"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Speaking Freely, Boldly, and Confidently of Jesus

If you've ever thought about telling others what Jesus has done for you or explaining to others what Jesus can do for them, you've probably felt inner hesitancy. "What will they think?" "Should I not say anything?"

Speaking freely, boldly, and confidently of Jesus is like lighting a fuse. What follows will always be transformative. Jesus either rebuilds the broken or crushes the proud.  If you want to make a difference in this world for the Kingdom, speak of Jesus freely.
Here's an example:
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
Peter and John had been going throughout Jerusalem after Pentecost, speaking freely to the people, priests, Temple guards, and Sadducees who came up to them "greatly disturbed because they (Peter and John) were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead" (Acts 4:2). Jews were believing Peter and John's Good News about Jesus Christ because they were seeing miracles happen throughout the city, including Peter and John healing a 40-year-old lame man who'd been crippled from birth (Acts 3).  Peter and John were transformative people. They were changing lives through their proclamation of Jesus Christ.

The Jewish religious leaders had them arrested.
"By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”
 Peter stands before the Sanhedrin in defense of his and John's actions and declares:
"Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 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, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. Jesus is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief Corner Stone.  And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12).
Read Peter's proclamation carefully again.

It's not politically correct. Though the messengers loved all people, their message was not embracing of all faiths. On the contrary, Peter and John declared an exclusive message. All other faiths but faith in Jesus will not deliver people from their broken condition; all other faiths but faith in Jesus will not bring people to right standing before the Creator; all other faiths but faith in Jesus will not lead to immortal life.
"By this name (Jesus) this man stands... Jesus is the stone rejected by you, but has become the chief Corner Stone...And there is salvation in no one else but Jesus; for there is no other name under heaven but the name of Jesus by which we must be saved." 
That's bold speech. That's free speech. That's confidence in the message.

And that is exactly what the Jewish religious said about Peter's proclamation of Jesus:
"Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
The word translated confidence in Acts 4:13 is the Greek word parrésia. This word - translated into English as freedom, boldness or confidence - means the power of freedom in speech. This Greek word refers to a speech or talk given with so much resolve, confidence, and freedom that the hearer remembers the message because the messenger's bold delivery makes the message memorable.

Could it be that what is missing in our Kingdom message is the parrĂ©sia that characterized the speeches of Peter and John?

When it comes to Jesus, don't worry about political correctness. Speak freely, boldly, and confidently. The Savior transforms by both the content of the message  (the Gospel) as well as the character of the messenger (boldness).

13 comments:

RRR said...

Thank you for that word of motivation, Brother Wade. I need it. I need to constantly have my obligation to my Lord to share His Good News and love with everyone I encounter and to seek His voice as to what word He would have me use. Especially, I need the confidence of which you speak that impacts others the way that Peter and John did. Good word indeed!

Christiane said...

There are things we may not know in this life, and only God knows the heart of another man and I think there will be MANY who say 'Lord, Lord' who will not be invited into the Kingdom, and I think there will many admitted who knew and cared for Our Lord (WHOSE NAME THEY DID NOT KNOW) when they loved others in this life in the ways described in St. Matthew's Gospel, ch. 25.


Aussie John said...

Wade,
Thank you for this clear challenge to all who claim to be followers of Christ.

During my latter years I began to notice something which persuaded me that the boldness of which you speak is an evidence of the reality of the relationship with Christ rather than a learned sales pitch: "Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).

Paul prayed for that boldness (Eph.6:19).

There is a huge difference between that Holy Spirit induced boldness and the learned arrogant proclamation demonstrated by some who have made the Good News a lucrative business.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Bro Wade, Amen!

Christiane: yep, you stated your belief clearly. And yet it is simply contrary to the Word.

Not much else to say in that case, huh? Or am I misreading you maybe?

Linda

Wade Burleson said...

You are welcome, RRR.

Amen, Aussie John!

Christiane, my friend John Blanchard believed the same thing as you. He told me he believed God elected, Christ died, and the Holy Spirit regenerates His people, some of whom may never know the name of Christ, but love people the way God loves them. I'm a little like Linda (and told John the same thing), that if God elects, and Christ dies, and the Holy Spirit regenerates, then the all-powerful, sovereign God is able to send a missionary to share Christ with the ones who have never heard His name. Of course, I could be wrong - and you and John could be right! :)

Thanks, Linda~!

Rex Ray said...

Oh that I could get hold of that which I was gotten hold for.

Wade Burleson said...

Amen, Rex!

Christiane said...

Hi WADE,
I don't think you are wrong, and I don't think I am wrong either IF it is considered that the Holy Spirit serves as a primordial missionary to all mankind as a Voice to their consciences. Here I refer to the moral conscience God has placed into the hearts of all mankind which direct us to do what is good and to avoid evil. In a real sense, those that the evangelical world sees as 'the lost' who are living in response to the Holy Spirit's promptings to do good and avoid evil . . . . they have already unknowingly responded to Christ to Whom the Holy Spirit is always pointing.

Does that remove us from the obligation to try to reach those who do not know Christ?
No, if anything it should inspire us to try far more, in service of the Good Shepherd so that we can tell 'the lost' about this 'God', Jesus Christ, 'a God Who knew the way out of the grave'..... so that they would understand Who it is that has been guiding their hearts, and they should know of the Christ Whose Presence they have sensed from the teaching of the natural world and its creatures.

"Or speak to the Earth, and let it teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare to you. 9"Who among all these does not know that the Hand of the LORD has done this,
10In Whose Hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?
(from Job 12)


Shari England said...

Love that, Rex.

Rex Ray said...

I feel guilty of not revealing the words I said were words I learned from my Dad.

CHRISTIANE,

Dear friend, I’m afraid you have too much of a loving heart in believing good people will not go to hell.

The verses you quoted in Job is his trying to prove to his friends that the Earth and even fish know that his circumstance was not caused by any sin he had done.

How can you contradict the many verses in the Bible that salvation is only by trusting in Jesus?

Are you saying there is good news that good people will go to heaven?

What do you do with Galatians 1:8? “Let God’s curse fall on anyone…who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.”

Christiane said...

Hi REX RAY,
I hope you are well.

Sounds like I didn't clarify what I was thinking about in my comment. It's pretty much this: Christ and Him Crucified, the focus of our salvation
And all of the events encircling Christ from His Incarnation to His Resurrection, what we call the 'paschal mysteries' and their power

“Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery. Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved."

So we believe that it is Christ Who does the saving.
We believe that salvation is offered, in the way of 'choice': 'choose life that you may live'

and we see in the full events of the Paschal Mystery the possibility that God finds a way that we may not be aware of . . . . as it is said 'the Holy Spirit goes where He will'; and that all mankind are given a conscience by God to help steer them towards what is good and away from what is evil

I know that Jesus Christ saves, but I do not FULLY comprehend all the ways in which He does this. It is a mystery that transcends our own understanding. So I let God be God.

Hell? yes, some will choose this freely

Above all, I hold to God's merciful compassion for those who are 'lost and confused and without a Shepherd' . . . I believe in that compassion, that it is a powerful lesson to us into the Mind of Christ towards 'the lost', yes, so I trust this and am at peace.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Sorry that I just now saw your comment.

If all “good people” are going to heaven, why did Paul preached Jesus to those who worshiped so much that they even had an “unknown god” in Acts 17:16-34?

Do you believe all ‘good’ Buddhist, Muslims, etc. go to heaven?

Since I was a ‘good’ boy at age ten, why did the Holy Spirit tell me I was lost?

“Not everyone who calls out to me, “Lord Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven…many will say to me…We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name. But I will reply, “I never knew you. Get away from me…” (Mathew 7:21-23)

I’m sure these people felt at peace with themselves. Might even be some TV evangelists.

Without mentioning his name I remember a newspaper cartoon showing a TV preacher on his big boat watching Jesus on shore saying, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nest but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58)

The TV preacher said: AMATEUR!

RRR said...

Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people1 are without excuse."

Glad you two, Rex Ray and Christiane, are dialoguing about this. It is a confounding issue to me. I may be interpreting her wrong, but I don't think that Christiane is saying that she thinks all good people are saved. I think she is saying that we may not know when some people are saved.

What about people living in places where The Gospel of Jesus Christ never reaches? So they cannot pray, "Jesus, save me!"

Paul of course asks in the very same letter to the Romans in Chapter 10:13 "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 14 How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent?"

Almost sounds like Paul is contradicting himself, which we know he's not, so there must be some other explanation. First, he says that EVERYONE has evidence in creation that bears testimony to the Creator God, (1:20) but some reject the truth so are lost. That seems he is saying that IF they do not hear The Gospel, they still have enough evidence to save them if they accept that evidence they have in creation. Then, in these later verses, (10:13) it sounds like Paul is saying that if they do not hear the explanation of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, they have no chance of being saved. So we better be sending preachers!

I do think it is obvious that Paul is saying that if ANYONE rejects the One, True, Creator God, and create their own gods to worship, they are lost for eternity if they exit this life in that condition. I don't "think" Christiane is rejecting that, I think she is saying that we don't know what condition or decision a lot of people make just prior to exiting this life. But she would have to say.

Thanks for talking about it, anyway. Still interested in hearing your thoughts.