An Unusual Boldness
Dr. Ralph Colas
Broadcast on the ACCC Living Faith radio program, March 1971
I want to continue with my series of messages on “The Unusual” [previous: An Unusual Birth and An Unusual Bully] to discuss with you today “An Unusual Boldness.” I use the word “unusual” to mean that which is “rare” and “uncommon.”
Some years ago the father of Nazism spoke of boldness in this way. He said, “Assert yourself. Care for nothing except yourself. The only vice is weakness and the only virtue is strength. Be strong. Be a superman. The world is yours if you can get it.”
But this man died in a madhouse and his superman philosophy led the world to the brink of disaster in World War II.
In Acts 5 there is another example of boldness, an unusual boldness. Peter was not suggesting another superman philosophy. He was declaring holy boldness. Listen as I read these few verses in Acts 5:29-32. “Then Peter, and the other apostles answered and said. We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
An unusual boldness! It did not just happen. Especially when you recall Peter denying the Lord before a little maid and now he speaks with boldness.
Think with me about the reasons for this boldness. In the first place, he had confidence in God. In our lifetime we have heard of the so-called theologians who declare that “God is dead.”
These early apostles knew that God was alive, active and able. Our confidence in God must be unshakable if we are to obey God rather than men. God is to have first place, that place of priority in our hearts and lives.
Peter’s boldness was based upon his absolute confidence in God. He said, “The God of our fathers.”
This boldness also came as a result of Peter’s confidence in the risen Christ (vv. 30, 31). The resurrection of Jesus Christ had replaced their doubt. The sermons of Peter revolved around the resurrection of Christ from the dead. This tremendous truth was the heart and core of their preaching.
The living, exalted Lord was the fuel behind the apostles’ obedience.
If we have any doubts about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, there is going to be little holy boldness seen in our lives.
I would have you consider a third reason for this unusual boldness. It was that they had confidence in their calling. “We are witnesses of these things” said Peter (v. 32). Our Lord had told them before His ascension to heaven, “ye shall be witnesses unto me…” (Acts 1:6).
They had tasted and seen that the Lord is good and they desired to lead others into a like blessing. This boldness was contagious. Philip was exposed to this confidence and he contracted holy boldness. He obeyed God rather than man and went away from his successful revival meeting to obey God’s instructions. He climbed aboard that Ethiopian’s chariot and led that fellow to faith in Jesus Christ.
Stephen contracted that holy boldness and he showed it when he stood before the angry Sanhedrin.
My friend, God’s call to service and witnessing inspires confidence. I like what Peter added in verse 32. Not only are we witnesses, but he said, “and so is also the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Spirit enables our witness and gives us boldness to speak for Christ.
This principle, “We ought to obey God rather than men,” should be ours today.
Remember please, you cannot serve the Lord until you know Him. Back in the book of Jeremiah is the question in chapter 13, “What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee?” In other words, whom would you blame?
You cannot blame God the Father, He sent His Son to be your Savior. You certainly cannot blame Jesus Christ, He shed His life’s blood on Calvary for your sins.
Neither can you blame the Holy Spirit for He speaks to your heart, even right now, reminding you that you need Christ. Nor can you blame this preacher, for I tell you on the authority of God’s Word that the way to get ready to meet God is to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
God has provided the way for you to enter His heaven if you will receive His Son by faith. Then you can really start to live. I mean, you are not ready to live until you are ready to die.
When you know Him, then you can manifest an unusual boldness too. As your confidence is in God, in the risen Christ and your call to faithfully witness for your Lord then you will enjoy His blessing on your life.
A man by the name of Judson graduated from college and seminary some years ago. He received a call to a fashionable church in Boston to become the assistant pastor.
His friends congratulated Judson on his assignment but he shook his head and said, “My work is not here. God is calling me beyond the seas. To stay here would only be partial obedience. I could not be happy in that.”
The fashionable church in Boston still stands. But Judson’s churches in Burma had some 50,000 converts and the influence of his life is still felt around the world.
He obeyed God rather than men. So should we and as we do, we will reveal an unusual boldness.