John Knox was a 16th century preacher, famous for his evangelism and frequently used slogan, “Give me Scotland or I die.” Once, however, he was arrested for “preaching the Bible outside the church,” and was forced to serve many months as a slave rowing on a galley ship. With his spiritual maturity and prayer deepened by his time of slavery, he returned to boldly preach Christ, regardless of the consequences. His fearless testimony was so powerful that the corrupt Queen Mary of Scotland said, “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.” We need this kind of boldness and resolve in witnessing even today.
Peter and John were arrested when they proclaimed “to all the people of Israel…by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” saying, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven…whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10,12). When the corrupt spiritual leaders of Israel saw “the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge…they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Then Peter and John were commanded “…not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). But regardless of the consequences, they refused to stop sharing the gospel. Once released from prison, they went to fellow believers and they collectively prayed asking God to “grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word” (vs. 29). Thereafter, “they spake the word with all boldness” (vs. 31). Boldness is a key element in successfully sharing the gospel with lost souls. Paul told the believers at Thessalonica, “we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention” (I Thessalonians 2:2). But where did this boldness of these men of faith come from? For both Peter and Paul, it came directly from prayer specifically asking for boldness. The Jewish saints asked God for boldness (Act 4:29), and Paul asked the saints at Ephesus to pray for him “that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).
These examples remind us that we must not shrink from sharing the gospel, regardless of any negative consequence. When witnessing, we also need to be much in prayer for boldness on our part, and conviction in those who are lost.
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