Acts 7 – Power of the Cross (LOVE)releases Mercy, Activates Grace. Overcoming bitterness, unforgiveness…

Acts 7

We shall overcome by the Word of our testimony and the Blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 12:11)

We are called to leave the land we were born into and go to the land God has prepared for us – leave the world and things of the world for spiritual things. The flesh and the Spirit are contrary to each other (Galatians 5:17) and a friend to the world is an enemy to God (James 4:4).

There shall be a new earth and a new Jerusalem.

Oppressed as slaves for 400 years??  – 100 years for each century from Adam to Jesus the Messiah?

Joseph, a type of Jesus, was rejected by His brothers the Jews. The Father raised Him from the dead. There was famine (spiritual dryness) in the land. The only solution ( for spiritual food) that satisfies the hunger was to be found through Joseph ( Jesus Christ, the only way to the Father).

The second coming of Jesus… The eyes of the Jewish brothers shall be open and they shall recognise their Messiah.

When the Lord wants us to move to a higher level, He makes us uncomfortable with the current situation. The new leadership greatly oppressed them. But God always provides a way out

– Moses their deliverer was brought in. His Grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9 ). He was born and adopted into the ways of the world ( Egypt). The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) . Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and with favour with God and man (Luke 2:52) .

When God calls one into ministry / one feels called to ministry , it is OK to be zealous for the Lord, but it is a must to hear from the Lord the way He wants you to do His things, His way. It may take time, sometimes characterised by a wilderness experience, where God is preparing you for ministry. The Potter ensuring that you are made the right way in order to fulfill your divine purposes (Isaiah 64:8).

Any way that is not God’s way may lead to sin and death instead of the spirit of life that characterises our Lord Jesus and His ministry. Jesus came that we may have life, and life more abundantly (John 10:10) , and this should also characterize what we do for Him and on His behalf. ( Paul persecuting the church in the name of the Lord!)

The enemy also has a strategy to discredit you and frustrate you by any means necessary so that you abandon your divine calling and destiny. (The accuser of the brethren comes to point out our faults.)

We should reflect the Love of God to all people because Jesus died for all. Our own brothers / Christians will also judge us on how we treat others that are not Christians. If we are angry ( killing another, character assassination, gossip … ) to non Christians, the mark of the sin is still upon us and it will still be brought into the Church / home ( by the accuser of the brethren) when we are trying to stop a ( internal) dispute. Jesus says I have nothing in common with the enemy so the enemy cannot do anything to me (John 14:30-AMP ). Don’t judge or you will be judged in the same measure… (Matthew 7:2 )

The (two) sons may represent the gifts that God gives each and every one of us, gifts that we need to grow and mature into in preparation for executing kingdom business.

During our setting apart or wilderness experience, The Lord may appear to us in ways that prepare us for His misson for us (the I AM). Moses possibly needed deliverance from the ways of the world ( Egypt) and so the Lord appeared to Moses as the All Consuming Fire – to separate in us the good from the bad and burn out all the bad ( chaff).

A number of Christians had dramatic encounters with the Lord in their life, and that is what drew them closer to the Lord. When we draw close to the Lord, He draws closer to us. The Lord then reveals Himself and commissions us for His business. Moses, saw and drew closer.

The stone that the builders rejected had become the chief corner stone. (Psalm 118:22)

It is usually through miracles, signs and wonders that we are pulled out of the world ( Egypt) are baptised for repentance ( Red Sea), but a lot of us get stuck in the wilderness. The enemy also does not want to let go of us easily and tries to discourage us, by any means necessary, so that we may abandon our divine destiny and go back to the ways of the world.

The ones who figure out that it is a fierce battle ( spiritual warfare) understand that it is not by might, nor by power but by the Spirit of the Lord ( Jordan – Holy Spirit baptism?). (Zechariah 4:6 )

Everyone has to make the choice: life or death, blessing or curse, spiritual things or worldly things, Jesus or the devil. Who we submit to is who we listen to and obey ( Jesus or the devil) and is who we have given authority to rule and reign in our lives.

Who do I listen to?

Who do I obey?

Do I blaspheme the Holy Spirit by resisting the call of God for salvation that is through total submission to Jesus Christ?

Have I instead submitted myself to the ways of the world / flesh / devil?

Have I put my hands on my ears and began shouting – knowing clearly that the Lord is calling me but trying to silence that voice and looking for other distractions to try ease my conscience ( drugs, alcohol, women / men, entertainment, work… ) as I move in the opposite direction ( Jonah) ?

Who we submit to is shown by the fruit we produce, especially in the time of distress / trials / tribulations… And they can be known by their fruit (Matthew 7:16).

Steven produced the peace / shalom of the Lord as he continued to focus on Jesus and heavenly things. The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus operating in his life. Even in times of persecutions, still point people to Jesus, reflect the heart of Jesus, reflect the Cross of Christ! That’s is usually a very powerful testimony -…. And they shall overcome ( powers of darkness) by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony (in Christ Jesus).

The Jewish leaders produced the fruit of anger that led to death – the law of sin and death still operating in their lives.

Interestingly, the law ( of Moses through the Jewish leaders) always throws stones at ( the Gospel of ) Grace… (Acts 20:24 ).

[Ephesians 2:8-9 — The law demands that we do (works) while grace is a free gift. If it is of works or the law, then it is not of grace (Romans 11:6). Therefore the law and grace are opposed to each other ]

It is usually very difficult for those steeped in religion ( the law / religious spirit of the Pharisees) to simply believe that we are saved by grace through faith without any self effort ( doing any bit of the law, yes, even the 10 commandments! ). There is usually anger and discomfort because the flesh and the spirit are opposed to each other. The Word says we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9 ). I have yet to find where it says we can be saved by obeying the 10 commandments or the law. In fact the Word says that the law was given to act like a school master – showing us that we have sin and cannot save ourselves (Galatians 3:23-25 ). Just like Moses ( representing law) gave way to Joshua ( type of Jesus) to enable the Israelites enter the promise land, we too have to leave behind the law ( self effort, self righteousness, anything self…) and submit ourselves to the Truth of Grace by faith ( Jesus). Yes, Grace is a person, His other name is Jesus! The law came by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus (John 1:17 ).

The enemy fights it so hard because he knows the power of Grace (Romans 6:14). By receiving the free gift of Grace, we have been made the righteousness of God, there is now no condemnation, so we can boldly approach the throne of Grace without fear ( even of death) , the ultimate weapon that the enemy uses against us. ( Even the worldly justice system works on fear of repercussions with the ultimate fear of death).

It is done, it is finished, it is paid for, we are free . The Blood of the Lamb has been used / applied ( as fine / bail / bond ) to pay for our transgressions. The accusers ( of the brethren) case is thrown out. The Judge therefore releases us without condemnation and we are free to live life ( eternal) – Romans 8:1.

But if we try to pay for it ourselves, which the enemy tries to convince us to do by rejecting the free gift of Salvation by Grace through Faith …there is nothing else (amount / sacrifice) that can suffice for payment for sin apart from the righteous Blood of the Lamb and we therefore have to suffer / pay the wages of sin – death ( eternal).

Steven gives us an example of what it means to carry our Cross and follow Jesus ( even to death of the flesh) to eternal life in the presence of the Father. The same mercy Jesus releases to us from the Cross is the same mercy we release to others, no matter what they have done against us, just as for all the unrighteousness of our sin that Jesus suffered for us on the Cross. Jesus also forgives us no matter the sin done against Him ( it is mentioned as Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – refusing salvation – refusing divine mercy in order to receive divine grace – rejecting God’s Grace??? )

The Power of Mercy is enormous because it emanates from the Love of God ( the Cross). The Cross of Jesus is the one that crushed the head of the serpent.

Because of divine mercy through the Cross ( not getting what we deserve, the wages of sin) we were released from the powerful bondage of sin. With the river of mercy also flowing in us and through us to others, we also direct this power to deliver others from bondages that are holding them captive ( bitterness, unforgiveness, anger…).

When we humble ourselves at the Cross of Jesus, acknowledging what He has done for us, we are also empowered by His mercy towards us to also show mercy towards others, no matter what they have done to us ( divorce, rape, murder (of our loved ones), fraud against us such as losing our family home / land , cheating spouse…). This mercy releases us from the heavy burden of carrying the person in our hearts ( cast our cares at Jesus feet on the Cross, His yoke is easy, His burden light) and also releases the other person from the heavy burden of guilt / condemnation. Otherwise, like in the parable of the man who was forgiven much debt by the master but himself threw his creditor into jail… Both lost as both were finally in bondage (Matthew 18) .

When we release mercy ( by forgiving, not judging, not condemning others), it shall also be given to us in abundance by our God of Justice…. Pressed down, shaken together, flowing over… ( Luke 6:37-38) . … Because we shall be reflecting the heart ( love) of God to another – the Cross – the most powerful testimony of salvation – ( Blood of the Lamb and Word of our testimony).

That is possibly why the mercy released by Steven during his death had such a powerful effect on Saul / Paul that it radically converted a persecutor of Jesus and His Church to a lover of Jesus, His Church and even the lost gentiles, leaving a legacy of scripture that we still read today in most of the new testament. Mercy produces great positive impact for the kingdom of God to the detriment of the kingdom of darkness.

 

 

# Lord Jesus, thank You for the finished work of the Cross. I believe and receive it by grace through faith. I pray that the divine mercy unleashed by the power of Cross may flow in me and through me to be a powerful testimony of salvation that will bring honour and glory to Your Name. Lord, empower me to release all those that have hurt me, all those that I still hold in my heart, keeping both them and myself in bondage. May we be released by the power of Your divine mercy unleashed for us at the Cross. May Your amazing love saturate my life and push out all the other burdens and bondages of pride, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. Indeed Your yoke is easy, Your burden light.

Thank You Lord God Almighty that Your Love for me at the Cross releases the power of mercy in my life. That mercy activates Your Grace to work in me and through me to enable me to overcome my limitations ( such as difficulty in forgiving). Indeed it is Amazing Grace – the Lord empowers me to give another what they don’t deserve when they hurt me ( Mercy) and the Lord also then blesses me with what I don’t deserve (Grace) just because of releasing His mercy to another and it is…. pressed down, shaken, flowing over.

I thank You Lord for Your Love,

I thank You Lord for Your Mercy,

I thank You Lord for Your Grace.

May the rivers of these Living Waters flow in me and also through me to be a blessing to others for the glory of Your Name,…

Lord God of Amazing Love,

Lord God of Amazing Mercy,

Lord God of Amazing Grace,

Yes indeed an Amazing Jesus, Son of the Living God !

Amen!

 

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One of the issues that I need Holy Spirit revelation & clarification on is the issue of forgive and be forgiven, show mercy and have mercy shown to you, don’t judge and you will not be judged. (Matthew 6:14, 5:7, 7:2, 18:35, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:37….)

The scripture is clear that we receive salvation by grace through faith. Grace and works are more or less opposites as Grace is a free gift we receive while works is something we do in order to earn. But the scriptures above show conditions. The only logical conclusion ( from my limited knowledge of scripture) is that anything conditional cannot be related to salvation ( otherwise it is no more Grace) but possibly to things pertaining to this life or to unbelievers. I have heard of testimonies where people are healed from sickness when they release bitterness and unforgiveness from their hearts.  The healing was conditional on them letting go – showing mercy so that the Lord may also show them mercy!

Does Mercy enable me to receive Grace here on earth??

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