(Acts 4:23-31) *All verses in the NLT*
Events leading up to today’s verses:
– Peter and John healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate, and that gave Peter an audience to preach the Good News about Jesus as the Messiah. The healed man was the evidence of its truth.
– Because of the Apostle’s boldness, thousands of people believed in Jesus and were saved.
– The priests and other religious leaders got very angry and had them thrown in jail. They confronted them and chastised Peter and John over their words, but even the elders and chief priests were amazed by their boldness and the message that they preached.
– Because of their boldness, and because the healed man was undeniably present, there was nothing that the rulers could really do, although they desperately wanted to silence them!
– The priests and elders told Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus, and threatened them with beatings and death, But Peter told them to their face that he would not stop.
– Because of Peter’s faith and boldness, and the miracle of the healed man, and the fact that all the people were now praising God over it, the priests had to just let them go.
– Peter and John showed amazing courage and boldness in the face of persecution, and this was only possible through the Holy Spirit’s power inside them.
Read Acts 4:23-31 (Starting with verse 21)
– All the believers were united in prayer. (Verse 24, When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God.)
– First things first, we should come together as a community in Jesus, and seek God in prayer.
– This is our first choice when facing problems and persecution, not our last.
Example: “Reset your default”, your default is what you revert to when the pressure overwhelms you. Training can reset your defaults. (Water rescue, stay calm underwater…)
– Train yourself to make Turning to God and your Christian brothers and sister your default in times of crisis.
– They prayed for the courage to preach boldly in the face of danger. (Verse 29, And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word.)
– These Christians are beginning the season that Jesus prophesied would come:
– Read Luke 21:12-19
– Your boldness for Jesus does not come out of your own will, or from your own giftings. Your boldness for Jesus comes from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit inside you.
– 2 Tim 3:12, yes and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ will suffer persecution.
– What you are asking for in prayer should be to glorify God, not yourself.
– John 14:12-14, 12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
– Praying for “courage and boldness for Jesus in the face of persecution” is a prayer I guarantee Jesus will answer!
– Through the Holy Spirit, they preached the word with boldness. (Verse 31, .)
– This identifies you like, Acts 4:13, They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. This will make you a resource for those seeking truth, but an enemy to those in sin.
– The world is hostile towards the message of Christ. It always has been. The more you reflect Christ, the more persecuted you will be.
What does “preaching the word with boldness” look like?
1. When preaching boldly, it’s not about you. Your goal should be to bring others to repentance, not to “be right”.
– You being seen as “right”, only brings YOU glory, and gives YOU the credit.
– A person being drawn into repentance brings God glory, and you shouldn’t want the credit for that anyway.
– Boldness isn’t about being loud or brash. Boldness is not achieving that “I put you in your place” moment. It’s about being willing tell the truth and live the truth, even when others don’t approve.
Example: Daniel, The order was given: “For the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except for the King, will be thrown into the den of lions.”
– Daniel 6:10, But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.
– Daniel didn’t use words here, but his example. He could have just waited the 30 days to avoid the King’s death sentence. But how many of God’s people heard the story of Daniel’s boldness for God and were encouraged to continue in the faith?
– Daniel was up front about his faith when talking to the King. He certainly didn’t try to hide it, but he spoke to the King with tact and respect. Bold, not brash. Loving, not loud.
– Col. 4:5-6, Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most out of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive (literally “seasoned with salt”) so that you will have the right response for everyone.
– Salt does two things:
– It draws out the natural flavor of the food and makes everything taste good. Everything tastes better when you put salt on it. Salt doesn’t change what the food is, but it makes it something you’ll actually eat.
– It is also a preservative. It can keep food from spoiling until it is ready to be eaten.
– Paul is using this as an illustration to say that our words should be well chosen, lasting, and presented in a way that the hearer will listen.
– Matt 5:13, You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
– You can’t add salt to food after it has been eaten. The salt will just taste terrible alone.
– Be mindful of how you prepare your “food” (or your conversations) before it is served.
– What good would it be to serve nutritious food that no one will eat because you made it taste terrible? (But don’t corrupt it by covering it with so much junk that it is no longer healthy, like Tiny’s brussels sprouts.)
– Your good deeds and words have a positive effect on the world around you for the glory of God, and Jesus warns us here not to do anything that would jeopardize that positive impact.
– 2 Tim 2:23-25, again I say don’t get involved in foolish ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gentle and those who oppose the truth.
2. When preaching boldly, don’t water down the truth.
– A common mistake in Christianity it to leave out parts of the biblical truth that the hearer might not want to hear. You can’t engineer a better truth, because “the whole” is perfect!
– Example: Scientists in the ’30s tried to create a more nutritious and convenient food for babies than milk. They had the pieces (protein, calcium, vitamins…), but babies were starving. The had a formula, but milk is the perfect food!
– This strategy is flawed, and when the “babies grow up” to adulthood, their poor development during childhood will cause health issue and pre-mature death. (It’s a metaphor!)
– 1 Cor 3:1-2, Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. 2 I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger.
– 1 Peter 2:2, Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment.
– Just because it is milk, and easy for babies to drink, it still must be pure for nourishment, otherwise it will just be empty calories. Don’t water down the truth!
3. When preaching boldly, don’t change the message, change your delivery.
– The “whole truth” doesn’t have to be delivered as an ice block. Warming it up and adding some salt can make the life giving water receivable.
– Example: Excerpts for a Health and Hydration article: Drinking water will temporarily treat the symptoms of dehydration, but the balance of salt intake is what makes the real difference in health and lasting hydration. Unrefined natural salt, which contains sodium as well as many other minerals the body needs, is the best type of salt to take.
– Just like the body needs natural salts to make water more effective for hydrating the body, your seasoned words can help the Body of Christ maintain lasting spiritual hydration by the living water of Jesus.
– Peter addressed the unbelievers with measured and Holy Spirit inspired words:
– Acts 3:12, Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd… 15, you killed the author of life, but god raised him from the dead… 17, Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did was done in ignorance…. 19, now repent of your sins and turn to God…
– Peter shares the whole truth that includes the path to salvation. His message is designed to draw them into repentance, not to “rub their nose” in their sins.
– The Apostle Paul preached the gospel to people in the way they could receive it, WITHOUT compromising the truth.
– Read 1 Cor 9:19-23
– Your message will be worthless if it is not received. Don’t let your delivery be the reason that someone does not receive the gospel.
PRAY FOR BOLDNESS in preaching and sharing the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ!
– Your boldness will not be of yourself, but will come through the Holy Spirit inside you.
– Be humble in your boldness because the goal is their repentance, not your recognition.
**Alter Call** (Music playing) “If you want boldness raise your hand, come up front for prayer.”
– We will pray for boldness in preaching together as a body of believers.