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And after they were released, they went to the others and reported all the chief priest and elders said to them. And when they heard, with one accord, they lifted up their voices to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, you who made the heavens and the earth and the seas and everything in them, our father, through the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of David, your servant, said, For what reason are nations insolent, and people making worthless plans? The kings of the earth take a belligerent stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Christ. For they gathered, in fact, in this city, against your holy child, Jesus whom you anointed, Herod and Pontus Pilate with Gentiles and people of Israel; they did what your hand and your will foreordained to happen. And now, Lord, look at their threats and give to your slaves the ability to speak your word with boldness, by stretching out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders to cause to happen through the name of your holy servant Jesus." And when they had made their plea, the place, where they were, was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
To Boldly Speak
Now, I have three reasons for showing this little clip before the service this morning. First, I know we’ve got some dedicated Trekies here this morning, and I’m talking about folks who would disagree with a Star Wars fan who told me, about a year ago, that Trekies are the real nerds of the science fiction world. Now that’s one reason. And second, I think I showed the opening from the original series a couple of years ago and so I didn’t want to convey any kind of prejudice. But I’ll tell you, the third reason is actually the most important. You see, I think one of the storylines from The Next Generation really has a lot to say about the topic we’re discussing this morning.
And I want you to notice that, based on that report, the people started to pray. But they didn’t pray for stuff. And they sure didn’t pray that God keep them safe, and protect them from the real world. Instead, they approached the one they addressed as “sovereign Lord and asked him to give them boldness: boldness to speak up when the powers would prefer them to be quiet, boldness to tell the story of Jesus Christ, I’m talking about boldness to step into a world that might never know about who Jesus was and what he did if they remained quiet. I’m telling you, they didn’t want God to keep them safe and protected. They prayed for boldness. And at the end the passage, that’s exactly what they got. And so they stepped away from what was comfortable and shared the story of Jesus to people who needed to hear it, even though that meant risk far greater than being laughed at or losing a few friends. You see, they weren’t imposing their values on anybody; they were sharing a story. And for them, what they believed wasn’t suppose to be personal; it had to be public. Man, they were bold, and speaking for myself, I’m glad they were, because right now, I wouldn’t know anything about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit without them.
Now, in that Star Trek episode we were talking about earlier, Captain Piccard decides to reject the revised version of his life even though, by doing that, he thinks he’s going to die, because he would rather die as the captain of the Enterprise than to live as a nobody. Of course, he doesn’t die. He goes on to another season and four movies. But I’ll tell you, we can make the same kind of decision he made. You see, we can choose to reject the private and personal nature of modern American Christianity and choose to follow those in the early church who stepped out to share the story of Jesus, because they knew that if they didn’t do it, then people may never know. I mean, right now, we can decide to pray about it and to prepare for it and then to proceed with it and then to boldly speak a message the world desperately need to hear.