LFM – 2017 Feb 5: ACTS 6 – Steven, Model Servant, Leadership Characteristics, Carrying our Cross…

LFM – 5 Feb 2017

 

Importance of reading the Word: Meditation => Revelation => Manifestation

 

Meditation brings Revelation, Revelation produces Manifestation

  • An true encounter with Jesus never leaves one the same again
  • An encounter should bring manifestation of a fruit of the Spirit => Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness (modesty/mildness), self-control (chastity). Against such there is no law.

 

Acts 8 => The Ethiopian Eunuch was seeking God – Philip found him reading the Word

  • Jesus – the only way to the Father revealed Himself to him
  • Through Meditation of the Word, he received a revelation of Jesus as The Way,Truth & Life
  • He got the fruit of the spirit manifestation of the Joy of the Lord

 

Acts 6:1-15 (NLT)
But as the believers[a]rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.

So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”

Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith).6 These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.

So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.


Stephen Is Arrested

Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. 9 But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia.10 None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.

11 So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, “We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.” 12 This roused the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law. So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council.[b]

13 The lying witnesses said, “This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses. 14 We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth[c] will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”

15 At this point everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s.

 

When hell is being depopulated, the devil unleashes his agents and strategies to stop or reverse the process. He doesn’t let go easily => like a group of hyenas / vultures.

  • We fight not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces darkness => Spiritual warfare
  • Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV))

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

 

A key strategy the enemy uses against those walking in righteousness?

  • Internal doubt, strife and discord to get one to fall out of righteousness (backslide)
  • ==>> You are not being treated fairly; They are being treated better than you ; You deserve a better Job / spouse ; Pastor ananionea : Pastor hajui, Mimi ndio najua  (but it is straight from the Word and your life is still in problems). The enemy cannot accept the Truth of God!
  • ==>> Anything to bring one’s focus back to self / flesh (food?) and away from spiritual things.

 

The Apostles noted that spiritual food (through prayer and the Word) is more important than physical food, but none the less still important.

  • So long as the leadership of the Church is focused on Jesus (Prayer & teaching the Word) and not distracted by the things of world/flesh, they will not sink ( Peter walking on water – Matthew 14).
  • A strategic way to sink a Church – have them busy with all other things, (even those that seem noble and good) but not on Jesus – the Way, the Truth and the Life => John 14:6(NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

  • The house of the Lord should be first and foremost a house of prayer => Matthew 21:13(NKJV)

And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’[g] but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”[h]

 

  • Delegation of responsibility in the church => But the head always focused on Jesus.
  • The seven were committed to the work of the Lord through prayer and the laying of hands.

 

Characteristics of leadership

  • Not only for Church but in the family (husbands?), politics, business and social leadership
  • Well respected => in the things and knowledge of God – good fruit can be seen in their lives – their faith in Jesus is demonstrated by the way they live their lives
  • Full of the Spirit => Can hear from God – have a personal and close relationship with the Lord – the Lord dwells in them
  • Full of wisdom => Can apply what they hear from the Lord

 

Vs 7 => To grow a Church, spread God’s message and have even the most difficult people converted (Jewish Priests)

  • A church focused on prayer and teaching of the Word => Those who understand, can apply the Word and bring it to manifestation
  • Gimmicks and funfair not necessary, as most churches do in order to increase membership. Some have become entertainment centres that focus on gratifying the senses with little focus on Prayer, the Word and no mention of Jesus.

Application:

  • The Church and particularly its leadership needs a close relationship with Jesus
  • The Church of Jesus Christ is supposed to be His Church, for His business, done His way.
  • Jesus will grow His Church through the power of His Spirit => Zechariah 4:6(NKJV)

So he answered and said to me:“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.

 

Steven => Model of a Servant of God

  • Seems like the example is given to us of an ordinary person (not an Apostle, but in fact a person chosen to distribute food! Basically suggesting any one of us) can be used mightily and powerfully by God if we surrender our lives to Him and submit ourselves to work for His will, purposes and plans.
  • God will fill us with His grace and power and we will be able to perform amazing miracles signs and wonders among the people for the glory of God.
  • A tree that produces good fruit has the most stones thrown at it.( ~African proverb?).

 

  • The devil moves into place to unleash his agents of killing, stealing and destruction to scatter the plans of righteousness. They could be internal or external enemies, from within the church / family or from outside/external. The accuser of the brethren and his agents swing into action.
  • When faced with such adversity ( being fought for doing good) , we should remember that we fight not against flesh and blood – hence our focus should be on spiritual things ( in heavenly places, above the snake-line!) where the enemy has trouble operating.
  • Possibly why the snake was cursed to be on its belly eating dust (Genesis 3) while the people of God are to mount up with wings like eagles => Isaiah 40:31(NKJV)

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.

  • Taking the battle with the enemy into God’s territory and not trying to fight him in his (you will get muddied / dusty!). Not to fight a pig in the mud / fight a mad man

 

The wisdom and the Spirit with which Steven spoke could not be challenged by his accusers.

  • The importance of having faith, being Spirit filled and operating in divine wisdom!
  • Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world => 1 John 4:4(NKJV)

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

  • The Lord never abandons His servants. – The Holy Spirit will teach & guide His servants during times of adversity => Luke 12:11-12(NKJV)

11 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

  • The Spirit of truth will guide His servants in all things => John 16:13(NKJV)

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

  • God plans everything to work for the good of His servants => Romans 8:28(NKJV)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

Application

  • Steven is an example to each and every Christian that God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things that will surprise friends and shock enemies, all for His glory.
  • Steven demonstrates to each one of us what it means to carry one’s cross and follow Jesus.
  • ==>> Our cross – bearing injustice while performing God’s will, purposes and plans, even to the death… all for His Glory => Mark 8:34-35(NKJV)

34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

  • A true servant of God should not be surprised if persecuted like Jesus by the accuser
  • ==>> The same script used against Jesus also used against Steven => Matthew 26:59-61(NKJV)

59 Now the chief priests, the elders,[g]and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none.[h] But at last two false witnesses[i] came forward 61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’”

 

When we focus on Jesus, we are transformed into His image and likeness, from glory to glory

  • 2 Corinthians 3:18(NKJV)

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer

 

  • Lord we thank you for the Word for Today
  • We pray that it indeed finds fertile soil in our heart to be able to produce good fruit in our lives and also be a blessing to others
  • Lord may you empower us to mount up with wings like eagles, seeing the big picture from your perspective and not focus on the things of the world.
  • May we not fall into the plan of the enemy of killing, stealing and destruction => being a complainer or spoiler – a person who sows strife and discontent
  • But may the Love of God saturate our lives so that we produce the good fruits of the Spirit and not the bad fruit of the enemy.

 

  • May Lord Favour Ministry be a Church of Jesus Christ, focused on spiritual things through prayer and teaching of the Word and not fall victim to earthly things and gimmicks.
  • May each of us be Jesus centred through the Word, Prayer and fasting from the ways of the world / flesh
  • May the Meditation of Your Word bring us Revelation that leads to manifestation of Your Word and production of spiritual fruit that will bring satisfaction in our lives

 

  • We thank you for the example of Steven and we pray that we may also be used to do great things for Your kingdom and for your glory.
  • Reveal to each of us what you have called us to do in Your Church and may we submit ourselves to you as humble servants to pursue Your will purposes and plans for our lives
  • Fill us with Your Faith, Your Spirit and Your Wisdom
  • And grant us your grace and power to be able to perform amazing miracles signs and wonders among the people for the glory of God.
  • Empower us Lord to resist the devil so that he may flee from us. Put on us the full armor of God so that we can engage appropriately in spiritual warfare

 

  • I pray Lord Jesus that you empower each one of us to surrender ALL of our life to you, for use to accomplish Your will, purposes and plans.
  • We stand on Your Word that indeed:
    • Greater is He that is in us, that he that is in the World
    • That the Spirit of truth will teach and guide us in all things
    • That indeed everything is working together for our good so long as we love God and are pursuing His purposes
  • May we always keep our focus on You Lord Jesus, Christ our Solid Rock and the Lamp onto our feet so that we are always above whatever situation the enemy would throws against us.
  • And as we focus on You, may You continue to transform us into Your image and likeness from glory to glory so that we live a life of full satisfaction that can be found only in You, and may this image of You in us be also reflected to others around us, all for Your glory.
  • Indeed as we go out today , may the people in the world be able to see or sense and say this person has been with Jesus.

 

 

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