…and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. – Ephesians 6:19-20
One of the most terrifying and exhilarating moments for a young seminarian is his/her first opportunity to preach a freshly minted sermon at their first church. You try to use every single tool that every seminary professor advised you to use in bringing excellent exegesis and application to the portion of Scripture from which the sermon is based. It’s both pure joy and unadulterated terror, at the same time. I’ve had those moments, and perhaps, continue to have those moments whenever I’m given the pulpit. But I am reminded of the moment that as a young seminarian, the overwhelming nerves before my first sermon, and feeling sick to my stomach at the thought of “failing.” That’s when my mentoring pastor said something to me that I have never forgotten, and have on many occasions shared with young seminarians under my care. He asked me, “Are you nervous for yourself or are you nervous about the message of the gospel?” And in that moment, I realized my fear of failure was about me, not the content of the gospel I was about to share. So he said, “The gospel is not your words, it’s God’s Word. Communicate it faithfully, and so then proclaim it boldly.”
Proclaim God’s Word boldly because it’s His Word, not yours. This rings so powerfully true to all of us who have received the Word of God, Jesus Christ, into our hearts, and proclaim Him as LORD. So, we testify to the power of God in Christ who has been raised from the dead, and now sits at the right hand of God—Him who has raised us from death into new life with Him. This is the message we can proclaim boldly, as testimony, as truth. This is the message that the Apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. He, being filled with the Holy Spirit, boldly proclaimed, with and in the power of the Spirit, this very message to thousands who, otherwise, would not have believed. And thousands came to repentance. Why? The power of God’s Word is inherent in the Word because it’s His. Being filled with the Spirit, Peter opened his mouth, boldly, and proclaimed the mystery of the gospel, boldly. We are called as believers to share the gospel with others—an expectation, not an option, as I like to say. But many of us are hindered by fear or insecurity. We may worry about what others think of us or feel inadequate to communicate the gospel. But we don’t have to rely on our own strength or wisdom. It is inherent in God’s Word.
The Apostle Paul understood the power of God’s Word. He understood his role—God’s “mouthpiece” in opening his mouth. His prayer request was that God would give him the words, proclaiming the mystery of the gospel. He likens his role to an ambassador, representing the One who sent him—his Heavenly Father. And he also understood the power of prayer, in raising up this specific request. “(Pray) …also for me..” And so also, we should pray for one another, that words may be given to you when you open your mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which you are an ambassador, that you may declare it boldly, as you ought to speak!
Father, we come before You today with hearts full of gratitude and humility. We thank You for the gift of salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ, and for the opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with others. Give us the courage and boldness to proclaim the gospel boldly, without fear or hesitation. Help us to speak the truth in love, and to be a light in the darkness for those who do not yet know You. Give us wisdom and discernment as we share the gospel, so that we may be effective in reaching those who are lost. And as we proclaim the gospel, give us the grace to be a living example of Your love and grace to those around us, knowing that the power of Your Word changes lives. Forgive us when we are too timid. Lord, forgive us when we make excuses to not open our mouths out of fear or hesitancy. But God, we pray that we would speak boldly in the power of Your Spirit for the glory of Your name, and for the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We pray that many will come to know You through our efforts and that Your kingdom will be expanded as a result. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Ministry Director, CU Gloria Law
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