Third in our summer series in the book of acts.Today we cover the story of Stephen and look at triumph over tragedy. As we look at the surface, we notice the tragedy of what happened to Stephen as he was not just pursecuted but killed for his faith in Jesus. But, as we take a deeper look we realize that through the tragedy of his death, the Lord used it for our triumph. He empowers us to faithfully give up anything including our eyes for the glory of the Lord. We read on to realize Jesus welcomed Stephen into heaven and in that moment...Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
We’re in a summer series in the Book of Acts from the Bible. As Ray pointed out last week - Acts is about how the church took the message of the Kingdom further and further. Seeing what it looks like, both corporately and individually, as it intersected with the world *around it. Luke's purposes for the book is seen in Acts 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach. Acts tells us how the story of Jesus continued, after His death and resurrection, through the Holy Spirit in the midst of the newly formed church. Wright: liv[ing] as though Jesus really was King now. Today we see instructions in Acts 5:20 (ESV) “Go…speak to the people all the words of this Life.
Pray for understanding and delivery
3. I. What is this Life?
3a. A. A Life of Holiness
1. Holiness sounds so high and out of reach. Just for a few truly “Holy” people with *special gifting and devotion. 3b.1 Peter 1:16 (NLT2) For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” This conveys God’s heart for His People as sacred. We are sacred to the Lord. Truly valued, of high regard, because as Peter says we have been ransomed(v.18) by Jesus.
3c. 2. Acts 5:9 (ESV) Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door…”
3. Admittedly this is a curious story, especially when we consider that Peter understood the *Grace of God. 3d.1 Peter 1:10 (ESV) Concerning this salvation, the prophets prophesied about the grace that was to be yours… How does this story fit into Grace, forgiveness, the faithfulness of God? It is a call to radical separateness in the way we see ourselves in “this life” we live by the Grace of God. Saints In all honesty, we can’t do holiness. If we could Jesus would not have had to die. If we could, that would be a works-oriented salvation. It is an understanding that we have been called to live differently knowing we are dependent completely on the Grace of God, honest to Him, and not seeing ourselves as our own saviors, as if our good deeds saves us or are *special in some way like Ananias and Sapphira. 3e.Ephesians 1:4-5 (ESV) he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ… Holiness, generated by relationship!
4. B. A Life of Expectation
1. Expectation is an interesting word because as I have pointed out many times, in the Bible *it is closely related to the word Hope. 4a.Hebrews 11:1 (ESV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. It’s hope that is confident of what will come.
4b. 2. Acts 5:16 (ESV) The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
3. Why would the people gather from all over to bring the sick and demonized? Because
The Book of Acts
This morning I want us to look at something that was hinted at last week and which we have spoken about as the work we are called to as members of God’s own family, but now I want us to recognize, and dial-up, how we are experiencing restoration as ones in God’s Kingdom. *So this morning I want to talk about how. "Now is the time for restoration". This statement is both prophetic, in a future sense, and at the same time a confirmation of what is already happening in the lives of those who have put their trust in Jesus. And to help us understand what that means we’ll look at a prophetic voice from the Bible.
This morning we are finishing a series we call, walking with the Spirit. We’ve already spoken about our being equipped and empowered by God through His Spirit as people of Faith in Jesus. Now we want to move into what some of you are familiar, and that is, being gifted by the Holy Spirit for what God is doing around and about His people wherever they *find themselves. Acts 9:31 (ESV) So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. This verse can describe not only the early days of the church in Palestine but also here. We are equally ones who have been called-out from the rest in the world, into faith in Jesus, equipped and empowered by His Spirit, existing in the local setting (Judea, Galilee, or Samaria, Dutchess County). We live in relative peace, though maybe not as harmoniously as they did. They were in process, being built up, which is always the case; walking out the precepts and calling of the Lord, as the Holy Spirit came alongside them, to comfort, encourage, implore, equip, empower and gift them. And as a result…they multiplied.