DURING THE PERSONAL MINISTRY OF JESUS while he was upon the earth, one
of the outstanding features of His preaching was the boldness with which
he spoke. He had this testimony "Lo, he speaketh boldly" (John 7:26).
If one desires to know just how boldly Jesus spoke, one of the most
outstanding examples is found in Matthew 23. No modern day preacher is
any more bold or plain than Jesus was. The apostle Paul wrote to the
brethren at Ephesus and asked them to pray for him that he would have
the courage to speak the "mystery of the gospel" of Christ with boldness
"as I ought to speak." If that was the way the gospel ought to be
preached then, it is also the way it should be preached and taught now.
If not, why not?
PREACHED BOLDLY AND PLAINLY
In the Scriptures there is abundant proof that the gospel was preached
with boldness by the apostles and others in the early church. It was
also preached plainly so people could understand it and would realize
how important it was to heed and obey it. There was no contest among
them to show how educated they were or what a large vocabulary they had
acquired. They were not politicians and they made no effort to "tickle
people's ears" with flowery speeches, nor appease those who were
disgruntled or dissatisfied with the truth of God's word. The apostle
Paul said, "Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness
of speech" (2 Corinthians 3:12).
THEY SAW THE BOLDNESS OF PETER AND JOHN
Upon one occasion Peter and John, two of the Lord's apostles, were
brought before the council of the Jews. They had healed a man who had
been crippled since birth. Because of the miracle wrought in the name
of Christ, he was now able to walk, and he even leaped with joy. The
Jews heard of the miracle and saw the notoriety the apostles received,
and they became jealous. These apostles defended themselves before the
council and pointed out that what they did they did in the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Jews had crucified. "Now when they saw the
boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and
ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they
had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:1.3). Because of their relationship with
the Lord they were bold, and the Jews took notice of the influence of
Christ on them.
The council threatened these apostles and "commanded them not to speak
at all nor teach in the name of Jesus" (Acts 4:18). Upon their release,
they went and joined themselves to other disciples and rehearsed what
had taken place. And immediately they lifted up their voices in prayer
to God. They offered praise to God and glorified Him and acknowledged
His Son, Jesus. The Bible says, "And when they had prayed, the place
was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled
with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness (Acts
The apostle Paul, when on a mission of persecution against the disciples
of Christ was converted in Damascus, and right after his conversion he
began to preach boldly that Jesus Christ was the Son of God (Acts 9:20).
Later in Jerusalem when Paul (he was still called Saul at the time)
"assayed to join himself to the disciples" the Bible says, "they were
all afraid of him" (Acts 9:26). However, Barnabas, who later became
Paul's traveling companion in the Lord's work, came to his defense. He
"took him and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he
had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he
had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus" (9:27).
After Paul had the confidence of his brethren at Jerusalem "he spake
boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians;
but they went about to slay him" (Acts 9:29). Because of the danger to
Paul's life the disciples persuaded him to leave and they accompanied
him to Ceasarea and sent him to Tarsus for his own safety. He remained
in this area until Barnabas came and found him and persuaded him to come
with him to the work in Antioch. Later they were separated from that
work at the command of the Holy Spirit to another work which carried
them far into other fields.
THEY DISPUTED AND PERSUADED
One of the places where Paul and Barnabas went on their first missionary
journey was Iconium. The synagogue was the one sure place where they
would find the people gathered together on the sabbath, and the Bible
tells us, "Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord,
which gave testimony unto the word of his grace..." (Acts 14:3). They
took advantage of the opportunity and spoke boldly the gospel of Christ
teaching these people the way of salvation.
Notice in Acts 19:8, the scriptures record an incident that takes place
in Ephesus. Once again this man of God went to the synagogue of the
Jews, "and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and
persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God."
The New Testament preachers and teachers of the gospel of Christ
followed the example of our Lord. When they had the opportunity to speak
for Christ, they did it with boldness and conviction, and so should we.