Stewards of Grace

I tell you, with a grieving heart, that there are right now in this nation laymen, ministers and ministries that have been given up by God. These are those who have been deceived by lying spirits, having been warned time and again by the Holy Spirit and by prophets of God to repent and humble themselves. They became engrossed with self: they started to fornicate with wood and stones, becoming builders of temples and memorials to self-achievement; and they rejected a life of brokenness and humility. They forsook the prayer closet for their interests and the works of their own hands! They recklessly squandered God’s money, God’s faith, God’s time and God’s power.

From across this nation I hear from praying, sanctified people the same thing I hear from my heavenly Father. Those who are walking with God, living in the Spirit, instinctively sense that God has discovered and that He deplores all the abominations in the church, in the pulpit, in preachers and in some popular ministries.

Not all are corrupt, thank God! There is a growing remnant of repentant saints and ministries who have returned to righteousness and prayer. But the true body of Christ must pray for divine wisdom to discern those who have been stripped of spiritual authority and unction. Growing numbers of praying Christians now share the very grief of God against all the compromise and mixture with the world, and their hearts cry out that God will deal with it soon. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt He is about to do just that! If God can bring Babylon down in one hour, He can certainly clean up the mess in His temple in a moment.

Most of the modern stewards who have been stripped by God of all spiritual usefulness are not as wise as the unjust steward – they don’t know it’s all over. They are not aware they have been stripped of their stewardship. But you can tell it is all over by the man-centered plans and schemes they introduce. The Lord’s interests are no longer paramount; the only thing important to them now is their next project. They finish one man-centered project, only to launch another, more spectacular than the other.

My heart cries out, “Oh, my blessed Savior, when will God’s people wake up and begin to discern that all this mad spending, building and worldly mindedness represents a squandering spree by Christians and ministries that have been stripped by the Holy Ghost and who are about to be called into account? When will God’s people quit supporting such foolishness? When will the true body of Christ wake up and cry out against it and say, ‘Enough!’?”

Are there no prophets of God left in the land? Are there no pastors left with enough Holy Ghost discernment and spiritual authority to wake up this people to the dangerous waste of our Lord’s resources? Sad, but true, some of the best-known national ministries today are beyond hearing God’s true Word. I am not their judge, but by their actions it is apparent some are beyond reproof, blinded by their own counselors, blinded by ambition, blinded by the gods of success and power.

Excerpted from David Wilkerson’s message on Stewardship from Luke 16; “A Cheap Cut-rate Gospel”

Words of Grace for Strength

Worldly pleasures and worldly attitudes have become pervasive in the “church” and too many “Christians” are more concerned with personal wealth and riches than growing in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This false word of faith prosperity gospel is led by self-centered men and women who seek personal wealth and personal glory, and through their false teaching the “church” has become enamored with programs, performances and prosperity and not discipleship, spiritual discipline and dedication to the Word.

We are living in the times prophesied by the Apostles Paul and Peter (2 Timothy 3:1-7, 2 Peter 2:1-3) wherein man’s base desires will cause him to turn in sin away from what is godly and good. When man worships self and wealth and not God. The scripture is clear on the end of these who turn their back on a Holy God.

Why is it that these false teachers or fallen teachers cannot see the error in the path they have chosen to walk? They have allowed the enemy, the  present power of this world to blind them by either their greed for power and riches or by their self-absorption. It is not hard to stay on the right path when one is focused on Christ as the center of life. It is impossible to do so when He is not that central core focus of life. We can be blinded by the powers of this present world or we can eagerly pursue personal gratification. Either way, the fall astray into the false word is the same. And the solution, a refocus with a Christ-centered life, is the same as well. Trying anything else just leads to a deeper and farther fall.

The rapture of the True Church is imminent and we need to be sharing the love of Christ and His saving Grace with anyone and everyone who will listen. Friends, it is not too late to turn away from these false teachers and prosperity preachers and embrace the true doctrine of grace. We have a God-given responsibility as Ministers of the Gospel to speak the truth in love as good stewards of the message of Jesus Christ.

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “LOVE WILL COVER A MULTITUDE OF SINS.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11)

Whom Do You Fear in These Last Days?

Undoubtedly, the evidence is, for Christians this world is becoming more dangerous on a daily basis. Persecution of those who have a true faith in Jesus Christ has increased by an estimated 400% worldwide in the last 24 months alone. Yet, the True Church continues to grow, and is doing so in the places of greatest persecution. North Korea, over the past decade, has consistently been documented as the most hostile toward Christianity, yet it is estimated that the Church has grown from 200,000 to 400,000 faithful, during that same length of time. These numbers are not anomalous, almost the same type of growth has been experienced in China, India, Iran, and much of the African continent. The Church of Jesus Christ is alive, growing, and in spite of the suffering and persecution is living expectantly, longing and looking for His imminent return for His bride.

However, not everyone who claims the name of Jesus Christ are boldly making a stand for Him in these Last Days. Many Christians (especially in the US), for divergent reasons, are “playing it safe” hoping to “slip under the radar” and avoid suffering and persecution. Rather than trusting God, they have developed a fear of man which is by extension, a fear of Satan. Jesus Christ promised that He would neither leave us nor forsake us, and that we should have no fear of what man might do to us. (Hebrews 13:5-6) In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised that we would be blessed and rewarded for having suffered persecution in His Name. (Matthew 5:10-12) Jesus also told us that we can expect persecution because He was persecuted. (John 15:20) And, Paul told the Christians in the Philippian church that it was granted to them not only to believe in Jesus but to suffer for Jesus. (Philippians 1: 29) If you are granted something, it means it has been given to you or gifted to you, in other words, it is a privilege that you have received. So, we should count it a privilege when persecution comes, but rather than trusting God for their lives, many are caught in the snare of fearing man. (Proverbs 29:25)

Fearing man results in a failure to do what is right, what the Lord desires, in being obedient to His call on your life. It is yielding to your human nature rather than trusting in the Holy Spirit to protect and empower you in Jesus Name. Oftentimes a fear of man is the result of sinful pride in our lives. It manifests itself in thoughts like; “if I try to share my faith with them they will make fun of me,” or “I could lose my job if I don’t compromise,” or “Jesus understands that I’m not that type of a Christian.” These examples of prideful thoughts or actions show a concern for self, and fear of what man might say, rather than a fear of God.

Del Fehsenfeld Jr., the founder of Life Action Ministries, said there were 12 warning signs for the believer that they fear man rather than God.

• They are unwilling to pray aloud.
• They wear immodest or suggestive clothing.
• They become defensive when confronted about their actions.
• They are unwilling to be honest about their failures.
• They are critical of others; trying to find fault.
• They are greedy, seeking material wealth and reputation.
• They are unable to make clear decisions.
• They are harsh with their children and family in public.
• They are constantly fishing for compliments and commendation.
• They are always trying to “one-up” other people’s stories.
• They are unwilling to follow Christ in believer’s baptism or to verbally witness for Him.
• They display different behavior depending on whom they happened to be with.

Fear of man is quite simply a denial of Christ, weather it is a result of pride, or willful disobedience in giving Christ His rightful place in your life. The tent evangelist, Dr. Dolphus Price, said; “Many will go to hell because they are afraid of what their friends might say if they give their life to Christ.” The English preacher William Gurnall wrote; “We fear man so much, because we fear God so little.”

Today, the Church of Jesus Christ needs to return to a healthy reverence for, and fear of God. (Psalm 89:7; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) We need to remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, about who we should fear and why. (Luke 12:4-9) Ultimately, the man who puts his trust in Jesus Christ is eternally safe no matter what he might face.The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to Timothy wrote; “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12) Again, this is a promise of a privilege given to the one who has given his life to serve Jesus Christ, and it is certainly no reason to fear man.

Paul goes on to encourage Timothy; “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4: 2-5)

These words to Timothy in that day, are the words of Jesus Christ to us for today. Because the evidence is clear that we are living in the Last Days, we need to set aside the fear of man, and share Jesus Christ with absolutely everyone we can in obedience to His call on our lives. We need to convince people of the Truth of Jesus Christ in our lives, we need to rebuke those (false teachers and false prophets) who are not teaching the Truth of the Word of God, and we need to exhort new Christians or weaker Christians with patience and sound teaching of the Word. Many in this world have already turned away from the truth, many will not be redeemed because they have already given themselves over to Satan. But, we still need to evangelize everyone, because only God knows the condition of a man’s heart. We need to fulfill the calling God has placed on our lives, and continually watch, long for, and love the imminent appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds as He Raptures His Church!

Remember, a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) and the crown of life (Revelation 2:10) awaits. So put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-16), and having done all to stand; Stand Therefore!

EvenSoCome

Press on!

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:8-14

Recently, I have looked at this again in a different light. The Apostle Paul said “I press toward the mark,” as if he hadn’t accomplished enough in life already! During our Wednesday evening services, I, the pastor with very little experience concerning end time events, have begun to teach on this very subject. Realizing that the Bible, percentage wise (nearly one-third), is more prophecy than anything else, and understanding that out of all of the writings of the major religions of the world, our Bible is the only book with enough bravery to predict the very future that we are living in today.

When I was growing up we might have seen a sign of the Lord’s return every so often, but now…every day we are watching the signs unfold right before our eyes! To me, as I am witnessing it, this is one of the most exciting experiences I have ever had in my life! All of the things we have studied and heard about in our churches for years are coming to pass! But, I have started seeing and hearing of some things that are very alarming to me. Certainly people are afraid. But, even more alarming is the talk of Christians being afraid. Why? The reward that we pray for, the eternity that we wait for, the great reunion we are wanting with our loved ones, and even more important the One who died for us all, is near. How could we as believers be afraid of the time we live in?

I understand that there could be a time of persecution like we’ve never known. I know we may be driven underground to have church. We may not be able to pray in school ever again. Abortion may be an everyday occurrence with no shame. The institution of marriage may not honorable like the bible spoke of in Hebrews 13:4. Oh wait…most of this is where we are now! Now instead of making a stand and preaching on the street corner, we have practically gone into hiding. We don’t witness unless we are alone with someone and they open the door. Have we not already gone into hiding?

Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, that the coming of the Lord would not come until there be a great falling away. I have heard many teachings and ideas on this passage, even so, why would we think for any reason we should slow down in the practice of personal evangelism as we see these things happening? Instead of hiding what we hold as the dearest treasure in our hearts, we should be spreading it like never before! I look at the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the Philippians like this…Hey guys…we may have made a difference to some degree… We may have some great accomplishments… We may have the right to just sit back and wait on the Lord to take us… But! Paul said, of all my accolades, I count them all as dung, and I am still pressing toward the same mark I started after when I fell on my face on the road to Damascus.

Paul, while sitting in prison was pressing. Paul, while going from courthouse to courthouse being falsely accused was pressing, while in the storm and shipwrecked, he was pressing. While being beaten and stoned, he was still pressing, when he was on the chopping block about to lose his head, he was still pressing. Even more shocking to me than the folks who are afraid of what’s going on in our world today, as far as end time events go, are the folks who have gone into hiding and have quit pressing!

Hey church…wake up!!! We are in the greatest evangelistic era we could possibly have! Yes people’s hearts are hard, and yes people are on a moral downward spiral, but it is amazing to see some of the people who are the hardest, are realizing the signs of the times themselves! Let’s go and press harder than we ever have because;

Jesus is coming soon!

God Bless

A church structure, or the Structure of the Church!

Everywhere you turn today you see incredible buildings where people assemble once a week to “worship.” In fact for the past 1800 years or so, men have been building edifices for people to gather in, purportedly to honor God. The civilized world has continually sought to build physical places for God, without scriptural understanding. God doesn’t want a house to “dwell” in, He seeks the hearts of men for His dwelling place. As we continue to study the Church established in the book of Acts, and the formula and pattern established in Acts 2:42, we will look at what God desires of us as compared to man’s actions. The church built by Jesus Christ, established in Biblical Doctrine, has evidence of three more characteristics, Fellowship, Breaking Bread, and Prayer. Doctrine having been covered in a previous article, we will look at Fellowship which I believe is incorrectly practiced and understood in most “churches” today.

In Acts 4:46 we read that the believers worshiped together daily in the Temple, and from “house to house.”  The Church established in the book of Acts met in the homes and the courtyards of homes of the believers in Jesus Christ. This arrangement continued for the first two and a half centuries of the Church’s existence. But, by the latter half of the second century AD, doctrinal error began to enter the Church. The Gnostics and Nicolaitans and other false prophets (warned about by John, Peter, James and Paul) had spread their false doctrines and had also embraced many pagan practices so that many “churches” gradually departed from New Testament Doctrine. Local “churches” became institutionalized by uniting under the direction of regional “bishops” and unscriptural organizations. The simple worship arrangement initiated in Acts was being replaced by ritual, system and practiced religiosity.

In 312AD, Roman Emperor Constantine was said to convert to Christianity (The veracity of this can be debated in another article), and after having done so began the process of organizing the “church” for the benefit of the state. Under this religious system specialized places of worship began to be built which separated the worshipers from the “clergy” in yet another example of unscriptural practice. While Constantine is said to have helped establish and grow the “church,” in reality his introduction of paganism into “Christian” worship, in fact and effect caused the True Church to virtually go underground.

Today, meeting to worship in a building constructed for just such purpose is the norm, however this was not in the original design for the Church. In fact, I believe for several reasons, it is antithetical to the mission of the Church. First of all, it is ludicrous to believe it is right to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions, to construct buildings which are utilized once or twice a week while there are millions of people who have physical and spiritual needs. In order to construct and maintain these places, the financial resources which should be used for missions or church planting are swallowed up by mortgages and salaries which usually display greed and excess rather than love and hope. Spiritual growth is replaced by growing “membership” numbers to feed the financial monster that is the “church.”

Secondly, the mission of the Church is to develop the body by feeding them spiritually. Discipleship is the primary responsibility of the Church as they meet together. Evangelism is supposed to happen continually in our daily lives, and once someone becomes a follower of Christ they are brought into the fellowship of the Church Family to be fed and fortified. This is the example of the early Church in Acts 2:42-47. Building impressive buildings and “programs” to attract men to attend is antithetical to the pattern found in this passage. It has been my experience in ministry that people are hesitant to attend “services” where they feel like they must meet the expectations of the “membership” or fit in to the formality of the practices. Additionally there is a strong perception in these mega churches that they want you to attend to solicit you to “give sacrificially” to their work. People have the thought that “they only want me for my money.”It has also been my experience that people are more willing to attend an informal Bible Study in someone’s home or horse barn than a fancy “church” structure because they do not have to impress anyone.

In much of the undeveloped world this is where you will find the Church meeting today, and actually the house church is God’s ideal for every culture. In contrast to today’s magnificent cathedrals, mega churches, and church campuses, not to mention the institutional “churches”, denominations, para-church organizations, and ministerial associations, the New Testament records no attempt by the Apostles to form an organization of any kind for building the Church of Jesus Christ. God’s unit on earth for transmitting the faith was the local church and the Apostles were content to work within that framework, and to the early Christians the congregation was the divinely ordained unit on earth through which God chose to work. The model Church in Acts is the only unit to which God promised perpetuity.

The “church” has gotten far away from the model in this respect. Fellowship happens when people worship together as family. Church happens when believers are united together is such a way as to care about one another rather than the facility in which they meet. In these Last Days we need to be aware that people need Jesus, the body of Christ needs to grow in the Word together, the Church is Christians obedient to the Word and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Service and Sacrifice… The Standard has been set!

Continuing our study of the Church built by Jesus Christ, I would like to reflect just a bit on service and sacrifice. Throughout the New Testament we find examples of service and sacrifice in the name of Jesus for the Church. Historically we know that all of the Apostles, except John, were martyred for the cause of Christ, but it was Steven who set the standard for all followers of Christ. Today I believe the True Church is approaching an unprecedented time of persecution, and I believe much of that persecution will come from within the “church” (Institutional, Denominational, Emergent, etc…) which is apostate. Knowing this persecution is to come, we must continue to serve and be prepared to sacrifice just as True Christians have since the beginning of the church age.

After Pentecost, the Church experienced tremendous growth in Jerusalem. Thousands of new converts were added to the Apostles and disciples who were followers of Christ before and after the crucifixion.  To the Jewish leaders, it seemed that this group known to be followers of “The Way,” was becoming a threat to Judaism, and the control it had over the nation of Israel. The Sanhedrin had made threats against the Apostles, but their commands were not heeded. As we look at Acts chapters 6 & 7 , we find this situation exploding as a result of the Apostles’ solution to a growing concern within the young Church.

By Acts 6 the Church had grown to between 25,000 and 30,000 believers, and as a result of this rapid growth and development there arose some internal strife and discord that had the potential to hinder or arrest the growth of the Church. It seemed to some that there was an inequity in the daily distribution to those needy saints within the church. The Hebrew widows were having their needs met, while the Hellenistic widows were being overlooked (Acts 6:1). Because rumblings were beginning to be heard within the body of believers, immediate attention was required to keep the young Church on track and focused on its mission.

The solution of the Apostles was for the congregation to select from among themselves “seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom,” who would be commissioned to oversee the daily ministry to the needy saints. Through the administration of these men, the benevolent work of the church would proceed with fairness and equity, all those in need would receive assistance. It was a good plan. It would allow the apostles to continue devoting themselves to “the ministry of the Word” (Acts 6:4). After all, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God in order to serve tables” (Acts 6:2). The people “were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42), and that vital ministry of the Word could not suffer neglect due to distractions over more material concerns. The seven men would be assigned responsibility for these tasks associated with daily ministry so that the Apostles could remain focused on the Word.

This plan “found approval with the whole congregation” (Acts 6:5), and they chose seven leaders for this ministry. The first name listed in the biblical record was Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). This probably was significant; noting that he was first choice, for Stephen was a remarkable man. It is readily apparent why his fellow disciples chose him. He was vocal, willing to share the good news of God’s grace with those about him. He was also “full of grace and power, performing great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8).

Stephen was a “Hellenist”(a Greek speaking Jew from outside of Israel) from Cilicia in Asia… modern day Turkey… as was Saul of Tarsus… his understanding and command of the Law suggests (as early Church history holds) that like Saul he was a student of Gamaliel… the foremost Jewish scholar of the Law and a member of the Sanhedrin. Tradition, and evidence of the age of Philip and the other five also suggest that Stephen was younger than Saul by as many as 10 years… and Saul was about 30 at this time… Stephen had a servant’s heart and a desire to share the Gospel.

Yet, by the end of Acts 7 Stephen is being stoned to death. Why?! Considering the scriptural record of his character, why was he murdered by a mob?

The first reason that led to Stephen’s death was that he spoke in the Synagogues and taught about the prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus. He became well-known as a follower of “The Way” by the people of Jerusalem. Had he chosen to do as most believers do today, go to church but not get involved, he probably would not have drawn so much attention to himself. Stephen however saw his service to God in a much more serious light. He realized there were people all around him who were lost. They had no relationship with Jesus Christ. They needed to hear the gospel, the message of God’s saving grace. As a student of the Law, he knew there were those who had been a part of, or at least were aware of, the events leading to the crucifixion of God’s Son, who needed to hear that it was the Christ that they had hung on a cross. They had murdered their Messiah. So, Stephen decided to speak Truth. He went to the Temple and into the streets and proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Stephen could not be like most believers are today, and sit comfortably in church uninvolved. He was sold out for Christ, committed to the cause, and willing to stand before the world in defense of the Gospel.

What a tremendous example, we need to be like Stephen and speak Truth! In these “Last Days” it is important for us to realize that because Jesus is soon to return for His Bride, we must stand up before a lost and dying world and proclaim the Gospel. And, we must be willing to defend the gospel against those who would pervert or alter it for their own gain. When confronted by Truth, false prophets will lash out in hostility against the True Church and True Christians, and we must be grounded well enough in the Word to Stand against their attacks.

The second reason that led to Stephen’s death was that he spoke with such knowledge, conviction, reasoning and passion; that those who opposed him were completely incapable of refuting his words. He was using the Old Testament writings to teach Truth by the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. Those who taught Jewish Law and those of the Sanhedrin Council (including Saul) could not withstand the Truth which he spoke, and so had to resort to lies and deceit to oppose him. One of the reasons for which the number of disciples was “increasing greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7) was the passionate evangelism of Stephen.

The record in Acts tells us that some of the Jews “rose up and argued with Stephen” (Acts 6:9). And, when they decided to confront him in public believing they could discredit him and turn the people back to their own doctrines and practices, they failed miserably. Acts tells us “they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the spirit with which he was speaking” (Acts 6:10). Stephen was preaching God’s Truth and they were powerless to contradict his teaching. They tried to disgrace Stephen, and only succeeded in degrading themselves. In speaking Truth, Stephen was gaining converts. This was more than the Jewish leaders could stand.

Truth can never be overcome by anything or anyone who stands against it. Truth is always Truth and cannot fail. So the Jews attacked Stephen with lies. “Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, ‘We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God'” (Acts 6:11). And  “they produced false witnesses” who told more lies, probably before the Sanhedrin (Acts 6:13).

Do you recognize this strategy? They are repeating the same tactic they used against Jesus. If you can’t defeat Truth, attack the one who brings the message of Truth. Since they couldn’t counter Truth, they attacked Stephen bodily. The only thing they were interested in was shutting Stephen up. But, after the false charges had been made against him, Stephen was allowed to present his defense before the Sanhedrin.

However, Stephen went on the offensive. He gave them a history lesson out of their own scriptures; he presented them again with Truth. Stephen spoke again with conviction and without fear, he didn’t care about the consequences, he just preached Truth. Steven said they were stiff-necked, uncircumcised in heart and ears, and as always resisting the Holy Spirit, again, no fear. He called them murderers and betrayers of the righteous, just like their fathers were! This eventually led to Stephens stoning. “And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and dragged him away” (Acts 6:12).

Stephen’s boldness before the Sanhedrin did not go over so well with the Jewish leaders, his accusers, and the people who had already been stirred up into a frenzy against him. “Now when they heard this they were cut to the quick, and they gnashed their teeth at him” (Acts 7:54). They were mad that he dared to speak against them and they began grinding their teeth in rage, because he had spoken Truth. “They cried out with a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him with one impulse” (Acts 7:57). They rushed upon Stephen, drove him outside the city gates, picked up the closest large rocks they could throw, and murdered this young disciple of Jesus.

Interestingly, Steven saw “the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). At Christ’s ascension, it is said He sits at the right hand of the Father, yet Stephen sees Him Standing! Is it recognition, reception, or respect? Perhaps all three… “well done thou good and faithful servant”. As Stephen was stoned, he called “Lord Jesus receive my spirit” and he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:59&60). Stephen’s trial, and actions at his death mirrored those of his Savior. A just man faced an unjust death. And, what about Saul? What did Steven’s death mean in the life of this young Rabbi? I believe Steven’s Life and Death would become the example of Service to the man who would become Paul. I believe it should be an example to us all. Oh that Jesus would be standing to welcome me home to Glory… will He Stand to greet you?

We are all called to be servants… We are all called to speak the truth… We all may be required to sacrifice something for the cause of Christ… don’t be content to sit on the sidelines… live large… get involved in the battle… “for great is your reward in heaven”(Luke 6:23)… serve Jesus and you will hear Him say; “well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). Because we are living in the Last Days and; Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome