Boldness: An Aspect for Fishing for People
The dictionary defines “boldness” as the willingness to take risks with confidence and courage. This word describes the way the Apostles declared Christ’s message of redemption after Pentecost. It first appears in the Apostles immediately after Pentecost and spread to the believers throughout Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and finally to the ends of the earth. Right after Peter and John healed the lame man begging at the temple gates, they were arrested and recognized as having been with Jesus, because they were teaching boldly about the risen Christ (Acts 4:13-31). After being released, the Apostles and believers prayed together asking for boldness to continue to share Christ’s message. After completing their prayers, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with boldness. Paul, after his conversion, preached Christ’s message in Damascus with boldness. Some years later Paul recalls preaching the message of Christ with boldness amid much opposition in Thessalonica (1 Thess. 2:2). Years later the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Rome (Romans 1:15-17) stating that He is eager to preach the Gospel in Rome. He asks the Ephesian church (Ephesians 6:19-20) to pray for him that he would speak the message with boldness as he ought to speak.
What were these people risking by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ? They risked their standing in the synagogue, their freedom (a few were arrested), their family relationships, finances, their homes (some had to flee), their reputations (Paul’s captors accused him of going out of his mind), and at times their own lives (Stephen was martyred).
When sharing Christ’s message today what are we risking? Certainly, we might be tagged with unflattering and inaccurate labels, people might avoid us, family relationships might be strained or broken, we might be considered weak and foolish, we might lose friendships, we might lose our reputations, and some of us might face loss of freedom and even death, although that is not too likely in the USA. Frankly, some of these risks have kept me from speaking boldly at times. The Holy Spirit prompts me to speak but the risk seems too great and I remain silent. Other times I engage and I am filled with joy and satisfaction knowing that I am engaged in the greatest endeavor ever given to mankind.
Where does this type of boldness to take risks with confidence and courage come from? Is it some power we manufacture like John Wayne or Jason Bourne where we tough it out and take it to anyone who messes with us? Of course, the answer to this is no. This is not at all how Christ behaves, and it is not how He taught His disciples to fish for men. If we look back at the Apostles and early believers we see that they spent time with Jesus either personally or indirectly through the Apostle’s teaching, they were people of prayer, and they were filled with and moved by the Holy Spirit. Clearly then, such eagerness and boldness come from spending time with Jesus, spending time in prayer, mutual encouragement, and responding to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
My prayer is that God would make me and all of us, the believers of Grace Fellowship, into eager and
bold proclaimers of Christ’s message. This is an important part of becoming a “fisher of men.”
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