The Audacity of the Apostles
“. . . they kept right on teaching and preaching . . .” Acts 5:42
When we enjoy religious freedom, material comfort, and financial security, these are merely kind reflections of God’s generosity. They also pose a real and present danger to our spiritual health. They sweetly seduce us into complacency, self-trust, and a nervous protectiveness of our artificial security. They distract our hearts view from the blinding radiance of the Lamb of God.
Instead they set our sights lower and closer to an upwardly mobile paradise of tennis, golf, and surf and sand, teaming with tanned, trim, pleasure-seekers. Contrasted with the presence of the suffering church in our world, we are awakened to a hope and treasure not confined to this world.
The audacity of the apostles declare to us today what they preached long ago. We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. For a Christian consumer of culture, this is a bitter pill to swallow. The message of the cross cuts through all childish selfishness, it breaks us out of the trance of security, comfort, and pleasure.
Only the church has the credibility to call people to suffer for a cause greater than themselves. The kingdom has invaded history. The incarnation, the words, the deeds, the death, resurrection and the enthronement of the King is advancing even now, bringing salvation through the power of the Spirit to the corners of the earth. Nothing but the gospel of the Kingdom and the King can wake us from shortsighted, felt needs.
For the church to proclaim this living hope, hope that strengthens people and gives them the courage to take risk for all things right, pure, noble and true, Christians must live their hope. Because of the living hope of heaven, Christians can afford to lose all the world can take from them. They have an inheritance that can never spoil, perish, or fade.
Nothing less than a vibrant growing faith in the kingdom of God can instill in us a courage that can’t be intimidated. Christians who can stand with the audacity of the apostles and say, “Christ will be exalted in my body whether by life or death,” are set free from fear to tell of Christ’s saving power without hindrance.
In all you do today, think of the success of the Kingdom here and now.