SOMETIMES I DON’T LIVE A BOLD LIFESTYLE

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I have been reading the book of Acts

Often referred to as The Acts of the Apostles when really it is a book of the Bible all about The Acts of the Holy Spirit

And, I notice, once again, the boldness of the apostle 

Men who were just normal people who were committed to following Jesus and spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14)

We tend to make superheroes out of them – stain glass heroes – who were special and extraordinary when really they were just regular people like you and me

Their boldness is amazing

Preaching on the first day of the Church 

Going public with their commitment as believers which could have cost them their lives – That’s bold

Healing a man born unable to walk who was begging in the main place of public worship – That’s bold

Defending themselves in from the religious leaders (Sanhedrin) and proclaiming the name of Jesus to them – That’s bold

Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished”

Astonished at their boldness — remember, these religious leaders could have had them executed (stoned to death) as their religion allowed

What is even more amazing is that after they were released they gathered with other believers and prayed for more boldness

Acts 4:29-31 “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

I was reminded, as I read these verses, of a stick-um note that is in the front of my Bible and has been since July 1, 2007

A note regarding the need for me to be bolder in four areas:

            • Life-style
            • Prayer
            • Conversations (witnessing)
            • Obedience

And I am reminded of a promise that I made to the Lord at that time saying that I would be bold

      • In all of my behaviour (in my lifestyle) as I lived for Him
      • In my prayers – praying boldly and with strong faith
      • In my speaking and sharing in every day, normal life
      • In my obedience to everything He asks of me

I believe the Lord would have us look at the call of God upon the life of every follower of Jesus to be bold – the call to live boldly

I remember when the Lord first spoke to me about being bold for Him

In 2007 I received a powerful prophetic word about being bold and having bold faith

A word about believing God in a fresh and new way all day, every day

Having a bold lifestyle … 

          • The way I live 
          • The way I relate and speak to people
          • The way I pray
          • The way I obey

Verses jumped out at me … the key one being:

Matthew 9:29 “Because of your faith, it will happen.”  

“Be it done to (for) you according to your faith”

TPT “You will have what your faith expects!”

MSG “Become what you believe.”

So, because of the prophetic word over my life I worked to “up the level” of bold in my life

And again I believe the Lord is calling me to increase my boldness for Him yet another notch

But Sometimes I Don’t Live a Bold Lifestyle

And I believe we are entering a new season when God is saying to His disciples – to the Church – that He wants us to be bold for Him in these days in which we live

In the New Testament…

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – The life and ministry of Jesus

Acts – The continuing ministry of Jesus as the Holy Spirit continues His work through the Church 

Through the bold life of the believers

Written by Luke who was a disciple of the Lord and a medical doctor by profession

 

One of the main themes in the Book of Acts is BOLDNESS

Look in Acts and you find miracles and more miracles… and then more miracles

        • Signs and wonders
        • Healings 
        • Supernatural expansion of the Kingdom
        • Multitudes saved
        • Priests coming to faith in Christ

I believe that we don’t often see these life-changing, world altering events today because we do not have the BOLD FAITH and BOLD ACTIONS that led to BOLD EVENTS

 

I am convinced that supernatural results come from being bold

Definition of BOLDNESS:

Boldness is behaviour born out of belief 

What you really believe determines how you live

If you believe people are going to be critical 

You will behave and live tentatively

If you believe you are going to fail

You will behave cautiously

If you believe you are going to be rejected

You behave in a guarded and defensive manner

If you believe that the One True God is calling you and has empowered you, leading you, equipping you

You will live and behave boldly!

Why?

Because boldness is behaviour born out of belief

You behave boldly because you believe God has called you, empowered you, and that He is leading you and equipping you

You believe you are an ambassador of His Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20)

You believe you are a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18)

Boldness is behaviour born out of belief!

Boldness in the original Greek of the New Testament: parrhesia (par-rhay-see-ah)

        • Outspokenness
        • Assurance
        • Courage
        • Confidence
        • To act without fear

I am praying with all my heart – with boldness – that God would take His Church 

A Church not always known for its boldness

And that God would give us extreme boldness

        • Courage
        • An outspokenness in the Spirit
        • Acting without fear

I really want to talk about boldness on so many different levels and so we can focus here for the month…

BOLDNESS IN PRAYER:

Praying bold and courageous prayers of faith

What you pray for reflects what you believe about God

Most common prayers you hear:

                • Thank You for this day
                • Be with us God
                • Please meet this need
                • Keep us safe
                • Let me get to where I’m going (air travel)

It is almost like I hear God saying:

            • Oh, come on, Give Me a tough one
            • Give Me something that will be a challenge

BEING BOLD IN OUR SPEECH:

When you look in the Book of Acts

      • “Spoke the Word of God boldly”
      • “They preached boldly”
      • They were courageous in the way they spoke regardless of the consequences

They were not afraid to speak the Name of Jesus and the Word of God

They were not trying to be politically correct

 

Out of love – with boldness – they spoke

We speak boldly about what we believe deeply

BOLD OBEDIENCE:

Read the Book of Acts and you will see men and women who would rather be persecuted or killed then disobey the God who saved them through Jesus Christ

 

      • A serious bold and instant obedience
      • A bold obedience because Jesus was raised from the dead and is alive and with us
      • A bold obedience based on the revelation we receive from the Lord

We obey fully and immediately who we follow completely

BOLD WITNESS:

The early Church had a terrifically bold witness for Jesus in a very pagan and dangerous world

  • They witnessed to other about the Kingdom of God
  • They spoke of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead – King of the Kingdom
  • They declared that there was a Hell to avoid and a Heaven to receive
  • They preached repentance and salvation leading to dramatic life change

They died for what they boldly believed and preached

REMEMBER: boldness is behaviour born out of belief

What you believe about God determines how bold you will be

LET’S LOOK AT PETER: 

In general – In all areas of life… most of us can relate to Peter – I know that I do

Peter reminds us that most people today:

Have bold intentions followed by timid actions

Maybe that’s you

  Bold intentions followed by timid actions

Many stories we can tell about Peter…

 

Bold intentions (John 18:15-18, 25-27):

If all of these losers turn their backs on You – I will never deny You

      • I am Your guy
      • I’ve got Your back
      • I’ll never deny You
      • I will boldly stand by You

Timid actions:

Before the day ended Peter had denied Jesus three times

Once to a little school girl who certainly was not a threat to his wellbeing

Bold intentions followed by timid actions

We can relate!

Happens to us quite frequently

The boldness is just not there

I hear the Lord saying: This needs to change!

Something did change in Peter – something happened to Him…

I pray that the same thing will happen in each one of us

After Jesus rose from the dead

Peter comes face-to-face with Jesus and has a very personal encounter with the Risen Lord (John 21:1-19)

Jesus says to Peter:

      • You are forgiven
      • It’s good
      • You are still on the team
      • You are reinstated
      • Let it go / That was then, this is now
      • Go out and declare the Kingdom
      • Take care of My sheep
      • Be bold

Something inside of Peter flipped

 

A switch was turned on

Peter use to have bold intentions and timid actions

Now that is no longer the case

Peter is now seriously bold

 

He preached in front of a huge crowd of people where before He denied Jesus in front of a little school girl

And he preached a very bold sermon

He said:

You are a corrupt generation

Not politically correct

You need to turn from your sins and repent in the Name of Jesus and be baptized

3,000 people were saved and baptized that day

Boldness was in all that the early church did

As a result – the New Testament Church exploded – grew – expanded

They had boldness

Peter and John were walking along and they see a man who has been lame from birth

Over 40 years old and has never walked 

In our context: 40 years in a wheelchair

They walk up to him and say, “In the Name of Jesus get up and walk” – then they extend a hand and pull him up (Acts 3:1-10)

Very bold

He walks, jumps, leaps…

That action stirs controversy because everyone knew this man and knew he could not walk – had never walked

The religious rulers hear from the temple guards what has happened and they send armed soldiers out to arrest Peter and John

Brought them into the temple and put them on trial in front of the Sanhedrin (70 men who controlled the Jewish religion)

Dressed in their robes they would place the accused in the center and circle around them

They would then hurl questions at Peter and John from all directions and then decide their fate    

    • Release you with no harm done 
    • Beat you
    • Imprison you
    • Kill you

So Peter and John are in the middle and someone asks:

“By what Name and by what authority do you do these things?”

And here is their bold response:

Acts 4:8-12 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Leaders and elders of our nation, are we being questioned because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed?  Let me clearly state to you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed in the name and power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, the man you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead.  For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’  There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.”  

Note:

The power of the Holy Spirit was in Peter and enabled him to be bold 

This power is in you as well if you are born again 

Peter boldly states facts (not opinion):

By the power of the Name of Jesus this man stands before you healed and whole

Peter then sticks a knife in and twists it

This was done by the man YOU crucified but God raised from the dead

You cannot overstate how bold this was

 

      • The members of the Sanhedrin hated Jesus
      • They were glad He was gone
      • They never wanted to hear from Him again
      • They didn’t even want to hear about Him

The foundation of their belief system was that resurrection is impossible

They did not believe in the resurrection from the dead

And so  Peter points right at the people who have the power to kill him and says:

You are wrong

You killed Him

You are wrong

He’s back

You are wrong

He’s been raised from the dead 

You are wrong

We have seen Him, touched Him, talked to Him, ate with Him

This amounts to a declaration of war

His boldness confounded the religious leaders

Interesting to me:

2,000 years ago the Name of Jesus was so controversial

2,000 years later what name causes a similar type of controversy? 

The Name of Jesus

Think about it:

In our world today – you can be bold about all sorts of things and it is fine

Everyone likes a little God-talk

Everyone can handle a little spirituality

But bring Jesus into it and everyone gets freaked out

 

Be honest

Go on television and talk about your higher power and it’s good

Name Him as Jesus and…

You can talk about auras, séances, end-time prophecy, vampires, ghosts, spirits, witches

You can talk about prayer, spiritual life, spiritual disciplines

It is all good

But as soon as you mention Jesus… Whoa

At public events … you can pray anything you want – But you can no longer pray in the Name of Jesus

What name can you pray in?

    • Lord’s Name (just don’t name who ‘Lord’ is)
    • God’s name (just don’t name which God)
    • Big guy upstairs
    • Allah 
    • Your higher power

But do not pray in the Name of Jesus

Why?

Because there is something about THAT Name!

Peter looks at them and says:

This Jesus – you killed Him and He’s back

Your worst nightmare has come true!

The religious leaders could not believe what they were seeing and hearing

Acts 4:13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.  

They were amazed when they saw the boldness of the believers

They saw that they were ordinary men but they had been with Jesus

In the time left — Three facts to drive things home:

1> God gives ORDINARY people EXTRAORDINARY boldness

Acts 4:13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.  

Ordinary in Greek means:

            • Unlearned
            • Unschooled
            • Ordinary
            • IDIOT – this is the most literal meaning

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were IDIOTS who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.  

The Bible translators were too polite to call them IDIOTS so called them ORDINARY

God can use intelligent and bright people

But He specializes in using idiots

He really does

He loves using ordinary people

God loves to take ordinary people and give them extraordinary boldness

You might say:

    • I am not naturally bold
    • I am just a normal person
    • I am an introvert
    • I am a quiet person – seen and seldom heard

Ah! Just the kind of ordinary person the Lord wants to use in His world today

He will give ordinary people, like you and me, extraordinary boldness

2> Your boldness will AMAZE the world

Acts 4:13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.  

When you are bold – the world will be amazed 

Why were they amazed?

They were amazed because they were aware that they had the power of life and death over these men and yet these guys did not back down even a centimetre

    • Peter and John did not care about what might happen to them
    • They were willing to die

They were amazed because a man who had never walked in his 40 years of life was healed and everyone – including the religious rulers – knew that only God can do that

Amazing! Crazy! Wow! Bold!!

That was the reaction of the religious leaders

They would be saying to themselves: “Not sure I understand or agree with them but wow!”

They certainly believe what they believe

When was the last time someone was amazed at your bold stand for Jesus?

On a scale of 1 to 10

1 being not amazed in years

10 being really amazed just this week

Not talking wacky or weird or cheesy

Drive-by witness

But bold with integrity

You boldly give – serve – care – love

Love them enough that you earn the right to tell them about Jesus

Bold witness

3> Spiritual boldness comes from KNOWING Jesus

Acts 4:13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.  

How could Peter stand in the face of possible death and say what he said – and do so boldly?

Answer: He had been with Jesus

THE KEY:

Boldness is not the goal

Knowing Jesus is the goal

Boldness is always the by-product of knowing Jesus

The more you know Jesus the bolder you will become

Boldness is behaviour born out of belief / faith in Jesus

When you have a daily time with God – reading the Bible and prayer

When you pray and ask God to give you opportunities to tell others about Him – to open doors for you

You will see many God-given opportunities to be bold and you will be bold

Why?

Because you have been with Jesus!

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Spend time with Him — You grow in your relationship with Him and come to know Him better

This leads to more faith in Him

With more faith growing in your heart you will become bolder than you were

Greater boldness will mean bolder prayers and so you will begin to see Book of Acts type results

This will make you so excited about Jesus that you will want to spend more time with Him

Which leads you to greater faith

And so more boldness

Thus more results

And so more time with Jesus

THE OPPOSITE IS ALSO TRUE:

If you don’t spend much time with Jesus

You will not have much faith

You will have little boldness

And so you will see few if any results

This is discouraging and so you spend less time with Jesus and have less faith and thus less boldness and see fewer results which results in…

You then live for the lower things of this world wondering why your life is so empty all of the time

We all need to grow in boldness

God wants to stir all of us up

There is a world out there that needs to know Jesus and so needs us to tell them about Him 

Boldly speaking for Him and about Him

Just spend time with Jesus

You will grow in faith

You will receive extraordinary boldness

You will see results

I refuse to be a half-hearted disciple

I don’t believe the Church was ever meant to be lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-16)

Let’s fall so in love with Him that we will spend that time with Him daily and overflow with love and compassion for people who don’t know Him or the joy and peace He brings

Father – stir up this boldness within each one of us here today…

No longer do we want to walk in the spirit of timidity and fear 

Teach us to walk in the power of love and do so with boldness (2 Timothy 1:7)

The boldest statements in the Bible:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  

Acts 2:21 And anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

I believe those bold statements and plan to be more bold than ever in telling others these bold truths…

I pray you too will become bolder than ever before in your words and lifestyle so others will come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour through your bold behaviour born out of your strong belief in a powerful and awesome God