Monday, December 26, 2016
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If you've flown commercially, you know you have to go through a security checkpoint before you can get to your gate. And for those security personnel who man those metal detectors and X-ray machines, there is a four-letter word they won't tolerate. Of course it's the word "bomb." I mean, you can see signs warning you not to even joke about explosives or bombs or anything. And I'm glad! The slightest hint of the possibility of a bomb has been known to literally shut down an airport for hours-I've been there when that happened. That's fine with me if they want to check that out. Nobody in an airport wants to hear the word "bomb" because of what that word represents. That's something that could destroy everything.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Word That Terrorizes Hell."
You know, there's a word like that in hell. It's a word that the devil and his forces hate because it can destroy everything they have planned. Like the signs at the airport warning people not to bring up the word bomb, the devil is doing everything he can to stop you and me from bringing up this word, because it's like a bomb in hell. He's been trying to edit that word out for a very long time-including in our word for today from the Word of God in Acts 4:17-18.
Peter and John have been proclaiming Christ in Jerusalem, and the Sanhedrin-the same people who engineered the crucifixion of Christ-want to silence his followers. The Bible says they reached this conclusion: "'To stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.' Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus." There it is: the word the devil doesn't want to hear – Jesus – because of the power of that name to destroy all his plans.
So the devil tries to make that name the issue, 2,000 years ago or today. In first century Jerusalem, the authorities didn't care if the believers talked about God or the Scriptures as long as they didn't mention the name of Jesus. Not much has changed has it? It's OK to talk about God, the Bible, family values, spirituality, your church, but don't mention the name. Satan hates that name and he does everything he can to edit out the name of Jesus.
All too often we fall right into his trap. We don't want to be offensive or we don't want to turn anyone off, and a voice says, "Hey, just talk about God. That won't bother anybody." So we talk about God in our lives but we avoid the name. Christian musicians write songs that vaguely talk about "Him" but too often they avoid the name of Jesus so their music can cross over to the unbelieving world. Even Christian leaders try to avoid conflict by watering down the name.
But I love the way the first Christians responded to the pressure to edit out Jesus, "There is no other name (they said) under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Wow! The power is in the name of Jesus. Philippians 2:10 says, "...at the name of Jesus every knee will bow!" Satan knows it and Satan hates it, so he's trying to get you and me to choke on the name.
For 20 centuries Satan has been trying to censor the name of Jesus. Don't be a part of his godless crusade. Don't be ashamed of the One who died publicly on a cross for you! The people who don't care about Him, the people who hate Him aren't afraid to say His name. Why would the people who love Him be afraid to speak His name? The devil is afraid you will mention the name; you will talk about Him, because that name is a spiritual bomb that can destroy everything he's planning to do.
You'll probably hear the name of Jesus several times today spoken irreverently from the lips of people who have no love for Him, no respect for Him. How can you, for whom He died, who loved you so much; how can you be silent about His name?