Happy Friday! This week we read about the appointment of Stephen and six other men who were well respected and were full of the Spirit and wisdom. Their appointment put them in position to help the widows and ensure fair treatment of food distribution amongst all believers. Additionally, Stephen was well versed in the knowledge of Jesus and the gospel message. While preaching a religious sect tried to discredit Stephen’s teachings, Stephen was arrested and brought before high council. Join me as we continue in Acts chapter 6.
“13 The lying witnesses said, “This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses. 14 We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth[c] will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
15 At this point everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s.” – Acts 6:13-15 NLT
Truthfully, Stephen did share what Jesus said in:
- Matthew 24:1-2,
- Mark 13:1-11,
- Luke 21:5-19,
but it wasn’t what the religious leaders wanted to hear and they twisted the words to fit their agenda.
Not only did Stephen share the first part of those verses, but I am certain as he stood before the council he recalled what was said in Mark 13:9-11: 9 “When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.[b] 10 For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.[c] 11 But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
Sisters and brothers, you can see the dynamics were about to shift as Stephen’s face became as bright as an Angel (v.15) – the Holy Spirit was about to speak through him (we will read more on this next week).
In reading these verses we know Stephen was sharing the gospel message during a time when the “odds” were stacked against the church. It was a time when the religious leaders were more concerned with their agenda instead of God’s agenda. Yet, the apostles were teaching the Good News, the true message of Christ our redeemer.
Sisters and brothers, God will call us to many places to share the gospel message but don’t worry, if you allow the Holy Spirit to speak through you, God’s will, will be done. Continue to be bold and share the word of God with others.
Father God thank you for your word that gives us life and calms our fears. You are so good to us. Your word informs, encourages, heals, comforts and guides us. Lord, thank you for teaching us how the early church managed fear, prison, persecution, trials, discrimination and leadership in just six short chapters in Acts. Lord, you know our needs as a church, as people in the community, as leaders in our home and society, and as your dearly loved children. Lord, purify our hearts and help us to continue your work in the kingdom. Lord you are King over all these things, direct us and lead us to share your message of truth, justice, compassion, grace and mercy. Lord only you can change the hearts of men/women, begin the transformation process within us and throughout the land. Build us up and equip us for the things ahead, but use us today to do your will, help us to stand up for the marginalized and oppressed. Don’t let us get side tracked by the enemies plots, keep us alert and focused on you as we continue to reach the lost, least and last. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
Registration for our next women’s retreat is open.
Theme: Hope Anchored by Faith – “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19
When: Saturday, July 25, 2020
Time: 9:00 AM Pacific Standard Time
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 the retreat will be held online as a virtual retreat. Register in advance:
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Bible Reference: http://biblegateway.com