Friday, January 05, 2007

Jesus' bold church (part 2)

I know. As was pointed out, I began this year with the same post that I used to end last year. I had not planned on doing it in that manner. Sometime in late December I decided to do more than the one post on Jesus’ bold church. Since my last post for 2006 was on December 16, I thought I’d better repeat that one for some continuity. This post tonight is, of course, Jesus’ bold church (part 2).      
     Yesterday’s post was taken from Acts chapters 4 and 5. It gives examples of boldly proclaiming the WORD of GOD and quotes Scripture where the church prayed for boldness and where the church was described as acting boldly. Tonight, I will continue with selected passages. I would encourage a complete study of Acts. The book is filled with examples of Christians boldly proclaiming the WORD of GOD although facing great personal hardships. Proclaiming the WORD of GOD to a spiritually lost world is not for the timid. But then, Christians are not to be timid! We are to boldly proclaim the WORD of GOD. And why wouldn’t we. We have the greatest message possible. Spiritual salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of the SON of GOD—JESUS the CHRIST. The selected passages.
     “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” Acts 8: 4 (NIV)
     “When he (the apostle Paul—my addition) came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul (also named Paul—my addition) on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
     So Saul (known as Paul—my addition) stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of Jesus.” Acts 9: 26-28 (NIV)
     “’We (the apostle Peter is speaking—my addition) are witnesses of everything he (JESUS, the SON of GOD—my addition) did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.’” Acts 10: 39-42 (NIV)
     “Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: ‘We had to speak the word of God to you (the Jews—my addition) first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’
     When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
     The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.” Acts 13: 46-49
     “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jew and Gentiles believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord….” Acts 14:1-3a (NIV)
     “’In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man (JESUS—my addition) he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him (JESUS—my addition) from the dead.’” Acts 17: 30-31 (NIV)
     “Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures (Old Testament Scriptures—my addition). He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
     When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” Acts 18: 24-28 (NIV)
     Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way (a term used to identify early Christians and Christianity—my addition). So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.” Acts 19: 8-10 (NIV)
     “In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” Acts 19: 20 (NIV)        
     “From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the leaders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: ‘You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” Acts 20: 17-21 (NIV)
     “’Now I (the apostle Paul—my addition) know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.’” Acts 20:25-27 (NIV)
     “’I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
     Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.’” Acts 20: 29-32 (NIV)
     “When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, ‘The Lord’s will be done.’” Acts 21: 12-14 (NIV)
     “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 28: 30-31 (NIV) The very last sentence in the book of Acts declares that the WORD of GOD was being boldly taught and preached—teaching about the LORD JESSUS the CHRIST!  
Is the church boldly proclaiming today that JESUS is LORD and that salvation can come through no one except the SOVEREIGN LORD JESUS?


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