Boldness isn't something you're born with; you either choose it or you don't.
One person defined boldness as going outside of your comfort zone. / stretching yourself. The verse which establishes boldness as the theme of this chapter is Acts 4:13 READ.
Today, HOLY BOLDNESS ~ only Jesus can change the world /transform the heart. Holy Boldness is rooted in faith in Jesus Christ. Acts 4 is a powerful testimony of what it means to be WOKE. The followers of Jesus Christ awake in Boldness.
Before we take a close look at Holy Boldness in Acts 4, a word of encouragement to those who are introverts like me. Us introverts see BOLDNESS and tend to feel inferior because being bold is beyond our ability… boldness is a trait for somebody else. We tend to equate boldness with being an extrovert. One comment in sermons I heard many from my father is that our basic personalities are God given ~ he won’t change the basic substance of who we are… that thought has greatly impacted me. My basic personality does not fit what my stereotype of what a pastor is supposed to be, but God can use me to his glory anyway… Boldness is for introverts too!
To the Christian introverts, don’t equate boldness with powerful and persuasive arguments. Boldness might take the form of listening to the Spirit in your heart; gently comforting a confused friend of how your faith is carrying you through. Boldness might take the form of not giving into the crowd…at a youth rally in the Tacoma Dome, the speaker whipped up the crowd and challenged to stand to read the Bible through in a year…One more quote from Mike Yaconelli: Boldness doesn't mean rude, obnoxious, loud, or disrespectful. Being bold is being firm, sure, confident, fearless, daring, strong, resilient, and not easily intimidated. It means you're willing to go where you've never been, willing to try what you've never tried, and willing to trust what you've never trusted. Boldness is quiet, not noisy.
In Acts 4 there are 8 example of boldness. Today 4 of them, next week 4. I’ll start in the middle with the Boldness of the name, Jesus Only, A Transformed Life and Opposition. Next Sunday, Boldness of the Resurrection, The Holy Spirit, Prayer and a Community of Faith….
The Boldness of The Name The reason for the conflict of Acts 4 stems from the healing of the crippled man in Acts 3. The miracle is attributed to Jesus. The authorities ask them in Acts 4:7: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Acts 4:8-11 is the response READ
There is something about the name of Jesus. Not a magic formula, but authority. It is astounding when Jesus commissions his followers to serve in his authority. A favorite verses is John 14:12: Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father.” Astounding… The name of Jesus = authority… We have authority in keeping with His will, not our purposes, but His. When I worked in registrar’s office at Fuller, I had signature stamp of the registrar and the seal of Fuller. I often wrote letters, verifying grades, credits, finances… as I stamped and sealed the letter, it carried the same authority as if the registrar himself had written it. Suppose I wrote a letter to the treasurer of the Seminary to give a check for $10,000 to Carl Crouse, with the official stamp and seal? I’d be out of a job! To invoke the name of Jesus means you know His will, His desires, His purposes. It would be silly for me to say, In the name of Jesus you will win the lottery!
Peter said in Acts 3:6 READ. The healing is because of the power of Christ. It is in God’s will! As Peter is confronted, he wants no mistaken ideas. May we constantly be giving credit to the Lord for the blessings of our lives, for answered prayers, for the hope we have. It’s because of him, not any innate power or special insight. There is a boldness that comes when we rely on the Lord knowing the promises he has given us. Scripture is a further confirmation. (I could have had the boldness of the Bible as a separate example of boldness.) Peter quotes the Hebrew Scriptures and proclaimes Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. To believe the Bible is the Word of God gives us a boldness. Peter is so on fire with boldness, he even has the audacity to tell them they are the ones that crucified Jesus.
What visions/dreams are on your heart that can only be accomplished by God. It is the name of Jesus that allows his voice to give us visions greater than what we could ever accomplish in our own strength. As our church re-launches out of the corona limitations, some of you are going to stretch yourselves and boldly take on ministries, services in the name of Jesus that you could never imagine doing in your own power.
Thank you Lord for the boldness that comes by proclaiming the name of Jesus.
The Boldness of Jesus Only (READ: Acts 4:12): Do you believe it? The level of your conviction of this statement determines the level of your Holy Boldness! This belief is not popular today (sometimes even in the church). The world doesn’t like limits. / standards. Many in the world preach there are many paths to salvation. We need Peter’s boldness. We need the conviction of the truth of the forgiveness of sins. May the opposition of the world and the challenges of the present difficulties cause us to reaffirm the very basic truth of Jesus Christ, his forgiveness, his offer of eternal life.
Here’s a scary challenge: put aside what your mind believes and examine your actions, your love of others, your acts of service. We are studying the book of ACTionS after all. Do my actions reflect the truth of what I believe?
Thank you Lord for the boldness of Jesus Only.
The Boldness of a Transformed Life READ Acts 4:13-14. In Acts 4, the Christian faith is in the infancy stage of separating as a distinct religion from Judaism. The newness of living a life by the indwelling Holy Spirit is fresh. People knew there was something different as they saw the disciples. The humbling truth is that the world can still tell when they interact with an authentic Christian who lives his/her faith from the heart. You don’t hear many testimonies because who is going to stand up and say I was in a situation where somebody saw Christ in me. We each know the depth of our sins and the shortcomings of our faith…. But we can point to others. Connie DeBoer wrote about her three sisters that died this year, “all three of them were beautiful Christians.” … I could go on and on about my grandfather, father who lived Christ, had a joy and contentment that overcame any difficulties…
The detail about John and Peter being uneducated points to the stereotypes of the world…we humans tend to find stability by prejudging people. Peter and John were just dumb uneducated ordinary fisherman… As humbling as it is, Jesus Christ has the power to change you! Put your faith in Jesus Christ ~ embrace the supernatural ~~ you will receive an inner strength beyond your ability. 2 Cor. 5:17: If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. Behold, the old has gone, the new has come! That’s what it means to live by grace. Grace changes you, emboldens you. Being an authentic Christian is humbling ~~ it is not us, it is Jesus Christ in us through the Holy Spirit.
Thank you Lord for the boldness of a transformed life.
The Boldness of the Opposition Peter and John were preaching boldly and publically. They were arrested in the evening. The morning is now here. The ruling body of Jews in Jerusalum must now decide what to do. This is their bold (and arrogant) response.
Before I read consider this: the opposition to Peter and John is one of the best things that could happen for the young Christian movement. Opposition forces us to evaluate what we truly believe / clarify our values. E.g. Every time there is a policy change or new law re: abortion, you have to confront what it is you truly believe in the depth of your soul. I pray that a response of the Christian Community to the corona virus crisis is to look hard at what is most important so that as we emerge we will have a strength of character. I want our church to find a strength of identity in Christ reaffirming Christ alone as the way to salvation, the depth of peace… READ Acts 4:15-22.
I don’t have time to go into the exact make up of the Sanhedrin… just know they are persuasive and have power. They want to hold onto the cozy relationship with the Romans and the patterns of worship.
Peter and John preach and are emboldened when opposed in their preaching. I love the way one person puts it (Ogilvie): “Now they could understand existentially what Jesus had meant when He had challenged them to seek first the Kingdom of God and put Him first before family, friends, recognition or popularity. I know of no truly bold person who has not experienced the sharp razor’s edge of that decision.”
A bold person, when challenged, is able to let go of their insecurities and put their trust in Jesus Christ. It’s always a risk because you may lose friends, may popularity. You have to think of the boldness of challenges to your faith as a gift. Underline Acts 4:19 as a motto for Christian living: I’ll read in Message for another voice: “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. As for us, there’s no question. We can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.”
Thank you Lord for Bold Opposition.
Next week we’ll continue… but it’s enough for now, thank you Lord for the boldness of the name, /Jesus only, /a transformed life, and /opposition. I end with a quotation from Frank Wolf, which puts into words a desire of my heart: My hope and prayer is that the body of Christ in America will awake with holy boldness, a boldness content neither with silence nor mere words but that backs up those words with action and results.