“But the Lord said to him, . . .” Acts 7:33
The true test of our spiritual maturity is, can we speak of our life in biblical terms? Are we biblically informed enough to describe our current situation from the point of view of scripture? Stephen is giving an account of how God had intervened in history through the life of Moses.
But the lesson in this text for us today is not in the content, it’s more subtle. If you were to draw a frame around verses 27-35, the entire section is a quotation of Exodus chapter 2. Stephen’s statements weren’t just ideas and fragmented thoughts. Rather, his words had their source and authority rooted firmly in scripture. In the same way we too, because of the eternal nature of God’s word, can have an impact on others if we will take scripture seriously. Scripture opens up when we do these four things:
Stephen’s audience knew of Moses and the great exodus, but they had lost the power of the story. There are truths in God’s word that have been missed because of our theological grids. We have to remove our propositional lenses and read the text with fresh eyes.
Know the implications
By drawing implications from what the scripture had to say about the character and nature of God, Stephen concludes that the movement of God could not be confined by property or place. That it was not geography, but destiny, that mattered most.
Apply it to the details of life
Stephen had the audacity to point the finger at his listeners and say “you!”, making a thunderous application to his opponents. Today, we are more at home with hearing sound doctrine taught, but become uncomfortable when the scriptures are allied directly to personal areas.
Express it truthfully
Stephen disrupted the religious atmosphere of his day. We, as Christians, can get comfortable and set in our ways of worshipping and preaching, never realizing we are becoming hopelessly irrelevant to those around us who are searching to know Jesus personally.
Our effectiveness as disciples of Jesus does not come from toning our message down, but by turning up the presence of scripture in our lives.
How well can you describe your life in biblical terms?