After Jesus ascended to His Father, the apostles returned to Jerusalem, whereupon they formed the first church of Jesus Christ with an initial group of 120 people, all of whom received the power of the Holy Spirit at the same time. This empowerment rendered them with the ability to ‘speak in tongues’ – in this instance, to be able to preach the gospel in various languages to travelers from different countries that were in the city.
Some outside observers accused the church members of spewing drunken gibberish. The apostle Peter rebukes them, and then uses this occasion to speak up for Jesus – delivering the very first Christian sermon. He begins by telling the crowd that what they have been witnessing is the Holy Spirit at work in Christ’s followers – the supernatural spreading of the gospel to the multitude. This event constitutes the commencement of the ‘last days’ before the end of time and Christ’s return for the redemption of God’s children.
Then, Peter dresses down the non-believing Jews for their complicity in Christ’s crucifixion. Convicted, the crowd asks him how they can right their wrong. Peter answers with the gospel’s central message:
“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Acts 2:38, 39. NASB
Peter was bold for Jesus; and 3000 people were added to the church that day.
On another day, Peter (along with John) was about to enter the temple when he came upon a crippled man who was begging for alms. The apostle responded:
“Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6 NKJV
And he did! Peter was again bold for Jesus. He made himself available for divine use, by having faith in the name of Jesus. And he told telling a gathering crowd that it was God that did the healing through Jesus – glorifying His Son.
Peter again convicts the crowd for their denial of Christ, which led to His death. Yet again, out of his compassion and His boldness for Jesus, he offers them salvation:
“Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance…Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing my come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His Holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:17 & 19 – 21. NKJV
The church number swelled to 5000.
We too must be bold for Jesus, to re-extend God’s invitation – letting everyone, both the unknowing and the rebellious, that salvation is just a confession and repentant prayer away, asking Jesus for salvation…
Peter and John were dragged before the Sanhedrin to explain by whose authority they were preaching and healing. Peter declares that their authority was from Jesus. The Sanhedrin forbade them to preach anymore about Christ. But Peter and John did not let go of their boldness. They replied:
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19, 20. NASB
All of the apostles are now working miracles. Subsequently, the high priest had them arrested. Yet that very night they were freed by and angel, who encouraged them in their boldness in preaching the gospel.
Again, they were hauled in front of the high priest, but they stood firm:
“We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.” Acts 5:29, 30. ESV
“Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:31, 32. NKJV
This time they were scourged, and then let go. How did the apostles feel about that?
So they departed from the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:41, 42. NKJV
Not only were they happy for not backing down from the ‘Great Commission,’ they felt great joy in the opportunity to suffer for Jesus. In fact, it encouraged them in their boldness.
During this time, there was also a disciple from the church, named Stephen who stood boldly for Christ:
…a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit…And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Acts 6:5, 8. NKJV
He was also arrested for expressing his faith in Jesus, and then accused of blasphemy. He threw the charges right back at his accusers:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” Acts 7:51 – 53. ESV
And just when Stephen was finished, the Holy Spirit provided him with a vision of Jesus standing exalted at the at the right hand of God in heaven. Then he boldly declared that vision to the court.
For that, Stephen was stoned to death, making him the first martyr for Jesus. Yet even with his final breath, he was emulating his Savior – praying to God for the forgiveness of his executioners.
Are you bold for Jesus? You are entrusted with lighting Christ’s lamp, showing people the way out of the darkness. If you convict them of their sin, it is a bold endeavor to free them from it (without judgment). You are saving lives.
First, we convict if warranted. Second, educate with regards to what death without Christ will look like, and then offer the salvation message with love. What they do with it is between them and God. What you are doing is being a good and faithful servant.
We stand bold in our spiritual gifts, drawing upon them to bring home the lost. Jesus also told us that when we open out mouths to testify of Him, the Holy Spirit will fill us with the words that we need to say. Always be prepared to be used by Jesus.
We do that by living out the word of God, by teaching it, and by placing our obedience to it above all that the world would have us do. The world will be a better place, you’ll have more people to love in heaven, and you will live a better life now and for eternity.
Are you bold for Jesus? Can you be? Sure you can…
Goodnight and God bless.