People jump out of perfectly good airplanes. That may be a display of courage, but an equally strong argument could be made for recklessness. What is your view of skydiving? It certainly takes trust in the equipment, the packing, the reserve chute. It takes courage to act on that trust (unless you accidentally fall or get pushed.…) Trust plus courage equals action.
It takes courage to visit a church. Walking in on a Sunday morning is intimidating. It has been a daunting challenge for would-be visitors as long as the church has existed. It is written in Acts 5:13, “None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high regard.” Who were these non-darers? They were Jews who heard the preaching of the apostles. Why did those Jews not dare to join with the apostles and disciples? Courage.
The apostles did not just preach a well-honed message. Their speech was not refined, educated, and perfected like a sales pitch. There were no image management agencies that burnished the apostle’s online reputation to bolster sales. The apostles simply preached the cross and gave witness to the resurrection. The honesty of their message matched the honesty of their character, and the power of God’s word worked on the hearts of believers. Still, it took courage to abandon an old way of life and commit to Jesus. The Jews had a lot to lose. They might lose their job and family. They would lose their social standing in the eyes of the Jewish religious leaders. A little later in Acts 5, we see that believers might lose their freedom. In Acts 8, we read that they might even lose their lives. It took courage to accept the apostle’s preaching. Not all had it.
Today, preachers ought not focus on polished deliveries that bring glory to the speaker rather than God. Focus groups who study how to pitch religion more effectively show contempt for the power of God. Preachers, teachers, and “normal” Christians must simply speak of the cross, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They must speak of God’s expectations for obedience. They must live a life that is consistent with that message. When those areas reinforce one another, it builds confidence in the hearers. It builds trust in the message and messenger. It encourages courage on the part of the hearer. Trust plus courage equals action.
Have you heard about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Would you like to learn more? Sit down with me over an open Bible, and let’s study God’s word – together. It takes courage to do that. Will you trust me to show you only the Bible – devoid of opinion or human theology? Do you have the courage to take me up on my offer? We would love to see you Sunday at 9:30 or 10:45! Be there!