With All Boldness
With All Boldness
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
Passage: Philippians 1:20
Sunday, March 1, 2020 pm
Tonight I want to talk about boldness in the life of a Christian. Looking over my lessons in recent years, the subject of boldness (and courage) have been mentioned as points in various lessons, but it has been awhile since we specifically addressed this subject. So tonight we will focus on this topic.
What is boldness?
- Defined – courage and confidence in approaching God and others. Speaking with frankness, especially when it is unpleasant, unpopular or uncertain.
- The Bible calls for us to be bold and courageous –
- Philippians 1:20, “with all boldness”
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 – be brave and strong
- 2 Timothy 1:7 – God has not given us a spirit of fear.
- In a few moments we are going to notice some examples that show the importance of boldness.
- Where we need boldness
- As we defend the truth – cf. Philippians 1:14, Hebrews 13:6. It takes courage to expose error and stand up for right when in the midst of the ungodly.
- When going to a brother in sin – it is never a pleasant thing to go to a brother who is in sin, but if we love them, we will do just that.
Galatians 6:1-2, James 5:19-20; cf. Galatians 2:11-14 – Paul confronted Peter for his hypocrisy.
- As we deal with our struggles – it takes boldness to admit we are wrong and confess our sins – James 5:16.
It takes boldness to admit we need help. This is not an easy thing to do or say, but it is something that is often the first step to true repentance.
- As we approach God – when we have faith, we can boldly approach God. This is a blessing of the Christian. Ephesians 3:11-12, Hebrews 4:16, 13:6
Examples of boldness
- Peter and John – Acts 4:13. Shortly after the church began on Pentecost, the apostles were on a daily basis teaching in the temple – doing signs and preaching Jesus. Jesus was gaining followers through their efforts. Out of concern, the Jewish leaders took Peter and John into custody. As they stood before the council the next day, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, credited Jesus with the works being done. Furthermore, he charged them with the crucifixion of Jesus and noted their failure, because God had raised him from the dead.
Acts 4:13, Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
After this they were threatened to stop preaching Jesus and released. But in the next chapter they were arrested again. This time they were beaten. But that did not stop the apostles and they continued to boldly proclaim Jesus in Jerusalem and beyond. That is the message of Acts.
There was a confidence and truthfulness to the message as they exposed their corruption. This is an example of boldness.
- Nathan the prophet – 2 Samuel 12. After David’s sin with Bathsheba and its cascade of sinful results, Nathan was sent to David. He told of a rich man who took the only ewe lamb of a poor man to feed a traveler. David was indignant and declared that the man should die and restore fourfold what he had taken because of his lack of pity.
Nathan in vs. 7 said, “You are the man” and proceeded to rebuke David’s sinful actions. This was a bold declaration considering the power a king had to put to death or punish anyone whom he disliked for any reason (right or wrong). But the truth needed to be stated and Nathan obeyed God rather than fearing man. Matthew 10:28 – Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul…
- John the Baptist – preaching in the wilderness about the coming Jesus, John was gaining many disciples. The Jewish religious leaders were investigating him which prompted him to call them a “brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come. Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…” (Matthew 3:7-8). The boldness of John would result in his being put into prison and executed because he condemned the marriage of Herod (Matthew 14:4, 3-12).
- Stephen – Shortly thereafter, in Jerusalem, Stephen was preaching Jesus with great wisdom that could not be resisted (Acts 6:10). So Stephen was falsely charged with blasphemy and arrested.
Acts 7 – Instead of defending himself before the council, Stephen told the history of rebellious Israel and then charged them with corruption including resisting the Spirit of God and murdering Jesus. In anger they cast Stephen out, garnishing on him with their teeth and stone him to death. He becomes the first recorded martyr for the cause of Christ.
It was a bold message that did not fear what man might do
- Paul and company – Acts 14 finds Paul and Barnabas in Iconium on Paul’s first preaching trip. They are met with success and opposition almost everywhere they god. Acts 14:3 says, Therefore, they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Acts 19:8, in Ephesus, on his third preaching trip Paul boldly spoke in synagogues for 3 months. It was another audience with mixed reactions. He would stay in Ephesus for 2-3 years continually preaching, even in the face of rejection and hardships.
Romans 15:15 notes that in some of his writings, he was bold in some points. Anyone who has studied Paul’s letters knows tis.
PAUL is a great example of boldness. In spite of everything he endured – from beatings to imprisonment to attempts to kill him to rejection and being falsely accused – he kept preaching the gospel of Christ without compromise. At times, like the other examples he would boldly charge the corrupt with their corruption, not fearing what they might do to him.
He boldly clung to his faith (cf. 2 Timothy 1:12, Acts 21:13, etc.)
- Jesus – the ultimate example of boldness, both in word and deed. As you consider the life and teachings of Jesus you find boldness. For example: The “Sermon on the Mount” was bold as Jesus taught what would be expected of them as citizens of the kingdom of God – uncharacteristically good attitudes (the “beatitudes”), a willingness to suffer, a heart and conduct greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees, true and humble worship and actions toward others, etc. No wonder the people were astonished as He taught with authority, unlike the Jewish leaders (Matthew 7:29).
He cast out the money changers from the temple twice (John 2:13-25, Matthew 21:12-17), He healed on the Sabbath even as He was being criticized, etc.
John 7:26, the people of Jerusalem took note that the leaders were seeking to kill Jesus, “But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ?”
If you study the teachings of Jesus, He begins boldly, but as His ministry progresses, He becomes bolder and His messages stronger. The words He used were often intended to provoke the leaders. This as He prepared Himself for what He knew must happen – He needed to die for us – the ultimate act of boldness. He opened not His mouth as He was led as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).
- Many other examples could be added – these show the actions and teachings that often accompany boldness.
- Understand, the above are extreme examples, especially considering the results of their boldness. We likely will not face execution and persecutions to the degree of these examples (at least yet) if we boldly proclaim the Lord and live differently than the world. But there is likely to be consequences when we are bold – we may lose friends, cause a brother or sister to become angry with us, be maligned and accused of impure motives, etc. But we must still be bold.
So what can we do to develop boldness.
- Don’t mistake boldness for arrogance and unkindness. Being bold in no excuse for being insulting and hateful in your words and actions. Numerous passages speak of our gentleness, kindness, grace and other qualities that need to govern our conduct (Colossians 4:6, Ephesians 4:31-32).
- Build up your faith – faith is where boldness comes from. If you are convicted to the truth it will prompt you to be bold. That is behind the examples we addressed above – there was a genuine trust in God above those of the world. Acts 5:29, Peter with the others said, “We ought to obey God rather than men”
- Keep studying – the more you study, the more confident you will become. 1 Peter 3:15 calls for us to give a defense for the hope that is in us. Often times our lack of boldness is the result of uncertainty of our level of knowledge (“What if they say something I can’t answer?”). We cannot let that keep us from saying anything. But there is something we can do about. Keep studying so that you know more and become more confident (Hebrews 5:14).
- Do something courageous – the idea of boldness is doing or saying something that you know is strong and may get a negative reaction (thought that should NOT be your hope) and/or have consequences. Sometimes, you just have to do it. Be brave and strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Boldness is one of those qualities that when you act boldly the first time (and you likely survive, MOST of the time the results are not as bad as you thought they would be), it becomes easier the next time.
- Pray for boldness – Acts 4:29, 31, Ephesians 6:19-20 – even Paul requested prayers for boldness. None can deny that boldness is a good thing when properly demonstrated.
- Don’t take rejection personally. If you have a proper attitude and the truth, realize that any rejection is ultimately against God. Jesus even warned of this – Luke 10:16, 1 Thess. 4:8, 1 Peter 4:14-16
It is my hope that in this study we are encouraged to be bold with our faith. And if we are not there yet, may we work toward that end.
1 John 4:17, our ultimate goal in this is to have boldness when we stand before God in the day of judgment. That can only happen if we boldly surrender to Him in this life. What about you? Are you ready to stand before God? If not, how can we help you?