Devotional/Reflection: We are blessed to live in a country with religious freedom, a place where, however much we might be ridiculed by individuals or organizations, we are still free to speak our mind. I hope this is always the case, though one can’t help but wonder if this is the case in light of public opinion in the past couple years—at the very least, Christianity is unpopular, at worst it is under attack.Yet we don’t face the type of persecution that others around the world face, nor that the apostles themselves faced. In Acts 4:23-31 we learn an important lesson from the apostles–boldness. Many, perhaps in fear of future persecution or present ridicule, fail to proclaim the gospel in their daily lives. Though they are Christians, their commitment to Christ doesn’t translate into words. They accept the old maxim “Preach the gospel at all times, and use words if necessary.” Acts 4 is clear–words ARE necessary! The apostles in Acts 4:19-20, immediately after arrest on account of their preaching, tell the authorities to their face that they “cannot but speak of what we have heard and seen.” It wasn’t an option for them. In verses 23-31, the apostles go further and pray for boldness. They are so committed to proclaiming the gospel with boldness that they pray for it, knowing that they won’t possess it of their own courage. Our lives should certainly reflect the truth of the gospel, but it’s not enough to live a “good life” and hope others will know Christ. Our good conduct should rather provide us the opportunity to proclaim the gospel in a manner that will be heard. Inevitably, we will struggle with boldness–the apostles did, too. Yet we can, like the apostles, return to the source of boldness–God Himself. He is Powerful, evidenced by His creation of the world. He is Sovereign, evidenced by the fact that these things were planned and predestined to take place (v. 29). He is Faithful, evidenced by sending His Son and continuing to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus by performing signs and wonders through the apostles by the power of the Holy Spirit. The question, then, is not whether we should be bold; the question is, will we?
- Strictly speaking, you can’t be “bold” without opposition. What opposition are you facing that requires boldness?
- What is hindering you from boldness in proclaiming the gospel? What can you do to remove these obstacles?
- Pray, as your own prayer, the prayer of the apostles in Acts 4:24-30.
Sermon: “Boldness: Courageous Confidence in the Midst of Opposition” (Jay Todd)
Scripture Memory: “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”–Acts 4:29-30