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Connecting Points

Monday, April 26, 2010

Today’s Topic:  A Man of Faith

Today’s Text: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit)…Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power… Acts 6:5a and 8a 

Twenty-one and a half hours of flying tests one’s endurance and patience. But we made it home last Thursday and give all the glory and praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was with us – as He has promised – every step of the way. His Holy Spirit in us gave us clear direction for every ministry opportunity and was faithful to produce fruit as He ministered through us. It was an awesome three weeks of being in His presence and under His direct supervision. Why does it take a missions trip to remind us that this should be the norm for all of us? It is how we should be walking in the Spirit every day.

Over the next few days or weeks I will be sharing with you the lessons God taught me and the experiences He gave me during the time spent with our friends ministering to the people of Swaziland. But before I get into that, I must share with you what the Lord taught me upon my return.

On Saturday morning I came to the office to seek the Lord for what He wanted me to preach on the following day (yesterday) in church. The Holy Spirit reminded me of the story of Stephen in the book of Acts. It hit me very hard and I have taken it as my personal challenge for spiritual growth in my life. It encompasses much of what God showed me on the trip to Swaziland. Stephen’s life may have been short, but it was certainly full and fruitful. Let me tell you why.

There are four things that the Scriptures say were true of Stephen. I desire the same four things to be consistently true of me. Here’s the first one for today:

  1. He was a man full of faith. He completely trusted his life into the hands of his Savior. He needed nothing else but his faith in Christ. Faith brings fullness of life. He didn’t need possessions to bring fullness to his life. He didn’t need prestige. He didn’t need pride and power. He simply trusted the trustworthy One. He sought the Kingdom of God first and God provided all else that he needed to accomplish the work of the Kingdom.

So many times we get distracted by the things of the world. They may even be good things, like family, friends, and career. But if the desire to serve as an ambassador of the King in His kingdom work isn’t our top priority, then we need to carefully evaluate where we have placed our faith. Stephen’s faith was fully in Christ alone, and these things proved it:

  • He upheld the truth over traditions (Acts 6:10-15). He did not compromise for the sake of keeping people happy.
  • He stood up to criticism (Acts 7:1-53) He boldly proclaimed his faith in Jesus and the message of the Gospel.
  • He was a sincere student of God’s word. (Acts 6:10)
  • He accepted responsibility and served in the local church (Acts 6:1-6)
  • He kept his focus on the eternal and not the things of this life. As the tempers flared and the tension increased, and Stephen began to feel physically threatened, he never turned his focus from his faith in Christ. He never tried to defend himself or protect himself. He simply focused on the glory of God – But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”  (Acts 7:55-56)
  • He served his Savior no matter what the cost (Acts 7:54-60)

 I encourage you to read the story of Stephen and review the list I have given you of the marks of his faith. Then diligently pray and work to make the correct and lasting application to your life. The Scriptures say that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) It’s time we truly evaluate the condition of our faith and make sure that our lives are living proof that our faith is in Christ alone.

Pastor John

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