Let’s be honest – there is a heck of a lot of stigma attached to the Gospel of Christ. Folk have got so many barriers when it comes to Christianity that you could spend a life-time just trying to deconstruct the myths and half-truths that people have absorbed before you can even begin to present the gospel. That being said – what if boldness was the key to deconstructing the demonic barriers that separate people from salvation? What if a simple, humble, gentle but firm, Holy-Spirit confidence was the bull-dozer that could smash down the dividing wall of hostility? And what if you and I were able to tap into that boldness?
Is that too simple?
But it’s biblical. What was it about the apostles that enabled them to have such a breakthrough?
It was their boldness.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
Notice two things. The boldness of Peter and John was an attention grabber – and the source of their boldness was identifiable – “they had been with Jesus”. This wasn’t self-confidence, it was Christ-confidence. It was a confidence that came from knowing Jesus. A confidence that came from being clothed with the Spirit of Christ. This was the boldness of Jesus flowing through the disciples like a river and creating floods wherever they went. This was the very thing that Jesus had promised them.
I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
This isn’t just theory, it’s a reality that has been experienced by countless people down through the ages. It’s easy to think, “I’m just not an outspoken person” or “That’s not my personality” – the Holy Spirit transcends our personalities. That’s the whole point. If this were all about personality, we wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit. The whole point is that he supplies what we lack. The truth is, human personalities – even the more charismatic-types – can’t penetrate the wall of spiritual indifference – only the Holy Spirit can. In fact, awareness of your weakness is an essential quality that is needed if we are going to be used in this area.
Look at how Paul counseled timid Timothy:
7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and self-control. 8So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me, His prisoner. Instead, join me in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.… (2 Tim 1:7-8).
I can relate to this in my own life. I’ve experienced the power of the Holy Spirit enabling me to boldly speak about Jesus both in a personal 1-2-1 capacity and in a public speaking context. At school, English solo-talks freaked me out. Hated them. Stuttered and stammered my way through thirty seconds of torture (I could never last the whole three-minutes). Even later when I became a youth worker and went to study at theological college – presentations made me clam up. However, fifteen years later the Holy Spirit has worked within me, opened my mouth and enabled me to preach Christ with boldness, conviction and clarity. That’s the power of God at work.
The same is true in personal evangelism. When I first stumbled into church, I struggled to hold a conversation with people. After-meeting small-talk around coffee and biscuits was a nightmare. It was only a matter of months before the Lord led me into street evangelism, and outreaches to people trapped in addiction. Again, his power was at work as he enabled me to speak about Christ. The point is this, our natural disposition should not limit us or define us, his supernatural intervention is what counts. Further, it’s not for a promised few, it’s for all God’s people:
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:17-19)
The word of God is clear. His Spirit is being poured out on all people. That is, all who call upon the name of the Lord. What is the outcome? “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” and just in case we miss it, it is repeated: “they shall prophesy.” This isn’t talking about everyone predicting the future. Not all prophecy is fore-telling, prophecy is mostly forth-teling – telling forth the purpose and plans of God. In other words, it forth-telling (prophesying) about Jesus.
What does Hebrews tell us?
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2)
All God’s people are called to be prophets. Whether you are a plumber or a preacher, a home-maker or a lawyer – the call of God is the same, you are called to prophesy. You are called to make Christ known. And God doesn’t expect you to do it on your own strength, he has supplied the means – the Holy Spirit.
You say, “I can’t! It’s just not me!” God says,
The Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. (1 Samuel 10:6)
What are we waiting for?