Beloved, Sheila and I and many other youth, helpers and servants are at youth camp this morning and we will be returning this afternoon around 2:00PM. Though I am writing this beforehand, I am certain that the Lord did a magnificent work at camp this year. We had two special guests, Austin Carlile and Christina Boudreau, both of the Whosoevers, share at this year’s Youth Retreat! Hopefully some of the Youth will share next Sunday a few things the Lord did in them and through them at this year’s retreat!
Teaching in my place today will be Austin Carlile. Austin is part of the Whosoevers and also use to be a lead singer for the group, "Of Mice and Men.” The Lord has given Austin a wonderful testimony of His grace and mercy and I am certain it will be evident as he shares from the Word this morning! We will see you either this coming Wednesday or Sunday! Blessings!
Beloved, Stephen's name means "victor's crown" and what follows is his "victory speech!" Whether he realizes it or not, he will soon be stoned, but as a Spirit filled man, he is impelled to speak forth boldly.
MacArthur comments that Stephen first seeks to gain his Jewish listener's interest - He knows that if they are going to hear what he says, they are going to have to want to hear it. They are going to have to have a desire to listen. And so, he talks about their favorite subject. He builds his whole sermon on their own history, and that was their favorite subject.
Beloved, remember, God’s purpose, promise and protection is for you as well!
Beloved- it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”
Stephen, the first martyr of the early church, did not live a long life here on earth. In fact, after one of his first sermons, he was stoned to death. Yet, Stephen made his years count for Christ.
As he left earth for heaven the Holy Spirit records in Acts 6:15, “And they saw that his face was like the face of an angel!” Stephen had the face of an angel because he reflected the glory of God. He is one of maybe two in the entire history of the world, (Moses, being the other) whose face has reflected God’s glory.
The outward manifestation of God’s glory on Stephen’s face came about because he had an inward glory as well. Stephen is described in Scripture as a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit and full of God’s grace and power. Though he was falsely accused, violently arrested and ultimately stoned to death; Stephen kept his composure and thus his face was like the face of an angel.
Stephen’s life shows us that the efforts of one courageous person, though of short duration, could have far reaching effects. Remember what Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” Beloved, are you making your years count?
Beloved, there are different techniques Satan used in his attempt to destroy the church. Initially, Satan tries to use intimidation. He tried this technique with Peter and John through the religious leaders, but it did not work; the church only grew.
Secondly, he tried to destroy the church through corruption. He did through Ananias and Sapphira as they attempted their hypocrisy but the Holy Spirit intervened.
A third technique is division. Satan will attempt to get people to fight each other and create a diversion a allowing them to spend their energy on fighting each other rather than on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It seems that many believers want to use their pruning hooks on each other rather than on reaping the harvest.
Whatever technique the enemy tries to use remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:18- “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The Apostle Peter had previously been so
afraid of acknowledging Jesus Christ
before men that he had even denied
knowing Him before a young girl. Yet
after being restored by Christ and
empowered by the Holy Spirit- Peter
became bold as a lion for
Christ. Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked
man flees though no one pursues, but the
righteous are as bold as a lion.”
Do you wonder if you could be as bold as
Peter? Do you feel too untrained or timid
to be a witness for God? If you’ll spend
time getting to know Jesus, He will
empower you to impress others with
Himself. Boldness for Christ comes from
It was the Apostle Paul who said
in Romans 1:16-17, “I am not ashamed
of the gospel, because it is the power of
God for the salvation of everyone who
believes: first for the Jew, then for the
Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a
righteousness from God is revealed, a
righteousness that is by faith from first to
last, just as it is written: “The righteous
will live by faith.”
Beloved, as Charles Spurgeon said,
instead of being, “Brave for the world and
cowardly towards Christ,” may we, “Live
bravely for him who died lovingly for
you.” Beloved: Be Brave!