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Summary: We must guard against the worldly pressures and fears that threaten us to "tone down" the Gospel message.

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FEAR! A WORD THAT IS ONLY 4-LETTERS, BUT ONE THAT CAN REAP DEVESTATING CONSEQUENCES. FEAR IS SO POWERFUL THAT IT CAN PARALYZE, CONTROLL, AND MANIPULATE US. FEAR CAN COMPELS US TO DO IRRESPONSIBLE THINGS AND CAN EVEN HINDER US FROM LIVING RESPONSIBLY AND LIVING FRUITLESS LIVES.

THIS IS WHY I THINK THAT FEAR IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON PEOPLE ARE NOT AS BOLD OR INTENTIONAL WITH SHARING THEIR FAITH AS OFTEN AS THEY SHOULD.

THAT IS WHY I WILL “GO AHEAD AND SAY IT” BUT I’LL TRY TO DO SO AS GRACEFULLY AS POSSIBLE, BECAUSE IT CAN BE RATHER ABRASIVE: CHRISTIANS NEED TO OWN UP TO THE FACT THAT GOD DOES NOT LOOK FAVORABLY ON HIS CHILDREN WHO, IN THE FACE OF SPIRITUAL OPPOSITION AND PERSECUTION, GO “SILENT” OR BECOME TIMID AND ASHAMED TO SAY ANYTHING WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY IS PRESENTED TO SPEAK UP AND SPEAK OUT ABOUT THEIR FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST.

WE HAVE THE GREATEST MESSAGE TO PROCLAIM, SO WHAT ARE WE AFRAID OF? PAUL ENCOURAGED TIMOTHY IN 1 TIMOTHY 1:7-8, “FOR GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US A SPIRIT OF FEAR AND TIMIDITY, BUT OF POWER, LOVE, AND SELF-DISCIPLINE. SO NEVER BE ASHAMED TO TELL OTHERS ABOUT OUR LORD.”

YES, GOD IS LOVING, PATIENT, KIND AND SLOW TO ANGER, BUT HE CANNOT LOOK UPON SIN NOR CAN HE TOLERATE APATHY AND UNWARRANTED FEAR. REVELATION 21:8, SAYS "BUT FOR THE COWARDLY AND UNBELIEVING AND ABOMINABLE AND MURDERERS AND IMMORAL PERSONS AND SORCERERS AND IDOLATERS AND ALL LIARS, THEIR PART WILL BE IN THE LAKE THAT BURNS WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE, WHICH IS THE SECOND DEATH."

THIS IS WHY ONE OF THE GREATEST CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE IS TO HAVE A BOLDNESS THAT ALLOWS YOU TO STAND FIRM IN THE PRESENCE OF OPPOSITION AND PERSECUTION.

WE MUST REALIZE THAT GOD’S KINGDOM CAN ONLY BE ESTABLISHED BY FAITHFUL AND COURAGEOUS PEOPLE WHO WILL GO HEAD TO HEAD, FACE TO FACE AND TOE TO TOE WITH AND AGAINST THE OPPOSITION.

THERE IS SOMETHING AMAZING ABOUT THE ENCOUNTER PETER AND JOHN HAD WITH THE SANHEDRIN BEFORE THEY WERE RELEASED FROM PRISON. IN THE FACE OF THEIR ACCUSERS THEY SEIZED THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THE GOSPEL MESSAGE.

WHEN PETER AND JOHN WERE BEING TRIED BEFORE THE COUNCIL, THEIR AIM WAS NOT TO GET OFF THE HOOK. THEIR SOLE PURPOSE WAS TO BOLDLY DECLARE THE GOSPEL MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST EVEN THOUGH THE SANHEDRIN HAD THE POWER TO PUT THEM BACK IN PRISON, SEVERELY PUNISHED OR EXECUTED.

THIS ACT OF COURAGE BECAME THE HALLMARK OF THE CHRISTIAN WITNESS IN ACTS AND IN THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH. IT IS THE SAME COURAGE WE MUST USE TODAY.

THE GOSPEL IS SUCH URGENT NEWS THAT WE MUST USE EVERY OPPORTUNITY WE HAVE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL. WE MUST SEEK EVERY OPPORTUNITY THERE IS TO GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS DESPITE THE FACT THAT MANY WILL TRY TO STOP IT.

THE FACTS REMAINS THAT THE TRUTH OF GOD IS TOO RADICAL FOR ALL PEOPLE TO RESPOND TO PASSIVELY. SOME WILL TRY TO STOP IT WHILE OTHERS WILL IGNORE IT, BUT, PRAISE GOD, SOME WILL TAKE IT TO HEART AND RESPOND APPROPRIATELY.

THE BOOK OF ACTS CHALLENGES US TO ANTICIPATE SUFFERING AS AN INDISPENSABLE INGREDIENT OF OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST. WE CANNOT SUCCUMB TO THE FEAR THAT BIDS US TO PICK UP OUR CROSS ONLY WHEN IT’S IN OUR BEST INTEREST.


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