time to think through and meditate on these truths from God's word.     
     6.     In this lesson we want to look at a particular incident in Acts which will give us further insight into doing the works of Jesus through mountain moving, fig tree killing faith.

B.     Acts 3:1-16--A lame man was healed when Peter and John went to the temple to pray one day.
     1.     Notice, Peter and John did not pray for the man.
          a.     They did what they had seen Jesus do many times while He was on earth.  They spoke to the man                     and his condition. Mark 2:1-12
          b.     They did what Jesus told them to do.  They demanded that the man rise up in the name of Jesus.                     John 14:12-14
     2.     When Peter and John were later explaining what had happened, they said it was the name of Jesus and                faith in that name which had made the man whole.
          a.     Acts 3:16--And His name, through and by faith in His name, has made this man whom you see and                recognize well and strong.  [Yes,] the faith which is through and by Him [Jesus] has given the man this perfect soundness [of body] before all of you. (Amp)
          b.     Whose faith was it?  Primarily Peter and John.  Notice two things.
               1.     Faith is an action.  They acted.  They used the name as Jesus told them to do.
               2.     And, they expected what they said to come to pass as Jesus told them it would.
          c.     What about the man's faith?  He cooperated with them, let them lift him up.  That was enough.
     3.     When Jesus was raised from the dead, He was given back the authority He had before He went to the                Cross.  He was also given a name that is honored in three worlds. Phil 2:9-11
          a.     The name and authority given to Jesus was given to Him for the sake of His body, for us.
               Eph 1:20-23
          b.     The authority He won for us through His resurrection victory is delegated to us in the use of His                     name. Matt :17-20
     4.     We are now to use Jesus' name and authority to do the same kinds of work Jesus did. Matt 28:17-20;                Mark 16:15-20
          a.     We do not use the name of Jesus as a magic charm.  We use it representatively.  He died as our                     representative.  We now live as His representatives. II Cor 5:20; I John 2:6
          b.     The right to use His name means we are to represent Jesus, to act in His place with the same                          authority He had.
          c.     In a very real sense, Jesus has given us the power of attorney by giving us the use of His name.
     5.     Wherever Jesus would have been glorified by His personal presence, that name now takes His place.
          Acts 4:10
          a.     When we speak in that name it is as though Jesus Himself were speaking because we have been
               authorized to use His name representatively. John 14:13,14
          b.     In the name of Jesus is the fullness of authority and power that was in Christ when He walked the                     earth.
     6.     It does not take any special faith to use the name of Jesus, to speak or act in the name of Jesus.
          a.     It take being authorized.  You are authorized to use His name because you are in the body of                          Christ.
          b.     It takes expecting it to work.  When Jesus spoke to things, He expected what He said to come to                     pass.
          c.     It is not the quantity of faith (it's mustard seed faith), but the place where it is centered -- the                          integrity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 17:5,6; John 14:13,14
     7.     In the use of Jesus' name, we do exercise faith, but it is an unconscious faith.
          a.     It is a faith that comes from evidence that convinces us beyond a shadow of a doubt -- the word of                     the One who cannot lie.
          b.     Peter and John did no special fasting or praying in order to minister to the lame man.  They simply                acted on the word of God who is faithful, and Jesus kept His word. Heb 11:11; Rom 4:21
     8.     How do you get that kind of confidence?  By meditating on these scriptures until the reality of it dawns on you, until you are fully persuaded and completely convinced -- so much so that nothing you see or  feel moves you.
          a.     The mountain must move.  The fig tree must die.  The mountain will move.  The fig tree will die.
          b.     Don't try this and see what happens.  Meditate on these things until they dominate you.
               Acts 19:13-17
          c.     Mark 11:23--Truly I tell you, if one says to this mountain: rise up and throw yourself into the sea, and does not deliberate in his heart but believes that what he talks about is happening, it shall be his. (Lattimore)

C.     Peter made another statement in his explanation of what happened at the gate Beautiful that day which gives us more insight into doing the works of Jesus through mountain moving, fig tree killing faith.
     Acts 3:12
     1.     Peter and John understood that their power and holiness had nothing to do with making what happened           happen.
          a.     It's critical that we understand this, too.  Mountain moving, fig tree killing faith does not work for                     many of us because we are trying to do it by our own power or holiness.
          b.     Let's see how that plays out in real life.
     2.     Many Christians struggle with faith and confidence before God because of guilt, condemnation, and a                sense of unworthiness.
          a.     They question -- Why would God, how could God, do anything like that for me after all my failures and shortcomings?
          b.     Think about this:  Just two, maybe three months earlier, Peter had denied Jesus and deserted Him                     in His greatest hour of need. Matt 26:56,69-75
               1.     How could Peter be confident at the gate Beautiful that Jesus would keep His word to him?
               2.     He understood that his sins were remitted or wiped out by the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.                     Luke 24:45-47
               3.     He understood that success did not depend on his holiness, but on God's provision through                          the Cross -- knowing and walking in that provision.
     3.     Along those same lines, some Christians believe that certain other Christians have greater access to                God and more chance of getting their prayers answered.  But that idea is inaccurate, and will keep you from effectively exercising mountain moving faith.
          a.     God is not a respecter of persons.  Every believer has the same standing with the Father because                     Jesus is our standing. Acts 10:34; Rom2:11; I John 4:17
          b.     Every son and daughter is dear to the heart of the Father and has the same provision through                          Christ. Luke 15:31 (the prodigal and the elder brother); Rom 8:17
     4.     John made a comment (by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) many years later about the connection                between our holiness and the name of Jesus. I John 5:13
          a.     There are two aspects to the name of Jesus for believers.  We believe on the name of Jesus for                     salvation.  We believe in the name for power for service.
          b.     John wrote his letter in part to let believers know two things -- we have eternal life and we have the name.
               1.     Eternal life is the life in Jesus.  Jesus is now our righteousness, our holiness. I John 5:11,12;
                    I Cor 1:30; II Cor 5:21
               2.     The name of the Son of God is ours to use, not because we are good enough, but because we                          are branches of the Vine.
     5.     In Peter's explanation of what happened at the gate Beautiful, he also said that their power didn't heal                that lame man.
          a.     On one level, we all know that natural human power can't heal a lame man.  So what does Peter                     mean?
               1.     He meant that it was not their effort or their work which healed the man.
               2.     It is a natural human tendency to turn everything into works -- our own efforts to earn or                               deserve something from God or to make God move or make it happen.
          b.     What would be an example of works in connection with mountain moving faith?
               1.     If I just confess it enough times, it will happen.  
               2.     If I throw away my medicine, God will heal me.
               3.     If I'm really sincere when I pray or speak to the mountain, it will happen.

D.     Conclusion:  Confidence is a key to exercising mountain moving, fig tree killing faith to do the works of Jesus.
     1.     Acts 4:13--Peter and John's confidence came from spending time with Jesus.
          a.     Boldness is the same word translated confidence in other places in the NT.
          b.     We can build our confidence by spending time with Jesus, too -- through His written word.
     2.     The religious leaders threatened Peter and John for speaking in the name of Jesus and ordered them to                stop it. Acts 4:15-22
          a.     Peter and John returned to their own people, and together they prayed. Acts 4:23-30
          b.     There are many wonderful things to say about their prayer.  But consider one point.  
               1.     They didn't ask for boldness (confidence) itself.  
               2.     They asked God to keep His word so that they could speak with confidence.
     3.     God will keep His word to us, too.  So we, too, can speak to mountains, fig trees, and diseases with                confidence (boldness).
     4.     I want to encourage you to meditate on these things.
          a.     Think it through until you are confident, fully convinced, completely assured that it will happen.
          b.     Think it through until you are convinced, so much so that you will not be moved by what you see or feel.