BOLDNESS IN OUR TIMES
The times in which we live today are becoming all the more dark. We live in an age of uncertainty, in escalating conflict, and in mounting suffering.
Christians in every part of the world can attest to some form of persecution or alienation because of their beliefs. We are despised one way or another because we believe an incredible gospel—one that doesn’t make sense to the world and its ways.
With the booming churches being planted all over the world and the countless disciples being made, there has been much backlash in recent years especially with the growth of Christianity in far-flung countries like China, South Korea, Brazil, Ethiopia, the Middle East, and the Philippines.
This time in our day is indeed closely related to that of the days of the first century church, the Acts church, where we see the same amount of growth—if not more—in unprecedented levels.
“And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Jesus’ small group of twelve men now turned into a whopping 3,000 believers after Peter’s sermon at Pentecost and now with much growth and great miracles done through the Holy Spirit, there was a backlash of persecution by the very same enemies that oversaw the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter and John, come across a lame beggar asking them for some alms and in reply, Peter said to him, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
The lame beggar rises up to walk and leaps for joy, praising God for all that had happened. After such a miraculous event, Peter and John, come into much trouble and are questioned by the Jewish council of rulers, elders, and scribes. They interrogated the apostles and tried to stop them from continuing their ministry, but filled by the Holy Spirit, Peter and John continued to share their faith boldly.
At this point, Peter boldly declares perhaps the most powerful statement in all of the New Testament in Acts 4:12,
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The council could find nothing to incriminate them but told them to cease sharing their faith at which point they adamantly refused and said that they would in fact continue to preach what they have experienced.
What happens after is great reuniting and rejoicing with the other believers who in turn are encouraged to share their faith all the more boldly. They lifted their voices together unto God (4:24b) and prayed for their enemies and persecutors (4:25-28).
But they did not stop there, in verse 29-30, they said “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Amidst threats, beatings, persecution, and even suffering, the early church was resilient, enduring and persevering through any trial that came their way. They continued to speak God’s word boldly to all they encountered.
Acts 4:31 concludes with a great empowering statement for us all today: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Even now that Christians all over the world are facing perhaps the darkest times in all of history, we all continue to pray all the more unceasingly, gather together in unity, and be filled constantly by the Holy Spirit to be able to accomplish God’s will in our lives.
The question now stands: are you sharing your faith in Jesus Christ with boldness amidst trials, suffering, and persecution?
Writer’s Bio: Mike Yap is first and foremost a slave of the Lord Jesus—redeemed as a wretched sinner by grace—and called as a wordsmith, speaker, visionary, and creativist for His Church. You may follow more of his Blog at http://thetub-thumper.blogspot.com