Courage in Times of Persecution.

July 23, 2021 Preacher: Pedro Samuel Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: The Church, Christian Living Scripture: Acts 4:1–22

God had just used Peter and John to heal a beggar in his forties who had been lame from birth. The spectacle of this man walking, leaping, and praising God drew a crowd, and Peter proclaimed the gospel to them. Perhaps after the main message, John joined Peter in responding to the crowd, since Acts 4:1 says, “As they were speaking to the people….” Suddenly they were interrupted as the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees came upon them, extremely upset that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. They arrested Peter and John, put them in jail over night, and the next day brought them in front of the Jewish Sanhedrin.

Note three points in our text today:

1. The Persecution (v. 1-7)
2. The Source of Courage (v.8-13)
3. The Decision of Courage (v.14-22)

While Peter and John had to be commanded to stop speaking, most of us need to be reminded of the command to speak to others about Jesus Christ. Many modern Christians think that Jesus’ Great Commission was really the Great Suggestion. Or, we think that it applies to those called into missionary work, but not to the rest of us. But every believer should be able to say with Peter and John, even under threat of persecution, “I cannot stop speaking about what I have seen and heard.” If we are prone to be timid witnesses for Christ, we should pray that the Lord would give us the confident boldness that we need to speak out for Christ, even if we suffer for it.

We all should seek to be confident witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians 6:19-20, the apostle Paul shares a startling prayer request: “Pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Twice he repeats his request, that he might speak boldly. It’s the same Greek word translated “confidence” in Acts 4:13. If Paul had on his prayer list the need for boldness as a witness, then perhaps you and I should add it to our lists! We all should seek to proclaim with confident boldness the good news that there is salvation in no one else except in Jesus Christ, whom God raised from the dead.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can we know how bold to be in our witness to family members? Is it better to err on the side of caution or boldness?
  2. Can we discern a pattern in Jesus’ ministry as to when He was gentle and when He was more confrontational? What is it?
  3. Will a shy person become bold when he is filled with the Spirit? Does the Spirit change our basic personality?
  4. How do you answer the challenge, “Won’t a sincere, good person who has never heard of Jesus go to heaven?” Why must we insist on Jesus as the only way of salvation?

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