Boldness. I seem to be reading a lot about being bold everywhere. Our family devotion time we are going through Galatians – Paul boldly preached to them about the truth of SALVATION BY FAITH ALONE. Our bible study is teaching us about the boldness of David, the disciples in Thessalonica, Paul in jail.
Yesterday and today I read Acts 13 and 14 where Paul and Barnabas bring the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the synagogue to the Jews. The people were BEGGING for more! The truth of the Word feeds into the hearts and lives of people – it is our bread of life and sustains us.
Lo and behold, when Paul and Barnabas came back, almost the entire CITY was there to hear the word – including Gentiles. Which, of course, the Jewish leaders were none too pleased about, because they were no longer in control – it was no longer their party and they weren’t the popular ones. So they tried to stir things up, but PAUL SPOKE BOLDLY AGAINST THEM. He stood up for the truth and for the right of the Gentiles to be given the gospel of Christ as well. And when he gave it, how they received it! (And it’s no coincidence that our bible study with the kids today touched on those EXACT same chapters!)
But I am not bold. Not really. I live in a cocoon, a comfortable environment where my main interaction with unbelievers is the store clerk , cashier and other patrons at the grocery store; maybe an occasional bumping into someone at the park. I don’t talk much to my neighbours, there is a huge language barrier with most of them, and we all mostly keep to ourselves.
Those, of course, are excuses; good ones, but excuses nonetheless. I could seek out relationships where I would need to be bold for Christ – but is that what he wants from me. He may just want me to be bold right here, right where I am – in this space, with my friends and family, with those I do encounter – always ready to give an answer for the hope that is within (1 Peter 3:15).
Am I ready for that? I’m not sure. During a small group time last night we talked about asking God to give us opportunities to glorify His Son. I want to.
But am I ready?
Paul and Barnabas were on fire for the Lord, preaching the good news of salvation everywhere they went.
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
They cared nothing for the opposition – and there was a lot of it – they seemed to thrive off it instead. They KNEW the importance of being bold for the sake of the spreading of the Gospel. And boy did they see results!
Acts 13:42-52 ESV
As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him.
And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,
“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.
But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Boldness is not something that comes by practice – although it grows as we grow spiritually. Boldness is not something we can get in our own strength or power.
Boldness come from the Holy Spirit, who gives us the words to speak.
“for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Boldness comes from ASKING for it.
“and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,”
Boldness comes when we are willing to be used, a tool for the Master, to proclaim the TRUTH of His Word and the blessing of the promise of Jesus Christ.
“In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”
How can we refuse to give the gospel of Christ to anyone? How can we say that it is only for certain people? Christ came for all mankind. He came to seek and save the lost, those who are ready and willing to receive the word.
I want to speak with boldness, to be ready to sustain with a word those who are weary (Isaiah 50:4). I want to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within me. I want opportunities to glorify God’s Son, to bring honour to his name, to praise him for his salvation.
Bring it on Lord, I am ready! Grant me boldness that I may carry your name!
Are you ready? Will you be bold? How are you being bold and speaking the truth?