Sunday Morning Podcast December 5, 2021. Bro. Dave Goble. Pastor
We’d like to speak on this morning of our series, “The Sermons Found in the Book of Acts.” The sermons have been from Paul, Peter, and this morning the one by Stephen. We’re here this morning to hear what God would have for us, and move under that. To move on the opportunities we have, we have so few of them, for life goes by rather quickly. We don’t see that when we are younger, but when we’re older, we more realize that God’s deadline for our last day, doesn’t move! It does seem like, the older we become, we can see that day approaching ..somehow. And these days we spend in church hearing the gospel, ..’they’re precious to us!” They remind us, strengthen us, equip us, ..for that day! Not only that day, but everyday before then! How precious life is! To have days we can spend on this earth that are productive for God, ..that’s a precious thing! It motivates us, compels us, to examine our hearts, our minds, to enjoy the richness God has for us! According to His Will! We’re going to read in Acts 7, where Stephen is a deacon, a gospel laborer in the early church, appointed by the apostles. Stephen is preaching a long sermon, but we won’t read it all. I’m going to take you to part of the sermon, where he presently a deacon, a gospel laborer, and preaching to the Sanhedrin’s, ..(part of the people of Israel.)
TEXT: ACTS 7: 51-53
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 fathers 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:
53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
This is where Stephen’s sermon takes a turning point, and the verses upon which his messages hinges, so ‘this’ is where we want to start. Really what Stephens was trying to do in this sermon, was to help religious folks ‘especially,’ to understand, that they need to wake up! So the title of my sermon this morning is “Wake Up Sleepy Heads!” When you were little, did your parents try and wake you up, saying, “the alarm has rung, and you’re still in your bed?” Time to get up, time to move, ..wake up sleepy head! One of the purpose of Stephen’s sermon was to help us understand, ‘there’s a slumber right now.’ Not just written to the people back then, but recorded for us today. We have to realize the purpose is that there is a spiritual slumber. The solution to the slumber, involves the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, or Ghost, is one of the principal characters of the God head trinity, spoke about in the Book of Acts. In the church, and the people’s lives around them. The Holy Ghost hasn’t gone on a long vacation, but is still part of the God head performing His work in the hearts of men and women. The Holy Ghost is still present in God’s church today! So as members of God’s church, we need to understand fully what is the work of the Holy Ghost, which in part is to convict us of His Will. That work, is the part of the Holy Ghost I would like to address. The work of the Holy Ghost is convict us to become awake.
And this is what we will speak on. The goal is that we would not resist the Holy Ghost, but that we would ‘welcome’ the Holy Ghost! What does it mean for you and I to welcome the Holy Ghost in our lives? To do that, we interpret that as The Holy Spirit to come with ..preceding or convicting, grace. And it would have been Stephen’s hope, that somebody, somehow, someday, would read this sermon, and wake up! To quit their slumber, or sleepy way of living. And now the background of this message from Stephen. Stephen, a deacon, in the beginning of the 6th chapter, was speaking to the Grecians, whom there was a murmuring amongst. The Grecians, were anybody but the Jews. The Grecians were complaining that they were being neglected by the church in their daily service for them by the apostles. There were only at that time, eleven of them. They decided it would be wise to appoint 7 deacons who were not apostles but laborers for the church. Ironically, the most powerful of sermons here, was not preached by the apostles, but by Stephen, a deacon. That tells us that any one of us serving Christ can minister, even preach! You don’t have to be pastor, or ordained, but you too can preach a sermon just like Stephen! It says in verse 8 of chapter 6, that Stephen was full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. In your studies of Acts, look everywhere to see what the Holy Ghost is doing!
It’s evident that God wants to draw our attention to The Holy Spirit, and what He is doing in the church. In order to be a deacon, you must be full of the Holy Ghost. To have hands laid on to be anointed, to place you in that role. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point these men were full of the Holy Ghost. Ordinary people! Filled with the Holy Spirit! The One who provides the vision, the instruction, the correction, direction, etc. is the Holy Spirit! So we need to understand much about the Holy Spirit. It was no different in their day. Stephen a deacon, did wonders and miracles. An ordinary person. He was arrested by this council of the leaders of Israel, on the charge of blasphemy against the law of Moses, so therefore against God. He was held accountable for this charge because he himself was a Jew, and obligated to follow the law of Moses, of what God had given Moses at that time. Essentially this charge of blasphemy would be as a charge today of religious treason. Very serious charge. Stephen was put to death. His punishment was as capital punishment today. Stephen’s sermon begins in chapter 7, in verse 2. Too long for here, but we will start in verse 37.
Acts 7:37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me, him shall ye hear.
Remember he is being charged with blasphemy against the law of Moses. So his sermon addresses his offense against that charge. And essentially as a result of the charge of blasphemy of Moses, he is being charged with treason against the people of Israel. So he is defending himself: “This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me, him shall ye hear.”
Acts 7:38-42 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us. 39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt. 40 Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. 42 Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?
Essentially what Stephen was doing in the first 36 verses, was saying, “I’m rehearsing, I agree that God made a covenant with Israel through Abraham, and I agree that God gave a law to Moses, which we have been called to observe, but along with that I want you to understand you have gotten sleepy, and not for the first time, and in your sleepiness you have strayed from the very law God gave our people. And just as in Moses time, when he went upon the mountain and was gone for 40 days, and you told Aaron to make you gods of molten made calves of gold, just as in that time you disobeyed, so you are disobeying now.
Wake Up You Sleepy Heads ..