Sustaining the devotional life
Posted by Church of God of Carmichael on Sunday, May 31, 2020
Sunday Morning Podcast May 31, 2020. Bro. Dave Goble.
TEXT: REVELATION . 5:6-14
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them were ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
Can you see the Lamb this morning? The voice of many angels, the beasts and the elders, and every creature in the sea, earth, and sky, said “Worthy is The Lamb that was slain…” And today whether that declaration is made or not, if in unbelief we deny that God is worthy, still in that day God will make Himself know as Sovereign. There will be no unbelief then. And this is the act of devotion that God wants from us today! Just as the devotion will be in that day….He wants from us now. And we so desperately need this act of devotion to God in the time and day in which we live. We are now going to be looking at the example of Stephen in a devotional life; Acts 6:1-6 The apostles observed that there were some needing to be served in their midst, while they had been called to preach the Word, so they met as a whole to discuss what should be done. They saw the need to appoint seven men honest and full of the Holy Ghost to oversee this need. They need to be “full of the Holy Ghost.” This need should need convict us all. The first requirement to wait on tables was to be filled with the Holy Ghost ! Not just talkers, but of an honest report with a good testimony, etc. Do you claim to be filled with the Holy Ghost? Do you have the demonstrations of the Holy Spirit? Not a life of devotion, but a devotional life! Just as in those times, of the disciples finding themselves in turbulent and rocky times found they had this need to serve the needy among them, they, even then, in this humble mission, chose those with the requirements to help that were 1) also filled with the Holy Ghost, 2) having wisdom; common sense, doers not just talkers 3) and of honest report, a good testimony. So when the dilemma of the need of servers for waiting on the tables arose, they also were only chosen from these requirements, and had hands laid upon them, of which Stephen was of that number, an all received the Holy Ghost. This was required even of table servers, that of course also ministered to the needs of the Church. They laid hands on them for the Holy Ghost, that the powers of the apostles would be transferred to these deacons. Evidently the early church took their positions so seriously, that whatever the position high, or more humble, they were required to be full of the Holy Ghost! In this same order. First,are you filled with the Holy Ghost? Not if you “claim”….but are you filled with the Holy Ghost? Do you have wisdom, not that you “claim” wisdom? Is the spirit you claim, of that Spirit, or instead the spirit of your own mind?
Stephen here is going to be used as our example of a devotional life, that sustained him to the end of his life. Not a life of devotion, but a devotional life ! During this time we have seen so much. Today we are in a time of so much tragedy, agony, violence, in the midst also of a pandemic! George Floyd of Minneapolis, felt the pain, certainly Floyd’s family and loved ones, felt disenfranchised, discriminated against….and felt the pain of many others also. Any man’s death diminishes us. Why? I hope I’m involved in mankind! Don’t ask for whom the bell tolled! Who died? It doesn’t matter. Because any man’s death diminishes me! The bell tolls for you…and each of us! It diminishes all of us when a life is taken! For the burden for the common man! When a man’s life is un-rightfully taken! Looting and lawlessness truly had nothing to do with Floyd’s death, (some would argue that.) But two wrongs doesn’t justify or make right! In the midst of it all there’s still a pandemic! While we dwell in a society that decided they do not they need God. But contrary, all the tragedies are precisely because God has been left out! In Acts 6:13,14 “And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.” Consider Stephens’ response to these false accusations; “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” Acts 6:15. Because he was full of the Holy Ghost! He was put in a place he didn’t deserve. Did he have a right to be hopeless and in despair? Then you might know how he felt. A devotional life is what he brought “to the room.” No man came to his defense! The legal judicial system was arrogant against him. Hadn’t this happened before also to Jesus? In the seventh chapter, the high priest challenges Stephen, to answer. Stephen expounded on many things of their disobedient past, and ultimately said, “ 51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your father’s persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with aloud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7: 51,52,54,55,59,60. Consider who the enemy really is. No, he’s not the racist, thief, those who are against you, a false accuser, etc. The enemy is Satan! Never make another your enemy. It will require the Spirit of God…to be filled with the Holy Ghost. To have a devotional life, and not just a life of devotion. I must no longer hold another to be my enemy. Because Satan’s goal is to destroy the people of God in division. Stephen was on trial for things he was not guilty of. The same battle the Church is fighting! The fight is not against the rulers in high places, but against the enemy! Like the example of Stephen, we also need to live a devotional life. Steven’s “cup” was not overrun with hatred, or division. but of God from a devotional life! We are accountable the world over. The world is accountable. It is Satan that is the enemy! We must forgive any for their wrong doing. Stephen at the last, cried; “And said Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56 Others suffered before you, and you have their example how they handled it, because of their devotional life.
Sustaining A Devotional Life…