Now over the past couple of weeks we have been looking at the example of Jesus when it comes to our authority in Christ, and we have learned that the Son of Man had a way of dealing with the kingdom of darkness that we can certainly learn from.
We saw how he resisted the devil personally in the wilderness and how His example shows us how to resist the temptations the devil throws at us. We learned how He used the Word of God, using this sword of the Spirit, to retaliate against the devil’s ploys to get him off track. Likewise, we are to follow His example of resisting the devil with the whole armor of God and that includes the sword of the Spirit, which is the spoken Word of God.
Last week, we looked at some of the ways we see Jesus handling the kingdom of darkness in His ministry. We learned that it was much simpler than most people have made it out to be over the years.
For example, oftentimes we see Jesus using very few words to cast out demons. In fact, He was said to cast them out “with a word.” Other translations say that he did this with a “simple command” or with “one single word.”
So, what we learned was that Jesus did not have long, drawn out discourses with demons. No, He was simple and to the point with just about all of them—telling them to shut up and get out!
Which was another major point we made—that when the enemy is speaking to us in our minds, feeding us with all the lies that he does, we need to verbally “rebuke” him by telling him to be quiet and get behind us. Amen?
We also learned how “rebuking the devil” is not just saying “I rebuke you, devil.” No, it is actually rebuking him like we would rebuke another human being. Amen?
So, what we learned from this is we need to not just follow the religious verbiage we’ve always used but actually have an understanding as to what we are saying. However, we also learned that we don’t want to get hung up on the technicalities of all these things—for what’s important is not just what we say, but how we say it.
But in the midst of these practical ways that Jesus dealt with the devil, we also learned some important things about demonic possession and how one can open themselves up to being demonized.
You see, church, I am convinced that there are a lot more things that we come into contact with and experience that are demonic in nature. Yes, there is a real spiritual world out there and it is filled with all kinds of unclean & evil spirits that affect us on a daily basis. So, learning how to recognize and “expel” them is a much bigger part of Christianity than most realize.
IN MY NAME
Now this week, it’s time for us to move into how you and I do these same works Jesus did by going back over the Great Commission. Yes, in Mark chapter 16 we need to camp on three very significant words listed in this Great Commission—because understanding them is integral to understanding this subject of our authority in Christ …
Now if you recall, the Great Commission of sharing the good news and making disciples is closely tied together with this subject of spiritual authority. In fact, one cannot really separate evangelism with the signs that are supposed to follow it—namely, casting out demons.
Notice in Mark 16:17, after Jesus said, “And these signs will follow those who believe…,” He said, “In My name they will cast demons; they will speak with new tongues, they will take up serpents…”
You see, the very first sign that Jesus mentions that’s supposed to follow the believer is this casting out of demons. No, it’s not speaking in tongues or laying hands on the sick, but it’s dealing with the demonic. Therefore, I believe this needs to get elevated in our list of things we are responsible for doing in our Christian walk.
However, the key to understanding how we are able to have all of these signs following us including casting out demons is in the first three words Jesus used to describe these signs. Jesus said that all of these things are to be done, “In My name …”
Now I’d assume most of us know this, but us doing & saying things in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is a big part of Christianity. We are told that our prayers are to be prayed in His name. We are told that we are to operate in His spiritual gifts in His name. In fact, we are told to do everything we do in His name. But what I have found is that a lot of people are ignorant as to what it means to minister in the name of Jesus.
You see, this issue of doing things “in the name of Jesus” has been a topic of great misunderstanding in the Body of Christ. Most Christians believe that to pray in Jesus’ name is simply to tack on “in Jesus’ name” to the end of their prayer and to cast out demons in Jesus’ name is to bombard those evil spirits with a bunch of “in Jesus’ name, in Jesus’ name, in Jesus’ name!” Church, we need to understand that doing things “in the name of” someone else does not simply mean to tack on the phrase “in the name of…” to the end of a statement. It means more than that.
However, let me also say that this does not mean we need to stop saying “In Jesus name” when we pray, etc. There is indeed great power in saying the name of Jesus itself—plus it is good to keep ourselves in remembrance of whose name we are praying in. So, I am not saying, lets eliminate saying His name, but what I am saying is that we need to have the proper understanding of what it really means to pray in Jesus’ name. That’s all.
The way the Lord taught me this was by watching a movie called “Gladiator” …
There was a point at the end of the movie where the Roman soldiers were coming to arrest one of the gladiators, the star of the movie, and this band of gladiator slaves had locked the soldiers out of where they were staying. So, the head soldier said, “Open the gates in the name of the emperor!” When I heard that line from the movie, I saw what the phrase “in the name of” truly means…
You see, when those soldiers were saying, “Open the gates in the name of the emperor!” what they were declaring was that they were commanding them to open those gates in the authority of the emperor himself! In other words, their command was to be heeded as if it were the emperor himself commanding it. Amen! So, since the emperor himself had already given the command to go arrest these men, the soldiers were able to affirmatively say, “Let us in on the authority of the emperor’s command!” Amen!
And so, all of these words declared by the King of kings Himself to cast out demons, heal the sick, etc. are able to be enforced by us, His delegated authorities, as we go about doing things in the name of Jesus. Amen! So, like those soldiers of Rome, we likewise are doing things in the name of our “Emperor”—the Lord Jesus Christ—and so when we say— “Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors!” then the King of glory may come in! (Psalm 24:7) Why? Because His soldiers have spoken in His name! Amen!
You see, when you look up this phrase “in the name of” you see that it describes representing someone or something else, and also using the authority given by someone or something else.
I found a great description of this through a ministry called “Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.” They describe doing things “in Jesus’ name” like so: “The phrase ‘in Jesus’ name’ is associated with the authority of Jesus imparted to a person where that person performs an action as if it were Jesus actually doing it. For example, a person might heal someone ‘in Jesus’ name,’ or cast out a demon ‘in Jesus’ name,’ or pronounce forgiveness of sins “in Jesus’ name,” etc. The action is accomplished by someone, but the power and the right to accomplish it is not one’s own. Instead, it is that which belongs to Christ and is associated with the individual who performs the action.”
So doing things in His name is more of us acting in the Lord’s place, stead, or authority as we’ve seen in our example.
Now of course we know that this “doing things in the name of Jesus” includes our prayer life and these other spiritual & ministerial things we do, like casting our devils. But did you know it includes much more than this?
For example, in Colossians 3:17, the Apostle Paul said, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Now this Scripture says to do everything that we do—from what we say to our every deed— in the name of the Lord Jesus. This obviously does not mean to add “in Jesus’ name” to every statement that comes out of our mouth. Nor does not mean to let everyone around you know that every little thing you do, you did “in the name of the Lord.” No, all this means is that in everything you say or do, simply say or do it in the place of the Lord Jesus, as His representative. In other words, we need to be cognizant of the fact that every word we say and every work that we do is to be done as His representatives, His ambassadors and His soldiers. Amen.
SUCH AS I HAVE
Now one of our greatest illustrations of doing things in the name of Jesus is found in Acts chapter 3. Yes, this story of the healing of the lame man at the gate called beautiful shows us both how one does things in His name and the wonderful results that come as a result. So, I want to end today by us looking at it …
Let’s begin in verse 1-3— “Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.”
So, the picture we have here is of the apostles Peter & John entering the temple and this crippled man, seeing them, asking them for alms. So, in this case, the man initiated this miracle. We don’t have any reason to believe that Peter and John would have “seen” him if he didn’t ever “see” them first. We see this principle in the example of Moses & the burning bush. The Bible teaches us that when God saw that he turned aside to see the bush burning, that the Lord called out to him (See Exodus 3:4).
So then verses 4-6 go on to say, “And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, ‘Look at us.’ So, he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’ ”
Now there are some powerful points in these verses—namely, how Peter and John “fixed” their eyes on this man. I’ll tell you, church, learning to fix our attention on the thing God has called us unto is super important—for when we become laser focused, our effectiveness goes through the roof! As the apostle Paul said, “This one thing I do …” He didn’t say, “These twelve different things I’m doing.” I know we like to pride ourselves on being multi taskers, but I believe if we want to do one thing excellently, then we need to “fix our eyes” on that one thing. Selah.
Then we see Peter saying to this man, “Look at us.” Wow, I’d have figured that men of God of this stature would have said, “Look at the Lord,” not “Look at us.” But the fact is Peter was trying to get this man’s attention just like he had given his full attention to him.
So, we see the man giving Peter & John his undivided attention, “expecting to receive something from them.” I’ll tell you, church, this guy was in position to receive his miracle—for giving them his attention and expecting to receive something are two of best practices of a person who needs to get their miracle.
So, Peter said to him, “Silver and gold I do not have …” which some people take as Peter describing his poverty as a servant of the Lord, but that’s not what he was saying. No, the Greek language actually indicates that Peter and John did not have any silver and gold present or at hand. So, what Peter was actually saying was “I don’t have any money on me right now.” So, you could translate this— “I left my wallet at the house. So, at the present time, I don’t have any money on me.”
But notice that Peter then said, “But what I do have I give you …” So, there was indeed something that Peter and John had in their possession that they could give to this man. Yes, they possessed something at that moment, just not money. And this example of monetary versus spiritual things is the way we need to see the spiritual things God has put into our spiritual bank account. We have the name of Jesus! We have the Holy Spirit living in us! We have the healing power of God at hand and available for us to draw on! Yes, these things are ours, just like we have money in our bank account that we can withdraw whenever we desire.
So, the first thing we have to do is know what is ours. This might happen by looking in our account electronically or by looking at our bank statement. Like F.F. Bosworth is quoted as saying, “Faith begins where the will of God is known,” likewise, “a withdrawal begins where your account balance is known.” So, once you know what is yours, what do you have to do to put a demand on and withdraw that money from your account? You go up to the banker and say, “I need some money. Please give me a withdrawal slip.” Then what do you have to do? You fill in the amount (both numerically and in written form), put your account number on it, and finally, sign it. From the spiritual sense, you have to say specifically what you want, and sometimes it is a good idea to write it down just like you want it. That’s why the bank wants you to write down the amount numerically and also by writing it out. So, we have to be clear and specific when it comes to what we are asking and believing God for. Then we have to know what account its coming from, and no, in this situation it isn’t your account. Whose account is it? It’s His! Then, finally, we have to sign that withdrawal ticket. And again, we don’t sign our own name. Whose name do we sign? We sign the name of Jesus—for it is in His place, position and power that all of these promises have been made available!
Then in Acts 3:6, Peter went on to say, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
Now as I’ve said, we need to understand that doing things in the name of Jesus is not always saying “in the name of Jesus,” although it can be. Again, to do things “in the name of” someone is to literally do things in the place, stead or authority of that person. And in this very event, we have a great example of this:
Notice what Peter said to this lame man— “rise up and walk.” That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Those are the very words we saw the Lord Himself utter when healing people. So, what we are seeing here is Peter using the same verbiage that Jesus used when healing lame people—thus, doing things in the place and stead of Jesus.
But I love how Acts 3:7 shows us that Peter didn’t just speak words, but he acted on those words. It says, “And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up.” And this was not some casual, sheepish thing either. No, the word used for “took” here was generally used for seizing someone like if they were arresting them. So, this was literally a “taking” of this man by the hand—denoting authority. And then this verse goes on to say, “and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” The word “immediately” denotes “right away or instantly.” Again, this was a bonified, notable miracle! This man had never walked, being lame from his mother’s womb!
So, just like Jesus would tell certain people to do the things that they seemingly couldn’t do like “rise up and walk,” we have to act on our healing and “rise up” and do the things that healed people do.
Now beginning in verse 11 we move on to “act two” of the story. Now we see the aftereffects of this lame man’s healing, where the people ran together to Solomon’s Porch to see what was going on. Then Peter gives the people a great sermon and explanation of what they just witnessed. So let me point out a few important things:
Now I love the questions Peter asks them in verse 12: ““Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” Do you know what this should do? It should dispel any notion that we have in the church today that these miracles happened because they were apostles and, therefore, miracles don’t still happen today because they are no longer with us. Nope! Peter said here that this healing did not occur through their own “power or godliness.” The word for “power” here is dunamis, which describes ability as much as it does power. So, Peter was essentially saying that this miracle did not occur through their own abilities. And I would add that it didn’t happen because they were educated either.
You see, in Acts 4:13, we see that Peter and John were “uneducated and untrained.” So, it doesn’t matter your education or any other training; it only matters whether you’ve been with Jesus. Church, spending time in His presence is what equips you with power, wisdom, etc.
The word “godliness” describes being like God and denotes “holiness.” Again, Peter said that it was not how holy, godly, saintly he and John were that produced this miracle. And guess what? Healings and miracles don’t happen through you because of your own power or godliness either! No, God does not heal people through you and I because of our own abilities or because we are walking in a certain level of holiness. Nope, He does it through us because He is able, because He has the power, and because of who He is, not because we are able or because of who we are. Never forget: God is looking for the available, not the able.
Now it needs to be said that even though it is not our own power or godliness that causes these miracles, our own holiness & godliness (or lack thereof) can cause us to disqualify ourselves. This happens as we condemn ourselves and our heart loses confidence because we know that our behavior is not where it needs to be. So, yes, our own works do play a part but not because they have to. It’s just the natural way our own heart can condemn us when we are not doing the things we know we ought to be doing.
But then, after explaining that it was not through he and John’s own ability and godliness, Peter gives a brief description of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, and subsequent resurrection in verses 13-15. Then he goes on to tell them how this miracle did indeed occur in verse 16: “And His (Jesus’) name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong whom you see and know.”
So, Peter makes it clear that it was not he and John’s name that produced this miracle; it was the name of Jesus! The Greek literally says it was “upon faith in His name.” In other words, this miracle was based on faith in the name of Jesus. And, no, just speaking the magic words of “in Jesus’ name” are not what accomplished this miracle; it was the person, power, and presence of Jesus Himself that made the difference. Amen! In other words, it was not who Peter and John were; it was who Jesus was, is and evermore shall be that got this man healed.
However, this leaves a question mark: If it is because of who Jesus is, and who Jesus is alone, then why doesn’t everybody get healed? Peter answers that question when he goes on to clarify that it is not just Jesus’ name, but it’s faith in His name, that made this man strong.
You see, the seven sons of Sceva uttered the name of Jesus but it didn’t turn out well for them. So just simply using Jesus’ name is not where the power is; no, it is found in our faith in that name.
You see, here is the balance of grace & faith. Jesus is the grace of God. He provided it all through His death, burial and resurrection. But faith must be mixed with what He has done. This is the only way that man can be saved—which includes healing, etc.
Then Peter obviously felt the need to reiterate this point when he went on to say, “Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”
Notice in this statement that Peter said it was the faith which comes through Jesus. Did you know that this is the only real way to have faith? It’s by the Word—for faith comes by (or, through) hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Another way of saying this is faith has its origin in the person of Jesus Christ. When one believes on Him, faith can abound in that person’s life. That is why personal relationship with Christ is critical to being a person of faith. That is why hearing Him speak to you is a vital part to possessing faith. It is not just by reading red words on white pages that yields faith. It all comes through a personal and intimate relationship with the Word Himself. Amen?
And notice that this results in “perfect soundness.” This is the only time this Greek word is used in the New Testament, but it means to be unimpaired in the body to where all one’s members are healthy and whole. Therefore, it is being complete and in no want; to be whole and entire lacking nothing physically.
Church, this is what doing things in His name will accomplish! And when there is faith in that name—from both the minister and the receiver—these are the glorious results! Yes, we can both give & receive “perfect soundness” in our lives to where there is no demonic control over any area of life—spirit, soul, and body. This is what faith in His name will accomplish!
Next week, we will move into both praying & saying in His name and the results that has on us accompanied with a powerful testimony. Be blessed!