INTRODUCTION AND SYNOPSIS
This article, which is the last in this series, looks at the fifth and sixth steps to gain courage to boldly speak out in the face of the cancel culture.
The fifth step is to strengthen your relationships with other believers in your Christian circles. There is a synergy that occurs when believers are in community. That extra strength helps a believer gain the courage to speak boldly in the face of the cancel culture.
The sixth step, which is the result of gaining courage, is to go to reach out to the lost and boldly proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ allowing God to save the lost from an eternity in hell. Paul et al. are tremendous role models when it comes to boldly speaking the gospel in the face of opposition.
STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER BELIEVERS
The fifth step to prepare for battle is to strengthen your relationships with other believers in your Christian circles. The early church strengthened their relations as described in Acts 2:42 (NASB95):
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
These early believers practiced four basic actions to strengthen their relationships. First, they spent the time to better know God’s Word through the teaching of the apostles. For a 21st Century believer this equates to carrying out Bible study in community.
Second, these believers practiced fellowship or koinōnia . This Greek noun means an association involving close mutual relations and involvement.[i] It makes common sense that to become closer to other believers will help strengthen each person’s resolve to speak out in the face of the cancel culture.
Third, by breaking bread, which refers to communion[ii], these early believers continually remembered the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for their salvation. It should make it easier to speak out in the face of the cancel culture when a believer better appreciates and is frequently reminded about what Jesus did on the cross.
Fourth, as mentioned in an earlier post, prayer is very important.
BOLDLY PROCLAIMING THE SAVING GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
The sixth step, which is the result of gaining courage, is to go to where the lost are and boldly proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ allowing God to save the lost from an eternity in hell. The narrative of Acts 17:1–9 (NASB95) reports that Paul et al. reached out to the lost and boldly preached the gospel:
1 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. 5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. 6 When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; 7 and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. 9 And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.
10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.
Some takeaways from this passage are:
(1) Paul et al. were intentional in reaching out to the lost (v. 2). To reach out to the lost, especially in the face of the cancel culture, a believer must be intentional in their efforts.
(2) Paul et al. were well-versed in the substance of the gospel of Jesus Christ (v. 3). To effectively reach the lost a believer needs to be knowledgeable of the gospel. This is consistent with an earlier article that it is important to become better knowledgeable about the Bible.
(3) Paul et al. were willing to accept danger in preaching the gospel (vv. 5-9, 13-15). The existence of the cancel culture presents a certain danger to a believer who preaches the gospel. Inherent in preaching the gospel is calling sin “sin.” Therefore, for many in our society preaching of the gospel is “hate speech.” There is a real future risk that someday preaching the gospel may be classified as “hate speech” and result in actual punishment.
The fifth step is to strengthen your relationships with other believers in your Christian circles. There is a synergy that occurs when believers are in community. Acts 2:42 indentifies some ways in which believers can gain that extra strength to exhibit the courage to speak boldly in the face of the cancel culture.
The sixth step, which in reality is the result of gaining courage, is to go to reach out to the lost and boldly proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ allowing God to save the lost from an eternity in hell. Paul et al. were intentional, well-versed in the substance of the gospel, and preached even in the face of danger. These are attributes that are necessary when it comes to boldly speaking the gospel in the face of opposition.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change.
Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved and a more concise description at my (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
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[i] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 445). New York: United Bible Societies.
[ii] Breaking (κλάσει). Used by Luke only, and only in the phrase breaking of bread. The kindred verb κλάζω or κλάω, to break, occurs often, but, like the noun, only of breaking bread. Hence used to designate the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. See Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 1, p. 457). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.