Boldness From God!
Pastor Dan's Sermon for Week Starting June 23rd, 2018
"And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand."
Peter and John have just healed a man lame from birth and the crowds of the temple are gathering around to see the celebration of this man. They are in awe. They are captivated by the act that has just occurred. They want to know how this happened (just like us.) They know that Peter and John have healed this man and they are beginning to worship/idolize these men. Peter and John turn their attention to Jesus. They are aware of the situation and the "opportunity" that God has given them to share Christ with these men who denied Him not long before. The Captain of the Temple Guard gathers the authorities and wants to shut this "sideshow" down. They arrest Peter and John and they are taken from the temple. We would expect the people to have great fear in believing in Christ even though this miracle occurred due to the consequential persecution for such a newfound faith. Miraculously they are drawn in by God's spirit. Two thousand more people are added to the number of Christ's disciples that day.
These people were moved by the Words God have given Peter to preach. Peter wasn't sitting outside practicing this event to cause a spectacle. He was walking in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who not long ago had fallen on those who called Jesus their savior. Peter was not shooting for an added 2000 people. He was obedient to God's call to preach the good news and to bring convicting truth no matter the outcome.
Sometimes in our hearts we have a see-saw view of evangelism. We can be so ambitious to be the best preacher or to have high salvation numbers or something related to "tangible" measurable goals. This can lead to a heart that is devoid of the compassion of Christ and to a heart that trying to gain fame.
At the same time we can become extremely timid and shy away from any confrontation with gospel. Jesus and Peter brought the Truth to people to set them free from lies. This can lead to extreme persecution or to losing friendships. We become concerned with not wanting to offend at the expense of ever sharing the life-giving truth with those who are in need. We are afraid to be the street-preacher "hated by everyone." But Paul said it best, "12I want you to know, brothers,[e] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard[f] and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word[g] without fear.
15Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice." Phillipians 1:12-18
Our call is to obedience. To preach to the nations. Every tribe, nation and tongue. No prejudice. Our call is not to save the nations. That is Jesus' Job. We water and plant but God makes it grow. Take the pressure off of yourself. Be obedient to what God is calling you to do. Talk to your friends and co-workers. Open up your heart to God to hear what He is saying. Join Him in His mission to reach the lost. The gospel confronts our desire to be independent from Christ, to be a rogue for Christ. It is all about Him. He wants us to forsake our desires and loves and cares for His. Give God everything. Let Him refine You. Be faithful unto God and His call to reach the lost. Let Him teach you and train you.
Bless you as you go about your week and please pray for God to give you boldness that doesn't come from you. Pray that God gives you such boldness to step out of comforts far beyond you ever would in your own strength. Let Him lead you. Pray. Pray Pray. Ask Him to open up your heart. You need Him to do even an inkling of this. Grace and Peace in Jesus Name amen!
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