Nothing is wasted with God. God can take our best or our worst, our good days and our bad, and use it to change our world. Stephen lost his life for the sake of the Gospel; he gave his all to God. God wants to do amazing things to make our world a better place through us. Are you willing?
The church in Acts continued growing through their growing-pains. The Apostles appointed seven men to help with those growing-pains, and one stood out among the rest: Stephen. Stephen was a man who was full of God's grace and power, as well as wisdom and the Holy Spirit. As opposition arose against him and he, too, found himself arrested for teaching others about Jesus, he stood faithfully for God. Luke records that those who were present for Stephen's mock trial saw that his face shined like that of an angel. What does a life lived for God look like who would result in their face shining like an Angel?
The Apostles found themselves in trouble once more because they were teaching about Jesus. Thrown in jail by the religious leaders, released by an angel that night and told to back to the Temple the next day and continue telling others about Jesus, then arrested again, the Apostles were threatened once more. When they replied the same way they had in their last encounter with the religious leaders, that they must obey God rather than anything else, the religious leaders became even more upset. In the end the Apostles were flogged and let go with another warning to stop teaching about Jesus. God has given all believers the requirement of sharing His message through both our words, and our own life lived for God. We must obey God, no matter the cost.
Ananias and Sapphira attempted to lie both to the church, but also to God about a gift they were giving. God expects His people to be holy, to live according to His design. We can't hide the truth from God. Instead, we need to be honest with Him and others about who we are, and what we've done. God is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins.
Peter and John were just threatened by some of the most powerful people in the land to stop telling others about Jesus. Their response? Go back to the rest of the believers and pray for courage to continue to boldly tell others about the only hope we have for salvation - Jesus Christ.
Peter and John were ordered to stop preaching about Jesus. Their answer? "Judge for yourself whether it is right to obey you rather than God."
In life we have many things drawing and pulling us to obey things more than God. Our life must be about obeying God more than other things.
Peter and John amazed the Jewish leaders of their day because they were ordinary men, but did extraordinary things. How did they do these things? Because they had spent time with Jesus.
Today as we spend time with Jesus, we will be changed. Our life will show all that we have spent time with Jesus.
God has a design for the church, we could call it His dream for His church. When His people live that dream, amazing things happen as the world is made a better place.
God has a plan for saving us, and it is through Christ.
Peter delivered a sermon to a crowd that caused them to ask how to be saved. This is a look at his answer.
God's love for humanity has been on display since the beginning of time. Even though we have been running from Him, He is still pursuing us. Acts teaches us that God is enlisting people to be part of that pursuit, and nothing will or can stop Him. God utilizes those who claim Him as theirs to fulfill His mission of winning humanity over.
As we watch our world appear to spiral out of control, God continually reminds us that He is still present and active around and in us. God equips His people with everything they need to help them to give people something to live for, not just something to live on. He equips us to speak the language of those He places in our life so they, too, can know that God loves them; even those far from Him.
God didn't create our world to be as it is. His original design was one of beauty. We all know this, deep inside; and we feel His calling to us.
Acts is a story of God unleashing His love upon the world so humanity can be drawn back to Him. God still wants to transform our world from chaos and darkness into beauty and light, and He is using those who choose Him.
The final message in the Follow Me series
The 13th message in the Follow Me series
The 12th message in the Follow Me series
The 10th in the Follow Me series
Ninth in the Follow Me series
This is the eighth message in the Follow Me series.
Due to technical issues, the message for 2/11/18 will not be available.
Sixth message in the "Follow Me" series