Summary: We need to be bold in our witness for Christ. We are one generation away from being a pagan nation.

This sermon series entitled “The Ends of the Earth” is about how we, as the body of Christ, have been directed to reach a lost world for Him. So how are we doing? Not how has the church done in the past, but how is the church in reaching the lost doing today?

The fact is, we are but one generation away from being a completely pagan nation. Each generation is responsible for reaching the next. I could quote the surveys and the statistics of how far we have digressed but I won’t. We can watch the news, read the newspapers and just look around and see that the we, the church, have not done all that we have been called to do. Jesus command is clear:

Acts 1:8 (NKJV) But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

We are commanded to be witnesses to Jesus throughout the world. But being witnesses, we have been promised power in being that witness. The question is, are we using that power that Jesus said we would receive from the Holy Spirit?

The first part of the story we will be reading concerns Peter and John. The the power given them by the Spirit, the healed a lame man, lame since birth. Because they were attributing it all to Jesus, the man whom they had the Romans put to death previously and they were preaching Jesus raised from the dead, the officials of the temple had them hauled in before the high council of the Sanhedrin. Peter and John spoke boldly to them. Let me repeat the last verse of that reading:

Acts 4:12 (NKJV) Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

This is our message to the world. Only by the name of Jesus may anyone be saved. Not by the name of Buda, not by Mohammed. But salvation only comes by Jesus and Jesus alone. We will read these next 18 verses, so we have the whole story.

Acts 4:13–31

Opening Ill. Bobby Richardson was a second baseman New York Yankees back in the early 60’s. Bobby was also a strong Christian who led Mickey Mantle to faith in Christ before he died. It was the seventh game of the 1962 World Series between the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants. The Giants had a man on second base, which put him near New York Yankee All-Star second baseman, Bobby Richardson. When the Yankees decided to pause the game and change pitchers, Bobby Richardson, seized the moment as an opportunity to share the Gospel. While the new pitcher was warming up, Richardson walked over to the man on second base and asked him if he knew Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and the middle of the seventh game of a World Series!

When the base runner reached home and then went to the dugout, he asked fellow Giants’ teammate, Felipe Alou, who was also a strong Christian, what in the world was going on with Richardson. He yelled out, "How can you people talk about Jesus in the seventh game of a World Series???"

There is something more important than a baseball game. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Peter and John were so moved by the Gospel that they were willing to suffer beatings for the Name of Jesus and then boldly proclaimed, "We cannot help but speak the things which we have heard and seen!" [1]

Part of being bold is speaking out when the opportunity presents itself and speaking out when no one else will.

Acts 4:13 (NKJV) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

These uneducated men, fishermen from Galilee, were conversing with religious scholars and authorities of their day. Not only that, just a few weeks previous, while Jesus was being tried, Peter was cowering and when confronted by a mere servant girl, he chose to deny Jesus.

Yet in this passage, many of those that tried Jesus and put Jesus to death, including the high priest were present, and here Peter and John are standing up to them, boldly professing Jesus to them. What changed? They were filled with the Holy Spirit whereas before they were not. Look back at verse 8:

Acts 4:8a (NKJV) Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them ...

The Holy Spirit gave them the courage and boldness. Jesus told them what to expect:

Matthew 10:19–20 (NKJV) But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

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