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What was the one ingredient that the early church had that caused them to be world shakers and history makers? Boldness! How do we get more boldness in our lives? By being with Jesus, praying for boldness, and being filled with the Spirit. Let’s take a look at each of these keys:
Three Keys to Receiving More Boldness:
1. Be with Jesus.
“When they saw the boldness of Peter and John… they realized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13).
After spending time with Jesus, Peter and John had a boldness to go and tell other people the Good News. If you’re a Christian, and you have a living, vibrant relationship with Him, your experience will empower you to share with others what He is doing in your life. When you walk with Jesus, you will have your own story to tell others. You can go to church your whole life and never have boldness. You can read your Bible your whole life and never have boldness. But when you spend time with Jesus, there’s a boldness that will rise up on the inside of you!
Jesus Himself said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5). You may have a desire to see your family members come to know Jesus. You may have a desire to see your neighbors get saved, delivered or healed. But unless you spend time with Jesus first, you won’t be able to do it. It’s as we abide in the vine, spending time with Jesus in prayer, that the life, joy, peace and victory that’s in His presence flows into our lives. We can’t do it in our own strength. When we choose to spend time with Him, we will bear much fruit.
If we want to become bold disciples of Jesus, we need to make sure that we do first things first. Look at the original call of Jesus to His disciples: “And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses andto cast out demons.” (Mark 3:13-15). The first thing Jesus called His disciples to do, before they went out preaching the Gospel and healing the sick, was to be with Him. We need to come to Jesus first, and then go to the world.
You can always tell when someone’s been with Jesus. There’s something about them that’s different. You’ve met people like this before. There’s a sparkle in their eyes, a bounce in their step, and a joy and a peace in their heart that comes from being in the presence of God. We need more Christians like that in the world today.
We must remember that the Christian life is all about balance. Some believers love spending all of their time with Jesus – praying, praising, going to church, reading their Bibles, listening to Christian sermons, and being with Jesus. Although this must be our foundation and our starting point, it’s not good enough to just be with Jesus. After coming to Jesus, we need to go to the world. On the other end of the spectrum, there are Christians who don’t have time for worship or prayer, they just want to go out and do the stuff. The problem is that those believers will eventually burn out or run dry from giving, giving, and giving, because they don’t do it in the strength that He gives. There’s a two-fold call that we must respond to – to be with Jesus, and go to the world.
2. Pray for Boldness.
“Now, Lord… grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30).
If you were to make a list of the boldest, most courageous people in the Bible, who would be at the top of that list? Here are some of the key contenders:
- The young shepherd boy, David, who said to the giant Goliath: “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies ofIsrael, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you.” (1 Samuel 17:45-46a).
- The three young Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who said to the wicked King: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16b-18).
- Caleb, who quieted the ten spies who brought up an evil report of the land and said: “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it!” (Numbers 13:30).
- Esther, who saved her people by speaking up to the king, said: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16).
In the list of valiant heroes of the faith, let’s not neglect the two champions, Peter and John. These two fishermen-turned-preachers were heading to church one day, and got out of the proverbial boat, reached out to the crippled man, and helped him experience a powerful miracle from the Lord. Peter preached a bold, convicting message that resulted in two thousand people being born again. When the religious leaders commanded them to stop preaching about Jesus, Peter and John responded by saying, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20). And yet, right after this experience, these two bold preachers went back to church and prayed, “Lord, give us more boldness!” If there was anyone that I would think did not need to pray for boldness, it would have been Peter and John. They were bold! But they prayed, “More boldness, Lord!” And guess what? They received more boldness. “And when they had prayed… they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31).
Do you know why we don’t have more boldness in the church today? We’re not praying for it. “You do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2). If we want more boldness, we need to ask God to give us more boldness. What else did the church pray for? They prayed that the Lord would stretch out His hand to heal, “and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:30b). They prayed for healings and signs and wonders to take place. Because the early church in Acts is our example, it’s okay for us to pray for miracles, too. The early church prayed for miracles, and miracles happened. If we want more boldness, then let us ask God to give us boldness.
3. Be Filled with the Holy Spirit.
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31).
Can you imagine being in a prayer meeting where the building was shaken? These believers had literally become world shakers! When they prayed, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and consequently, they spoke the Word with boldness. It is not enough to have been filled with the Holy Spirit in the past. We need to be filled – present tense – with the Spirit today. If we want more boldness in our lives, we need to be continually filled with the Spirit. Isn’t that what Acts 1:8 says? “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” When do we receive power? When the Holy Spirit comes on us, we receive the dunamis power and boldness to do what God is calling us to do.
Freedom from Fear:
Your personality might be timid or shy or fearful. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, there’s a boldness that enables you to do things beyond your natural temperament. I am a very quiet and reserved person by nature. But when I get up to preach and minister God’s Word, a fiery passion and boldness comes upon me that is greater than my disposition. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, He empowers us to do what in the natural we cannot do.
I’m not a naturally gifted speaker. In the small town where I grew up, I had to give a speech for the nine students in my grade 12 English class. I was so nervous about having to speak in front of my peers. I had never done it before. I looked over the teacher’s handout which outlined the expectations for the speech, and I purposed that I would do well on every one of the items on the list. One of the categories we would be graded on was eye contact. I determined that I would keep my eyes glued to the paper I was reading, and would not be distracted by anything else in that classroom. I think I got a zero out of five on that part of the speech, because I never once made eye contact with my fellow classmates. Public speaking was not an innate ability to me. After becoming a Christian, and being filled with the Holy Spirit, however, everything changed for me.
What God did for me, He will do for you. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be a pastor, preaching to a congregation of people. But when you talk to your friends, family members, co-workers about Jesus, you don’t have to be afraid. Jesus said, “do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11b-12).
The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
There are many Christians today who are bound by a spirit of fear, worry and anxiety. Not only are they afraid to talk to people about the Lord, they are afraid to be around people, period. Is that you? God didn’t give you that spirit of fear. And if it didn’t come from Heaven, then guess where it came from? The enemy, Satan. God wants you to have a spirit of love, power and a sound mind. A sound mind is a mind that is at peace. No worry. No anxiety. No fear. No freaking out all the time. Just peace.
Do you have a spirit of fear? You can be set free from that spirit, by allowing me to pray this prayer for you. Lord, I pray that those who have been battling with fears and anxieties would receive your peace. Set them free from that spirit of fear, and replace it with your Holy Spirit – a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. Give them boldness, in Jesus’ mighty name, amen.
Pastor Chris Jordan