“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking God’s word with Confidence.”
Acts 4:31b CEB
Confidence is defined as the state or quality of being certain; trusting in one’s ability. The Greek word, which is translated as “confidence” in The Common English Bible at the end of verse 31 of chapter four in The Book of The Acts of the Apostles, is parresίas, which can also be translated as “bold.” As I read through this passage of Scripture I found it amazing that the early church asked for confidence and boldness in the face of adversity. I believe that it is more common in our current context for people to ask for protection or discernment in difficult situations. The early followers of Jesus asked for boldness and confidence in teaching and preaching God’s word. Their primary concern wasn’t their own protection—they wanted to spread the Good News. They prayed and asked God to give them confidence and boldness when they were feeling uncertain.
What would it mean for us to pray for boldness and confidence in sharing our faith? The main reason people indicate they are not sharing their faith is fear. Fear is on every list of why people are not willing to share their faith. Fear of being rejected, ridiculed, or released from their job. People fear being labeled as a freak, fanatic, or flake. Do you remember many years ago when a famous politician belittled Christians as being weak, nonintellectual, and using religion as a crutch? A lot of people do and it is public opinions like that which keep fear alive in the hearts of a lot of believers. Fear is defined as anxious concern or anticipation of something bad and/or dangerous. If we allow fear to dominate over our ability to share the Good News of Jesus Christ we are not doing the work to which Christ called us. This is why the earliest believers prayed for boldness and confidence.
Here are five reasons it is important to have boldness and confidence in sharing your faith.
1. The Holy Spirit - Boldness and confidence comes from the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. When the believers prayed for boldness they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Once the Holy Spirit filled them they were able to speak with boldness and confidence.
2. It imitates Jesus - Jesus was not timid in telling people about the Good News. Jesus held the Sadducees and the Pharisees accountable for their actions, he cast out demons, healed the sick, and raised Lazarus from the dead. When we are bold we are truly following Jesus—imitating Christ.
3. Jesus' Name – We are called to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the name of Jesus. In the Great Commission Jesus commissions the disciples to make more disciples baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. As Jesus told his disciples, “I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)
4. No pressure – If we do have any fear about sharing our faith, we can be bold and confident because Scripture is quite clear that the Holy Spirit is with us and will lead us to know what to say. (Mark 13:11) While Peter shared his faith and gave witness to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit did the convincing (Acts 10:44).
5. It works – The truth is that people respond to the Good News when we proclaim it with confidence and boldness. People want to know that you truly believe what you are sharing. When you share with boldness and confidence those with whom you are sharing can see the evidence of what God is doing in your life.
I believe we should all join together and pray to God for boldness and confidence. As we pray we should expect the Holy Spirit to fill us to overflowing so we will speak the Word of God with confidence. Set fear aside and be bold today in your faith. Walk right into the opportunities God puts in your life today and share your faith with confidence. It may get messy, it may not go perfectly, but you can do it boldly and confidently leaving the rest to the Holy Spirit. May your word and thought for today be confidence!
This Sunday we continue the message series Go Fish. We will discuss what it means to share our story boldly with confidence. Fishing is messy but it is worth it. I hope you will join us this week and every week. The best is yet to come at St. Andrew’s and I can’t wait to see you in church!