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Summary: This is a message calling members to a deeper prayer life.

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AN ATTITUDE OF COURAGE

Acts 4:1-31

INTRO: We are all stirred by tales of valor and bravery. We all wish we were braver. As children, most boys played like they were a soldier in the thick of the battle or a ship’s captain riding a storm. But our daydreams never gave us courage to face up to the school bully.

I have often wished for the boldness to confront the world with my faith in Jesus Christ. Serving God is never cowardly business. The question is, How do I become brave brave enough to serve Him in every circumstance?

In the early chapters of Acts, we find that the once cowardly disciples of Jesus, who had locked themselves in the upper room for fear, now stood boldly before the very men who had condemned the Lord. They were no longer cowards. With astonishing bravery, they declared the resurrection of Jesus.

I. A PERSONAL CONVICTION (vv. 19-20).

You can hear the conviction in Peter’s words as he spoke these words. In later years, when writing his second epistle, Peter declared "We are ewitnesses of His majesty." Peter was there on the mountain when Moses and Elijah appeared and Jesus was transformed into His glory before their eyes.

If you have trusted Christ as Savior, you, too, know He is Lord and Christ. You know He has forgiven your sins. You can remember answered prayers that could not have been a coincidence. And you can have the courageous conviction that He will care for you.

II. A PUBLIC CONCERN (vv. 1-4).

The chief priests and rulers were angry at the apostles in the first place because the apostles were teaching the people. These rulers cared little for the masses of people.

John wrote in 1 John 4:18 that love overcomes fear. That is what happened to the apostles. When Peter and John met the crippled man at the Temple gates, they looked on him with compassion and healed him in the name of Jesus. They were not disgusted that he was a beggar. Peter and John were concerned about the man. They were not fearful of the auhorities; they only cared about a man in need.

When we begin to see people’s needs with the eyes of compassion, our love will overcome fear.

ILLUS: In his sermon, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ," Wayne Ward told about going to a home to invite a family to church. In answer to his knock, he heard little feet running to the door and a mother’s voice calling, "Jimmy, come back from that door! Don’t you touch that door!"

"Not often do I pray for little boys to disobey their parents," Dr. Ward said, But on that morning, he slipped. He found himself praying: "Lord, let this boy open this door. I need to talk to these people. They need Jesus, and they need the church."

I have sometimes thought of that prayer when I stood at an unfamiliar door and was tempted to pray, "Lord, don’t let them be home." In those moments I have felt my fears turn into concern as I prayed, "Lord, let these people be home so I can tell them about You and invite them to Your church."

III. PRAYERFUL COMMUNION (vv. 23-31).

After their release, the apostles gathered with the church for prayer. Boldness in witnessing begins on our knees.


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