Tertullian, the early church father, stated that “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” What did he mean by this? Essentially he was stating that rather than hurting the church, persecution actually helps to spread the church. Throughout history, when the church has been persecuted, it has expanded and its impact has been enhanced. Persecution furthers God’s kingdom.
In Acts 4 we catch our first glimpse of Peter and John facing persecution. In chapter 3 they had just healed a man who had been lame from birth. They had been preaching the gospel to the crowds who had gathered to learn more about this miracle. Their preaching caught the attention of the Temple leaders. Acts 4:2 says that these leaders were troubled by what they heard.
What was their response? They arrested Peter and John. In the verses that follow we see the boldness of Peter and John. We need to understand that proclaiming the gospel will always require boldness. The question is, “How can we have this boldness?” While there is much in this passage from which we can learn, I specifically want to focus on 3 ways we can gain boldness.
1- Time with Jesus leads to boldness.
Verse 13 is an amazing verse.
“When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they wereuneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
What enabled these men to have boldness was not a seminary degree. It was not a special class they had taken. What contributed to their boldness was time with Jesus. And the time they had spent with Jesus was apparent to others.
The first requirement needed for your life to have an eternal impact is time spent with Jesus. If you want more boldness, spend more time with Jesus.
2- Seeing lives changed leads to boldness.
The man who had been healed was standing with them before the Temple leaders. These leaders could not deny the fact that a life had been changed.
You may have had your life dramatically changed by the power of the gospel. You can honestly say that you are not the same as you used to be and it is because of your relationship with God. God changed your life. Perhaps you have seen the power of the gospel transform the lives of other people.
Witnessing the life-changing power of the gospel will give you boldness. It will give you boldness unless you have forgotten about the transformation that has taken place. Take some time and remember how God has changed your life.
3- A desire to obey God leads to boldness.
Verses 19 & 20 are challenging verses.
But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.
It is clear that the top priority for Peter and John was obedience to God. Some people lack boldness because their desire to please others and be accepted by others is greater than their desire to obey God.
Boldness will be lacking in your life until your main goal is obedience to God.
Strive this week to spend time with Jesus. Remember how God has changed your life and the lives of others. Cultivate a desire to be obedient to God above all else. Do these things and your boldness will increase.