Calling on the Name of the Lord

Text: Acts 2:14-21


I.         Most linguist will tell you that one difficulty in translating between two languages is dealing with idioms

            A.        An idiom is a phrase that doesn’t mean what is literally said, but native speakers understand them without much thought

            B.        Examples from English are”

                        1.          “It’s raining cats and dogs” means that there is a torrential downpour outside.

                        2.         Of course, you don’t want to beat around the bush (avoid saying what you mean because it is awkward)

                        3.         So sometimes you just have to bite the bullet (get the inevitable over with)

II.        “In the name of”

            A.        Means “by the authority of”

            B.        You sometimes still hear the phrase on old police shows: “Stop in the name of the law!”

                        1.         The person is being ordered to stop because the law authorizes the person making the demand to stop him.

            C.        Acts 4:7 - by what name have you done this?

                        1.         Who gave you the authority to do this?

                        2.         Acts 4:10 - by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth

                        3.         Peter is saying that Jesus gave him the authority to do the miracle

III.       To “call on the name”

            A.        To claim a right issued by the authority of another person

            B.        When Paul was about to be sent to Jerusalem, he appealed to Caesar - Acts 25:11

            C.        The Greek word epikaleomai means to call someone by name; thus, it is translated “appeal”

            D.        Acts 2:21 - When you call on the name of the Lord, you are appealing to the Lord’s authority to save you.

                        1.         Of course, you can’t claim a right to something the Lord has authorized while at the same time going against what the Lord has commanded

                        2.         Just because a person says he is making an appeal, it doesn’t follow that is what he actually doing. People are known to lie - Luke 6:46

                        3.         The problem is that the words don’t match the deeds - Matthew 7:21-23

                        4.         You probably learned this as a child. If you ever tried to tell an adult, "But mom said I could have a cookie!" (and she didn't), when she found out about it, you likely got into big trouble.

                        5.         Acts 22:16 - By being baptized, Paul appealed to the authority of the Lord to be saved. The deed matched the appeal.

IV.      “Calls”

            A.        Acts 2:38-39 - Peter stated that people who repented and were baptized would be forgiven of sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

                        1.         That gift is salvation - Ephesians 1:13-14

                        2.         The promise was available to as many as the God calls to Himself

            B.        The word “church” is used to translate the Greek word ekklesia, which means the “called out” - I Peter 2:9-10

            C.        God calls through the gospel - II Thessalonians 2:13-14

            D.        The gospel is for all people - Romans 1:16

            E.        Thus, “as many as the Lord our God will call” is really saying “everyone,” but it places emphasis that it has always been by God’s choice and not man’s.

                        1.         It was a critical issue early on in the church. Some claimed that people had to become Jews to be saved - Acts 15:5

                        2.         But Peter pointed out that God offered Gentiles salvation as Gentiles and not as Jews - Acts 15:8-9

                        3.         The Jews could not limit who God calls. No man can.

V.        Revisiting Acts 22:16

            A.        At times you will find people claiming that Ananias gave Paul two commands:

                        1.         Be baptized

                        2.         Call upon the name of the Lord, which will wash away Paul’s sins

            B.        The Holman Christian Standard Bible translated Acts 22:16 as "And now, why delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on His name."

                        1.         The word “by” is inserted without comment or marking, yet it alters the meaning.

                        2.         Commas are placed to separate baptism from washing away your sins

                        3.         “See, baptism is unnecessary because it is “calling on His name” that washes away sin.

            C.        One of my commentaries claims, “This is a call to express faith. Paul’s sins would be washed away, however, through calling on the Lord’s name, not by the water of baptism.”

            D.        Punctuation was not used when the Bible was written. In Greek, words are connected by being the same category

                        1.         Arise - nominative, singular, masculine, participle, aorist, active voice

                        2.         Be baptized - second person singular, imperative, aorist, middle voice

                        3.         Wash away - second person singular, imperative, aorist, middle voice

                        4.         Having called - nominative, singular, masculine, participle, aorist, middle voice

            E.        I even read a paper where the author noted the nested layout and then proceeded to argue for the rest of the paper why this had to be an exception to the rules of Greek grammar because he could not accept the obvious conclusion.

            F.        You appeal to the Lord’s authority to grant salvation by being baptized and washing away your sins. It isn’t difficult to understand.

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