Praying for Boldness
March 13, 2022
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Acts 3,4)
A. One man’s healing stirred up a lot of commotion (Acts 3:1-9)
1. Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God.
2. It was NOT just the miracle itself that excited everyone – of a crippled man, now leaping and walking and running around…
3. But the WAY he was healed – by just using the NAME of Jesus of Nazareth in faith!
B. To the authorities, Jesus was history – crucified, dead, buried, gone – or was He?
1. All the talk about Jesus being alive, and doing miracles still was grieving to the religious leaders of that day
2. It cut them to the heart to hear the name of Jesus being worshipped and praised and loved
C. So they started to push back – as you learned last week (Acts 4:1-3)
1. Acts 4:1-3 And as they [PETER AND JOHN] spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
D. But 5,000 more people repented of their smug self-righteousness and chose to follow Jesus (Acts 4:4) Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. WOOHOO! AMEN!
E. And so, the persecution went into full force against these three rabble-rousers!
F. They brought Peter and John and the crippled man before “the council”
A. Clearly Courageous (Acts 4:13,14)
1. Acts 4:13,14 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
2. Three insignificant men (Peter, John, and an ex-Cripple) stood before a massive 71 member Senate of the Jewish government
a. It was a very daunting and scary place to stand and be looked down upon
b. Remember that this is the same group of powerful men who had judged and condemned Jesus to die just 2 months earlier!
3. All those rich and powerful men noticed four things in those men (Acts 4:13):
a. Boldness – courage in those two nobodies
1) Peter and John had shown great boldness in front of huge crowds in just the last few verses of Scripture
a) They spoke hard-hitting Gospel truths about people’s sins, and the consequences
b) They held nothing back
2) And here they were, standing before these powerful men, NOT terrified, not scared, not intimidated, but calm, and resolute, and courageous!
3) Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
b. They saw ignorance too, to be sure (Acts 4:13,14)
1) Acts 4:13 …perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled
2) These three men were quite unimpressive
3) They were not educated like the rest of the Pharisees and Sadducees
4) They were IDIOTS (that is what the word ignorant in Greek is!)
5) It is NOT wrong to be educated – even highly educated
6) The queen of all sciences is the study not of physics, or biology, or geology or math, but the study of GOD (Theology)!
7) Knowing and understanding God is the foundation for learning all other sciences
8) Jeremiah 9:23,24 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me.
9) The greatest minds in history have NOT been the Albert Einstein’s but the Isaac Newtons, Galileo’s, Gregor Mendel’s, Louis Pasteur’s, George Washington Carver’s, Robert Boyle’s, Michael Faraday’s, Arthur Compton’s and Florence Nightingale’s!
10) But the result of education must be always tested
a) Does it exalt or diminish the view of life?
b) Are we simply accidents, or are we designed and full of purpose?
c) Does education pursue truth, or force people to believe only dogma?
d) Does it actually help people THINK, or does it just fill up time?
c. They saw the influence of Jesus on them
1) Did you notice that these men (as with all the disciples) were only important and effective because they had spent time with Jesus! Let THAT sink in!
2) Your and MY personal wit and smartness stinks!
3) What amazes people is when they see Jesus in us, in our attitudes and in our words!
4) THAT is why it matters how much time you spend learning HIS words and walking with Him every day! That is why you have a quiet time with HIM!
d. And lastly that a bona-fide miracle had happened with that crippled man dancing in front of them!
4. The rulers were amazed and speechless at the composure and calmness of these three men!
B. Attempted Cancelling of Christianity (Acts 4:15-18)
1. Acts 4:15,16 But when they [THE PHARISEES] had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
2. The authorities HAD to do something – there were thousands and thousands of Jews turning away from Judaism to following Christ/Christianity!
a. Acts 4:16 …What shall we do to these men?
1) A verifiable miracle stood right out in the open – a crippled man
2) But it did not matter – it didn’t when Jesus was alive and doing them
3) And it won’t matter with most people
4) This Jesus theology has to be stopped!
5) You can do your miracles, teach the Bible, pray
6) But DON’T mention JESUS! Don’t preach like He is GOD, and He is judge!
7) Their desire was to STOP hearing that NAME in the streets
8) They didn’t like all the negative preaching
9) They did not like being made to blame for His death
10) They did not like that name, JESUS! Demons never do!
3. So they started threatening them (Acts 4:17,18)
a. Acts 4:17,18 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
b. With expulsion from the temple – that’s okay, WE are the temple now
c. With loss of jobs and income – that is okay, the Lord will provide
d. With jail and prison – that is okay, we are free no matter what you do to us
e. They threatened to cancel their freedom to meet together. They were going to make it illegal to have church meetings
4. This was and still is the reaction to people who speak truth to power…
a. Cancel, oppress, belittle, shut-up the speaker
b. The modern word is CANCEL – ban off of Twitter and FakeBook
c. No debate is allowed. No hearing all sides. Just cut them off, and threaten people with the loss of jobs, of income, of mockery and embarrassment for speaking about Jesus!
d. I have seen it over and over 5,000 times!
e. It is so strange that school teachers can GROOM 5 years olds with LGBTQ perversion, but the moment someone tells people they need to be born again, they are fired, and banned from teaching!
5. My greatest sorrow is that we have little worry of other religions cancelling our church, but that WE OURSELVES, by our lack of love for and commitment to our church, will cancel it! The greatest canceler [KILLER] of Christianity is Christians!
a. So, Why were they trying to CANCEL Christianity?
b. Because THEY knew Jesus is WHY we have church, and why we do everything now
1) He is why we Gather as a Church (Matthew 18:20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
2) Why we Care for people (Matthew 18:5) And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
3) Why we Pray (John 14:13) And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
4) Why we Baptize (Matthew 28:19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
5) HE is how we Get saved (John 3:18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
6) And HE is the centre point of all that we Preach (Acts 9:27) But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
c. If you could shut down that NAME, you take away the very reason why we exist!
6. So these rulers made a law against just mentioning that name!
7. That’s Censorship
C. Obeying a Higher Law (Acts 4:19,20)
1. Acts 4:19,20 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
2. These two men were not “rebels” wanting to just do their own thing (We have way too much of that in modern Christianity)
3. They knew the Bible’s commands to obey rulers and all authorities
4. But they were obeying a higher law [scales with bible and Pharisee on it]
5. So they asked the authorities to tell them what to do
a. Should we obey their words, or the words of God?
b. Which was more important for them to obey when they contradicted each other?
c. No opinions are allowed – what should we do?
d. It is the best question!
6. “We are simply speaking what we have seen and know” - That is what a witness does
a. We have said nothing but what we have experienced and know to be true!
b. You admit a miracle has happened
c. We have told you it is because the Jesus you murdered is alive and well!
d. Are you telling us we should LIE and say it was an accident?
7. Again, those 71 men, in their lofty chairs of authority were gobsmacked!
a. These two men had shown calm, clear reason and logic
b. They had not sought rebellion
c. And had argued from Scripture, that they could not violate their own conscience and deny what they have seen and heard and experienced for themselves
D. Set Free (Acts 4:21-28)
1. Acts 4:21,22 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.
2. Yes, Peter and John were threatened, but they were free! Allowed to go free
3. What would they do? So, where did these two men go?
a. The whole city was glorifying God again – such joy throughout the capital city
b. Jesus does that to people – not oppressive religion, but joy, peace and liberty of soul
4. They went to their “own company” – their own kind of people – they went to church! The fellowship of believers! 8,120 brethren! All family! All gathered together!
a. Act 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
b. They had testimony time – reporting all that had just happened
1) To encourage everyone to not fear persecutions and threatening’s
2) To emboldened the entire crowd by example
3) To teach everyone how to speak to authority – respectfully but powerfully
c. They were all unified – no cliques or divisions or bad attitudes
d. They took time to worship God (Acts 4:24)
1) Worshipping under the stress of persecution
2) Acts 4:24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
e. They pondered Scripture (Acts 4:25-27)
1) Realised this reaction by the religious and the politicians was prophesied in Psalm 2
2) Acts 4:25-27 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together
a) Heathen, ungodly people raging in anger against God and His Messiah
b) All was to be expected
c) They had never seen or understood that before!
3) They let their troubles deepen their understanding of Scripture!
4) Afflictions usually unlock Scriptures better than the best education can
f. Submitted to the Sovereignty of God (Acts 4:28) For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
1) They realised God was working everything out according to His Plan
2) Understanding the doctrine of the sovereignty of God over world events will give the Christian great comfort and peace and even thrill!
g. And then they prayed (Acts 4:29,30)
1) They Made an important Prayer Request
2) Acts 4:29,30 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
3) That God would make them BOLD/Courageous
4) That God would continue to do miracles to prove the Gospel is true
5) Ladies and gentlemen… WHERE ARE YOU WHEN THIS CHURCH IS GATHERING TO PRAY?
5. What are YOU doing with such freedom?
a. We have even more freedom than Peter and John did
b. So, what should WE be doing?
1) Mocking the Lord’s Day, and missing church almost every Sunday?
2) Ignoring the responsibility we have of praying together on Wednesday evenings?
3) Shirking the responsibility of speaking of Jesus and salvation to the lost around us day after day after day?
E. Their Greatest Needs (Acts 4:29,30)
1. Acts 4:29,30 … grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
2. Not for money, or even for protection from the threatening’s of the authorities
3. But for BOLDNESS – courage in every believer
4. For more miracles – things that people would recognise as only God being able to do
5. And that the name of Jesus would be preached, and believed in by everyone!
F. God Answers! (Acts 4:31) Two answers to their prayer:
1. Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
2. God answers With an earthquake – a shaking
a. The place was physically shaken – like an earthquake
b. Like when God showed up at Mt Sinai
c. Like when the disciples had been gathered together on the Day of Pentecost
d. God was saying, I AM STILL HERE! I AM STILL WITH YOU!
3. And, with the filling of the Holy Spirit of God
a. This is the key to boldness - Being filled with the Spirit of God
b. We cannot do anything without Him filling us
c. If you have noticed how full of lust you have been lately?
d. And full of anger - And full of sorrow - And full of fear?
e. It is because the devil is working overtime to keep you from getting FULL OF HIS SPIRIT!
4. We are COMMANDED in Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit
G. And The Church Started Talking (Acts 4:31) – using the tongues God gave them!
1. Acts 4:31 … and they spake the word of God with boldness.
2. They had been letting Peter do all the preaching until that moment
3. But now they ALL started speaking that Name which is more important than all other names, and started engaging people about their sins, self-righteousness and need to be saved
4. Everyone left that meeting and began speaking of Jesus with courage!
5. And it wasn’t stopping! (Act 5:42) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
A. It is Time for US to Pray for Boldness
1. It is getting harder than ever here in Europe
2. So we need to pray!
B. Why? Why is boldness so important?
1. Because it presses on in spite of obstacles and fears
2. It is contagious – it will encourage others like nothing lese does
3. Our world needs US to be bold and courageous, and radical!
C. Where do we get boldness?
1. By asking for it – a desperate prayer by God’s people to give us BACKBONE!
2. By yielding to the filling of the Holy Spirt of God – the most powerful force that there is
3. Yielding means giving in to whatever the Holy Spirit tells you to do, and to say
4. And as you yield, the Holy Spirit will fill you more and more!
D. What do we do with our boldness?
1. Stand up - Speak up - Engage debate and discussions – people are so good today to debate about vaccines and politics, but WHERE ARE THE SOUL-WINNERS?
2. Become BOLD as a lion – NO FEAR! (Proverbs 28:1) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
a. Bold as a lion in soul-winning - like Stephen when preaching his nation needed to repent
b. Like Moses was when he finally got over all HIS fears, and faced Pharaoh head on
c. Bold like David running up to Goliath with a slingshot!
d. Against wickedness around us – like Joseph
e. Against the fear of persecution and mockery – like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
f. Like Christians were at first! (Acts 5:41,42) And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
E. Jesus Christ was BOLD facing the cross for you and me – look to Him today to be saved!