Monday, June 25, 2007

Are you BOLD or are you a coward - Acts 4

Peter’s demonstration of incredible change over a short period of time from being a denier of his relationship with Christ, timid, and fearful to being a bold proclaimer of Christ who is very willing to be jailed and persecuted for his name is a clear demonstration of the resurrection of Christ and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. It is just amazing how Peter went from a coward who wouldn’t even admit to being associated with Jesus to a bold proclaimer of the Gospel. What changed? Well, Christ was resurrected, Peter spent time with the resurrected Christ, and Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 4 we continue to see a Peter who has undergone serious transformation. After speaking with incredible conviction and without fear before the Sanhedrin, he prays for even more boldness. Peter prays “… now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness…” God answered his prayer and shook the place where they were meeting and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Is this how we are living our lives? Are we speaking the word of God this boldly – with the threat of prison and physical persecution? Or, are we still holding onto a little bit of fear? Are we asking ourselves what will others think? Can they handle this much truth? If I am this bold, will I lose some of my congregation? After all, I can’t lose any members because I have a “ministry” to support and run. What about my reputation among other Christian leaders? Will I be known as too “radical” among my peers? I wouldn't want to offend anyone.

I submit that too many are concerned with acceptance; with their reputations (this is pride). Too many water down the truth in order to “reach people where they are” and to be “relevant”. I submit that this approach is simply acting out of fear and not out of faith. God tells us to speak the truth. The apostles provide an example of what happens when we boldly speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – the Holy Spirit shows up and many are added to the kingdom. With this in mind, let's make sure we are boldly proclaiming the truth of God's word out of deep conviction and love - not watering it down out of fear.

Lord, may I be faithful to speaking the truth at all times; may I not water down the truth in order to appease man; may I never operate out of fear. And may you “enable your servant to speak your word with great boldness”. Holy Spirit come.


Christopher said...

Great post! We have been studying Acts in our small group! I agree we too easily fail the boldness test in favor of acceptance!

I am extremely humbled by the example of Stephen in Acts 7. Not only was he bold unto death, but he had a command of the arguments and was able to lay before his accusers account of redemptive history!

Tim Keller has some great stuff in his study of Acts in regards to how the gospel should transform our lives. He sums it up as..."If you are not effective in reaching others for Christ, it is because of a lack of joy, a lack of humility and gentleness, or a lack of boldness. Which is it?"

Eric Jones said...

Christopher, great comment and thanks for adding the Tim Keller quote.