Bold: Week 1
Going to have a seat, if you would hit is my opportunity now to say, Welcome to Southeast Christian Church, so glad that you're here, whether you're joining us online or if you're right here in the room. Thank you for taking a portion of your weekend and spending it right here, singing praise and worship songs to our God and just jumping in to his word. We're going to waste no time doing that very thing. Getting to that very thing, and so We're starting a new series this weekend and it is called Bold. It's actually the third section of our journey through the book of Acts, and we're going to start in chapter 20 with this series. Go all the way to the end of the book. As a matter of fact, the very end of the book is where this. This series gets its title. It's actually Chapter 28 verse 31, and that verse says this, Paul preached boldly about God's kingdom.
He taught people about the Lord Jesus Christ. and No one could keep him from teaching and preaching about these things. So Think about it for a second, Jesus and a handful of his closest friends, and as many of you know, some of his friends were quite a handful. They start a movement 20 centuries ago, and that movement explodes and just keeps on exploding. Now I think there's two at least primary reasons that this movement ignited, and took root and expand it. So here is The first of those two reasons is the truth about the finished work of Jesus. This truth, that he left a throne in heaven because of his great love for you and for me, and that he came down to earth because of his deep desire to be with you and me, and that he lived a perfect life which made him the only one qualified to die for someone else's sins because he had no sins of his own and he did indeed die for our sins, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt, his great love for you and for me.
He who knew no sin became sin so that we might become an expression of the righteousness of God. Yes, the message of the Gospel is the most compelling and true story of all time, but if you know it, the reason you know it is because someone shared it and that leads us to the second reason that this movement exploded. Someone boldly shared the message. Paul shared it from his house in Rome. Someone took that torch from him as he passed it to them and they took that torch and passed it to someone else who took that torch and passed it to someone else who...you get the idea. We're all sitting in this room today or joining in online because someone shared it with someone who shared it with us. So My question is, who shared it with you? I think you should to take out your phone at some point during this day and either text or call or maybe connect with that person and say, thank you.
Thank you for sharing with me that which matters most. The truth about Jesus parents. If you're a parent, this is your number one job as a parent, sharing truth about who Jesus is with your kids. Now, If your kids are teenagers, just a suggestion, you might want to be just a little bit sneaky about how you share it with them. You might want to take them to a place where they can hang out with their friends and they can hear this truth from someone who's probably, I dunno, maybe a little bit cooler than you. That's called youth group, and our youth group is called City. Now Speaking of exploding, speaking of thriving, this ministry is doing that very thing. They meet at 6:00 PM on Wednesday nights. If you're in middle school or high school, you should come to this gathering and if you're older than that, you can still get involved. You can become a small group leader, some kind of a coach in that ministry; and that would be a blessing to you and a blessing to the ministry. Now, The name of the ministry City comes from Matthew chapter five, verse 14, where Jesus says this, you are the light of the world like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
About a month and a half ago we had a minor crisis and the at our personal household, most of our home appliances went out at the same time, like four of the appliances went out at the same time. So if you need to find out which home appliances not to buy, I can let you know what brand that is if you want to check in with me later. so We get down to the final appliance that needs to be fixed. And by now I've handled a lot of my money over to repair guys. I'm not bitter about it. I've handled a lot of money over to them and I'm thinking I'm going to fix this last one. I'm going to fix it myself. Oh come on.
So, so it's a Sunday afternoon. I get home and I pull the washer out away from the wall, disconnect the hoses and the electricity and I climbed back behind it and I unscrew the back panel and pull it off and it's kind of cramped and awkward in there and dark. So I pull out my phone and I use the most smart feature that's ever been put on a smartphone. You know what that is, right? So a flashlight. So. And it wraps up perfect right down here inside the Washer, right there in the corner and it's shining right on my work area. It's working out really well for me. And so I get to work and after a few bumps, maybe a few bruises and, and maybe a little bit of yelling. I finished the jaw, I take the back panel, I put it back on, Kinda halfway assemble it and I test it. And it works. Yeah. How about that? That was a surprise for you, wasn't it?
So I put it the rest of the way back together and I slide it into place next to the dryer and there's a meeting that I have to be at a church that night. So I go and I changed back in to my church clothes and I'm trying to get out the door and I can't find my phone. So. So I use this feature that was invented by the fine folks at Apple for somebody whose brain works or maybe doesn't like mine and I'll just show you how it works right here. This is the little button on my watch that I push and when I push it my, my, Oh there's my phone, my phone makes this sound and so I keep pushing the button. It keeps making that sound and I'm following my ears and I'm pretty sure that by now, you know where I found my phone? Yes, it is inside the back panel of the Washer. And so I had to pull it all the way back out. Take off the back panel and there's my flashlight on my phone. Still shining ever so brightly. Aren't you glad I'm not a surgeon?
I know that you're at least glad I'm not your surgeon. So the very next verse in Chapter Five says this, no one lights a lamp and then highs the lamp. Because who would do that?
Sometimes we get so busy, so focused on the tasks at hand for any given day, any given week that we forget to let our light shine. Maybe we even accidentally hide this lie that puts inside of us that supposed to shine into this dark world. Jesus says, let it shine boldly like a city on a hilltop. The book of acts is filled with these stories of boldness that ignited the early church and created this wildfire of a movement. So many of them are about Paul, the apostle and his boldness. It's a matter of fact. We're just going to jump into a few of those stories. Chapter Fourteen, Paul is preaching of course, boldly to the folks in a city in Rome, and he begins to share with them in such a way that it causes some of the folks in that city to disagree with Paul. They disagree so sharply that they'd take a hold of him and they drag him to the edge of the city and they beat him and they stone him and they leave him for dead,
but the believers come out and gather around him and they pray and Paul gets up and what does he do? He goes back into the city, have. That's what I call bold and chapter 21 we read about the city of Cesarea were Paul. Paula's gathered with some believers and he's planning to go to Jerusalem, but they begged Paul, do not go to Jerusalem. If you go to Jerusalem, you will be killed there, but Paul hearing from the spirit, what does he do? He goes to Jerusalem. Now that is what I call bold. Later in chapter 21, the prediction of Paul's friends from Cesarea starts to come true. He's in Jerusalem and an angry mob has gathered around him. They laid their hands on him and are about to tear him apart. When the Roman guard steps in and for Paul, zone protection arrests him and tries to move him to the barracks, they have to carry him to the barracks and they take him up the stairs that lead into the barracks and just as they're about to walk in. Paul says to the highest ranking officer, excuse me, but would it be okay if I preached to the mob? That is what I call bold. Now I know you're thinking I could never be that bold. That's what I think when I read these stories,
and so often when I'm confronted with someone else's boldness, I think, how bold am I? Could I share a given any opportunity, the truth of Jesus with someone? Will Paul gives us a little bit of an object lesson in how to start the conversation? He does so by sharing his story, not just his story, but he shares how the story of Jesus intersected with his story. He refers back to what we studied a couple of months ago when we were in this same series in acts where the events of Paul's life are recorded, of when he met Jesus. On the road to Damascus, but this time he sharing it as a part of his testimony, a part of his story.
Now this leads us to one of three ways that I'd like to suggest that we take a step at least toward a little bit more boldness. One of them is sharing your story, but we'll start with this one. Pray, then watch for opportunities. Now we know that prayer is the greatest power available to us, that the power of heaven. It can come into our circumstances when we pray, but here's another value of prayer. In this situation, it retrains our mind away from avoiding talking about Jesus and helps us learn to be ready to talk about him instead. Now, when we pray this prayer, this in alignment with God's will, he always answers yes, so be ready. First Peter Three starting in verse 15 says this, always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have, but answer in gentleness, answer in a gentle way, and with respect.
So there you have. You can be bold and gentle at the same time. The second way I'd like to suggest that we can take a step toward boldness is this, invite someone to church. Now maybe you don't feel entirely comfortable bringing Jesus up or talking about what it means to be a Christ follower in conversation. That's okay. If you bring them to church, you can connect them to an environment we're talking about Jesus is the norm. The third way I'd like to suggest that we can take a step toward boldness is this is, this takes us right back to where we were with Paul. Tell them your story, and as we mentioned, when you tell your testimony, it's your story and Jesus story intersecting. So here's a brief sliver, a little tiny chapter in my story a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
I was in a band and I know you're thinking, well, that was two weeks ago. I saw you in the band. No, this a different kind of band. As a matter of fact, when we look back at the time so long ago, it was called a hairband, so I know you got a little irony going on there and you're wondering, you're thinking in your mind. I can see it on your faces. I wonder. I can't imagine what he might look like with hair, but that's okay. I brought a picture, so I'm sorry. You're gonna have to guess which ones? Me and there is a lot of hair in that band picture, so that's why they call it a hair band of course, and it's a little bit blurry, but trust me, it's better that way and there's so much hair in that picture. I think it could keep a hairstylist in work.
Just just that picture. So it kind of did. So we had a hairstylist that styled everyone in the band's hair and her name was Michelle. Now I sat in her chair for a lot of years and when I did we'd have conversation about who knows what. We'll often, or at least occasionally the conversation would take a turn toward this subject of who is Jesus? What does it mean to be a Christ follower will during that time, uh, as a result of that time. And certainly as that time went on, I ended up no longer needing the services of a hairstylist.
So I kind of lost touch with Michelle. And then life went on, the band split up. I ended up about two years later taking my first job in vocational ministry at a church called Christ Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona, which is where all of this took place. So my first day on the job, I go into my office, here's my little landline phone on the desk and it has a message light flashing. So I listened to that message and here's what it said. Hi Jeff. This is Michelle. I thought I heard your voice on a CD and so I called the number that was on the CD. I hope this message gets to you all those years ago when you used to sit in my chair and we talk about Jesus and what it meant to be a Christ follower. I gotta be honest. I didn't really get it. I didn't really understand, but now I do and me and my family are believers were connected and serving in a church. I just wanted you to know and say thanks. What a blessing that message was to me. What a what a blessing. It continues to be to me to consider that, but here's the interesting part of the story.
For much of that time, for a good portion of that time, I was struggling deeply in my own walk of faith. I was doing everything I could, trying to represent God well, but more often than not, failing miserably. Now I tell you this story because I think it is our natural tendency to think I've got to reach some level of spiritual maturity, so before I presume to share truth about Jesus with someone else, but isn't my own need for grace, a better context from which to share truth about the mercy of Jesus and consider this. Anyone who's ever shared truth about Jesus with someone else did so from the context have a broken life and the church isn't perfect easy either, right? Why? Because it's filled up with imperfect people. But guess what? Here's the good news, God does some of his best work in imperfect places, so let's invite our friends and the people that we meet that are searching and asking because we are not inviting them to a building. We're not inviting them to an organization. We're inviting them to a person. The only perfect person and his name is Jesus.
Chris Pratt is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood right now, but instead of shying away from sharing his faith, he took an opportunity to boldly do that very thing and the most unlikely of circumstances. It was a couple of months ago and he was receiving this coveted generations award at the MTV movie and Television Awards, and during his acceptance speech, he gave what he referred to as Chris Pratts, nine rules for living. He got down to the final one and here it is, his ninth rule. Nobody is perfect. People are going to tell you you're perfect just the way you are. You're not
your imperfect. You always will be, but there is a powerful force that designed you that way, and if you're willing to accept that you will have grace and grace is a gift and like the freedom that we enjoy in this country that grace was paid for with somebody else's blood. Don't forget it. Don't take it for granted. Whatever you think about Chris Pratt choices or his movies, he is willing to take that spotlight that's often on him and turn it around and point it at Jesus. He's willing to take a risk with an opportunity to increase his own fame and instead use that moment, that opportunity to increase the fame of his Lord, and he doesn't wait until he's figured out how to live his life perfectly to do it. That's what I call bowl. Paul does this same thing because he's in a moment that's filled with risk, and so we go back to acts chapter 22 as he begins to unpack his story, his testimony to his audience there that we spoke of just a few moments ago.
Starting in verse three, he says this, I am a Jew, born and tarsus of Salissa, but brought up in this city I studied under gmail email and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous as God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of the way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison as the high priest and all the council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus and went there to brain these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished about noon. As I came near the city of Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and I heard a voice say to me, saw another name for Paul. Saul, why do you persecute me? Who are you, Lord?
I asked, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting. He replied, my companion saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who is speaking to me. What shall I do, Lord? I asked. This is the most pivotal moment. The hinge on which polls life turns. It's the most transformative moments of his life. This is what happens when we experience the presence of God. Worship and transformation are automatic, is built into us as human beings made in image of God, and Paul's response is this question, what do you want me to do, Lord? And that reminds me of the response of the crowd that heard the very first presentation of the Gospel Message From Peter in acts chapter two. It may be that all of this talk of what Jesus accomplished, his finished work has that question on the front burner of your heart. Maybe the spirit of God is bringing that right to the front for you here and now as you asked that question, Lord, what do you want me to do? Well, guess what? Scripture is filled with responses to that question in Romans chapter three, starting in verse 23 says this, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And then in Romans Chapter six, verse 23, Paul says, the wages or the cost or the penalty of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord. And then in Ephesians chapter one, starting in verse 13,
he says this, and you also were included in Christ. When you heard the message of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, when you believed you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. And going back to acts, Chapter Two, Peter tells the people how to respond as an indication of this new belief they have in Jesus, and he exhorts them to repent of your sins and turn to God and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Maybe God has you in that place, ready to receive that gift right here and now. So I'd like to ask everyone in the room if you would close your eyes. Now, if you'd like to repent and receive this gift of being included in Christ, would you be so bold as to raise your hand? Praise God. Now, if you know someone who needs to hear this message of hope that's found in the person of Jesus, would you also raise your hand and as you do, picture them in your mind? Yeah, go ahead and put your hands back down and open your eyes and let's declare together that Jesus is Lord. Say it with me. Jesus is Lord. Now I'm going to pray and you don't have to pray out loud, but would you pray along with me in your heart?
God, we thank you that you make us aware of the truth, that we all have sin and that the cost of our sin is death, but that Jesus took that cost on himself and paid the penalty. It is his finished work that we depend on God for these people expressing faith in you for the first time. Thank you that you meet them. That's you. Welcome them and that they are made right in your sight by the blood of your son. Jesus, we thank you for it is in his name that we now pray. Amen.
Now, when the Kingdom of God touches the earth, when it comes down like it did here and now like it did when Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, it reminds me of another passage of scripture and it's one of my favorites is Isaiah chapter six. And so to get the context, let's talk about what happens in Isaiah. Chapters one through five, so throughout one through five, the Prophet Isaiah is doing what prophets often do. He shaking his finger, he's rebuking the Israelites, and he is saying, woe to you, oh Israel, you're supposed to be doing this. You're doing that. Whoa to you. Oh, Israel. And then at the beginning of chapter six, this happens.
The year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord high and exalted, seated on a throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple above him were Serafin. These mighty imposing angels, each with six wings, with two wings. They covered their faces. With two, they covered their feet and with two they were fly and they were calling to one another. Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory at the sound of their voices. The door posts and the thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. So how does Isaiah respond to this amazing, glorious vision of God and the heavenly realms? After five chapters of woe to you, he responds with woe to me. I am ruined for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the king, the Lord Almighty. Then one of the Serafin flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar with it. He touched my mouth and said, see, this has touched your lips. Your guilt is taken away and your sin atone for
what? A beautiful picture of what happens when we get into the presence and our witnesses of the power of our Lord. It is built into us, as we mentioned earlier, to humbly, to humbly worship.
This is why we assemble to experience the presence of God, and when we do, he does this thing that for all of our striving we could never hope to accomplish for ourselves. Our sin is taken away. Our guilt is removed. Verse Eight, then I heard the lord asking, whom should I send as a messenger to this? People who will go for us and Isaiah response in a way that's right in line with Paul's response. He says, here I am. Send me. Here I am. Send me. When we experienced the presence of God, our sin is taken away. Our guilt is removed. It prepares our hearts.
It repairs us to receive the calling that God places on the life of every believer, not just the extroverts, not just the people, people, not just the outgoing ones. Now I know being bold is easier for some than it is for others. I have a friend who's never not bold about anything. This person does not need more boldness. Maybe you have a friend like that and maybe it's a little bit irritating to you, but truth be told, we could all use a little bit more. Boldness, since I've been working on this message for the last couple of weeks, week in and week out, I see so many opportunities. It's made me more aware of the opportunities that come my way, most days to share truth about who Jesus is or to invite someone to church, but it is my natural tendency to let those opportunities slip right on by. Like I said, I know being bold comes easier for some than for others, but remember these banners that we have on our walls, remember what that first one says. We start where you are or to say it just a little bit differently. We just want to introduce you to Jesus who welcomes you from right where you are to start your journey right there,
but as soon as you start, you become a part of. We, as soon as you start, you become a part of. We now you join us in this mission to introduce people to Jesus so that he can meet them right where they are in their journey and welcome them in the book of acts. The book of acts rather takes place over the course of about 30 years
now, during that time, the movement explodes as we've been talking about and it does so with such an intensity, so many people become Christ followers. It's still going on around the world today. Southeast Christian church is just a part of a movement that started then and continues on through the present se has been around for about 47 now, going on 48 years and I'm amazed what God has accomplished in and through this body of believers by his power and often in spite of our best efforts throughout our history. But what about our future? What about our next 30 years or what about our next 30 months? What about our next 30 days? Could it be that God would do such a mighty work in and among us through us that so that kind of intensity, that kind of explosive thing would happen right here that will exceed anything that any of us have ever seen or been a part of.
I believe that this could happen if each of us will start where we are, but not stay where we are when it comes to boldly sharing the good news about Jesus. Let's pray. God, thank you that you have impressed on us the truth about Jesus here today. Thank you that that truth as one over hearts of people that sit in this room and, uh, joined in online. Thank you that that truth is the most compelling and true story of all time and that because someone shared it, we are aware of it and we walk in it and we believe it.
God, would you do such a work here that many, many more would come to know these truths about your son Jesus. We will give you glory for it and thank you for it in his name, the name of Jesus. Amen. Stand with me if you would. There's got to be prayer partners, as I mentioned earlier, down front, ready to celebrate. If you've embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior Day, connect with them. It is our hope that the time we spent in the presence of our God has drawn us in to worship and transformation and alive the Prophet Isaiah like the Apostle Paul, we hear the Clarion Call of Christ asking the question, whom shall I sin as my messenger to this city? And that is a transformed people we respond with. Here I am. Send me. Would you say that with me? Here I am. Send me as you walk through these doors into your mission field. Say it one more time. Here I am. Send me. Have a great week.
Bold people get things done, even in the face of fear. Join Southeast as we discover bravery, commitment, and boldness in the book of Acts.
“Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 28:31