Summary: There is a crisis of confidence in our country. Faith gives us the courage to face the present with confidence and the future with expectancy.
How Jesus Instilled Confidence in the Disciples (Acts 4:13-20)
Acts 4:13 - "Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men. They marveled. They realized that they had been with Jesus."
There is a crisis of confidence in our country. Faith gives us the courage to face the present with confidence and the future with expectancy. I often draw inspiration from little William Carey who became known as the Father of modern missions. His motto was "Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." For forty-seven years he pioneered the modern misssionary movement in India translating the New Testament into 44 languages and providing a model for indigenous leadership training around the world.
Everyone needs someone to believe in them. If we grow up being told that we are stupid, lazy and lacking virtue, we tend to sink to the level of other’s expectations.
I’m grateful that my parents always told me I could be anything I really set my mind to becoming. Later I learned in Christ I could be 100% of what the Lord wanted me to be. Both of those lessons were valuable in helping me move closer to my full God given potential. Belief is the key ingredient.
When Jesus showed the disciples how much He believed in them, they responded by planting and growing many church fellowships. Millions of people are waiting for someone to believe in their ability to make a significant contribution. One day Jesus said to Peter, "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prove stronger than it." (Matt. 16:18) The Lord confidently expressed belief in the disciples because He knew how to set a standard that they would reach for.
1. Jesus believed in the disciples who evidenced a willingness to do God’s will. The Lord overlooked the faults of the disciples toward their potential. Jesus said, "If anyone is willing to do my will, they will know of the teaching whether it is from God or whether it is just human wisdom." (John 7:17)
2. Jesus confidently predicted that Peter and the apostles would be the foundation for His church. The Lord looked at what the disciples would become and what they could accomplish as a means of motivating them to greatness.
3. Jesus knew that people who possess the Holy Spirit have all the power of God to accomplish His supernatural purposes. The Lord gave the disciples promises for fruitfulness based on the assurance that the Holy Spirit would enable them to carry out the Father’s great plans.
4. Jesus assured the disciples that their labors would not be in vain. He said, "I have appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit will remain." (John 15:16) The Lord confidently promised the disciples that their work would bring forth long lasting results.
5. Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in anticipation of a great miracle. John writes, "Then He took the seven loaves and the fish and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied." (Matt.15:36,37) The Lord engaged the disciples in some activities that required their faith to go along with things that were not already seen. The disciples had no idea how the Lord would multiply the bread and the fish, but they were assured because of the confidence He placed in them. This public act proved how certain Jesus was in that the disciples would carry out His orders.
6. Jesus expressed confidence in children. The Lord commended a little child for their humble confidence as exemplary. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:2-4) To engender a child like confidence often requires humility, trust and obedience. Children are often more confident in authority figures because they are more willing to humble themselves than adults.
7. Jesus expressed confidence in the disciple’s future abilities to sit on the thrones in heaven and judge the nations. One day Peter asked Jesus, "We have left everything to follow you. What then will there be for us?" Jesus said, "I tell you the truth,. . . you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much." (Matt. 19:27-29) The Lord confidently assures anyone who will do His will of future rewards, responsibilities, and revelations. Never underestimate God’s abilities to repay you back hundred times what you have given to Him.