Have you ever stood down rather than stand up to defend the Gospel? Have you ever not taken advantage of an opportunity to speak up for Jesus? Can anyone say they are never intimidated by others when it comes to giving witness to the Lord?
Most Christians struggle regularly with boldness. Yet Peter and the apostles, having been transformed by Holy Spirit on Pentecost, are boldly proclaiming the Good News even in Jerusalem...even in the Temple...even in the "hangout" of the religious leaders (the Sanhedrin) at the Temple. Their boldness is a good example to every disciple of the power of God working through average people.
Listen to this message. As Holy Spirit speaks, respond to his grace. And may God empower his church to new heights of Boldness in Jesus' name! - Kirk McCormick
Vignette 1 – The Obstacles of Courage
Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. ‘Go, stand in the temple courts,’ he said, ‘and tell the people the full message of this new life.’”
Principle: God will allow nothing to stand in the way of the proclamation of his gospel and the expansion of his church.
Application: God sets us free (not from a “Public, Earthly Prison”, butfrom an eternal, personal prison…
…He set us free from sin to proclaim the FULL message of this new life in Jesus Christ.
Vignette 2 – Agents of Fear
“Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. ‘We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,’ he said. ‘Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.’ Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!’”
Principle: Those who oppose the Gospel find themselves fighting against God.
Application: Never let the so-called authorities intimidate your witness for Jesus.
Vignette 3 – God’s Hidden Strategies
(Acts 5:33-34, 40)
“When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin… 40 His speech persuaded them.”
Principle: We never know how God is at work for OUR GOOD behind the scenes.
Application: Press forward…God has your back.
Vignette 4 – The Confidence of Courage
“They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”
Principle: Suffering for Jesus is not sadism, it is sanctifying…clarifying/purifying
Application: If you are asked to suffer, remember… God will deliver you.