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Prayer for Boldness

Acts: Christ Builds His Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Intro:

AG:
Antithesis
The church has buildings but little boldness.
The church has numbers but little nerve.
The church has comfort but little courage.
The church has status but little spirit.
The church has prestige but little power.
Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 65). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
TS:

Peter and John’s experience did not frighten or discourage the other disciples, but exhilarated them. They took confidence in God’s sovereign control of all events, even their sufferings. Furthermore, they were comforted that the opposition whom they were facing was foreseen in the OT (vv. 25, 26).

In the face of persecution and threats, they prayed for even boldness.
This is one of the greatest prayers recorded and a good example for us.
RS:
Acts 4:23–31 NKJV
And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’ “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

I. People's Response

1. United Prayer

A. Unified Body
raised their voice with one accord
They began from a place of unity
As one, they were agreeing as they sought the Lord
B. Acknowledged God's Lordship
They prayed to The Sovereign Lord, the creator of the whole universe.
This prayer comes from a place of submission
They didn't go making demands of Him
They didn't obligate Him to anything!
“Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them"
He is God
He is the Creator
created heaven, earth, and the sea and all inhabitants

2. Based On the Word of God

Recognized God's Purpose being carried out
They saw the events as a fulfillment of
Psalm 2:1–3 NKJV
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”
They made the connection between what was happening, and what the word had declared centuries before!
Jesus had also warned of this time of persecution:
John 15:20 NKJV
Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
AP: we should make the connection between the world and the world in which we live.
bring the wisdom of the word of God to bear on situation in which we find ourselves
Living by His word:
we know the way He wants us to go
we glorify Him in obedience
we proclaim Him

3. Petitioned for More Boldness!

Now remember:
Peter and John had been arrested
They spend the night in jail
They appeared before the very court which had condemned Jesus and manipulated the crowd and Pilate into doing their dirty work!
Yet, They didn't seek deliverance
They didn't cry out for justice
They didn't complain that life wasn't fair
They didn't demand the wicked enemies be slain
Instead, they asked to be more bold!
They wanted a holy boldness so they could get in more trouble!
They wanted courage and strength to keep being faithful:
they had declared they must obey God not man
Now they ask for the Lord to empower them to carry it out!
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Four: Persecution, Prayer, and Power (Acts 4:5–31)

“Do not pray for easy lives,” wrote Phillips Brooks. “Pray to be stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.”

So that:
They may speak His word
notice the content: the word of God
Not their ideas
Not their dreams
Holy Word of God
Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
That is the content of the message to be proclaimed!
God's word!
Signs and wonders be worked
That God would move in ways to glorify Himself and draw men to Him
Miracles and signs were never worked just to say that they had been worked.
They glorified GOD
They authenticated His message
Prophets
Jesus
Apostles

II. God's Response

Acts 4:31 NKJV
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
A. God blessed the young church with a physical sign:
He shook the house!
B. They were filled with the Holy Spirit
This is the promised One Jesus had often referred to
The first church was to wait for the Spirit and then go out and serve in the power of the Spirit
we now see them fully in phase 2
the lame man had been healed
Peter has now twice boldly proclaimed the gospel and a multitude had been saved
Here they were filled to overflowing
We minister and serve in the power of the Spirit
Ephesians 5:18 NKJV
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
The wording here is keep on being filled
Submit to His control and Lordship
Follow His prompting
Serve in His power
C. They spoke the word with boldness
Their prayer was answered YES!
God can say:
Yes
No
Not Now
This time He said yes, and they became more bold!
I think this prayer was a slam dunk to get a yes
James 4:1–3 NKJV
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
When we take our demands to God and try to get HIS help to fulfill our lusts, we can expect a no!
James 1:5–6 NKJV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
When we truly seek His wisdom and ask in faith, we will hear yes!
God works to carry out His purpose and bring glory to Himself

Conclusion:

Let us join with our 1st century brothers and sisters in praying for:
Boldness
God's glory
And Clarity to Proclaim His word
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