Church in the Wild: Boldness - A Beautiful Resistance

Oct 10, 2022

We’re back with part 2 of our Church in the Wild series where we’re continuing our journey through the book of Acts and learning how to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our current culture. Pastor Alexa Jones shares an encouraging word on how we can live with boldness in our everyday lives. 

In her message, Boldness–A Beautiful Resistance, Pastor Alexa highlights 3 ways the early church embodied boldness in their culture…even in the face of resistance! She reminds us that we, too, need the same boldness of the early church as we commit to growing spiritually and stepping out in faith to share the message of Jesus with others.

We’re diving into Acts chapters 3 through 7 today where we’ll see the ways the early church faced resistance. Then we’ll take a look at the similarities we’re facing in our current culture today and discover exactly how God wants us to handle resistance and adversity as followers of Jesus. Let’s take a look at our foundational passage of scripture before we dive in: 

Acts 4:23-31 (NIV) 23On their release (from jail), Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “ ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.

27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Boldness: A Beautiful Resistance

Pastor Alexa kicks off Boldness–A Beautiful Resistance with two personal stories that perfectly highlight what it looks like to be bold and courageous in our real, everyday lives. Oftentimes, in our moments of biblically aligned boldness, we have the chance to see God do miraculous things. 

We’re reminded that oftentimes, we don’t see our moments of boldness play out in full and come to fruition. Like us, the early disciples also needed boldness actively at work in their lives. Like us, they were average, everyday people with their own insecurities, fears, and timidity. Like us, they needed the boldness of the Holy Spirit to set them apart.

It’s so easy for us to think that boldness is simply a personality trait–like that attribute is only reserved for extroverts and people who are outgoing. We view boldness as a trait of leaders, people who are the life of the party, and those who exude constant confidence. Here’s the truth: Boldness is for everyone! 

Simply put, people who live boldly for Jesus learn to live deeply compelled by truth. When we’re compelled by truth, it motivates and drives us to be bold even when we face fear, tribulation, resistance, or adversity. 

We’re living in a post-Christian culture where it’s easy to feel judged and rejected for being too zealous or too passionate about Jesus. As Christians, we face opposition and push back now that we didn’t face 10 years ago. Our culture is shifting and we feel rejected and isolated as believers. Just like the early church, we need the boldness of the Holy Spirit! Let’s take a look at 3 ways the early church embodied boldness and how we can do the same.

1. Boldly Proclaim

As you’ll remember, Peter and John had just preached about Jesus and seen the fruits of their labor  as people were saved and healed and the church grew that day. Instead of coming back to their group of believers to celebrate and rest, they prayed the most audacious prayer in the New Testament. 

Acts 4:29-31 (NIV) 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

In this scripture, the Greek word for boldness is “Parrhesia” and it’s a significant word for boldness. There’s layers to this word–it’s free-flowing confidence in means of speaking, teaching, preaching, or just talking with truth. There’s no fear or worry about how people will respond. It means talking frankly and boldly, like an arrow that shoots straight into somebody’s heart with truth. Jesus was known for this kind of boldness and it’s the same boldness we’re called to have as His followers! 

We see Jesus demonstrate examples of this type of boldness in stories throughout the Bible that provide us with the perfect example to share the gospel in the same way. We see Parrhesia at work in the story of the woman at the well, Nicodemus, and even Zaccheus. 

Even though Jesus always connected to people’s hearts, He didn’t always see the fruits of His boldness come to pass. We know this to be true through the parable of the rich young ruler who wasn’t willing to lay down his earthly possessions in exchange for eternal life. Even still, in the face of resistance and adversity, Jesus walked, talked, and breathed Parrhesia boldness. 

To follow His example, we simply have to ask the Holy Spirit to help us, fill us with boldness, and get to the heart of the people we’re witnessing to. Amen!


Share a time when someone boldly proclaimed the love of Jesus to you.

When have you witnessed to someone else? Did you see your boldness come to fruition?

How did the truth of the gospel pierce your heart like an arrow when you became a believer?

2. Boldly Love

Not only are we called to boldly proclaim the truth of Jesus, but we’re also called to boldly love one another. We have to get uncomfortable and live with open hands and open hearts! Let’s take a look at how the early church loved one another and what lessons we can glean from their example:

Acts 4:32-35 (NIV) 32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

Of course we’re not all selling our houses and piling the money together–the early church existed in a completely different culture than our here and now. The takeaway here is that they loved each other like Jesus loved them. The early church was a Jesus-centered community. We should be, too!

John 13:34-35 (NKJV) 34A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

How will the world know that we are Jesus people? By the way that we love each other! How we love one another is our greatest witness to the world because the world has nothing like the overwhelming love of Jesus. In Boldness–A Beautiful Resistance, Pastor Alexa shares a beautiful story of a woman in our church who boldly loved her friend and highlights an example of how we can do the same for the people in our own lives. 

Keep in mind, being a Jesus-centered community isn’t always easy! In the middle of learning how to love one another boldly, the early church faced further opposition. Unlike the resistance they faced in the past, this time we see a point of contention arise within the church itself. 

Acts 6:1-6 (NIV) 1In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

Jesus always said that we would experience persecution and opposition from the world, just like He did during His time on earth. And yet, we should never allow opposition to fester from within. The enemy loves to use unintentional wrong to bring conflict, but as followers of Jesus, we are all united under His name, under His mission. We are meant to be one in heart, one in spirit. So let’s be a united front and boldly love one another as Christ has called us to do!

Psalm 133:1 (NKJV) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!


What does bold love look like to you? 

How can you boldly love your family? Your neighbors? Your co-workers? Your community? 

Share a time when someone’s bold love radically impacted your life.  

3. Boldly Rejoice in Resistance 

The early church understood what their response was supposed to be when they faced opposition. Like them, we too are called to boldly rejoice in resistance. We see this theme predominantly in Acts chapters 6 and 7. After Peter and John were arrested and put in prison, this was their response: 

Acts 5:41 (NIV) 41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 

We are so fortunate that living boldly for Jesus in our day and age, in our country will not bring up opposition and resistance like in other places of the world like Afghanistan or North Korea or Iran or Pakistan. We are not at risk for experiencing full on persecution or potentially even death. But we will experience social opposition and resistance from people who don’t like that we’re living boldly for the Lord. Regardless of the circumstances, may our joy for suffering for His name be greater than our fear of being rejected. 


Matthew 5:11-12 (NASB) 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Just like lies and blasphemy and rumors were spread about Steven when he boldly proclaimed and boldly loved, we too will face resistance. People will always try to stop the name of Jesus from going forward. Even when Steven was facing the prosecution of being stoned to death, he did not back down; he chose to live with the boldness of the Lord.

Acts 7:59-60 (NIV) 59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep (died).

Steven was committed all the way till the end, till his last breath. Even in the face of adversity, we too must preach God’s word with boldness! No matter who rejects us or what comes our way, we must boldly stand for truth. Amen!


What common forms of resistance do we face in our current culture?

Share a time when you faced resistance for your faith and beliefs.

How does the Bible tell us to behave when we face adversity and resistance? 

We are called to boldly proclaim the message of Jesus, to boldly love one another, and to boldly rejoice in resistance for the name of Jesus. Let’s step out in faith and commit to growing in these 3 areas of boldness for the sake of His name. 


Lord, please fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we can proclaim the Word of God with unrestrained boldness. Strengthen us to bring the gospel message of Jesus to our city. Father, we love you and we are so grateful for your word. Thank you for everything you’re doing in our church in this season. Please give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know you better. Holy Spirit, we ask that you fill us with boldness for this moment in history, in our culture. We love you and we dedicate our time together to you. It’s in Jesus’ holy name that we pray, Amen!



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