The Boldness of the Resurrection READ Acts 4:1-4. The leaders of the opposition to Peter and John KNOW the message of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a game changer. At this point in time, they are only a few months past the controversy of Jesus. Crucifying Jesus on the cross did not stop a thing! The experience of the empty tomb and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is giving birth to a movement. The disciples of Christ have a fire in their belly. They are bold, transformed, no longer the same ~ all because Jesus has risen from the dead! He is alive. Power and Boldness spring from R.
Jesus in no mere teacher. He is far more than a wise man. He is not only a miracle worker with the goal of improving the quality of life. He is alive. He is risen. Acts 4:2 says the resurrection is the central teaching of the disciples to the crowds. This is something new, something bold, something true that changes everything.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the watershed teaching that changes everything. Jesus died on the cross to forgive sins, but then he is raised from the dead to a new life, paving the way for our salvation and eternal life with Christ.
Why don’t the leaders want Peter and John to preach the Resurrection?... that exposes them, means they’d have to change, means they’d have to rethink their purpose and let go of their own idols… it means they’d lose followers. Threatening.
Jesus was speaking to his friend Martha in John 11:25-26 which becomes the basis for the disciples boldness: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” At the time the disciples did not fully understand, but now they have fresh eyes, they found an empty tomb, the saw the risen Lord, they witnessed the ascension of Jesus to heaven, they experienced the coming of the Spirit, and they have a Holy boldness rooted in an unwavering conviction that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.
The resurrection means for us that no matter what this old world throws at us, the end of the story is good!
Thank you Lord for a Resurrection Boldness.
The Boldness of The Holy Spirit (Acts 4:5-8)
Acts 4:5-7 sets the stage for the contrast of backgrounds, emotions, history…READ only a few months ago Peter denied knowing Jesus…. The disciples fled and hid. Now picture the angry and powerful leaders of Israel seated around Peter and John in an effort to intimidate them. It worked for them once, why not now! I cannot imagine the hostility/antagonism Peter and John faced. These are the big guns… Peter and John are facing the Supreme Court of the land… plus Annas, he’s the retired High Priest pulling the strings, Caiaphas is the current high priest. Annas is corrupt. He amassed a fortune with abuses such as arranging it so that only his animals were acceptable as sacrifices which were sold for inflated prices… Annas thought Jesus was in the tomb forever.., but Peter and John are boldly standing before Him… Annas is a master of intimidation. It worked once, but this is not the same Peter that denied Jesus. Something is different ~~ the Axe of the H.S.
In the face of bold opposition, Peter is bolder! Peter does not bother to defend the resurrection, he simply declares the R. to be true, and instead in the following verses he piles on by affirming the authority of Jesus and salvation in Him alone!
How is Peter so bold? The Holy Spirit. (READ Acts 4:7) The Holy Spirit provides a supernatural boldness. The Supreme Court is seeking to intimidate Peter and John, make them defend themselves, but Peter and John turn the tables. A key in how to walk in H.S. boldness: when you have the Spirit of God in you, you never need to defend yourself. Like Peter and John, go on the offense. Pile on the amazing things of God. The H.S. gives a boldness, an assurance… even if we are confronted and have done something wrong, we still don’t need to go on the defense, but admit you messed up and ask forgiveness…go forward in boldness. The Bible says Peter is “filled with the Spirit” ~ I take that as Luke reminding us readers that this is after Pentecost and Peter is continuously filled with the Spirit in Him, not a shot of H.S. adrenalin, but the continuous presence of Jesus. Of course there are moments when our awareness of the H.S. is heightened, but the continuous presence of the H.S. gives us wisdom at the right time, awareness, discernment, and power to be faithful and obedient in all circumstances.
Thank you Lord for the Boldness of the Holy Spirit.
The Boldness of Prayer (Acts 4:23-31). Last week I focused on next verses: boldness of the name of Jesus, Jesus only, transformed life, and how a bold opposition makes us bold… Intimidating Peter and John did not work, they don’t know what to do, so Annas and his cronies reluctantly let them go after a hollow threat to not speak about Jesus. READ Acts 4:23
I have no doubt Annas would have had Peter and John killed if he could have found a way (later, in Acts 12:2, James, the brother of Jesus, is killed) or at least kept in prison… when Peter and john go back to their friends, the church does not respond in fear, doubts, it doesn’t even appear they thought about hiding. They pray a bold prayer!
This is a model of a bold prayer for us….
They affirm the absolute sovereignty of God READ Acts 4:24)…
In this prayer they see themselves in a long line of God’s people facing opposition and threats… READ Acts 4:25-26. There is comfort knowing God’s people are often threatened and face persecution. Opposition usually is not personal. The opposition is targeting the message of Jesus. When we are targeted, we do well to not take it personally and get in a defensive stance, but keep focused on the fact that the message of Christ is what is threatening our enemies. A bold prayer brings perspective that ultimately the world is at war with God.
Bold praying heightens the sense of God’s power and control: READ Acts 4:27-28. Everything that happens is part of God’s plan. He allows bad things to happen. The promise of God is not that bad things won’t happen, the promise is his presence, the promise is that he is always in complete control. Boldness comes knowing God knows what he is doing.
The prayer ends by asking God for boldness to face the opposition. READ Acts 4:29-30. Boldness is a choice. Boldness is a biblical character trait as a way to go forward in sharing the gospel message. Ask God to fill you with a H.S. boldness.
The room is shaken as a sign of being filled with the H.S. Boldness is a sign of God’s H.S. presence READ Acts 4:31. Be bold, speak boldly, act boldy, think boldly, dare to be bold. Thank you Lord for bold prayers.
The Boldness of a Community of Faith (Acts 4:32-37)
Boldness is contagious. Normally this scripture is contrasted with the first part of Acts 5… it should be, but it is also a great ending to a chapter that emphasizes boldness. Boldness is contagious… READ. //// Boldness comes from the H.S. We are also influenced and encouraged when we see others walk in boldness. The bold way the community lives out their faith together is astounding. They are on the same page… “one heart and mind”. Boldness is contagious… Over the decades I’ve listened to a lot of behind the scenes complaining, if only this person or that group would be different then our church would be great… the better way is to be the person you believe the church should be, be contagious in a positive way, our attitudes/practices... Boldness is contagious.… The community of faith is bold in their stewardship, bold in their witness of Christ and bold in caring about one another.
READ Acts 4:32…, the whole idea is stewardship, what I have is not mine, but it is God’s and He has entrusted me to manage what he’s given me, obviously this is not communism since they still owned land, and as you read selling of land for all is not a requirement but only those who feel that is what God is calling them to do… Many times people have asked me about tithing, I can’t give an absolute rule because I believe in stewardship… in one place the Bible says God loves a cheerful giver. You can’t make being happy a law…
The new church is also characterized by boldness in their witness of Christ. READ Acts 4:33.
They were bold in their caring for one another READ Acts 4:34-35.
Thank you Lord for a bold community of faith.
Putting together last week’s message and today, where do we get boldness? The truth of the resurrection, the power of the Holy Spirit, the authority of the name of Christ, the conviction that salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone, living a transformed life, confronting a bold opposition, praying for boldness, and active participation in a bold community of faith. Choose boldness. Amen.