At the end of Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels, right before Jesus returns to heaven, He commissions His followers to share the gospel. Preach it everywhere to everyone. Simple enough. The book of Acts shows us a lot can happen when we tell people about Jesus. Let’s look at Peter and John in chapter 4 to find out what those things are.
While they [Peter and John] were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple police, and the Sadducees confronted them, Acts 4:1
1. Confrontation. The gospel can bring on confrontation. Why? At it’s very core, the message is that we are wrong, that our good works can’t save us and that our systems are inadequate. We hate being told that.
because they were annoyed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. Acts 4:2
2. Annoyance. We are told not to rock the boat. People don’t want their illusions shattered. When we share the gospel, people’s ideas that they are basically good, or at least good enough are challenged. The gospel tells us there is only one way and that is through Jesus.
So they seized them and took them into custody until the next day since it was already evening. Acts 4:3
3. Persecution. Peter and John were arrested for preaching the truth. This is a reality for many believers even today. Pray for them. IT reminds us words DO have power and the gospel of grace is the most powerful word.
When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
4. Recognition. Even the opposition realized that something was going on with Peter and John. The legal and religious leaders viewed them as uneducated hicks. … which I guess they were. However, when they heard the strength of their argument and the boldness with which they proclaimed it, they knew there was more to the message and the messengers. It is important to remember that boldness does not mean disrespectful.
So they called for them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Acts 4:18
5. Silencing. In some ways this is more chilling than the persecution. Not only did the religious leaders not want to hear the gospel, they didn’t want anyone else to hear it either. They set themselves up as the arbiters of truth. We live in a culture that accepts every truth as equally valid, and so seeks to silence the truth of the gospel by drowning it in a sea of competing ideas. We must ensure the life-changing message of Christ is heard.
But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. Acts 4:4
6. Belief. Just like the seed that hits the good soil, sometimes the message is embraced and lives are transformed.
One or more of these can result when we share the gospel of Jesus. We can’t always predict those outcomes and the truth is, we aren’t responsible for the results, just the witnessing. However there is one outcome that is guaranteed when we share Jesus. Guaranteed.
After threatening them further, they released them. They found no way to punish them because the people were all giving glory to God over what had been done. Acts 4:21
7. Glory. God gets glory. That makes all the other opposition and difficulty worth it, to know that our actions and efforts bring glory to the King of the universe.
Want to learn more about sharing the gospel? These resources from Billy Graham may help. Share Your Faith 101