The American church feels the force of cultural winds that blow against her. Culturally, sexual expression and experimentation is embraced, encouraged and considered enlightened; preserving intimacy for marriage is seen as archaic. Religiously, the idea that there is only one way to God through Jesus in an age of pluralism appears uneducated, uninformed and arrogant. What does a church do when facing these external pressures? The only thing a Christian church can do: pray for boldness and preach.
In their prayer for boldness, they recognized God’s sovereignty. They saw the death of Jesus not as thwarting God’s plan but part of God’s plan. They did not see God’s sovereignty as an impediment to evangelism. They did not use God’s sovereignty as an excuse not to evangelize, but because God is sovereign they were assured that when the gospel message was given people would respond. Confessing and affirming God’s sovereignty is one way to assure God’s people of boldness.
In their prayer for boldness, they recognized the culture’s hostility. The prayer for boldness existed because of the cultural pressure to conform. They felt the societal pressure to go along to get along. Jesus is the sole image of God, the only bridge to the Father and the only way to eternal life. When we pray for boldness we are recognizing that the Christian gospel is diametrically opposed to all other messages. We ask for boldness to speak that message with confidence, yet humility.
In their prayer for boldness, they confessed their weakness Christian, when you and I pray for boldness there is an implicit confession that our culture overwhelms us and our society is too powerful for the weakness of my tongue. A prayer for boldness is a confession saying God if you don’t strengthen, Spirit if you don’t empower, then this lisping, stammering tongue will lie silent. A prayer for boldness is a confession that I can talk ad nauseum about the weather. I can speak belligerently about politics. I can blog incessantly about about organic vs non-organic. But, when given the opportunity to speak a word for Jesus, I am the most meek, mild and agreeable person there is. Christian, we must confess and repent that our silence is banging the eternal gavel consigning a person’s soul to hell.
To hear Pastor Joel’s sermon in full, click on the link below.