I spent all morning yesterday working on my sermon for my first Sunday back. In keeping with the idea of "Living as a Regular Christian," I am examining the idea of boldness. This emerged out of my study of Acts 3-4:31. I was drawn to this text initially by the observation of the Sanhedrin that Peter and John were "ordinary men". Yet again and again in the text we hear of their boldness, and that boldness makes a huge impact. Why were they bold? How did their boldness translate into a witness? What challenges our boldness? What gives us confidence in the name of Christ? These are a few of the questions that emerged out of my wrestling with the text. During these last two months, there have been several points where I have encountered some of these same questions.
I have been rereading a textbook of mine from seminary, "The Witness of Preaching" by Thomas Long. In his book, Long encourages pastors to develop a focus statement and a function statement for their sermons to insure that there is unity and coherence in their sermon. Here are the focus and function statements that I came up with for this sermon.
Focus: The early believers were confident in the power of the resurrected Lord, and thus were able to be an effective witness.
Function: Establish a foundation of confidence in the name of Christ from which we can together move forward.