August 5, 2012

Stephen: Spirit-Filled Man of God (pt2)

Passage: Acts 7:1-60

Bible Text: Acts 7:1-60 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: The Solid Acts of God
Then the high priest said, Are these things so?
Abraham Obeyed God
Acts 7:1-8 And he said, Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham…and said to him, Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you…But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession and to his descendants after him…He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day…
An outward sign of the promise or covenant made between God, Abraham, and the nation of Israel.
Our goal is to give God our total commitment
Body, Soul, Spirit
Joseph obeyed God
Acts 7:9-16 And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house…
Genesis 50:20 …even though you intended to do harm to me God intended it for good!
Moses Obeyed God
Acts 7:17-34 But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt till another king arose who did not know Joseph. This man dealt treacherously with our people…At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God…And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
God is sovereign, nothing about our lives is ever accidental. Nothing is ever wasted.
Stephen’s review of Jewish history presents a clear testimony of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty.
God is in control — nothing surprises him
this world is not all — it will pass away, God is eternal
God is fair and just, He will make things right
God wants to use us to make a difference!
Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel…seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him…and struck down the Egyptian. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them…But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?  Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian…
YOUR Redeemer has come and lives, but you have misunderstood his mission and his method just like you misunderstood and rejected Moses.
Wait on God, let Him reveal Himself and His plan, and then humbly trust and obey Him!
And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush…When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight…the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, I am the God of your fathers — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. …Then the LORD said to him, Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.  I have surely seen the oppression of My people…I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.
Acts 7:35-36 This Moses whom they rejected, saying, Who made you a ruler and a judge? is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
You are stubborn, resistant and disobedient to the Lord
Acts 7:37-43 This is that Moses…Him you shall hear…he who was…with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai…who received the living oracles…whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt… …And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
Worship God alone! He calls us to be in AWE of Him!
Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets: Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness,O house of Israel? You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
The blending together of a variety of perspectives into an entirely new and heretical mixture of faith views. Today we call it Christianity even though it bears little resemblance to the faith in the Bible.
Many Americans believe in a supra-human deity who exists for the pleasure of humankind and He resides in the heavenly realm solely for our benefit.
The American verse of today:
God helps those who help themselves
Faith once centered around God, His Word, commandments, and principles.
Today it revolves around us
Few Believers today possess a sense of genuine awe, fear, or trembling as they face God.
Acts 7:44-50 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness… …Solomon built Him a house.  However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the LORD, Or what is the place of My rest? Has My hand not made all these things?
Acts 7:51-53 You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.
Acts 7:54-56 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!
Acts 7:57-60 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, Lord, do not charge them with this sin. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
The immediate results of Stephen’s death:
Philip’s evangelistic tour (8:4-40)
Paul’s (Saul’s) conversion (9:1-30)
Peter’s missionary tour (9:32-11:18)
The planting of the church in Antioch of Syria (11:19-26)
Our goal is to give God our total commitment
Communion reminds us of the promise made by Jesus
We are invited to enter into a genuine relationship of faith, obedient living for the Lord, according to His Word as Spirit-filled people.
Matthew 26:26-29 As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God’s blessing on it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, Take it and eat it, for this is my body. And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, Each of you drink from it,  for this is my blood, which seals the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many.

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