“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33)
The early church expanded rapidly due to the action of the Holy Spirit through the disciples. His work convicted people of sin, healed people of sickness and disabilities, and created a compassionate and loving community. The Jews who were brought to faith in Christ experienced the power and love of God as never before. The apostles continued to receive great courage from the Holy Spirit to confront the rulers of the Jews who resented their preaching and found it offensive. The gospel proclaimed that Jesus is God. And, in addition, it maintained that not only had Jesus risen from the dead, but that salvation was to be found in Him alone. This was an incredible and dangerous statement to make to a person of any other religion or belief system.
Such a statement in our current culture is still a dangerous one to make. This great truth of salvation through Jesus alone proclaims that all other religions are worthless, ineffective and hopeless because they are essentially lies. In the spiritual pluralism that existed in the ancient world and exists in our own this is quite a radical and dangerous claim, one which many find annoying or offensive. Consequently, many label Christians as intolerant. Therefore, many so-called Christians attempt to soften this dynamic claim by maintaining that God speaks to different cultures in differing ways. They fear antagonizing people or making them feel bad about themselves. But the fact is they ought to feel bad, they ought to feel guilt, because we all are sinners. Unless we feel guilt over our sins we will never know we need a savior. We will never be led to faith in Jesus alone. So, therefore, we ought to pray for the boldness of the Holy Spirit who can enable us to speak the truth in love.