July 13, 2013 am:
“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
Stephen was a man who hungered for more of God in his life and in his ministry. Full of faith and the Holy Spirit and of good reputation, full of the Spirit & Wisdom. Acts 6:8 describes Stephen as one full of grace & power performing great wonders and signs among the people in Jesus’ name.
The Apostles saw a need to choose 7 men with good reputation and full of the Holy Spirit, men who could discern the needs that where among them;men who were accustomed to prayer and fasting, eager to hear and listen to God rather than pleasing man. Stephen was chosen to serve the needs of the people.
Have you ever asked yourself : What would it be like to have a heart for God like Stephen, Paul, Timothy? What might be required and what might be asked of me?
Joshua 22:5 “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
The believer is to submit his will to the will of God, acknowledging Jesus as Lord. The lordship of Jesus in our lives is worked out as we remain faithful to him, doing the work he has delivered us. In submission to the will of God, the believer becomes a servant of God’s people. Indeed, the greatest in the family of God move among the brethren. Our focus is constantly God-centered not self-centered. Believers are required to walk upright before the Lord.
1 Peter 1:15-16“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written be Holy, because I am Holy.”
EvieKaarlson -sings a song “Live for Jesus” her words are penned “whowas willing to lay her life down for Jesus and do his will no matter what the price.” Do you consider the price, the cost too much for you to bear? When we face life and it appears overwhelming and which direction one should take I’m encouraged to turn to God’s Word for direction, strength and wisdom as we continue to follow Jesus.
Ephesians 6:7-8 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.”
No favoritism among the body of believers, love one another equally whether you’re on fire for the Lord or lukewarm in the faith. We are called to encourage and build one another up in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 3:13“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Illustration: growing up with a brother and two sisters we heard a saying so many times it made us sick “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.” In other words if you cannot love each other, build and encourage well you might as well go to your bedroom. Please try and understand a church family is not much different than my family growing up you know how to tick others off, what buttons to push, no matter the cost.
Hebrews 10:25“not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Ministry, involves every kind of persos, it involves the full exercise of the gifts and abilities each of us has for the benefit of others in Christ’s church. In our servant hood, we adopt the selfless attitude of Jesus. As the Scripture says “each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
When we see Stephen, do we see Christ in Him, through his actions, words, and lifestyle; a mere man, whose desire was for more of God daily. When He received the Holy Spirit he too was changed transformed into a man for God’s service. There are a few who desire , who hunger and thirst for righteousness as Stephen but I love his approach in honoring God daily. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
1 Peter 1:13 “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”
Let your strength and vigor of your minds be exerted in your duty; disengage your self from all that would hinder you, and so walk in obedience.
Pastor Ken “Enjoying God every day” writes Hiding God’s word in our hearts is a way of thinking about meditating on Scripture. This means opening ourselves to the truth of the Word, as though it were a personal word from God to us, allowing it to become apart of us. Our time in the Scriptures can be an immersive experience, where the Word softens our rough edges while also nourishing and growing us.”
“Be self-controlled” be vigilant against all your spiritual dangers and enemies and be temperate and modest in the whole of your behavior. The main work of a Christian lies in the right management of his heart and mind.
Illustration: A number of you this past week have ventured out to church camps, basking under the anointed teaching and ministry of God’s Word, soaking and absorbing the presence of the Holy Spirit renewing ones commitment, refilling, refreshing oneself spiritual for God’s service.
Our service to God Almighty requires each of us to be totally sold out for Jesus. Let’s stop kidding ourselves a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ must be sincere in His walk, in His calling and in His service for the Lord. Joshua encourages us serve Him with your all, with all your heart, and with all your soul.
If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
Let’s stand and Sing Amazing Grace Hymn # 306.
"Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls." - Mathew 11:28