KJB Daily Devotion – Following Jesus Through Every Chapter
Date: Sunday, November 19, 2017
Chapters: Acts 6-8
Message: Living By Hope In The Gospel
Hello My Friend,
With all the trials and tribulations that come from life itself, there truly is no other life to live than the Christian life. Let me tell you, when we belong to Christ we are not a friend of the world, and the world will call us out in a second, the more allow Christ to live in and through us the more we will be persecuted by the world, but remember this, you shine, you are the light that gives hope to others as Christ shines through you. It is all about following the will of God and believing in His promises, after all, we have nothing to be worried about, if our flesh dies we will wake up with Jesus. “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” – I Thessalonians 4:13,14.
“even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Those who know Christ as their Saviour are not dead, their bodies are asleep while their souls are in heaven awaiting the day they get awaken by the resurrection. While we are on earth and made alive through Christ The Holy Spirit does some amazing things in us when we allow Him to work in us, but that also means we face some trials, Remember, Jesus said, if they persecuted Him they will persecute us too. As the Christian church began to flourish with only the apostles doing the work of Christ the people started feeling neglected and fussed at them for not being there to help. The apostles came up with a solution, they needed godly, Holy Spirit filled souls to be in charge to help the people and community so they can continue their work in the ministry. Stephen was one of seven men to head up the church and put things in order, and he was good at it so good that it caused a stir among the Jews.
“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 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. And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” – Acts 6:8-15.
“and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.” Jesus did indeed change the customs of the law of Moses, when what was once redemption through animal sacrifices and obedience became permanent redemption through grace alone by one sacrifice and the obedience of man, Christ Himself. Since they accused him of blaspheming words Moses spoke, Stephen explained exactly what Moses wrote, from Abraham to the time they rejected God and spent forty years in the wilderness. He finishes his speech by upbraiding them for refusing to believe in Christ, knowing it has been written about Him from the start.
“Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 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: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 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,” – Acts 7:44-55.
“Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness,” Stephen was trying to tell the people that the tabernacle and the temple both were a reflection and foreshadow of Christ Himself, all of which they have rejected since Moses. Can you imagine this, they were so angry that they began biting him? They killed Stephen that day, and did it out of pure hatred of their own convictions. Conviction cuts straight to the heart, and sadly we are the targets because we are right there at the time. I remember the first time I went soul winning, the very first door I was yelled at. The man was not mad at me, he was bitter and angry over his life or past and I happened to be the one he went off on. It is not personal to us, but it is personal to God, it is Him that they are mad at. Jesus said, if they welcome us great, if not, move on and go to the next door, it is not us they have to face, but Jesus. “And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” – Luke 9:4,5.
As Christians we are going to get falsely accused, many times from the very people who call themselves Christians because they are simply doing what they are taught from their religion. Saul, a Pharisee, did what he was taught, he went from house to house arresting anyone who preached the Gospel, he followed orders because he thought it was the right thing to do, even consenting to Stephens death.
“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” – Acts 8:1-4.
“and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria,” The apostles and disciples fled Jerusalem in fear of being prosecuted, but they continued preaching the Gospel wherever they went, this was the beginning of the Gospel being preached in the Gentile nations. Of course, this brought others to be curious when they witnessed the apostles doing some things in the name of Christ. We are introduced to a man named Simon, he was a magician in Samaria. Phillip, having left with the other apostles, began preaching the Gospel in the Gentile nations, when Simon saw people getting saved and healed he immediately followed Phillip, and received Christ, but at that time, since the Gospel was only preached in Jerusalem before then, the Holy Spirit had not yet fell upon them. Peter and John joined Philip, prayed to God and all of a sudden all who were saved received the Holy Spirit, all except Simon. He immediately runs over to the apostles and wants this power and to be able to touch people like they did and give them the Holy Spirit too.
“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” – Acts 8:18-23.
“for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” One may appear to know Christ, but God knows the heart of each and every person that believes in and accepts His Son as their Saviour. These people were not filled with the Holy Spirit by any special power that the Apostles had, it was their faith in Christ alone. Salvation cannot be bought, it cannot be sold, and that is because it was already bought and paid for by Christ, who died in our place for our sins. You can ask Jesus to save you and be baptized many times, but salvation does not work that way, you must believe in what Jesus is saving you from, and it only takes one time to ask Him. I am proof that, I asked Jesus to come into my heart many times, I was even baptized as a baby, but none of that saved me. It was only when I was truly understood that Jesus died to save me from the death punishment for my sins that I received Him once and for all as my Saviour. Then I was baptized as a public profession of my faith. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” – Romans 3:22-24.
Jesus Christ Magnified: “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,” – Acts 7:55.
Today’s Prayer: God, I cannot ever forget the love and mercy that You showed me when You brought me up out of the pit I was in and gave me a new beginning. No suffering can compare to what I would receive had I not put my faith and trust in Your Son to save me. It is only by Your power that I am what I am today and even though I am going through some struggles I know You are with me, and You will see me through them as I stand by my faith in You. I love You, Lord and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,
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