Boldness

It is hard to convince many Christians that they are rapidly losing their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  They either don’t believe it is happening, or they chalk it up to ‘fake news’ or ‘politics.’  But the erosion of liberty is not only real—it is the greatest threat American Christians have ever faced.

If I listed everything the church was allowed to say ten years ago that she can’t say today, you would be horrified.  Without a miracle, your children and grandchildren will have to survive in a world that will totally ban their faith—and what is even scarier: they will have to face it without you.

The doctrines of our faith that offend are: the Cross, the Blood of Jesus, the reality of Hell, sexual purity, and marriage.  Preachers who feel the heat from government censorship are already deleting these doctrines from their sermons.  They’ll tell you it’s to reach a bigger audience—but, trust me, it’s the heat.

What can we do to stop the church from being driven underground?   No one who is truly a man or woman of God can seriously entertain the idea that we should stop preaching these truths.  That is not even an option.  What then can we do to reverse this pernicious loss of liberty?

An even better question is: What does God do when a nation tries to silence His church?  The answer came to me suddenly.   Hear me out, it is not what you think.  It is way beyond petitions, or elections.  The revelation I am about to relate to you, struck me with paralyzing clarity. I am amazed I never saw it before.

However, nothing I am about to say will help you, not one point I am making will have its intended impact, unless you have a heart for it.  If you are still in denial about what is happening, I can’t help you—this message can’t help you.  If you think I am dispensing alarmist extremism, then you are just another part of the threat.

But, if you want to hear God’s heart on this crisis—if you hunger for more than half-answers, then you have come to the right place.  You can ask the Holy Spirit the most important question you could ever ask: “What do You do when a nation tries to silence Your church?”

Here it comes:

When the leaders of Jerusalem arrested Peter, they didn’t know what to charge him with or how to punish him.  They knew they had to silence the church.  There was no doubt about their intention.  They were prepared to do anything to stop the Gospel—so what was stopping them?  Answer that, and you will know what the exact marching orders are, that the church needs today.

What was hindering the council members was the glaring presence of the man who came with Peter and John.  This was the crippled beggar who used to sit at the Gate Beautiful.  A spectacular miracle had occurred!  He had occupied the most visible and lucrative begging station in Jerusalem.  Everyone knew him.  Word of his miraculous healing filled Jerusalem, and a mad chorus of praise was rising over the Eternal City.

Their deep consternation is vividly described in these verses: Acts 4:14 “And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded (Peter and John) to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.””

Their profound dilemma was not lost on Peter.  The Holy Spirit had revealed to him the divine solution to government censorship.  Peter had clearly settled on a course of action—the very action we need to take today. It is the action we take in our tent. He left with a battle plan. He was armed with critical information.

He gathered the people of God, and ordered them to pray.  He was about to pray a prayer that is the precise model for our crisis. He faced the same threat we face.  Remember that word: “threat.”

You will recall I told you that nothing good can come to you from my message, unless you see how urgent the hour has become?  Peter began his prayer by calling the situation ‘a threat.’  We must do this, also.

In Acts chapter 4, Peter prayed: 29 “Now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”

Peter is showing us that boldness is essential.  Only boldness will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Not only this, he is forever settling the question of preaching.  Preaching must not leave anything out.  It is by sharing the whole counsel of God, that the church is protected, and able to continue her work.

Next, Peter is admitting that the vehicle for that boldness is signs and wonders.  God must stretch His hand over an angry culture, perform supernatural healings, and overrule the agenda of man.  Such is the case today.  Look at how God answered:

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Not only were they filled with the Holy Spirit and boldness, but God answered their prayer for miracles.  In the next chapter, the very shadow of Peter was healing the masses. (Acts 5:15-16)

Ignore those who aren’t willing.  Set the time and place to go to homes, houses of worship, schools, offices—anywhere where true prayer can be raised up to God.  Prove this promise and see: the Spirit will fall; you will receive a tongue of fire, and miracles will come.  I am not talking about self-absorbed emotional light touches.  I am talking about undeniable, medically verified, city-shaking divine healings.

And you will see that now, as in that day, no law, no argument, and no politician will be able to silence the church!

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