Thursday, November 15, 2012
Download MP3 (right click to save)
One of the more special opportunities I've had over the years has been to speak for professional football chapels. I've spoken a lot for the New York Giants, and when I'm with them, of course, it looks like about 30 New York Giants and then one New York Midget. (That would be me.) You can tell who is the speaker in the room! I do stand out in that group. And people will often say, "Well, what do you talk to them about?" Of course, I have the opportunity to simply present the Gospel. But I do try to use a lot of sport's illustrations and things that will relate to their everyday lives.
There's one subject I can't talk to them about. Oh, now, if you speak at a baseball chapel, they don't mind so much if you're with the other team. You'll speak in one locker room for the visiting team, and then you'll come down and speak for the home team. And everybody knows you speak for both teams.
Not in football! When you speak for professional teams, you've got to make sure you don't speak for the other team or you've got cooties! Yeah, you've been contaminated! So, guess what is the subject you don't mention when you're speaking. Do not under any circumstances mention the name of the other team.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Editing the Name."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from several places in the book of Acts, showing us that the problem with Christianity and the power of Christianity are the same thing. Peter is preaching that great sermon at Pentecost in Acts 2:36. "Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
They walk up to a lame man in chapter 3, a man who is carried to the temple every day. And when he asks them for money, they reply, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you." And then they proceed to say, "I'll give you a name. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." And he did.
And then in Acts 4:12 they boldly preach, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." And then in verses 17 and 18, the Sanhedrin calls them in, asks them to stop preaching, and they say, "We have to warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this Name. So they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus." You get the idea?
What's the power that pushes back the darkness and changes people's lives? The power is in the Name of Jesus Christ. What's the problem people have with Christianity? Oh, you know, we can talk about God; nobody cares. About problems? About church? Fine. We talk about love or life or family values? That's okay. But it's when we talk about Jesus that people say, "Whoa! That's too far!" See, nothing has changed over 2,000 years. The power of Christianity is in the Name of Jesus; the problem people have with Christianity is the Name of Jesus. But there is no other Name, the Bible says.
You know when you're having a chance to talk spiritually to someone. Maybe you can talk to them about God. But, do you ever notice how you choke on the Name of Jesus? Guess what makes you choke? The one who hates that name. The one who knows the power of that name. The Devil himself for 2,000 years has given the order, "Don't mention The Name."
Sometimes you hold back and you don't talk very openly about Jesus Christ because you know that's controversial. Listen, don't hold back! That's the power for answered prayer - Jesus' Name. It's the power that clarifies the real issue to people. Jesus is who they have to deal with. You're not deciding about my belief. You're deciding about Jesus. That's where the power is to change lives. The people who don't respect Jesus, who don't care about Jesus, use His Name all day long. They're pretty bold about it. How can we, who've experienced His love and forgiveness, be ashamed of The Name.
Oh, talk much, talk boldly about Jesus, because the Devil is saying, "I don't want to hear that Name!" And we will say in reply, "There is no other Name."