The following is an excerpt from a recent sermon I preached on Acts 4:13-22. The prose has been slightly edited for ease of reading, but I’ve tried to retain the sermonic, spoken feel as much as possible.
If you want to grow in courage you must spend time with Jesus.
You see verse 13? The council recognized that Peter and John had been with Jesus. Now part of it may be a simple earthly recognition, “Ah! We remember that accent. You’re from Galilee. I thought I saw you before. You’re one of his disciples. I get it now.” But given the placement in this verse talking about their boldness, I think there’s more to the recognition than just that. I think Luke means for us to understand that the council knew that they had been taught by Jesus.
Jesus claimed to be the only way, and now they say he’s the only way.
Jesus used Psalm 118 to rebuke his opponents, and now they use Psalm 118.
And do you remember what the people found most amazing about Jesus teaching? It was that unlike the scribes and the Pharisees, he spoke as one who had authority. And now they marveled to see the same boldness in Peter and John. “Make no mistake about it,” they thought, “these are Jesus’ men.”
Did anyone mistake you for being with Jesus this past week?
Unless we spend time with Jesus we will not speak of him clearly. We will not speak of him loudly. We will not let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. We will not have the truth abiding in us and exploding out of us.
The more time you spend immersed in sports, the more time you spend immersed in politics, the more time you spend immersed in whatever your hobby, the more clearly you speak on that issue. You get bolder about those things. You see more. You understand more. So you speak more. That’s good. But what about your courage with the gospel? What about your clarity with the things that matter most
You will not be bold to speak of Jesus unless you spend much time with Jesus. Courage comes out of communion.
To listen to the entire sermon, go here.