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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Attesting Faith"

Date published: 08/29/2016
Acts 4:29 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word with great boldness.” (NIV) 

   The more I read in the book of Acts, the more I realize that the prayer emphasis of many Christians today is quite different than the first generation church. This prayer is not the prayer of Peter and John, but the prayer of the people to which Peter and John were speaking. The living Christ, spoken through John and Peter, touched the hearers’ hearts in such a way that they were compelled to share Christ. They knew the dangers – Peter and John had just returned from being severely flogged. Pain, suffering, loss of property and freedom did not stop them (or those who heard their message) from sharing Christ. Not only were they willing to endure suffering, but they also wanted to be powerfully used – to speak with great boldness! They could have asked for a witnessing assignment out of town preferably with those they did not know, but instead they prayed to speak with great boldness so that they would be used by God in a big way.   

   What makes the difference between boldly proclaiming Christ and occasionally mentioning Him? The difference was their deep belief in God. Urgency and action follow belief. The book of James spends a great deal of time on this. James 1:25 links experiencing Christ to applying His Word, But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.” (NIV) James 2:17 shows how lack of obedience kills faith“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (NIV) By constantly not responding to the Word of God, you begin to numb yourself into believing there is a God . . . but not acting like there is a God. You may speak highly of God, but your actions bear out a different belief. 

   Our excuses compared to the excuses that might have been used by the early followers of Christ, or Christians in atheistic countries like China, or a current day hero such as Cassie Bernall (who looked through the barrel of a gun at Columbine school and not only professed faith in Jesus, but also shared Jesus with her killer) seldom hold up to scrutiny. We can spiritualize why we do not share how to come into a saving relationship with Jesus or why we do not care enough to shepherd (disciple) a new or floundering believer in the faith, but ultimately it comes down to your faith in God. There is or there is not a God. God is or God is not big enough. Acts 14:21-22 gives another passionate picture of faith, “They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.”(NIV) 

Ephesians 6:19-20 “Pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (NASB) 

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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “God’s Purpose For You” and “Knowing God’s Will.” 

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