Sunday September 8th we continued to explore our relationship to the world. In our study passage, John 15:18-16:11, Jesus makes it clear that as his followers we will be mistreated. The key question for us is: What does Jesus expect from us as we live out our lives in a system of organized society that is hostile to God?
As a reminder, here are the scriptures we looked at together:
John 16:2 They will put you out of the synagogues and in fact a time is coming when they think that by killing the followers of Jesus they are actually offering a service to God ...
Act 6-7 Stephen is the supreme example of living out a faithful witness in an organized society that is hostile to God.
Revelation 12:11 They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony for they loved not their lives even unto death ...
2 Corinthian 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen
Act 7:56 And he said, ' Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
The answer we arrived at was - Jesus expects us to go into the world; that our highest calling is to be a faithful witness through it all, no matter what!
As I have chewed on Sundays message and scriptures, additional scriptures and thoughts came to mind. Here are a few of those scriptures and thoughts:
1 Peter 2:20-21 ... if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
9/15/2013 02:25:06 am
Steven is an amazing account of Gods calling and God's empowering and strengthening to witness even unto death. In the sovereignty of God He give us His Holy Spirit and through Him (Holy Spirit) we are enabled to be courageous and convicted to go into the world in the power of Jesus the Christ and proclaim the Gospel to a hostile world. Steven was a man just as we are. The difference was he was full of faith and the spirit of God. And he was strengthened at the last supernaturally by the spirit to give him the courage to fulfill that calling. God uses us and has promised to strengthen us and give us the courage to do that calling. The spirit gets more and more control as we grow in the word of God. For some it is a life long growth and for some it is a very quick growth such as with Steven. He was so full of the word that He was given total faith (FULL OF FAITH) and the spirit was in total control of him(FULL the SPIRIT). Sometimes I have been fearful of what God has in Mind for me as he is reveals so much deep truth about his word, (OF HIMSELF) to me.I have wondered if I could stand as Steven or if I will deny Him. But Steven should be an inspiration that causes us to not be fearful to share to a world of hostiles because Jesus sent the Comforter(Holy Spirit) to give us the strength and courage we need. HE has promised to be with us and shows us that HE will fulfill that promise if we are Faithful to Him and HE will give us the courage that we can not have outside of the Holy Spirit. Fear Not for I am with you always. God knew what was going to happen to Steven and planned everything from the foundation of the world. Some theologians feel the stoning of Steven caused the church to be spread aboard and Paul's (Saul's) seed of faith may have been planted then. It is a challenge to share in this world. We may never know the results of our sharing. It can be a fearful thing. We are not all called to share even unto death, but I am convinced that we will stand if called because our God will enable us to stand. And if He enabled Steven and Paul and Peter and all the rest to die for the gospel how much more will he enable us in this time and this country to suffer, the limited suffering we will encounter. God Is FAITHFUL.
9/15/2013 06:21:30 am
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