This week we resume our journey in the book of Acts to recapture God's original vision of the church and what it means to be His community on the earth. Our devos this week are intended to get you to consider a few of the mega-themes contained within Acts chapter 7. We recommend you read the whole chapter to gain a sense of the context of the devos. Invite others to read the devotionals and use them in your conversations. Enjoy the read.
And he said, "Hear me, . . ." Acts 7:2
Is what matters most to you what matters most? Life gets out of balance when we major on the minors and minor on the majors. Our living emphasizes the wrong things. We live for the moment, fight over things that are of little consequence, then wonder why life seems so meaningless and flat.
The example of Stephen teaches us the difference between the temporary and the timeless. He shows us how to hold onto the eternal and let the temporary be carried away with the wind.
New conditions, new outlook, all flowing from the same unchanging, living God. Stephen and other devoutly Jewish people like him had turned their backs on the old, dead traditions in order to trust God more fully, and be led out into a new horizon of God’s great grace. There's more in God to be known and experienced.
That is the lesson of the speech. That is the message the council could not stand, that's the message for which they dragged Stephen outside, beyond the walls, of the city to stone him to death.
This is the lesson every generation of disciples needs to learn afresh. We need go no further than Stephen to learn what matters most. The living God Himself revealed in Jesus Christ, full of grace, to rescue from the clutches of sin. Always eager to lead us into a deeper, richer, fuller faith, which results in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Stephen, in times of death and persecution, is given an assurance, both ardent and clear, of the power of the Lord, whom he had confessed, standing by the right hand of God in heaven, ready to receive him.
Jesus, while on earth, had Himself also been faithful. He had accepted and owned His service. He has not ever betrayed a heart that trusted Him and served Him loyally. Jesus appeared to Stephen in all power in his hour of need and made death itself the gate to everlasting life.
And He will do the same for you.
Are you living for the temporary, or the timeless?