Saturday, July 9, 2011

A List--Part 2

Scripture--Acts 7-Acts 9

It’s going to be another list day—so much happened!
1)     I love how Stephen used the old testament scriptures to make his case!  He basically used the Jew’s own faith and beliefs and history to explain Jesus.  But goodness, he could have been more tactful in 7:51-53.  Makes me wonder if I preach too “nicely!”
2)     Stephen was stoned for seeing God.  And it also seems that he gave up his life like Jesus.  So thankful for past martyrs!
3)     Did you notice that in 8:17, that the spirit came upon Peter and John?  I love the way our connection to the Holy Spirit intensifies when we need it!  Such great imagery!
4)     I love the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.  Did you get that he was an outcast!  He was first of all black—not Jewish.  Which meant he was unclean.  Second, he was a eunuch, and since he could not be circumcised, traditional understanding would say that he could not be a child of God.  But he was baptized, and ended up starting Ethopian Christianity, one of the strongest and oldest sects!  All by someone that most people of that day (US!) would have passed over!
5)     Saul (who will later become Paul—the writer of many of the letters we’ll read this summer!).  What to say?  Did you see in 8:3 that he was “wreaking havoc” among the Christians.  That he was present at Stephen’s stoning?  But, he was changed!  He changed his heart and life, just like Peter preached!

Application:  Phew!  So many applications—I think I’ll leave it up to you.  How does what you have read CHANGE how you’ll act today?  How is your life being changed by our study?

Prayer—God, thank you for all the lessons you are teaching us.  Let us take what we are learning and apply it. Scripture was made to give us what we needed to change your world.  Let us be part of the good.  Amen

Pastor Emily


Mary said...

Stephen was one of the persons chosen to serve others by the disciples. But when necessary he could preach too! He confesses the many acts of God in Israel's history (which is Israel's way to worship God). So he must have had the priests listening, when he laid it on them hard. It cost him his life and led to the persecution that sent disciples scattering all over the known world.
So I am going to remember that although I feel more comfortable doing things, God can use my words too, when He chooses, to further His work.

Carol Flores said...

Though Stephen's words led to him losing his life and further persecution, I see this as an example of how God can turn something so horrifying into something good. Because the Christians were scattered, that created the first missionaries and as a result, the Word reached far beyond Jerusalem. This study is helping me be more confident in the Word so that although I also feel more comfortable serving rather than speaking for God, I will be more ready if God needs my words instead of my works.