Spirit Empowered Boldness
A month ago I wrote a blog about three vital points for evangelizing to Muslims. They were:
1. Preach the Gospel
2. Let the Bible speak for itself, instead of you speaking for the Bible
3. Give them what we have in full in the Gospel that they lack in Islam
You can read the whole blog here: Evangelism To Muslims (Part 1): Three Vital Points.
I had a fourth point, but I did not want to overwrite the previous blog. My fourth point is this: Do points 1, 2, and 3, boldly.
A former Muslim once to told to preach the gospel with boldness to Muslims. He explained that if you are not passionate about your faith they will not believe you. Muslims are very passionate about their faith, probably more so than some Christians. I mean, some Muslims blow themselves up to honor their religion. But what he said next got to me: “If you preach the gospel boldly, they may kill you, but at least they will kill you with respect”. My fourth point is to be bold, be confident about your faith. And I don't mean this in a weird, overbearing way. But by the power of the Holy Spirit that overflows in the fruit of the Spirit. Boldness is not something we muster up in order to show our religion is true, but it is an overflow of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.
In Acts 4, we see this truth. Two of the Apostles, Peter and John, were persecuted “because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2). And their proclamation was fruitful because “many believed and the number of the men came to about five thousand” (Acts 4:4). The following day, they were questioned by the religious leaders about where they got the power or by what name they were doing miracles (Acts 4:5-12). Peter, filled with the Spirit began to speak the truth about Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12). But one thing the leaders noticed about Peter and John was their boldness and that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). They were then charged “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus" (Acts 4:18). They boldly replied to them “we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20).
After this, the two apostles go and tell the church (it says friends but they were believers) what had happened. What does the Church do? What is their response to the threats of man and persecution? They begin to pray for boldness (Acts 4:23-31). Boldness to do what? To “Continue to speak your (God’s) word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29, emphasis mine). And God was faithful to answer their prayer for it says, “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” (Acts 4:31).
Spirit empowered boldness to proclaim the gospel was a means by which the Church grew. And like I said, it is not something we create or muster up but an overflow of being filled with the Holy Spirit. And this is what the Apostles expected when they received the Holy Spirit and Jesus promised them when they would receive the Holy Spirit, that they would proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth (Lk 24:45-49; Acts 1:8).
So how do we proclaim the Gospel boldly? From Acts 4 we see:
1. Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:29, 31)
2. Do evangelism with the prayer and support of the Church (Acts 4:23-31)
3. Expect opposition to diminish your boldness (Acts 4:2-3, 18)
4. Remember who God is: The Sovereign Creator of all things (Acts 4:24), who charts the course of history (Acts 4:25-27), and who does whatever his hand and plan predestined to take place (Acts 4:28). His plans and purposes are not swayed by the threats of man (Acts 4:29).
May God shake our gatherings and send us out into the world to proclaim his gospel in the name of Jesus Christ by power for the Holy Sprit (Acts 4:31).