Fearless for Christ

Hello, my friends!

Have you ever felt like you were swimming against the tide, with the whole world trying to silence your voice? Well, you're in good company! The early apostles faced similar challenges, but their unwavering commitment to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is an inspiration to us all.

Picture this: the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit, were preaching the gospel with boldness and power. People were coming to faith in droves, and the church was growing rapidly. But not everyone was thrilled about this.

The religious leaders, particularly the Sadducees, were filled with indignation. They couldn't stand that these “uneducated” men were turning their world upside down with their message about Jesus. So, what did they do? They arrested the apostles and threw them in prison. Talk about opposition!

But God had other plans! In the middle of the night, an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and set them free. Now, you might think the apostles would have gone into hiding after such a close call. But no! The angel gave them clear instructions: “Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people all about this new life” (Acts 5:20).

Can you imagine the courage it took to march right back into the lion's den? But that's exactly what they did. They knew that obeying God was more important than fearing man. As Peter boldly declared, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29).

Friends, this is the kind of faith and courage we're called to have. We might not face physical imprisonment for our beliefs, but we may encounter opposition in other forms. Maybe it's ridicule from colleagues, strained relationships with family members, or feeling like an outsider in our culture. But remember, Jesus himself said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12).

The apostles understood this truth deeply. After being flogged for their faith, they left the Sanhedrin “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41). What an incredible perspective! They saw persecution not as a punishment but as a privilege.

Now, I'm not suggesting we go looking for trouble or intentionally provoke others. But when we face opposition for standing firm in our faith, we can take heart. We're part of a long line of believers who have faced similar challenges and emerged victorious through Christ.

Remember, the same Holy Spirit that empowered the apostles lives in us too. He gives us the strength and courage we need to stand firm in our faith, even when the going gets tough. As Paul reminds us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

So, my friends, let's take inspiration from the early apostles. Let's be bold in our witness, steadfast in our faith, and joyful even in the face of opposition. After all, we have the most incredible message to share – the good news of God's love and grace through Jesus Christ.

As we go about our daily lives, let's remember that we're not just living for ourselves, but for a greater purpose. We're called to be witnesses of Christ's love and truth in a world that desperately needs it. And who knows? Our faithfulness might just inspire others to take a stand for their faith too.

But here's something crucial to remember: our strength doesn't come from ourselves. It comes from God. As the apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). This isn't just a nice saying to put on a coffee mug – it's a profound truth that can revolutionise our lives when we truly grasp it.

Think about it: the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us! That's mind-blowing, isn't it? The apostle Paul prayed that we would know “his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20).

So when we face opposition or feel inadequate to the task before us, we can lean into this truth. We're not relying on our own strength or wisdom, but on God's unlimited resources. Isn't that liberating?

Now, let's talk about something that often trips us up: fear of man. It's so easy to worry about what others think of us, isn't it? We fear rejection, ridicule, or being misunderstood. But the Bible tells us, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

The apostles had to overcome this fear. They faced threats, beatings, and imprisonment. Yet they chose to fear God rather than man. They understood that at the end of the day, it's God's approval that matters most.

How about us? Are we more concerned with pleasing God or pleasing people? It's a question worth pondering. Because when we prioritise pleasing God, we find a freedom and boldness that no amount of human approval can give us.

Let's also remember the power of unity. The early church was characterised by their love for one another and their unity in purpose. Acts 4:32 tells us, “All the believers were one in heart and mind.” This unity was a powerful witness to the world around them.

In our increasingly divided world, the unity of believers can be a radical testimony to the transforming power of the gospel. When we love one another despite our differences, when we prioritise our shared faith over our personal preferences, we reflect the heart of Christ to a watching world.

Finally, let's not forget the ultimate goal of our witness: to glorify God and make disciples. Jesus' last command to his disciples was to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This is our mission too.

But here's the beautiful thing: we don't have to be perfect to be effective witnesses. God uses ordinary people like you and me to accomplish His extraordinary purposes. He's not looking for perfection, but for willingness and faithfulness.

So, my friends, let's go forth with boldness, knowing that the same God who opened prison doors for the apostles is with us every step of the way. His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in our weakness, and His love will never fail us.

May we, like the early church, be known for our unwavering commitment to the gospel, our love for one another, and our joy in the face of adversity. For as the apostle Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Let's embrace this calling with all our hearts, trusting in God's power and rejoicing in the privilege of being His witnesses in this world. After all, there's no greater adventure than walking with Jesus and inviting others to join us on this incredible journey.