I have a great respect for the Apostle Paul.  He was instrumental in the spreading of the gospel throughout much of the known world during his time.  He wrote at least 13 of the books of the New Testament which give us invaluable instruction on how to live our lives and conduct ourselves in the church of God.  He was willing to suffer persecutions for Jesus Christ.  He lists what he had to go through to preach the gospel in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 “In labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”  One time the whole city of Ephesus was in an uproar because of Paul and his preaching.  Acts 19:30 “And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him.”  They feared for his life.

It was this same Apostle Paul who requested prayers in Ephesians 6:19b-20 “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”  If the Apostle Paul needed prayers that he would be given the right words and that he would speak boldly, how much more should you and I pray for the right words and boldness to speak to others the message of Jesus Christ?

There can be several reasons that you may not share the message and be as bold as you should.  The first is lack of faith.  The Apostles Peter and John healed a lame man shortly after the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 3).  They were brought before the ruling council of the Jews.  Acts 4:8-13 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:  If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.  This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’   Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”  Why were Peter and John bold?  They knew the miracles they had witnessed at the hands of Jesus.  They had personally seen Him alive after His resurrection.  They were bold because their faith was strong and they had seen the power of God.

The second reason you may not be bold is that you are concerned of what people might think of you.  Many leading Jews believed in Jesus but would not confess Him because of what others might think.  John 12:42-43 “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”  But Jesus tells us that we must confess Him.  Matthew 10:32-33 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

You may not be bold because you are afraid of what others will do to you.  But He has promised us in Hebrews 13:5b-6 “‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’  So we may boldly say:  ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?’”   Whatever people may do to you is small compared to the riches of the inheritance you are promised.

You may even be ashamed of being a follower of Jesus.  Don’t be ashamed.  The Apostle Paul said, in Rom 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”  The message is God’s message and the gospel is His power to salvation.  You are just God’s messenger.

Strengthen your faith.  Don’t be worried about what others might think of you.  Don’t be afraid of what they might do to you.  Don’t be ashamed.  Pray for each other that we may be given what to say and that we may boldly speak the message of Jesus as we ought to speak. 

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