The following is an excerpt from a recent sermon I preached on Acts 4:13-22. The prose has been slightly edited for ease of reading, but I’ve tried to retain the sermonic, spoken feel as much as possible.

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If you want to grow in courage you must spend time with Jesus.

You see verse 13? The council recognized that Peter and John had been with Jesus. Now part of it may be a simple earthly recognition, “Ah! We remember that accent. You’re from Galilee. I thought I saw you before. You’re one of his disciples. I get it now.” But given the placement in this verse talking about their boldness, I think there’s more to the recognition than just that. I think Luke means for us to understand that the council knew that they had been taught by Jesus.

Jesus claimed to be the only way, and now they say he’s the only way.

Jesus used Psalm 118 to rebuke his opponents, and now they use Psalm 118.

And do you remember what the people found most amazing about Jesus teaching? It was that unlike the scribes and the Pharisees, he spoke as one who had authority. And now they marveled to see the same boldness in Peter and John. “Make no mistake about it,” they thought, “these are Jesus’ men.”

Did anyone mistake you for being with Jesus this past week?

Unless we spend time with Jesus we will not speak of him clearly. We will not speak of him loudly. We will not let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. We will not have the truth abiding in us and exploding out of us.

The more time you spend immersed in sports, the more time you spend immersed in politics, the more time you spend immersed in whatever your hobby, the more clearly you speak on that issue. You get bolder about those things. You see more. You understand more. So you speak more. That’s good. But what about your courage with the gospel? What about your clarity with the things that matter most

You will not be bold to speak of Jesus unless you spend much time with Jesus. Courage comes out of communion.

To listen to the entire sermon, go here.

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6 thoughts on “How to Grow in Courage”

  1. I remember when I first really encountered this passage in college it floored me that they were recognized as men who had been with Jesus. I loved it and started to pray every morning, “God make the kind of guy that when people walk away they think, ‘That guy knows Jesus'”. I still can think of few better things to ask for.

  2. Doug Davis says:

    Wonderful. Thanks Kevin.

  3. Flyaway says:

    Good point. The more time we spend with Jesus the more content, peaceful, and joyful we will be when we understand how much He loves us. This will flow over on to others. May we do as He has commanded us!

  4. Ian Rankine says:

    I very much appreciate your word here. There are many who spend a lot of time immersed in sports, finance, hobbies, whatever, but how much time to we spend in the presence of Christ?
    I think it is important to also acknowledge how and where we spend time with him today.
    There are a whole lot of folks who spend time thinking about Jesus and listening to their gut for the prompting of the Holy Spirit, hoping to hear some sort of still small voice, waitng for a fresh vision of the Christ and consider that to be the best way to get to know Jesus.

    But God has given Scripture, fully filled with Christ to show us who he is. It is in regular study and meditation on the Bible that we spend time with Christ.

    The person immersed in faithful study of Scripture is the one who is spending time with Jesus.

    Thanks again.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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