Will You Receive?
Stephen, who was full of grace and power, performed great signs and wonders among the people who would receive. Acts 6:8
Greetings fellow sojourners! May you know the height and depth of God’s love for you today and every day. May the truth of your value in the Kingdom of Heaven be made transparent to you so that you step boldly into your rightful place as a warrior and worshiper during your tenure in time.
Even today, fellow sojourners, the ones who will receive are always the ones who first recognize they have a need. Do you ever take a bite of food or drink before first acknowledging in your mind that you would like the bite or drink? Oh, Lord, that we may know the great need we have for Your moment-by-moment presence in our life.
Some people have failed to recognize that HE is what will truly satisfy our longings and have mistakenly rationalized it to be something else they are craving. Therefore, the drive is not to discover The Truth but, instead to meet the persistent need with an inferior substitute.
Those who had heard Stephen speak had not recognized their soul’s genuine need and became at odds with Stephen’s message and their sin then became the fuel that ignited strife in their heart. Because of their uncomfortableness with the Truth bearing witness against their soul, they immediately desired to alleviate the uncomfortableness by turning the fire of Truth into a heated debate with Stephen.
Since their intellect was unable to stand up against Stephen’s wisdom and the Spirit by whom he was speaking, they brought the coldness of their heart in line with Satan by attempting to ‘kill’ the words he had spoken, ‘steal’ the impact of the Spirit, and ‘destroy’ the work Jesus came to do by appealing to the same coldness of heart in others by inciting fear. What we see happening next is the manifestation of the marvelous peace of God which transcends every thought (Philippians 4:7) come and rest upon Stephen. As the Sanhedrin looked intently at him, most likely hoping to see the reaction of someone who had met their match, they instead noticed his face was like that of an angel (Acts 6:15).
Perhaps this is why they allowed him to present a sermon to them on the Patriarchs in Egypt (Acts 7:9-16), Moses as a rejected savior (Acts 7:17-36), Israel’s rebellion against God (Acts 7:37-43), and God’s real tabernacle (Acts 7:44-50) before they submitted to their enraged hearts and stoned him to death (Acts 7:58-60). It seems as long as Stephen spoke about historical facts they were willing to listen. But when the exposition shifted and pointed out personal sin, Stephen the accused now became Stephen the accuser and the guilty could stand it no longer.
Just as the Accuser has great fury (Revelation 12:12), so can those who are under his sway. Have you ever spoken to someone who demonstrated such things as rage, anger, wrath, and resentment, and had a hot temper over something that did not match the conflict? The question then should always be, “What spirit is involved here?”
There is hope to all who are willing to receive. God knew us before He knitted us together (Psalm 139:19). Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ (Ephesians 1:4). God, in His love, reveals Himself to us through nature (Psalms 8:3-4, Romans 1:20), through our conscience (Romans 2:14-15), through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2) and through the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16). The god of this age has blinded these revelations from the eyes of people so that the Truth is hidden. Because their vision of life is through the lens of strongholds, they are blinded to the Truth. We must know this and bring ourselves under scrutiny whenever conflict arises within us. God’s love is the remedy for all things and is available to anyone willing to receive.
In His grace