By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville
As we come to the ominous day of the presidential election of our nation, I am reminded of the need for courage. Benjamin Franklin was quoted to have responded to a question regarding what type of government would be created in this new nation saying, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Each new generation is tasked with attempting to keep that which was won and secured by the revolution and each generation must muster the courage to confront the opponents of liberty.
Likewise, we find in the book of Acts a new church founded upon a great sacrifice, a great message, and a great mission. Salvation and freedom from sin and death had been secured and nothing could be added to the work of Christ on the cross. However, now once and for all secured, this new covenant between God and man must be shared and the church would be God’s chosen vehicle for sharing it.
In the first part of this Scripture passage, Peter and John find themselves with an opportunity to share. Facing them were many of the same people who had demanded the crucifixion of Jesus. They had every reason to fear, but instead they mustered up great courage in the face of opposition and with the power of the Spirit they unwaveringly shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. They accepted no credit for the miracle that was performed, but gave all glory to God in Jesus Christ and proclaimed Him no longer a dead prophet, but the risen Lord. Peter went so far as to proclaim that He was now the only way by which man could be found acceptable in the sight of God and saved from His wrath on sin.
Of course, the religious leaders were indignant. This threatened the long standing traditions of temple worship, the power and authority they enjoyed, and peace with the Roman authorities. However, the fact that a good deed was done could not be denied. Therefore, they simply warned them to speak no more in the name of Jesus nor do any more miracles in His name. They threatened them with harsher punishment in the future if they defied this decree. But, Peter and John had made their decision to follow Jesus and now they would take their stand. They determined to do what was right in the sight of God and not of any man. They proclaimed their desire to continue to speak about what they had seen and heard and knew to be true.
The commitment we make to the gospel requires unstoppable courage. It means leaving behind the pull of past attachments, fears, guilt, and failures and forging ahead into the future the Lord has promised us. How are we able to do this? By the power and presence of the Holy Spirit combined with a faith in what we know to be true. Do you need courage to talk with that person at work? Do you need courage to forgive that person who hurt you? Do you need courage to stand for God amidst a crowd of unbelievers?
We can show this courage just like Peter and John did because the same power they relied on is the same power you and I have available to us today. The unstoppable gospel calls for unstoppable courage.