Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Building Character: Boldness

This week we are talking about BOLDNESS vs. fearfulness.

Our eldest son needs no encouragement towards greater boldness!  To quote Ogden Nash, he is "as brave as a barrel full of bears"!  I, on the other hand, tend towards being shy and fearful.  This is an area I pray about and sadly, where I regularly fail.  So if you or your child is like me, the emphasis will be on just saying something... anything!  Just speak the Lord's name out loud and do it with as much confidence as you can muster!  If your child is like my son, emphasize being confident in the Lord and not in our own selves.

BOLDNESS vs. fearfulness

Confidence that what I have to say or do is true, right, and just in the sight of God.

Acts 4:29 - "Lord... grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence."

This week's Bible Story:  Acts 4 - The Boldness of Peter and John
In chapter 3, Peter and John healed a lame man at the temple.  There were many witnesses to this miracle, and the apostles were very clear that they were able to perform this act of healing because of the power given to them by Jesus Christ.  They then preached a sermon calling all of the Jews to repent of their sin and to be converted to Christ.

Their proclamations about Jesus came to the attention of the Jewish rulers, and Peter and John were put into prison for the night.  The next day, they were brought before a large crowd of Jewish leaders for questioning.  They were specifically asked, "By what power or what name have you done this?"  Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit answered, "By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole."  He also said, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

The rulers marveled at the boldness of Peter and John.  With the man who had been lame standing before them, healthy and whole, they couldn't say anything against them.  They decided that the best they could do would be to severely threaten them.  Verse 18 says, "So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus."  Peter and John said that they would have to obey God rather than men and despite the threats made to them, went on their way, boldly proclaiming Jesus, His death, resurrection, and the salvation available through Him.

  • What sort of persecution did Peter and John face?  Did that stop them?
  • What sort of persecution might we face?  Should that stop us?
  • Peter and John were NOT bold to speak out about political or personal views.  They were speaking about a matter of life or death!  Do you think they would have had the same kind of boldness for things that were less important?
  • Peter and John were filled with the Holy Spirit and that seemed to help them with boldness.  Do we have this today?  
  • What are some specific times and places we can speak Jesus' name with boldness?  (Role-playing might be a good idea.)
  • How should we handle it if we are ever asked to stop speaking Jesus' name?
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