Book of Acts Chapter 6 Part 2
A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for Jesus everywhere they go. Today we hope to discuss the stirring of the people.
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Read Acts 6:8-15
G. Stephen, the First Martyr (6:8-8:3); 1. The Stirring of the People (6:8-15). In this section of the book of Acts Stephen is noted for his contributions of wonders and miraculous signs among the people.
However, Jewish religious people had him arrested on trumped up claims. The pericope ends with the mention of Stephen's face being like an angel's.
- Christian character and deeds. Notice in vs. 8 of this section of the book of Acts how Stephen's character and deeds are described.
He is a man full of God's grace and power (character). And he is a man who did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people (deeds).
Let's strive to be known for our Christian character and deeds. Our character and deeds should be known for being focused on pleasing God with our loving God and others as we love ourselves.
Inviting and bringing loved ones with us to church. Being involved in studying, serving, and giving with a loving attitude and submission to leadership are steps in the right direction.
However, it is hard to have this kind of description assigned to us, if we are mean, anti-social, uninvolved, and resistant to leadership.
- Be ready for the devil. Notice in vs. 9 of this section of the book of Acts that as God was blessing, the devil was messing.
We ought not think that the devil is going to sit back and let us simply grow in the Lord and do great things for the Lord without the devil trying to stop us. And unfortunately, he often tries to stop us, by using religious people.
On one hand, we should make sure that we develop the faith needed to get through whatever the devil throws our way. Prayerful study and obedience with Christian support can help with this.
But on the other hand, we ought to make sure we don't let the devil use us in his schemes. Trying our thoughts, actions, and motives against the Word will help us with this.
Let's work on being strong enough to deal with the devil's attempt to stop what God is doing in and through our lives.
- Staying godly, even under pressure. Notice in vss. 10, 15 that Stephen's character did not change, when he was under persecution. In fact, in vs. 15 of this section of the book of Acts his face appears to be like that of an angel.
There are too many who are "saints" when all is well, but they change to "ain'ts" when things get rough. We need to work on the daily self denial and dedication to divine directions that we talk about under discipleship.
We don't want to ruin our testimony and legacy by what we say and do when trouble comes into our lives. Let's work on being godly, even when trouble comes. Again prayerful study and obedience with the support of others is going to be helpful.
This is not simply for church. This principle is important in family, work, and community living as well. Focusing on these issues will prove to be more fruitful than trying to make our face look like that of an angel (smile).
- Staying off of the devil's team. In this section of the book of Acts notice in vss. 11-14 that the ungodly people resorted to talking people into lying and being upset about unfounded accusations.
Worst than what we see going on in the religious community of our text is the reality that similar situations are still taking place. When the devil cannot find anything wrong with us, he simply makes up stuff. And there seems to always be somebody who is willing to believe the lie told about the people of God.
Not only should we be aware of how the devil can operate, but we should make sure that we don't get caught up in this kind of stuff. We ought not allow anyone to talk us into lying.
We should not allow anyone to get us excited about punishing a person, without knowing the whole story. Let's work on staying off of the devil's team.
- Priorities. Notice in vs. 14 that key issues of the accusations were the Temple (place) and traditions. The devil still plays games with the matters of place and traditions.
The more the church focuses on traditions, instead of the truth, the less time and energy we spend on ministry. The more we focus on how we like to see the church building, the less we are focused on doing what the church building is supposed to house.
No matter how beautiful a church building looks, it looks ugly to God without saved and growing people in it.
And no matter how basic and unfashionable a church house may appear to us, it is beautiful in the eyes of God, when it is filled with saved and growing believers.
Let's work on keeping the main thing the main thing. Buildings and traditions are to be far behind the teachings of God's word.
At the core of God's instructions for the church are issues like godly evangelism and edification (i.e., helping our loved ones and communities get saved and growing in the Lord), which call for other issues to come into play like love, worship, community involvement, and excellence.
Conclusion: Let's be mindful of being witnesses for Jesus everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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