Be Bold & Courageous: Acts 28

“He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”

Acts 28:31

Well, here we are at the end of our study of Acts. Paul is safely in Rome under house arrest awaiting trial.

So what does a man do while waiting trial? Plant vegetables? Write his memoir? Learn to cook?

Not Paul.  At least not that we know.  Paul, instead, continued preaching the Gospel & teaching people how to be followers of Jesus Christ.  He may not be able to go out into the city to meet people but he was able to invite people to come visit him. 

Paul remained bold and courageous in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ regardless of his present circumstances.  Whether on the road, a new city, under house arrest, shipwrecked Paul shared his faith story.  He knew the Holy Spirit would give him the words to share while Jesus walked beside him each day.

At times in our own lives we know we should share the Gospel.  We recognize some opportunities before us to tell someone our faith story but we do not always have the courage or boldness to step out in faith.

Excuses seem to appear out of no where at just the right moment. Fear pushes boldness out of the way to lead the way.

It can be scary to share one’s faith story.  We may not think we ‘know enough’ before sharing. Or we fear rejection by people.  Sharing does require a bit of vulnerability. 

But we are not alone when we share our faith stories.  The Holy Spirit gives us the words to share as with Paul.  Jesus walks beside us as He did with Paul.

At New Year’s Eve last year a friend of mine shared with me two words God gave them for me: Bold & Courageous. They knew about the new chapter in my ministry I was about to embark on in 2021. They wanted to encourage me.

See, while I was prepared to begin the new adventure there was still some fear in me.  I was excited but doubted how well I would do.  What if I failed? What if I wasn’t ‘good enough’? I was scared.

Then I look to those two words: BOLD & COURAGEOUS

God is not sending me out alone.  The Holy Spirit plants God’s Word deep into my soul so I have the words to share in person and online. Jesus stands beside me bringing peace to my heart so I remain bold and courageous in sharing the Gospel.

The same is true for you.  God does not send you out on the journey to weather the storms alone.  The Holy Spirit whispers the Word of God in your ear so you know what to share with others.  Jesus stands beside you on the deck telling you of the great things that lay ahead. 

This week spend time with God sharing what fears you have in sharing your own faith story. Let God plant the seeds of boldness and courage inside of you.  Go wherever God leads full of bold courage just like Paul.  No obstacle will get in your way.  You’ll simply step around it.

This Week’s Challenge

Make a 2 Column chart. On 1 side list any fears you have about faith.  On the opposite side write how God can change that fear to bold courage.

Courageous Storytelling: Acts 23

“That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, ‘Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.’”

Acts 23:11

It must have been scary for Paul to stand before the Jerusalem Council to talk about his missionary work.  These leaders had the power to severely punish Paul.  There were plenty of reasons for Paul to be quiet regarding his faith.

If he stayed quiet he probably would have been released by the Council.  

If he shared about his faith severe consequences were certain.

One would understand if Paul chose to be quiet.

But as we have seen so far in our study of Acts Paul is not afraid to share his faith story. Not sharing was not an option for him.

Why was Paul so confident in the face of certain peril?

Paul knew without a doubt that God was him in all circumstances.  Paul did not have to fear being alone as he shared the Gospel.  God promised the Holy Spirit be with him always. Paul taught the people in Rome this lesson when he wrote: 

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

These words are true for us today.  We do not need to be afraid when we share our faiths. The Holy Spirit is with us always as the Spirit was with Paul. 

It is scary to put one’s self out there.  Sharing one’s faith is inviting another to a part of our lives. It is opening up in a way that feels vulnerable. Rejection can happen. 

Have courage, follower of Jesus!

As you share the reason why you love Jesus be assured that the Holy Spirit gives you the courage to share and the words to speak.  It is not your responsibility to change another’s heart.  That is what God does.  You have the duty to tell your story.

As we have been studying Paul’s journeys we have witnessed his courage in many circumstances. He has taught us to bravely step forward in faith.  We witnessed how to share our stories in loving ways that help others begin his/her own faith journeys with Jesus Christ.

Courageous storytelling comes not from our inner strength but from God alone. As we grow in our faiths, learning to trust God more and more, we grow in courage.  The more experiences we have in telling our stories the more we learn that God protects us.

ReSolved disciples, grow in courage as you go out as storytellers.

Listen to the Holy Spirit guiding you to the when & how to share your story.  Practice with fellow disciples to gain more courage. Pray over one another before you go out to share in word and action. Continue praying for renewed courage when you apart. 

Use these words that God spoke over Joshua before he led the Israelites into the Promised Land:

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

This Week’s Challenge

Make a list of any & all fears you have about sharing your faith. Then pray to God to take all of them away replacing it with courage.

Acts 4: Courageous Faith Sharing

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)

Peter and John did not fly under the radar as they shared the Gospel with the people. After they brought healing in the name of Jesus to the Lame Beggar outside of the Temple (Acts 3) Temple leaders approached them to have a ‘discussion.’

Sharing the Gospel does bring about changes to lives.  The Temple leaders were concerned that the more Peter & John taught the people the less the power the leaders would have in public.  The Temple leaders did not believe in Jesus’ resurrection.  They worked to quell the Jesus Movement as best they could.  And now they had to deal with the fact that a 40 year old man who was lame since birth was now walking around town. 

The Temple Leaders worked to have Peter & John to be quiet. They order the duo to no longer preach in public.  If the two could not speak in public then the problem would be solved.  Except it didn’t go away.

Peter & John had courage to share their faiths because they knew Jesus was sending them out to share the Gospel.  They knew the Holy Spirt was with them always giving them the words to say. The Temple Leaders were not going to stop them (Acts 4:19-20).

We learn from Peter & John how to be courageous.  Each man was an ordinary man.  They did not have a bunch of letters after their names signifying a great deal of education. They were regular fishermen who lived with Jesus for 3 years watching and learning directly from Him.  They went now simply shared their stories of being with Jesus. 

I can hear now Peter sitting at dinner with some friends telling them about the time he walked on water. 

In our lives we do not need to have a ton of education before we share our faith stories. We simply tell the times we saw God in our lives and loved us.  We have courage to share, as Peter & John did, because the Holy Spirit is with us always. 

People will also take note of your faith when they hear of your story.  They will hear Jesus through the stories you share with them of your experiences with Him.  It is not about you. The hero of your story is Jesus alone. Let people begin to experience Him as you share your story.  

So do not fear, fellow disciple.  Be courageous to share your story with Jesus. Speak the words the Holy Spirit gives you to share. See God work another’s heart planting the seed of faith. The Gospel will continue go out into the world as the disciples of Jesus courageously share their stories of being with Jesus with others.

This Week’s Challenge

Write down any fear/worry you have about sharing your faith story with someone. Next to each one write what God says to give you courage against that fear/worry.