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What is confidence? Confidence: the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust:
What does it mean to be fragile? Fragile: easily breakable.
Fragile confidence means when things get hard we feel like we have nothing to rest in.
- You quit doing what you are supposed to do. Basketball, you miss a couple shots, lose your confidence, and you quit shooting the ball.
- Someone makes fun of the way you dress so you start to hide. Had a friend that someone made fun of her looks so she started wearing big baggy clothes that she felt she would hide in.
Fragile confidence also means we stop doing things the right way.
- Someone says something about us, and we get angry, we go on the offensive, we hurt them. We feel threatened so we better get them back.
We need to have a bold confidence in God, in which we know him, we know ourselves, we know what he has called us to, and so we are unshaken and unmoved in hard times.
Fragile means we break. Fear leads to us being fragile. Boldness means we have courage, are daring, we are strong.
Jesus is our sovereign savior
and we should have an unbreakable confidence in him.
What happened last week in Acts? A man was healed. What happens after you heal a man who has been crippled all his life? Awe falls upon the people, the name of Jesus is heard, and people trust in Jesus… and others are annoyed and angry.
The Need for Boldness. Confrontation and Threats
1Now as they were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them, 2 because they were provoked that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in the person of Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 So they seized them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. 4 But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000. 5 The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem 6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. 7 After they had Peter and John stand before them, they asked the question: “By what power or in what name have you done this?”
Their teaching on the resurrection has provoked others. They are confronted, seized, and questioned.
V17 they threaten them so that they will not continue to speak in the name of Jesus.
Details of this event are very similar to what happened to Jesus. The disciples are enduring the same things Jesus endured. And if you are going to follow Jesus you can expect the same.
You should not be surprised when you experience opposition. It is a part of life. You feel competition in life and work. Play football and there are others competing for a starting job. When you work others are competing for the position above you.
The Sadducees were a sect of Jews that did not believe in life after death.
And you also should not be surprised to be confronted when you follow God. Sometimes following God brings the opposition. If they had not prayed they would not have been threatened. Now 5000 people also would not have been saved.
There is a cost of following Jesus. Look at how the disciples respond to this challenge.
- Dark Times Call for Bold Responses
8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man– by what means he was healed– 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene– whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead– by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This Jesus is The stone despised by you builders, who has become the cornerstone. 12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” 13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and knew that they had been with Jesus. 14 And since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in response. 15 After they had ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign, evident to all who live in Jerusalem, has been done through them, and we cannot deny it! 17 But so this does not spread any further among the people, let’s threaten them against speaking to anyone in this name again.” 18 So they called for them and ordered them not to preach or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; 20 for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After threatening them further, they released them. They found no way to punish them, because the people were all giving glory to God over what had been done; 22 for the man was over 40 years old on whom this sign of healing had been performed. 23 After they were released, they went to their own fellowship and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
This passage is like the Mel Gibson running out as William Wallace to the front lines of his army and telling the soldiers they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!
Captain America coming on the intercom system and calling out Hydra for infiltrating Shield.
19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; 20 for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
They are untrained and uneducated men but they have seen Jesus. They have experienced him in their life. Nothing can take that away.
Why does God do this? Why do we have hard times? We don’t know why he does it but we know he can overcome them, and often he calls his people to action in those times. Dark times display the boldness of one’s faith. The Spirit is with them. V8. Peter is full of the Spirit.
We live in a dark world. It has always been that way. And it always will be. We will feel it more or less at different times. Many examples of this in history.
Fred Shuttlesworth. I read a book on the Alabama Church bombings in September of 1963 that killed four black girls, and the perpetrators were never arrested. I read it because my grandfather was an FBI agent involved in the case and was called to testify in 2002 when one of the guys was finally tried and convicted. The book brought a new level of awareness of what was being done to black Americans in that time, and also introduced me to a pastor name Fred Shuttlesworth. Was essentially terrorism. Many black pastors opposed the hate with love, and unbreakable confidence in God, and it is amazing to see.
Shuttlesworth was attacked many different times for opposing the KKK and other racist. During desegregation he was taking his children to school when he was attacked by an angry mob. Shuttlesworth was one of the first African Americans to show up to the school. He was confronted by an angry mob. Riots erupted. He was beaten with chains and brass knuckles, his wife was stabbed in the hip, and with his children trembling in fear he drove he and his wife to the hospital and beaten and bloodied he looked at his children and told them “always forgive your enemies.”
What would you do in that situation? Being attacked for nothing other than the color of your skin. People, even professing Christians, denying your dignity and creation in the image of God. He didn’t shrink back nor did he attack. Could have been intimidated. Could have resorted to destroying the opposition. He followed Jesus. How powerful it is when we see the spirit of God at work in people.
That is a bold and unbreakable confidence. No doubt scared but unwavering in what God calls him to do.
There is not a shortage of reasons to fear today. People are constantly calling others out.
Where do you need to take a stand? Where is fear making you fragile? Where do you shrink back or go on the attack?
- People want complete agreement with them and if you don’t they cancel you. Don’t want anything else to do with you. How are you going to love those who disagree with you? Is your love fragile?
- Do you see wrongs occurring in life that you need to stand up for.
We need that today. Many issues that we need to stand strong with grace and love.
- People who have said they can’t sit next to someone who thinks this way about a political party or candidate.
- When we go out next… love and deference to others, grace in judgments.
- It’s not popular to have a biblical understanding of being male and female, sexual ethic,
- Win people from all parties.
We need that boldness today. Where does it come from?
- Confidence in Who God is
24 When they heard this, they raised their voices to God unanimously and said, “Master, You are the One who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You said through the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David Your servant: Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot futile things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers assembled together against the Lord and against His Messiah. 27 “For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness, 30 while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness. 3
There is no other name under heaven by which people may call on to be saved. The exclusivity of Christ. There is no other Savior. As Christians this should be our main concern. We need boldness in this. If we agree that Jesus is the only way we can be saved, we ought to make sure others things stay in second place. My main goal in life is not to get you to vote a certain way, talk a certain way, like a movie, wear a mask or not wear a mask. I don’t mind if you disagree with me on things. I want you to know this. Christians are compromising their testimony because they are more concerned with secondary things than they are people knowing Christ.
Remind yourself of the importance of this. If Jesus is your savior you have everything you need. Be grateful. Be bold. Be fearless. And don’t let other things distract you. As Christians let’s be united in this. It’s ok to differ with people on issues.
Firm in who God is. When life gets out of control you are not going to be unmoved because you heard “7 steps to a better you.” The spiritual diet of most Christians is so anemic that when the common cold of opposition and hardship come they ball up to nothing.
24 When they heard this, they raised their voices to God unanimously and said, “Master, You are the One who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You said through the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David Your servant: Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot futile things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers assembled together against the Lord and against His Messiah.
Sovereign God, despotes, . He made the heavens, the sea, the earth, and everything in them. If he made them he owns them. They quote the Old Testament about the nations raging and the kings, powers and authorities opposing God. But the next verse in the Psalm is that the Lord laughs. He is not intimidated by these, and neither should his people. God is fully in control.
V28 they say what has happened is what God predestined to occur. Nothing has happened outside of his will.
Singular focus. They hear the threat, and they cling to their God like a toddler hangs on his parents leg when they don’t know what to do.
what they ask for is boldness. But their prayer is bold. It does not have the concern for the things of the world but spiritual needs of the people.
29 And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness, 30 while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
They acknowledge the danger. Consider the threats. They ask not for their circumstances to change but for the boldness to handle the circumstances. And they believe God will act, that he will do miracles, healings, and wonders. They did not have a static faith.
What is our singular focus as a church. If someone walked into our church, Sunday school class, small group, what would they hear? Would they hear a church laser focused on telling others the good news of Jesus, or would they hear a lot of secondary and tertiary issues being prayed for. A church on fire is on fire for one thing and one thing alone: for God to move and work in the saving of souls.
Fear keeps you from the purpose you were created for, the purpose God has for you.
The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the LORD is protected. (Pro 29:25 CSB)
MLJ, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself.”
Anxious, worried, mental health, a black hole of negativity. You need to be vigilant in what you are allowing your mind to focus on, how everyone has done you wrong, or are you focusing on the Sovereign Lord who is over all things. Do you see him at work in your life?
Remind yourself of who God is. Remind yourself he is your savior. Work is not your Savior. Your kids are not your Savior. Being liked by everyone is not your Savior.
We need to talk to ourselves. We need to tell ourselves who God is. We need to
Pick others up. When you see people down and out, ask them what’s going on. Pray for them right there.
What is the next step you need to take? If you have heard this word about God what do you need to do? Maybe you need to go and tell someone about Jesus. Maybe you are living in fear of what others think and it leads you to living a life all by yourself. Maybe you have voices telling you that you are a failure, a nobody, a nothing. Just like the disciples experienced. And you need to listen to the voice of God over and above all those others.
Maybe you feel like you don’t belong and your fear keeps you from going deeper in relationships with others. You don’t want people to know you. You want to remain hidden and in the dark.
Maybe you are not doing what God calls you to do. You are lying and scared to tell the truth. Trust the Sovereign Lord, your only savior. Whatever you fear losing is not going to save you. Rest in him.
The fragility of feelings, but it is more the fragility of identity.
Beautiful picture of Community. All their needs were met. One of the ways you grow bold and confident is by being around others who have it. If you want to grow weak and cold stay away from community with those who love Jesus. You will get weak. You will grow cold. You will be ineffective in reaching the lost. You will shrink instead of stand.
God created us to be a blessing to others. We bless them through our work. We bless them by praying for them. We bless them by sharing truth from God’s word.