BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For Sunday December 25, 2011
A TIME FOR BOLDNESS
(GOD expects boldness from us in our representation of the Gospel)
Luke’s history of the spread of the Gospel in the Book of Acts is rife with stories of people and events that are alive with high drama. Each scene seems to come to life, as he chronicles the infancy of the Christian Church with, perhaps, the most literary use of the Greek language in all of the New Testament. He, quite literally, invites us into the world of the first century and convinces us, without argument, that, GOD has been at work all along, guiding and controlling each and every event. He depicts the Gospel of CHRIST, as good news for all people, and he promises hope and transformation for all those who choose to believe in CHRIST JESUS. Therefore, the story of the spread of the Gospel in the Book of Acts seems to become every person’s story and history, not just the Jews.
In the Greek, the word Luke and other New Testament writers use for “boldness” is “parrhesia” (par-rhay-see-ah), and “it is outspokenness, frankness, and bluntness”. It means “to be confident in both spirit and demeanor”. In Acts 4:1-4, after Peter and John had caused quite a commotion by healing the cripple man who had sat by the Temple Gate and begged for alms for forty years, they found themselves under fire from the leading Priests and Sadducees. They were approached by these leaders, along with the Temple Sagan (Guard), while they preached to the crowd, and both men were placed under arrest.
The charge of false teaching leveled against Peter and John was punishable by imprisonment or death, and in those days, according to Jewish law, judgment involving life and death, had to begin and end, on the same day. Since it was now already 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and almost time for the Temple to close, they had to jail the two men overnight, and then, begin their trial the following morning.
Many of the people who listened to Peter and John believed their message, and the number of those believers now totaled about five thousand, not including women and children. The next day, the 70-member Sanhedrin, the council consisting of rulers, elders, and teachers of religious law, assembled in Jerusalem for the purpose of trying Peter and John. The two men were brought in and asked the question, “By what power, or by what name, have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the HOLY SPIRIT, began to speak boldly saying, “Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of JESUS CHRIST of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom GOD raised from the dead, even by HIM doth this man stand here before you whole” (KJV). Peter goes on to tell them that, there is Salvation in no one else, and there is no other name in Heaven for people to call on to save them.
The Council members sat there stunned when they saw the “boldness” of Peter and John, who were untrained by the institutions of men in matters of religious law. They seemed to have no spiritual understanding of men like Peter and John, who possessed a C.B.G. (Call By GOD), the only degree that GOD ever gives HIS faithful students, once HE equips them to do HIS will.
The Sanhedrin knew who Peter and John were, because they had seen them many times with JESUS during HIS three-year ministry. They also knew that they had healed the crippled beggar, because they could see that the once-handicapped man was standing right there beside them. And so, they were pretty much compelled to release Peter and John at that point, but first, they would seek to stop them from preaching the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST any further.
So they sent the two men out and conferred among themselves for a few minutes, and decided to order Peter and John to cease and desist, their teachings about JESUS CHRIST. However, Peter and John responded by saying, “Do you think GOD wants us to obey you rather than HIM? We cannot stop telling people about the wonderful things we have seen and heard”. The council then warned them again, but would not hold them, because they feared that the people might riot.
In Acts 4:23-31, we see that, no sooner than Peter and John had been released, they begin to exhibit those characteristics of the heart that made them, and can make us, inviting to the HOLY SPIRIT. First we see in verse 23, that, they went to be with other believers. The first thing we as Christians must do when we come to CHRIST, is to stop hanging out with the old crowd, and start hanging out with other Christians.
Secondly, we see in verse 24 that they had prayer. All Christians need to have a strong prayer life. Thirdly, we see, also in verse 24, that they immediately gave the ALMIGHTY GOD HIS proper place in their prayers, as well as, in their lives. And finally, we see in verse 29, they recognize from whom their strength comes, and asks for courage that they may be able to continue to speak “boldly” about the Gospel of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.
And so, here we see yet four more spiritual qualities that must be embodied in every Christian who wishes to access the full power of the HOLY SPIRIT within us, WHO can lead us, not only in our personal Christian walks, but also, in our respective assigned Christian ministries.
(1). Once you give your life to CHRIST, stop hanging out with the old crowd that
helped you remain comfortably in sin. (Except for the purpose of trying to
convert them to CHRIST)
(2). Work on strengthening your prayer life, and always give GOD HIS proper place
in your prayers.
(3). Never forget from whom your strength comes (GOD), and ask HIM to continue
to supply you with the power to speak “boldly” about the Gospel of our LORD
and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.
Pray for boldness through GOD’s HOLY SPIRIT
KEY VERSE: Acts
DEVOTIONAL PASSAGES: Ephesians 6:10-20, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-9, & Acts 4:18-22
A Book by Book Bible Study by,
Larry D. Alexander