A boldness marks the Church in the Book of Acts that was necessary in light of the persecution the Church faced back then. And this same boldness needs to mark the Church today if we are going to continue to follow Jesus faithfully in a world that stands in opposition to Him.
Bold is the type of font you use to highlight a word or phrase in the email that you are about to send. When you really want to capture a person's attention, you make something bold when italics just won't give you the punch that you're looking for. Bold is the kind of barbecue sauce you choose when the regular just won't cut it. Bold barbecue sauce is often spiced with black pepper. It's thicker, slightly sweeter, and has a noticeably hotter kick than the normal sauce.
Bold describes the kind of person who is daring and brave, who is not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rejection. Bold is a word that can be connected to a lot of different things in this world. There are bold ideas, bold opinions, bold colors, bold fashion, bold hairstyles, bold marketing, bold headlines, bold aspirations, bold moves, bold questions, bold statements, and even bold wallpaper. There's a lot of bold stuff in our world. Now, let me ask you a question.
Would you put the Church on that list? When you think of the Church, would you normally use the word bold to describe it? When you think of followers of Jesus, do you think of them as being daring and brave? Are we a confident and courageous people? Or for those of us Christians who call Canada home, have we been molded to fit into our culture without realizing it?
As Canadian Christians, do we take a stand for what is good, right, and true, no matter what it may cost us? When an opportunity comes for us to be bold for what we believe, do we stand up for that? Or do we keep silent for fear of being politically incorrect? Do we temper our boldness for fear of what being bold may cost us? Now, bold might not be one of the first words people use to describe the Church in Canada today, but make no mistake about it, bold was definitely an apt description of the Church that we read about in the Book of Acts.
If the early Church was anything, it was bold. And when I say the Church was bold, I'm not suggesting that only a few type A individuals in the Church exhibited boldness. It wasn't just the apostles who were bold. The whole Church in the Book of Acts was marked by boldness, all believers, and that would include Christians of all kinds of personality types. We're going to see a prime example of this boldness in the text that we're looking at today.
So if you haven't turned there already, go ahead and open your Bible to Acts chapter four, verses one to 31. Before we jump into it, let me take just a moment to set the stage for what we're going to read last week. In Acts chapter three, we read of a layman that was healed in the name of Jesus Christ. The healed man jumps up and leaps for joy, praising God the people are amazed because they know this guy. He's been a cripple all his life, and now he's healed.
A crowd gathers around Peter and John, marveling at what had happened. Then peter proceeds to teach the people publicly about the risen Messiah Jesus Christ, that he is the reason that this man has been made. Well, you may recall that we've already seen this pattern once before back in Acts Two when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church for the very first time, a crowd gathered to see what had happened. And that is when Peter preaches the gospel to them. The same pattern unfolds in acts three.
The miraculous event of a healed man draws a crowd and then Peter preaches the gospel to them too. When this took place the first time back in Acts Two, the religious leaders didn't show any concern for what had happened or what was being preached. They could have cared less back then, but they begin to care the second time around. Here in Acts Three, they start to care in a big time way. The scene that unfolds in Acts Three draws the attention of the religious bigwigs and they come on the scene now and they're not happy.
That's where we pick things up in Acts chapter four, verse one says this while they, Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple police and the Sad Jews confronted them. So right in the middle of Peter and John's preaching to the crowd that had gathered in the temple because of the miracle, these religious leaders come in and crash the party. Who were these guys? Well, the priests were those who were on duty at the temple at this time. The captain of the temple guard was the highest ranking priest, second only to the high priest.
He assisted the police in the temple area and he had the power to arrest people. The Sad, you sees, were a religious group that had no specific authority in the temple, but many of the priests came from their ranks. Then we read in verse is that this group of religious leaders confronted Peter and John. And it says, because they were annoyed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. The teaching was regarded as the right of the religious leaders of Israel or at least franchised by them to those whom they approved, those who had been trained by them and whose teaching would be acceptable to them.
Peter and John were not accredited by them, and yet they were teaching in the temple. They were teaching on the religious leaders turf. And their teaching, gas is direct opposition to the doctrine that the religious leaders held. The religious leaders had rejected Jesus as the true Messiah. They had finally convinced the masses that Jesus was a fraud so that the masses cried out for his crucifixion.
They knew that Jesus had promised he would rise from the dead and that this would be the sign which would prove he was, we claim to be. They had been unable to satisfactorily explain the empty tomb of Jesus and now they could not explain the healing of the layman in Jesus name. For the disciples to teach a resurrection from the dead through Jesus was to teach that the Jewish leaders had been wrong about everything and that's why they are annoyed with what Peter and John were doing. Verse three. So they seized them and took them into custody until the next day.
Since it was already evening, Peter and John were arrested. Why? Because Jesus performed a miracle through them and people were praising God and Peter and John were explaining to the people what was happening. Hardly grounds to be arrested to the religious leaders arrested them because they wanted to silence them and they wanted an opportunity to examine them further. Verse four.
But many of those who heard the message believed and the number of the men came to about 50. This is so good. In Acts Two, we're told that about 30 people believe the Gospel and were added to the church when Peter preached to the crowd. Those initial 30 people included men and women and children who were old enough to believe the Gospel. Here in Acts Four, only two chapters later, we are told that the number of believers has grown to include 50 men.
Specifically. If you pastor women and children into this equation who are also a part of the church at this time above and beyond the 50 men cited, you can estimate that at this place in the Book of Acts, the number of Christians has grown to 8000 10,000, maybe over 12,000 people. The church was growing like crazy. Jesus wasted no time in fulfilling the promise he made back in Matthew 16 where he said that he would build his church and the gates of Hades would not overcome it, jesus was building his church. The early Christians were filled with joy.
Lives were being changed, the Gospel was being shared, people were getting saved. And what do the religious leaders of that day do in light of all of this? They arrest the apostles without cause. It's ironic that while the religious leaders began to oppose the church, god was blessing the church and adding to her number. The religious leaders thought they were protecting God's temple and his law, but they didn't realize they were trying to shut down the very work that God was doing.
The irony is they think they're squashing this Jesus movement before it ever gets off the ground. But as they are leading the apostles away to jail for the night, there are hundreds, even thousands of brandnew believers left behind in their wake and that number only continued to grow. Throw the Book of Acts and throw all of church history for that matter. The harder people try to oppose God's church, the more God grows his church that has to be infuriating to those who want the church to die. Verse five.
The next day there are rulers, elders and scribes assembled in Jerusalem with Anas, the high priest Caiaphas, John, Alexander and all the members of the high priestly family. After they had Peter and John stand before them, they began to question them. By what power or in what name have you done this? Peter and John have spent the night in jail. And now it's the next day and the religious leaders resume their investigation into them.
They are brought out and made to stand before the court. There are dozens at least who made up the court of officials that day. The court that is convened is probably situated in a semicircle so that the religious leaders could all see each other and so that they could see the two men who were being questioned standing in front of them. Based on the individuals who verse is attendance that day, it would have been an intimidating scene for both Peter and John to face. Verse six tells us that there were some highprofile men in the crowd.
Anas, the high priest, Caiaphas drawn Alexander and all the members of the high priestly family. These guys were some of the past and present high priests of Israel, which was the highest position of authority among the Jews at the time. If you could imagine if a scene like this was taking place in the United States today, it would be held in Washington DC. And there will be dozens of government officials, including current and former presidents. Biden, Trump, Obama, both Bushes and Clinton would be there.
You would know something serious is going on if all of those guys are ever in the same room together. And that's what it's like with Anna, Caiaphas, John, Alexander and all the members of the high priestly family. There they are all there grilling Peter and John. And here's something else that makes the scene even more intense. This was the same scene and the same group of people that Jesus faced on the night that he was betrayed and handed over to Pontius Pilate.
Jesus stood before these same guys. These are the same guys that had Jesus arrested unlawfully, brought false witnesses against him, found him guilty of a crime he didn't commit, and then sentenced him to a death that he didn't deserve. And now they're here beginning to do the same things to Peter and John. Remember, Peter was there that night. Jesus stood on trial before the same court.
And I don't think Peter would ever forget how it went down for Jesus that day. And I don't think he would ever forget how it went down for himself either. These men condemned Jesus to death, and while they were doing that, Peter was outside in the courtyard coveting when they identified him as a disciple of Jesus. Remember that on three separate occasions, peter denied even knowing who Jesus was. And that took place just weeks before our scene here in Acts four.
I think this scene in Acts four would have triggered a lot of very recent and unpleasant memories for Peter. And I think I have a pretty good idea how the old Peter would have responded to the situation he was facing here in verses five to seven. I bet the old Peter would have responded to something like this when the court asked him, and John, by what power or in what name have you done this? I bet the old Peter would have replied with something like, "Name? What name?"
What are you guys talking about? I don't know anything about any name. John, do you know what these guys are talking about? We don't know anything about any name. We were just on our way to the temple at the time of prayer, and this lame beggar just pops up on his feet and he starts jumping around, making a fuss.
And then people started looking at us like we had something to do with it. We're just as confused as you guys are. Listen, we don't want any trouble, so how about we just forget this little situation ever happened, okay? How does that sound? That's maybe how the old Peter would have responded.
But this isn't that old Peter anymore. In Acts four, this is the new Peter, the one who has encountered the resurrected Jesus. This is the new Peter, the one that has been filled with the Holy Spirit. Listen to what the new Peter has to say in response to the religious leaders pressing him. Verse eight.
Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them. Rulers of the people and elders. If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man. By what means he was healed. Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead by Him. This man is standing here before you healthy. This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. Peter got another chance to stand up for Jesus after he failed Him so miserably only weeks before this.
And this time he came through in a major way. Let this be an encouragement to you. If you have ever failed Jesus before and you're wondering if he would ever give you a second chance to stand up for Him, be ready, because our God is a God of second chances. Just ask Peter. So how did new Peter stand up for Jesus?
This time around, he just tells the court the truth. He simply relays the truth to them about everything that had happened. He doesn't have to spend any mental energy trying to create a fanciful story on the fly. He doesn't have to make anything up hoping that they would believe it. All he has to do is say what happened, and that's exactly what he does.
And they will believe it, or they won't. But here's how Peter responded to the court that day. Okay, guys, what are we being examined about here exactly? Are we on trial for a good deed done to a crippled man? When has it ever been against the law to do a good deed to someone?
"How was he healed?" you ask. Simple. He was healed by the name of Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus? Jesus is the Messiah whom you crucified.
The Messiah that God raised from the dead. The Messiah that the psalmist foretold would be rejected by the very leaders he came to save. You rejected the cornerstone that the people of God were going to be built upon. But God raised them up and he's going to build his people on this rock that is Jesus Christ. Oh, and one last thing.
The name of Jesus, the name that we're on trial for, that name is the only name by which someone can be saved. Truth bombs everywhere. That's all Peter is doing here. All Peter is doing in verses eight to twelve is telling the court the truth about Jesus. Verse 13 when they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.
So here's the first time our word boldness comes up in our text. It says, when they observed the boldness of Peter and John, peter and John stood boldly in their defense before the court. And their boldness didn't make sense to the court, because in the court's eyes, peter and John didn't have any reason to be bold. That's because they were uneducated and untrained men. It confounded the religious leaders that these common fishermen are the ones speaking so boldly.
Men, with their lack of education and training, were not expected to speak with either courage or confidence before the supreme powers of the land. What was the explanation for their boldness then? Verse 13 tells us. It says, they had been with Jesus. This court began to connect the dots.
They began to recognize in Peter and John the same kind of boldness they had seen in Jesus. And they began to realize that the boldness that they saw in them was due to the fact that Jesus was their rabbi. Jesus had stood boldly before this same court. Days before his trial, Jesus was in the temple calling out all the religious leaders for their hypocrisy, calling them a brood of vipers, again, boldness. And now that same boldness is seen in two of his disciples here, verses 14.
Since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in opposition, the religious leaders were rendered speechless. Jesus had revealed his power to the people in an obvious and undeniable way. He had given them an indisputable piece of evidence for his existence. That evidence was staring the court in the face. The evidence wasn't lying crippled on a mat anymore outside of the temple.
The evidence had been running and leaping and shouting for joy and praising God all around Jerusalem. The evidence was that a layman had been healed by the name of Jesus, and now that healed layman was in the court that day and nobody could refute the evidence. The evidence was obvious so that there was nothing the religious leaders could say in response to it. Verse 15 after they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, they conferred among themselves, saying what should we do with these men? For an obvious sign has been done through them clear to everyone living in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.
But so that this does not spread any further among the people, let's threaten them against speaking to anyone in this name again. So they called for them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. In verse 16 they say among themselves what should we do with these men? I don't know. Believe them.
Ask them to tell you more about this Jesus who just healed the lame man. They don't do that, unfortunately. Instead, they stubbornly refuse to accept the evidence of Jesus that has been presented to them so clearly. Instead of doing the humble and rational thing, they do the proud and irrational thing. They try to stop the growing movement that is the Church that Jesus is building.
They order the apostles to stop preaching the Gospel markets. This is the beginning of the persecution of the Church, the unlawful arrest of the apostles, and the attempt to silence them from speaking anymore in Jesus' name. How did the apostles respond? Verse 19 peter and John answered them whether it's right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide, for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. The apostles' minds are already made up.
They are not going to stop telling people about Jesus. They inform the religious leaders that they will continue to obey God rather than obey them. And they ask the religious leaders whether that's the right decision or not. They are not rude about it; they are just plain about it. They will not comply with the court's demands.
They cannot comply because the risen Jesus, lord and Master of heaven and earth, has given the disciples a plain command to follow preach the Gospel and make disciples. And they are not going to abandon their God-given mission because the religious leaders aren't jumping on board with them.
Could you imagine if the church stopped growing because it was simply told to stop. Can you imagine the disciples saying to Jesus one day, "Sorry, Jesus, we can't preach the Gospel and make disciples anymore."? And Jesus is like, "Why not?" "People are getting mad and telling us to stop." Jesus would be like in verses 21, after threatening them further, they released them.
They found no way to punish them because the people were all giving glory to God over what had been done, for this sign of healing had been performed on a man over 40 years old. The rulers are cowards. There's no other way to slice this. They want to punish the apostles without cause, and they would have done it if they would. He gotten away with it.
But it's the public perception that is keeping them at bay for now that people wouldn't have it because they were acknowledging that God had done a mighty work among them. So the religious leaders hold off punishing the apostles for now all they do is threaten them. This restraint won't last forever, though the persecution will only intensify in the chapters to come. Throughout the Book of Acts, verse 23, after they were released, they went to their own people and reported everything the chief priests and the elders had said to them. I love this response by Peter and John.
They don't run home for some personal RnR time. They don't go and get cleaned up and jump into bed and binge watch their favorite Netflix series because they need to unwind after such a hard couple of days. Where do they go right away? They go straight to their own people and share with them everything that has happened. And what did the Church do when Peter and John came to them and reported everything the chief priests and the elders said to them?
They prayed. In verses 24 to 30, when they heard this, they raised their voices together to God and said, master, you are the one who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea and everything in them. You said, through the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our Father David, your servant. Why didn't Gentiles rage in the people's plot futile things? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers assemble together against the Lord and against His Messiah.
For in fact, in this city, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel assembled together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed to do whatever your hand and your will had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, consider their threats and grant that your servants may speak Your word with all boldness while you stretch out your hand for healing. And signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant, Jesus. The church in acts four prayed. They prayed the supremacy of God.
God, you alone are the Creator and owner of the universe and everything in it. You are in control. You are the boss. They prayed the Scriptures. They prayed the words of Psalm two having been fulfilled in their lives.
They prayed the sovereignty of God, that God has a plan for this world, and that plan will come to pass no matter what. No one can stop the plan of God. They prayed for miracles to be continued to be done in the name of Jesus, and they prayed for boldness to preach. They did not pray for peaceful outcomes. Don't miss this.
They didn't pray, lord, please make everyone treat us nicely and let the church continue to grow in relative comfort and ease. Lord, whatever you do, give us favor with everybody. They didn't pray that. They prayed that they would be able to speak boldly in the face of persecution. They don't even pray for the persecution to stop.
They pray for the power to persevere through it. Do we pray like this in the church today? Verse 31. When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God. Boldly.
We've seen this before. This happened once already back during Pentecost when the church was praying and the Holy Spirit was poured out on them for the very first time. And now God is doing it again. When the church prayed in Acts four, they were filled with the Holy Spirit again. And this is a great reminder that Christians are to be continually filled with the Spirit.
Not just a onetime feeling when we became Christians, but all the time, because we need the Spirit all the time now. Notice who it was that was filled with the Spirit. It was all of them, not just the apostles. Everyone who has gathered for that prayer meeting was filled with the Holy Spirit. And that fresh empowerment enabled all of them to proclaim the word of God.
Boldly. The whole church was bold for Jesus. Boldness should not be a mark of Godly leaders. Only boldness ought to be a mark of the entire church. We should be united in our boldness to live for Jesus and to speak for Jesus in a world that is hostile towards Him.
Amen. Amen. Now, with the time that I have remaining, I want to focus our attention on this concept of boldness. I'm going to do this by giving you seven takeaways from our text that will help you grow in your understanding of what's involved when it comes to being bold for Jesus. Here's number one, and it's the first filling on your outline.
Opportunities to be bold for Jesus spring up from out of regular scheduled activities. After studying Acts three and four, I don't think we should attempt to manufacture opportunities to be bold. I don't think we should pencil it on our calendars on Thursday at 04:30 p.m.. I'm going to be bold for Jesus. Nice.
We just need to be ready to be bold when God presents that opportunity for us to stand up publicly for Him. In Acts Three, Peter and John were available to be used by God to heal the lame man. They were on their way to prayer, like they did every other day. But this was a day that the Lord had something for them to do. And then in the events that followed in Acts Four, they were given an opportunity to stand boldly for Christ.
They didn't plan for those things to happen, but they were ready to be bold when they did. And we should ask ourselves if we are ready to be bold for Jesus if or when he gives us that opportunity to. Number two boldness for Jesus exists as a byproduct of spending time with Jesus. We look at this idea briefly already, but it's worth noting again here. In verses 13, the leaders realized that Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men, but they recognized that they had been with Jesus, and they concluded that that was the reason for the boldness they saw in them.
Verse 13 should give you great hope if you want to be used mightily by Jesus. But you don't have any formal education or training. Formal education isn't wrong. It's just not the most important part of the equation. The most important part have you been with Jesus?
Spending time with Jesus will shape you into his mold, into his likeness. You will become like your teacher the same way the disciples became like theirs. Your life will become more aligned with his. You will move according to His Spirit in you. You will say the kinds of things he says and do the kinds of things he does.
And when people look at you and marvel at the boldness, they see in you, and they're confused as to how you can be that bold. All you need to tell them is that you've spent a lot of time with Jesus and he is the One that has made you this way. It worked for the apostles. It'll work for us too. Jesus was bold, and we will become more like Him the more we spend time with Him.
You do this by dedicating time to be with Him in the study of His Word and in personal time, in prayer alone with Him. Number three. Next, fill in on your outline. Boldness for Jesus comes from knowing the truth about Jesus. Boldness for Jesus comes from knowing the truth about Jesus.
A person who is bold for Jesus simply relays the truth about Jesus to people who haven't heard it yet. Just like we see with the apostles, we don't have any pressure to make up content to be bold about our boldness is tied to the fact that God has moved, God has spoken, and all that's left for us to do is share what he has said and done when that opportunity comes. Peter and John just told the truth to the court. The lame man was. Healed by the name of Jesus?
True. Jesus is the Messiah. True. The religious leaders killed Jesus. True.
Jesus? Is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. True. God raised Jesus from the dead. True.
There is salvation in no other name besides the name of Jesus. True. We cannot stay quiet about what we have seen and heard about Jesus. True. So, for us, if we're going to be bold for Jesus, we need to have a firm grasp on the truth about Jesus, about the things that God has done in the person and work of His Son.
If we know what those things are, then we can be bold for Jesus when the opportunity presents itself. And then all we do is speak what we know to be true. Our boldness is tied to our knowing the truth. If we don't know what's true about Jesus, how can we stand boldly for that truth? Number four boldness for Jesus is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Verse eight says, then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. And then in verses 13, we're told that the words Peter spoke were bold. It's the Holy Spirit that enabled Peter to stand before the court the way that he did. The spirit gave him boldness. Then again, down in verses 31, it says, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God.
Boldly. The church was filled with the Holy Spirit, and this filling is what enabled them to preach the Gospel with boldness. The same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus to be bold in his ministry is the same Holy Spirit that empowered Peter and John and the early church to be bold in theirs. And he is the exact same Holy Spirit that will empower us to be bold for Jesus. Today.
The Holy Spirit gave the disciples a boldness that wasn't natural. God makes us bold by his power in us. So if you realize that you are not naturally bold, that's okay. You don't have to generate the power to be bold. God will just give that to you.
Boldness doesn't ultimately depend on you. That's yet another reason we need to be continually filled with the Spirit so that we would he bold for Jesus with a boldness that we don't have in our own strength. But just because we aren't the source of our own boldness, that doesn't mean we are passive in our own boldness. We don't sit around doing nothing, waiting to get zapped by the Holy Spirit. And look, now we're bold.
We prepare ourselves to be bold by living lives that are devoted to Jesus. The bold church that we read about in the Book of Acts was made up of disciples who devoted themselves to the apostles'teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Remember, discipleship requires devotion to these things. The regular practice of these things builds up our faith and equips us to be used by god in the world. We are trained up in Godliness.
And then when the Holy Spirit fills a life that has been disciplined in the ways of Jesus, then powerful things will happen. The Holy Spirit is the fire that lights the kindling of our spiritual readiness. If we are not becoming spiritually mature, then the Holy Spirit has nothing to light on fire when he fills us. Number five. This is the next thing, and on your outline boldness for Jesus can be received with or without prayer.
Boldness for Jesus can be received with or without prayer. You can see this truth when you compare how Peter was filled with the Spirit in verses eight and how the Church was filled with the Spirit in verses 31. In verses eight, peter didn't pray for boldness, and yet he was filled with the Holy Spirit and given boldness anyway. And then in verse 31, we see the Church pray specifically for boldness, and they were given the boldness they asked for when the Holy Spirit came on them. We can't pigeonhole how the Holy Spirit works when the scripture doesn't do that.
Our text shows us that sometimes he will come because we ask Him to come, and other times he will come even if we don't ask Him to come. Just know that he will give us what we need when we need it. But with that said, it's probably a good idea to keep praying for boldness anyway. Number six boldness for Jesus requires words. This is the next filling on your outline boldness for Jesus requires words.
The boldness of the apostles was evidenced by the words they spoke to the court in verses eight to twelve. It was their words that the court described as being bold. And we can see specifically in verses 31 that boldness is connected to speaking because it says and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God. Boldly. Boldness for Jesus is connected with speaking.
The boldness of the apostles could not have been expressed without words. Imagine them silently walking up to the lame man and healing him without speaking a word. And then after the miracle was performed, imagine that they say nothing to the crowd that was wondering what had just happened. Can you imagine them just shrugging their shoulders with their mouths shut? Can you imagine how bold they would have appeared before the courts if they remained silent?
If they didn't say anything, then Jesus would not have been glorified and they would not have been persecuted. Boldness requires our words. You cannot be bold for Jesus and remain silent about Jesus at the same time. I'm going to use this moment as an opportunity to encourage and exhort some of you who call Gospel City Church home. And I want to do this gently, but I want to talk to those of you who either don't, can't, or won't do a couple of things.
Sing out loud for Jesus when we praise Him together here at church or pray out loud in his name when we gather together in our home groups. I'm not bringing this up to try and make anyone here feel uncomfortable. And I'm not saying these things with any one specific person in mind because there are a number of people who struggle in this area to be vocal for Jesus and towards Jesus. And I wouldn't be a good pastor if I didn't take this chance to speak to you about it. Now.
Church should be a training ground for boldness for Jesus. When we gather as a church, this should be the one place where everyone can sing out loud the praises of Jesus's name. When we gather for a home group, that should be the one place on the planet where everyone can pray out loud. And here's why I say this if you cannot or will not or do not sing or pray out loud when you are in a room filled with people who love Jesus, how do you think you will ever be able to say his name out loud publicly in a world that hates him? How will you be able to pray for someone at work if they ask you if you can't pray for your brother or sister in a living room when they ask you how will you be boldly unashamed of Jesus in this world if you can't be boldly unashamed of Him in church when everyone else is singing to him?
Now, I know that there are a lot of factors that go into a person's struggle in this area that's not lost on me. And I'm not suggesting that it is an easy topic for you if you struggle in this way. But what's the solution? Should we never talk about it? Should we never try and work through the struggle?
I don't think that's the answer. So if singing or speaking out loud is a struggle for you, we're going to pray in just a moment for the Holy Spirit to come on all of us. And when we do consider asking Him personally to help you in this area, ask Him to lead you through this blockage in your life and keep on asking Him through the days and weeks and months to come until you experience a breakthrough. Because a boldness for Jesus requires our words, and church is the safest place to begin practicing that.
Finally, last takeaway number seven, and it's the last cylinder on your outline. Boldness for Jesus would not be necessary in a world that loves Jesus. Boldness for Jesus would not be necessary in a world that loves Jesus. The disciples would not have needed to be bold and acts. For if everyone back then loved Jesus, they only needed boldness because the people rejected Jesus and opposed those who lived for Him.
And the same is true today. We need boldness in the church today, now more than ever. Because our world still rejects and opposes Jesus and his Church. As Christians, we cannot be surprised when we need to be bold for Jesus. In the face of persecution.
We should not wonder what we did wrong to make people come against us like they came against the apostles. Jesus told us we would be persecuted for his name's sake, and he also told us that he would give us what we need in that moment when we are so we should not be surprised when that time comes. I'll tell you what we would he surprised about though. We should be surprised if we are Christians and we have never faced persecution of any kind in our life before. We should be surprised if we have never needed to be bold for Jesus.
That should surprise us if it happens to be true about us. Now, I'm going to close this message by simply reading for you two passages that Jesus spoke to his disciples. And as I do this, I'm going to invite just the worship team to come back up and get ready to lead us.
John, chapter 15, verses 18 to 21. Jesus said this to his disciples if the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you. Gas is own, however, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you.
A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they don't know the one who sent me. And in Luke chapter twelve, verses eight to twelve, jesus says this to his disciples and I say to you, anyone who acknowledges Me before others, the Son of man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven. But the one who blast themes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Whenever they bring you before synagogues and rulers and authorities, don't worry about how you should defend yourselves or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said. Church, will you pray with me?
Father, in light of this incredible text, I feel it's appropriate, just for a single request, that you would make us like the Church that we read about in the Book of Acts. That Lord, that you would humble us, or that you would give us grace that would let us humble ourselves before you. And let us see that we recognize that we don't have what it takes to stand up for you in this world. We need a power that is greater than ourselves to fill us and to empower us, to stand boldly for you, to proclaim Your Word to stand on Your goodness. Lord, we're going to ask us right now, would you be gracious to fill us even as we speak, as we pray?
Fill us now with the Holy Spirit. Fill us, Lord, so that we have what we need to live according to the word that You've given to us. Because all we want to do, Jesus, is to be faithful to you. All we want to do is represent you. All we want to do is share the gospel with people and see them safe.
All we want to do is walk in holiness and grow in holiness. All we want, Lord, is to be bold for you. And we can't do it without Your help. So please, fall on Your Church and fill us. Fill us again and again and again.
As you do, Lord, I pray that you would just give sweet encouragement to all of Your children, to all of Your sons and daughters in this place tonight. Build them up where they need to be built up. Strengthen them, convict them and lead them. Do that for your name's sake, lord. We pray.
Pray all these things, Jesus, in Your name. Amen.