Book of Acts Chapter 7 Part 4
Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere they go. Today, we hope to continue our discussion of the sermon of Stephen.
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Read Acts 7:39-47
The Sermon of Stephen (continued). In this section of the book of Acts Stephen went on to talk about how their fore parents forsook God and worshipped idols.
God promised punishment for this gross sin. Stephen then talks about the Israelites having the Tabernacle and then the Temple, even though God was really too big to actually live in either of them.
- Faith in God, instead of fore parents. Notice in vss. 39-42 of this section of the book of Acts that the fore parents were not all that good.
If we are not careful, we will recreate a history that never existed. That is, we will make heroes and sheroes out of people who were not all that heroic. All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, including our fore parents.
Let's make sure that we keep our ultimate faith in God, not people. Of course, we should appreciate our history. However, whenever good comes out of our history, it is because God did a great work in and through the lives of sinners.
- Forward with God, instead of backward to Egypt. Notice in vs. 39 of this section of the book of Acts that the people turned back to Egypt in their hearts.
They were more concerned with going back to what they knew than forward to what God had prepared for them. If we are not careful, we will fall into the same trap.
On one hand, we should appreciate the bridge that brought us over. But on the other hand, we should move past the bridge. With God, the best is yet to come. Let's stay focused on moving forward with God, instead of being stuck in the past.
- Following God more than the majority vote. Notice in vs. 40 of the book of Acts that Aaron simply did what the majority wanted, even though they wanted him to lead them into sin.
There are too many officers in the church who are like Aaron. They think they are officers of the people and are to do what the people tell them to do, instead of assistants to the leader who follow the leader's instructions.
The people may be happy with Aaron for a season, and Aaron may be happy with the people's favor. But God is not pleased. Only what we do God's way will have lasting impact. Let's work on living according to God's will, not simply by what the people want.
Of course, if the leader is leading you contrary to God's word then you ought not follow such leadership. However, it is dangerous when a majority of followers have more sway than the God sent leader.
- Transformation vs. conforming. Notice in vs. 40 that there is no evidence of anyone even going to look for Moses. This is the same Moses whom God used to lead the people out of Egypt and to whom God is speaking about the people of God.
While God was talking to Moses on the mountain, the people and Aaron were pursing foolishness. It is sad to see how quickly people can turn from acting right to acting wrong.
A great reason to spending so much time teaching is to combat the temptation of turning back to sin, when the leader is absent.
When a person knows right in his/her head, it is hoped that righteousness would sink down into his/her heart and result in continued righteousness with his/her hands, no matter where the leader is.
In other words, the hope of teaching is transformation, instead of simply conforming to the leader's influence. Test yourself in this area.
Is there a difference between how you behave when the leader is present and when he/she is not – tithing, preaching, teaching, conversation, etc.? God is always present.
Let's work on being transformed, instead of simply conforming. Transformed people would have looked for Moses and tried to stay faithful in his absence. Those who were simply conforming were happy that he was gone and looked forward to doing their own thing.
- Worshipping the work of our hands. Notice in vs. 41 of this section of the book of Acts that the people forsook the worshipping of God and worshipped the work of their hands.
Before we are too quick to say that we will never do the same, let's re-exam the value we give to our agendas. We can tell what is in our hearts by what we do.
When we give more to financing our comforts and luxuries than we give to God who provided us with our resources, we are moving in the wrong direction.
When we spend more time and energy watching television and engaged in our hobbies than we spend prayerful studying God's word, being involved in Christian service, and things of this nature, we are going the wrong way. Let's make sure we don't worship the work of our hands more than God.
- Turned over to our foolishness. Notice in vss. 42-43 that God turned the rebellious and disobedient people over to their foolishness.
It is a sad and dangerous day when God turns us over to our foolishness. We have enough problems as we strive to live according to God's will. Things only get worse when we follow after our ways.
When God turns us over too our foolishness that means we have worn His patience and understanding down. We should not think that God will always put up with our rebellion and keep on giving us chance after chance.
Let's work on repenting from our sins, so we don't have to experience the pain of our foolishness. Thank God, there are some who can read this text and repent, but too many have to experience the pain of their ways for themselves.
- Following God's pattern. Notice in vs. 44 of this section of the book of Acts that God has a habit of sending a human leader with a pattern. If we follow God's pattern, God has a way of blessing us.
When we go about to do our own thing, God has a way of punishing us. The leader is not sent so the followers can simply do what they want to do. Followers are to follow what God sends through His leader.
Let's work on following God sent leaders and the pattern that God puts in them. For some, it will be easier to find another leader than to follow the one they are currently with.
Whatever the case, until we learn to follow God's pattern, by whomever He sends it, we will always have a problem with God and an unrest in our spirits.
Conclusion: Let's work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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