Sermons

Summary: Be bold and don’t fold when hard times come.

Speaking with Boldness

Acts 4:23-31

Rev. Brian Bill

November 20, 2019

Last weekend we were encouraged to imitate the example of Peter and John in order to weather the waves of persecution that are headed our way. This was our main idea: We must keep speaking even when we’re told not to.

We were personally challenged to dedicate ourselves to seven resolutions.

1. Will you embrace opposition?

2. Will you proclaim the resurrection?

3. Will you be filled with the Spirit?

4. Will you preach Jesus as the only way?

5. Will you spend time with Jesus?

6. Will you keep speaking of Jesus?

7. Will you give all glory to God?

In reflecting on the collision that takes place when culture comes up against Christianity, I recently read something by Theo Hobson called, “Marks of a Moral Revolution.”

1. What was universally condemned is now celebrated.

2. What was universally celebrated is now condemned.

3. Those who refuse to celebrate are condemned.

Our text today is Acts 4:23-31. Let’s set the context. When Peter and John went up to the temple to pray, they encountered a lame man who they healed in the name of Jesus Christ. Once healed, he started leaping and praising God. Then Peter preached a sermon rooted in the resurrection and saturated it with the theme of repentance. When the religious elite heard about it, they were annoyed and arrested Peter and John.

Let’s stand and read together: “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’ – for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

Here’s the main idea from this passage: Be bold and don’t fold when hard times come. If we don’t want to fold, we need to be proactive, prayerful and prepared. First, let’s look at three ways to be proactive.

Be Proactive

1. Find support from others. The first thing Peter and John do when they’re released from jail is to join with their people. Look at verse 23: “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.” The NASB uses the word “companions.” Another translation says they went to “their own people.” They knew they needed to be with those who had been praying for them.

Do you have a group of people you can go to when the going gets tough? Who are your people? Warren Wiersbe says, “One test of a Christian’s character is where he finds fellowship and companionship.” Some of us need to start hanging out with new people because the friends we have tear us down, instead of building us up. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

In Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, he says it was the relationships in prison on Robben Island that got him through 30 years of suffering: “The authority’s greatest mistake was to keep us together, for together our determination was reinforced. We supported each other and gained strength from each other. Whatever we knew, whatever we learned, we shared. And by sharing, we multiplied whatever courage we had individually. The stronger ones raised up the weaker ones and both became stronger in the process.”

EBC member Beth Cullet, who is a very gifted writer, wrote this on her blog this week: “I was put here for a reason, and I wasn’t put somewhere else for that very same reason. This is my time, and these are my people.” I encourage you to read the entire post. You can access it through the Sermon Extras tab found under the “Worship Guide” on our free mobile app.

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