The first preaching was in the difficult circumstances of being personally persecuted by the leaders of the dominant religious leaders of the city of Jerusalem . Read over Acts 4:1-32. We can see in this chapter that bold and fearless preaching was uncompromising to God’s solid truth, but it was just such preaching that was needed and it resulted in growth of the church (v.1-4), while also resulting in persecution (v.5-21), but the early disciples knew it was worth it, and that persecution was a high honor that identified them with Jesus’ rejection and suffering and helped them to love and appreciate Jesus even more than ever.
The boldness of Peter and John should be copied by preachers today (v.19-20). We should not be guided by fear of men but the love of God and conviction that truth is worth living and dying for.
If your preaching is not worth the price of being rejected, then your preaching is worthless anyway. But, as preaching boldly grows and becomes openly opposed, it is time to remember that bold, soul-loving and truthful preaching must lean heavily on a rich and deep reliance upon the strength of God.
So, the next section (4:23-31) was how the apostles were strengthened in prayer. The result was that they “spoke the word with boldness”. Good, solid preaching must lean heavily upon God in prayer, but the content must be “in the name of Jesus” and that means it must be authorized by Jesus in His word. Preaching is not solid unless it is accurate and fully biblical, and preached in love for God and the souls of those who hear, and strengthened by a preacher’s heart prepared in prayer.
Let the principles gained from Acts 4 show us the kind of solid Bible preaching we need today. Let us insist on it and help it along with diligent prayer for those brave enough to take this task in hand.
–Terry W. Benton