In Acts 4 and 5, the apostles certainly showed courageous love in their conduct during and in the aftermath of healing the lame man in Acts 3. This event led to greater opportunities to preach the gospel which led to the antagonistic questioning of the apostles by the Jewish leaders. Their courageous answer is burned into the hearts of studious Christians everywhere. Peter and John shared in giving this answer, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken to you more than to God, judge ye. For we cannot help but speak the things which we have seen and heard” 4:19-20). Many days, perhaps many weeks later (cf. 4:31-37), the apostles were again arrested for healing and preaching (5:14-18). Being released by an angel of the Lord, they went right back to preaching and were arrested yet again. Once more, their courageous answer to the Jewish leaders has become an encouraging cliché for Christians, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (5:29). I pray that you will take the time to read these two chapters of Acts and consider some possible lessons from these events.
- Our first object of courageous love is God. We must obey God rather than men. Since we know that God only asks of us those things that are good for all souls, we can confidently put Him first in our love and obedience. This confidence gives us the courage to take His will to a lost world.
- There will always be people who try to stop the truth from spreading. It will often be those who consider themselves followers of God as did Paul when he persecuted Christians. When we put on Christ (Gal. 3:26-27), we put on the image of one who courageously battles evil while lovingly trying to draw those overtaken by evil to himself (Matt. 23:37-39).
- Many will not want to hear the truth and will be angered by its preaching (5:33). Love preaches anyway.
- The greatest courageous love is to teach and preach in spite of authorities commanding against it. Souls we do not know but have chosen to love could be sacrificed to hell if we do not teach.
May all who belong to Christ have courageous love.
Mike Glenn (e-bulletin 1-5)