Introduction: Baptism is what we do to make a public proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ. It’s an outward declaration of an internal change. It’s one of those things we get excited about and can’t help but share. In the Gospels it’s interesting to note that Peter was a bit shaky. Sometimes he was as bold as a lion and other times he was as timid as a mouse with social anxiety. He was as unreliable as a dilapidated, old fence and as impulsive as a thief. However, after Christ’s resurrection, empowered and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, he turned into an evangelistic powerhouse, preaching sermon after sermon to embittered crowds in the tension filled city of Jerusalem.
In Peter’s sermon, found in our passage, he preaches something that has become extremely controversial today: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Society today demands that there be many paths to God, just like there can be many trails and/or paths that lead to the top of a mountain. But Peter contradicted this idea in Acts 4:12. When we are baptized, and therefore proclaim to the world that we are Christ-followers, we are traveling down a unique and narrow road. When our friends then accuse us of being closed-minded, or believing in an exclusive faith, we can tell them to hold onto our FLAPS. When we are accused of being exclusive in our faith we can respond with five things and these five things make up the acronym F.L.A.P.S. In regards to our faith we can tell them our faith is:
(F) Factual: We do believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to get to God. Our message as Christians IS dogmatic and exclusive; and although we are often accused of being narrow minded, which may or may not be true, it is certainly true that we are narrow minded when it comes to this one specific point of theology.
(L) Logical: Dave Hunt, a Christian professor and apologist, says, “The very nature of reality demands that there be unchangeable absolutes. Without definite and predictable physical laws, this universe could not function. Is it not reasonable that spiritual reality should be just as definitely defined?” Hunt continued, “Everyone knows that to fly an airplane or practice medicine or even bake a cake, one must follow specific procedures. One can’t even play a game without rules. Then why attempt to avoid the rules which God has set in the realm of the spirit? Sincerity won’t get astronauts to the moon, nor will it prevent arsenic from killing the person who ingested it by mistake… What folly it would be to refuse to follow a map because maps are so restrictive, and to insist that any road in any direction will do! How much greater is the folly of insisting that any road sincerely followed will take one to heaven!”
(A) Apologetically Defensible: We are instructed by God’s Word to always have an explanation for our faith, to have a defense for what we believe. Fortunately, history, Scripture, philosophy, reasoning, and archaeology repeatedly add credence, evidence, and proof to the credibility of Christianity. You are hard pressed to find any legitimate, respected historical scholar that will state Jesus Christ of Nazareth did not exist. Anyone with any credibility admits Jesus’ existence regardless of what they think about who he was. The resurrection of Christ is also apologetically defensible in that many witnessed a post death Jesus over a forty day period, the tomb was empty, Jesus was declared dead but later seen alive, etc.
(P) Profitable: A story is told of a woman in California who faced a judge in court for speeding. She was asked whether she was guilty or not guilty. The woman claimed, “Guilty!” The judged banged his gavel and sentenced her to a fine of hundreds of dollars. Then, the judge stepped around and stood next to the woman, took out his wallet, and paid the fine for her. You see, the judge was her father. He was a just judge as he doled out the penalty, yet he loved his daughter as is seen by his paying off that same penalty. This is what God did for us, but he did so on a much larger scale. We have broken His laws, many of them, and the wages for this is death. God’s gavel pounds down and He declares, “Guilty! Death is the cost!” But He left his place of heavenly authority and laid aside His divine glory. And by dying on the cross, He paid off the penalty we owe for our sin. Like the judge, He paid the fine for us.
(S) Scriptural: Let’s go on a tour of the New Testament and see just how Scriptural the narrowness of the Gospel truly is. Our tour will show us how consistently and insistently the Bible teaches the truth of Acts 4:12. We live in such an overly “tolerant” culture and time, which even we Christians can get caught up in it, but the Bible speaks very plainly on the issue:
JOHN 8:24, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
JOHN 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
1 CORINTHIANS. 3:11, “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
MATTHEW 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
ROMANS 3:10-12, 21-26, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one…But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
1 TIMOTHY 2:5-6, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
HEBREWS 2:17, “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
Conclusion: So we follow Him, giving our lives to the One who died for us and who can ALONE take us to heaven. It is at baptism that we publicly proclaim the dedication of our lives to Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no other name given, among men under heaven, whereby one must be saved. We live for Him alone.
Featured Image: Faith! by Alex Hansen; CC 2.0
This was a guest post from Dr. Jeff Hagan.
Jeff is an ordained Christian minister with over 23 years of ministry experience. He has attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Luther Rice Seminary, Tyndale Seminary and a handful of other institutes as well. He has earned several degrees including the Doctor of Christian Education and the Doctor of Theology.