Pastors, evangelists, local church leaders, and laity long for breakthrough in their ministries for Christ and God’s kingdom. During times of breakthrough, the presence and power of God are evident and the proclamation and promulgation of the Gospel goes forward with great strides. Sometimes the breakthrough comes suddenly and forcefully. Sometimes the breakthrough comes gradually through persistently seeking God. Either way, it is God’s grace and power that brings the breakthrough. No real breakthrough comes without seeking God and pressing into the kingdom of God. Breakthroughs often come through difficulties, trials, and tests. The primitive New Testament church contains keys to understanding the times of breakthrough in their ministries. In today’s world, there is strong opposition to the message of Jesus Christ, His finished work on the cross, and His glorious resurrection. We need breakthrough to boldly declare the message of Jesus Christ to the world.
The emerging New Testament church needed a breakthrough during a time when opposition strongly forbid them to speak to anyone in the name of Jesus Christ. One day, Peter and John went to the temple to pray. A man lame in his feet lay at the gate begging for alms. Peter got the man’s attention and said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Peter then took the man by the right hand and lifted him up. The man’s feet and ankle bones received strength and he went into the temple with them, leaping and praising God. People knew the man had lain there over forty years and was lame from birth. As the people came together to see the miracle, Peter took the opportunity to tell them it was through the authority of Jesus Christ that he was healed and not their holiness or power. As Peter was preaching Christ to the people, “the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide” (Acts 4:1–3).
The next day, Peter and John were examined by the rulers of the temple. They asked Peter and John by what name or authority they had performed this miracle. Peter witnessed of Jesus Christ once again. The rulers of the temple could not deny the miracle on the crippled man but they were infuriated that Peter and John were preaching Jesus Christ. The rulers threatened Peter and John to not speak to anyone else about Jesus Christ. Peter and John confronted their threatenings with these words, “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” (4:19). The temple rulers then threatened them again and let them go. The rulers of the temple also wanted the favor of the people and there was no legitimate or legal reason to hold them.
Peter and John then went to the company of fellow Christians and shared their encounter with the rulers. The threats compelled the primitive church to seek God with greater fervor. Part of their plea to God was, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (vv. 29–31) The answer to their cries came, “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (v. 33).
Christians today face threatening, harm and death for their faith and preaching the Gospel. Michael Snyder asserts:
Christians all over the world are being burned alive, beheaded, crucified, tortured to death and imprisoned in metal shipping containers just because of what they believe. This persecution goes on year after year and it is steadily intensifying. But the governments of the western world and the mainstream media are almost entirely ignoring what is happening.1
The links on this site list some staggering numbers and contains some horrendous stories.
Today, we need a breakthrough in boldness to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit desires to shake believers and disciples of Christ today and endue them with great grace to speak with boldness the message of the finished work of Christ on the cross and His glorious resurrection. There are threatening voices that speak out desiring to silence the message of Christ in America. Christians, however, cannot adhere to these voices. We must boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The devil desires to intimidate Christians and close the mouths of those whose lives have been transformed from death to life in Jesus Christ. The same Gospel message that brought the transforming power of God to transform millions, will transform those who threaten and oppose Jesus Christ but need to hear the same message and accept Him. Preaching Christ, witnessing for Him, and telling others, costs. Will we stand? Will we seek God for breakthrough to boldness? There is opposition and it is growing. Newsmax quoted Franklin Graham, whose speech this year on Good Friday at the Pentagon, was rescinded. Franklin stated:
Christians are under attack not just abroad, but also here in the United States. We are seeing it across the globe, no question about it, and it’s frightening. We see the anti-Christian position in this country. Christians are being attacked and . . . we see it now in Europe. Anti-Semitism, no question, it’s there. We are living in a world that is changing, and it is frightening to see how quickly it is changing, and we’re going to see real persecution of Christians and Jews in the years to come.2
Pastors, evangelists, local church leaders, and laity must stand firm in declaring the message of Jesus Christ. The breakthrough to boldness may come through crisis situations requiring serious, steadfast seeking of the One who was crucified and rose again. The Holy Spirit will shake those who seriously seek Him and yearn to boldly proclaim His message. Will we cry together, “Shake the whole Christian world dear Lord!” Give us boldness to proclaim the glorious message of Jesus Christ! The last of the last days are upon us!
Apathy, lukewarm spirits, controlling spirits, disunity, pettiness, and all other spirits and attitudes that cause internal church problems must not distract, deter, or detain us from proclaiming this glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been commissioned by our Captain to go preach and teach the kingdom of God.
Dear Lord, shake the international Church of God of Prophecy! Shake the continents, the nations, the states, the local churches, every member and disciple of Christ so that with great boldness, great grace and great power we will give witness to the resurrected Jesus Christ. Our message must be the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His glorious resurrection. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace through Him and find grace to boldly proclaim Him!
1 Michael Snyder. http://www.infowars.com/christians-are-being-burned-alive-beheaded-crucified-tortured-to-death-and-imprisoned-in-metal-shipping-containers/
2 Newsmax. http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Franklin-Graham-Christians-persecution-Billy-Graham/2014/04/18/id/566456#ixzz30akys6hg