JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 12, 2006 – Christians should strive to live a life that pursues passions for boldness, courage and the gospel, Thom S. Rainer told Union University students Oct. 11.
Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, addressed the Union University community with a message on Acts 4:20 entitled “Getting Our Passions Right.” The message was based on the apostles Peter and John, and the passion they displayed for sharing their faith in the book of Acts.
According to Rainer, Peter and John give an outline in the book of Acts for pursuing the passions of boldness, courage and the gospel. When these apostles stood before the Sanhedrin in the book of Acts, both of the apostles knew that the governing body had control of their freedom or imprisonment, life or death, Rainer said.
Rainer explained how Peter and John were arrested for preaching the resurrection, but they refused to stop talking after their arrest about the hope others could have in Jesus. Rainer also said Peter and John preached the truth of Christ, even though they faced the consequences of imprisonment or death.
“We cannot stop talking about this Savior who has made such a powerful impact and changed our lives eternally,” Rainer said, after speaking about Peter and John’s relentlessness in preaching the gospel.
Rainer also challenged students to find the things they are the most passionate about and to discover how God has wired them.
“I know that most of you don’t want to go the rest of your life through the humdrum existence that many, if not a whole lot of evangelical Christians do,” Rainer said. “When you look out 20 years from now, 40 years from now, God-willing, where is it that you’ll be? What is your passion?”
In addition, Rainer encouraged members of the university community to be bold when sharing their faith with friends and strangers.
“We should love them with the love of Jesus Christ,” Rainer said. “Our hearts should break over the lostness of humanity. Our laws should compel us in boldness and in love to go tell people the simple truth that Jesus saves.”
According to Rainer, John and Peter also had a passion for courage and a passion for sharing the gospel. He discussed how it took courage for John and Peter to stand up to the Sanhedrin, and how they both developed a passion for sharing the gospel, because they witnessed Jesus’ life, death and ascension into heaven.
Rainer re-emphasized the importance of sharing the gospel with these two points, challenging the students not to stay silent and to act courageously when standing up to their faith in Christ.
“You may hit rock walls at times,” Rainer said. “You may hit mountains of obstacles. But, we serve a God who is the God over obstacles. We serve a God that in whatever situation we may find ourselves, he can see us through it to a victory. There is no reason for us not to be courageous.”
By Sarah McBroom ('09)