There is a Name

Acts 8:5-8 (KJV) 

  1. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them
  2. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 
  3. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 
  4. And there was great joy in that city.

Acts 8:12 (KJV)

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 8:14-17 (KJV)

  1. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 
  2. Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 
  3. (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 
  4. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Throughout the Old Testament, God revealed Himself in many ways. On several occasions, He gave us insight into Himself by the use of compound titles. Here are a few:

  • Jehovah-shalom — God is my peace
  • Jehovah-jireh — God will provide
  • Jehovah-nissi — God is my banner

These compound titles, however, are not names.

When Jacob wrestled with the angel all night, he said, “I have seen God face-to-face.” He was not given a response to his request, “Tell me, I pray thee, thy name?” (Gen 32:30)

Samson’s father, Manoah, was similarly denied a comparable request, when he was told, “Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret.” (Judges 13:18)

What was “secret” in the Old Testament was revealed in the New Testament.

This secret name, according to Paul, is the name “of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” (Ephesians 3:15)

Approximately 400 years after the close of the Old Testament, “The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” (Luke 1:26-27) 

His message to her was, “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)

All of this was the fulfillment of a prophecy that God gave to Isaiah hundreds of years before: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:5-6)

The name of Jesus is much, much more than any ordinary name for “for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9) 

The name of Jesus is a saving name!

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Acts 8:5-8 (KJV)

  1. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them
  2. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 
  3. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 
  4. And there was great joy in that city.

In this text, when Philip arrived in the city of Samaria, he faced a tremendous challenge. The people of the city had been “Bewitched with sorceries” by a man named Simon. (Acts 8:10) If you look closely at the scripture you wills that Simon, “bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.”

We can only imagine the depression, the oppression, and the possession that these people felt being under the demonic forces that controlled them.

It was into this dark and deprived situation that Philip came, bringing with him the message of hope.

And what was that message?

“Then Philip… …preached Christ unto them.” (Acts 8:5)

It seems that the Apostles had  a very simple mode of operation. Paul said, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” I Corinthians 2:2 (KJV)

Acts 8:12 (KJV)

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Any time true faith is present it is always accompanied by obedience!

Philip recognized two major components of preaching Christ.

  1. “The kingdom of God” — Paul defined what preaching the kingdom of God meant when writing to the church at Rome in Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The kingdom of God can only be experienced through receiving the Holy Ghost.
  2. “The name of Jesus Christ” — Not only did Philip preach the importance of being born of the Spirit, he also emphasized the necessity of the name of Jesus and the power that comes to believers through that name. Philip recognized that the name of Jesus was the only name whereby mankind could be saved. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

When Philip had finished preaching the gospel that day the Bible says, “And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” Acts 8:6-8

This is the same message that Peter had preached when the Holy Spirit fell on the believers on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2). When Peter finished preaching that day the Bible says:

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:37-39 (KJV)

These two elements — baptism in the name of Jesus and receiving the Holy Ghost — are the same elements that Jesus told Nicodemus were necessary for a new birth experience.

John 3:3-5 (KJV)

  1. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
  2. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
  3. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

The Greek Word: epikaleo

James 2:7 (KJV) “Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?”

Epikaleo is a Greek word that is interpreted as meaning “called” in James 2:7 (KJV)

It is comprised of two root words.

epi (over or upon) + kaleo (to call aloud) = epikaleo (to call aloud over or upon)

Definition of the word epikaleo according to various references

Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words — W.E. Vine
The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon — J. H. Thayer
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature — Bauer, Arndt, &. Gingrich 

James 2:7 as translated in the various Bible versions:

James 2:7 (New Living Translation) — “Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?

James 2:7 (New International Version) — “Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

James 2:7 (Revised Standard Version) — “Is it not they who blaspheme that honorable name which was invoked over you?

James 2:7 (DBY) — “And do not they blaspheme the excellent name which has been called upon you?

James 2:7 (Holman Christian Standard Bible) — “Don’t they blaspheme the noble name that was pronounced over you at your baptism?

  • In the New Testament Church baptism included the name of Jesus being called over the one being baptized.

Acts 8:36-38 (KJV) “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”

Acts 22:16 (KJV) “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

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