Courage for Christ
Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 4:19-20
Where does courageous obedience come from? In Acts 4, we have the story of the apostles John and Peter and their confrontation with a very hostile and antagonistic Sanhedrin. They were imprisoned for a time, hauled before the religious authorities, and threatened against preaching any more in the name of Christ (3, 17-18). But they did not budge, and their answer in verses 19-20 is a profile in courage.
From these two verses, we can see where their courage came from. First, it came from the fact that these men lived before God, which you see in the words "in the sight of God" in verse 19. What seems right in the eyes of men becomes far less important when we live consciously as men and women who are seen and known by the God of heaven. If you want courage, you must learn to walk before God (cf. Gen. 19:1).
Second, it came from the fact that they lived and walked the things they preached and claimed to believe. If your life is disconnected from your beliefs, then you will find that, when push comes to shove, that your beliefs are little more than intellectual check marks. If we are going to be courageous for Christ, then the doctrines of the Bible need to penetrate our hearts in such a way that they change the way we live. This was real for the apostles: what they preached was what they had "seen and heard." As Lloyd-Jones put it so well, we must be witnesses of the gospel and not merely advocates for it. When that is so, we will find that "we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
May the Lord make us all men and women of courage for Christ by being people who live before God and who walk with God.