This morning we are going to be starting a new series for the month of June. It is simply called Bold.
So, what comes to mind when you think of the term bold or boldness? By definition:
- not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring: a bold hero.
- not hesitating to break the rules of propriety; forward; impudent: He apologized for being so bold as to speak to the emperor.
- necessitating courage and daring; challenging: a bold adventure.
- beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action; imaginative
Sometimes the term may bring negative thoughts or connotations: a bully, or being bombastic, forward, or outspoken.
In the scripture lesson this morning in Acts, Peter is responding to the religious leaders as they question him about healing a crippled man. If they had asked Peter a year or two earlier, he may have been astonished at the response that came out of his mouth! Even the religious leaders were astonished at what came out as well, not to mention the act of healing a man who was crippled from birth! What made Peter become who he was to leave all that he had known to follow Jesus? What made Peter become bold and not hesitating? The Holy Spirit. The power given to Peter set the Jewish leaders straight. Despite spending the past night in jail, Peter boldly stated the facts, unfearful of what the result could be after hearing his defiance to them.
The Jewish leaders seemed powerless after hearing Peter’s response.
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Peter was an unschooled fisherman and it was unthinkable that these apostles should speak with such force and passion!
Luther: “We should learn to magnify and extol our blessings, which are incomparably greater and more illustrious than the blessings of the fathers. We have the keys, the Gospel, the sacraments and the forgiveness of sins and life richly offered to us in many ways.”
How can we not speak boldly of our Savior Jesus Christ? You see, for each time we step out of our comfort zone to bring up the gospel, people listen even if they close their ears to it. There is cause and effect!
Acts 4:15-16 New International Version (NIV)
15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it.
The Jewish leaders could not deny it, and neither can we deny the Holy Spirit that drives us to walk the walk of faith as a Christian. The Holy Spirit is a real force in the life of the true believer. It brings conviction, healing and forgiveness through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. We are forever forgiven through the blood of Christ. We need to act and show that same forgiveness to all in this world.
Amazing boldness is Luther defiantly nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church. He had the bold spirit to defy the church he was a part of for so many years, for Luther’s integration with God was based upon the rich relational, integrated biblical understanding of God. Luther taught that holy love was the essence of God’s character. He saw God’s holiness as his absolute power and righteousness in today’s world. Luther viewed God’s love as absolute kindness, mercy, and nearness to humanity in today’s world. Luther’s God is eternally transcendent, always imminent, always near. Luther’s God is the eternal God of affectionate sovereign grace.
We can turn to the Bible to see many examples of bold courage in the face of danger and persecution:
- Moses standing up to the Pharaoh of Egypt
- Joshua’s bold obedience to serve in the face of overwhelming odds
- David’s boldness against the giant Goliath with just a sling shot
- David standing strong as King Saul tried to kill him
- Nehemiah’s bold stance in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem despite the death threats
- Esther’s bold defiance of Haman’s threats to kill all Jews
- Daniel facing certain death in the furnace and the lion’s den
- Isaiah and many other prophets that boldly faced persecution if not their own deaths for their faith and upholding the word of God
- Jesus’ own disciples who boldly proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all, only to face torture and death because of their boldness for Jesus.
How can we not be bold in light of who our God is? As we reflect on the months of change in every aspect of our lives, we can look to our Lord who is always near and always ready to show His mercy and grace to all. Be bold in these days to encourage your family, neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Despite the uncertain times we have just been through, we can make a difference in our families and community. Jesus is Love and is mercy for all who will turn to him! Be bold to show our faith that through this pandemic we have the eternal hope of daily guidance from the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Steve Murrel gives a great example for today.
Paul uses the example of boldness of faith Abraham gives us in
Romans 4: 19-22
19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
You see, Abraham faced the facts first. He was 100 years old and Sarah was barren. True facts are our friends even if the facts are not friendly. Abraham faced them, but listen to Romans 4:20 - 21 again:
. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he promised.”
Faith and facts are important in these days of the pandemic. Gather the facts from re liable sources first, discern the information we are fed daily by the media, and then apply the faith we have in Christ, but also continue to strengthen our faith through scripture and following the word of God.
That is why it is so important not to be swayed by the panic and fear that has so permeated our media today.
Faith and true facts will allow us to boldly face this pandemic together as true Christians, because weak faith or no faith will allow us to be swayed by so many false and misleading information cloaked as fact!
Weak faith will cause us to waver, one minute we trust God, the next when things get tough, we blame God and not trust him! We see Abraham honoring God before the gift was given. Trusting God through the crisis - not after - will give us our guidance through this pandemic and this season of unrest.
So, dare to be bold in these days and trust God first.
Get the true facts first and apply our strong faith to them for bold action of trust and unwavering confidence that God has this as we come out of this together. So, no matter what phase we are in or what violence we hear of today, we will come through this with Christ by our side. Boldly show others the way to Him.
In closing this morning, I want to leave you with scripture verses from John 13: 33 – 35. These verses are basic instructions Jesus is giving to his disciples on the night he was betrayed and arrested.
33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
In Jesus name!