“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)
We’ve been talking this week about “6 Ways to Pray as You Evangelize” using the acronym L.O.B.S.S.S. Today we take a deeper look at the letter “B”—boldness.
The single biggest reason believers don’t evangelize is fear: fear of rejection, fear of questions and objections we can’t answer, fear of losing a friend, fear of failure, or fear of being labeled a religious fanatic.
Fear in evangelism is normal. We all have it. How do we deal with it? How did Paul, one of the greatest witnesses for the Lord in history, overcome fear and share the gospel with boldness, even in difficult circumstances?
In 1 Thessalonians 2:1–10, Paul gave three fundamental principles that help us overcome fear with boldness.
- We know God’s message. Paul declared his message as the “gospel.” The word gospel means “good news.” The good news contains transforming truth about God, from God, and empowered by God. Paul showed his commitment to the gospel in Romans 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.” God entrusts us, His beloved children, with His message of salvation.
- We are God’s messengers. Paul made three important points:
- Believers are approved by God (v. 4)—We have passed the test and are ready. We have been given the opportunity to use His gospel to glorify Him.
- Believers are entrusted with the gospel (v. 4)—God chose us to be the voice of His message.
- Believers are pleasing to God (v. 4)—We should desire to please the One who has approved us and entrusted us with His good news. What He thinks of us matters the most; what people think of us matters least. What an honor, calling, and compliment that God would let us share His love with others! He could have chosen a different way to get the Word out. Instead, He decided to entrust it to us.
- We have God’s motive. Having been approved by God, Paul pointed to the purity of his heart and motive. In these verses, he identified three things that did not motivate him:
- Flattery (v. 5)— seeking compliments to elevate himself.
- Covetousness (v. 5)—desiring financial gain.
- Glory from men (v. 6)—building up his own recognition and fame.
Instead, he was motivated by the needs of others. Repeatedly in 1 Thessalonians 2, he stated his motivator—“you.” The needs of others outweighed Paul’s personal comfort.
These principles will help our boldness overtake our fear instead of our fear overtaking our boldness. Following Paul’s pattern and asking God to supply boldness gives us the right ingredients to share the gospel and not be silent.