Welcome Home everyone
Still talking about Stephen and his run in with the Jewish elders and their plot to shut him down.
My big idea for today is in a world of changing cultures, God’s word never changes. And my prayer for us today is that by hearing this message we might be encouraged to hold fast to God’s truth, and we would encounter Him in it. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Acts chapter 6, verse11.
Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”Acts 6:11-15
12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” 15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points/observations that as followers of Jesus Christ we must hold fast
POINT #1: God’s Truth Will Reign!
Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.Acts 6:11-12
The religious leaders in Jerusalem conspired to lie about Stephen so they might find grounds to execute him. Just like they did Jesus. They attempted to silence Stephen with debate, and they failed. They tried to silence Stephen with the Law, and they failed. When God’s word did not fit their narrative, they conspired against Stephen. They tried to discredit him. And when their best attempts to destroy his credibility failed, they conspired to murder him un a false pretense under the law.
This world is rough.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.Ecclesiastes 1:9
Meaning, human nature follows the same patterns over and over. The hearts of men are evil and human nature will repeat itself. God sent the prophets to warn Israel to the truth about their actions and instead of repentance, the murdered God’s prophets. This has become their Motus Operandum. Jesus Himself warned us that this was likely to happen. Stephen, just like Jesus, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, never deviated from the mission. Today’s secular culture is no different. Their desire today, is to bend God’s word/our orthodoxy to the will of culture in the name of tolerance and loving your neighbor. But here’s the catch, God’s truth will reign. They will call you names. They will falsely say all kinds of evil against you.
I want you to always remember this. If we stand on God’s word, God’s word will stand as a witness for you. God truth will always come through. The world will not be able to move you. You will be unshakeable. You will be unbreakable. Culture will not be able to fool you. And they will not be able to manipulate you. Romans 1. God’s truth will always reign.
I’ll move on to my next point.
POINT #2: God’s Word Is Unchangeable!
They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”Acts 6:13-14
God Word is unchangeable. The reality is that Jesus Christ our promised Messiah, the eternal word of God, is both the law and the law giver.
God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”Exodus 3:14
Meaning, God, was and is and will be forevermore. He is the eternal existing one.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.Hebrews 13:8
If Christ is the fullness of the Godhead, He is unchangeable then his Law and wisdom is also consistent with these attributes as well.
Here’s the rub, people will try to lie, distort, and manipulate the word of God to suit their wickedness. But that doesn’t reflect on God, he’s still the same. In fact, many of the Talmud writings depict a what they call a “New Law” Paul compares a Law of Moses and a Law of Christ. This is not an actual replacement of the Law but a clarification of interpretations or understanding of the Torah when the Messiah arrives.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.Matthew 5:17
Somethings we don’t see clearly. Many things in the Bible are confusing, but that does not mean that if we find conflict with our understanding of the word that somehow the word is flawed. The problem is always going to be our understanding of it and not the integrity of God’s word. Or in some cases our conduct or morality in in conflict with the word. Our approach needs to prayerful and with humility. In this way I believe the Holy Spirit is faithful to lead us into all truth in His timing.
I’ll close with this.
All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.Acts 6:15
Speaks to spiritual DNA. John 8 is a great discussion the depicts or reveals the spiritual DNA of the Jews there. Jesus says that insists that if they were righteous (Abraham’s children) they would do what Abraham did which is to believe and walk with God by faith. Rather because they are slaves to sin, Jesus informs them that they are actually children of the devil. In our passage the focus is on Moses and the temple as their identify and not primarily of God in a real relationship. Moses’ face also shown from being in the presence of God. Because God’s word is true and because the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, God reveals what is real and true in Stephen’s countenance. They can see the effects of relationship and proximity visually and bodily on Stephen. Here’s my probing question. Can the world see Jesus on you? Do they have to look really closely? Or can they see it a mile away? Whatever the truthful response is we all have room to improve.
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, if we love God and abide in Christ, we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’