by Steven Chan
The Christians in the first century were able to preach the gospel everywhere (from house to house) because they were bold in speaking the Word of God.
In Acts 4, we read the account in Acts 4:5-6 of the occasion when the “rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem” to question the two apostles, i.e. Peter and John who had caused the lame man to be healed and was “walking, leaping, and praising God”(Acts 3:8)
After Peter had replied them that it was by the name of Jesus that the lame man had been healed, “they could not say anything” because the lame man who was healed was also standing by their side, they decided that in order to prevent the gospel from being preached, they decided to “severely threaten them (Peter and John), that from now on they speak to no man in this name (of Jesus)” (Acts 4:17).
They issued that threat “when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Nothing could stop the apostles from the speaking the Word because they had been with Jesus. They knew the truth about Jesus. So their lack of education and training did not stop them from speaking because they were bold.
They were bold because they said: “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”(Acts 4:20) They were fully convinced and convicted of the truth about Jesus Christ being the Son of God as He had been resurrected from the dead and they were eye-witnesses of that fact.
So, in Acts 4:29, the apostles and the brethren in Jerusalem prayed to God thus: “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word”. They prayed for boldness to speak the Word. In verse 31, the Bible said that the Lord granted them their prayer request by filling them with the Holy Spirit and “they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
Likewise, today we need conviction of the truth and also to pray for boldness to speak the Word of God.
If we lack conviction, we need to study and examine our personal faith. Paul declared his personal conviction when he said in 2 Tim 1:12: “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” Do we know whom we have believed? Are we persuaded that God is able to keep what we have committed to Him, i.e. the hope of our salvation? Have we committed ourselves to His service?
The lack of boldness is what often paralyzes Christians from opening their mouths to speak the Word of God with our friends and family members. We need to pray for boldness just like the early Christians did.
Brethren, let’s be convicted of our faith, and also be bold so that we can speak forth the Word of God such that those who hear us will marvel and come to the conclusion that “we have been with Jesus” – not literally but figuratively in the sense that we have spent enormous amount of time learning about Him, from Him and in His presence. In John 15:4-5, Jesus said to His disciples: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” We need to abide in Jesus so that we can be bold and be able to bear fruit for His glory. Do we really know Jesus? Have we spent much time learning from Him so that we can speak with personal conviction?
Let’s be convicted and let’s be bold to speak God’s Word and tell them the good news that God has sent His Son to save us from our sins.