Bulletin Edition December 2017

What Religious Folks Really Hate
Acts 6: 11-14.

1. They said that he speaks blasphemy against Moses. It is unheard of in scripture to blaspheme a man, only God can be blasphemed. But that was the problem. Their devotion to a dead prophet proved they hated the Lord whom Moses loved. They would have stoned Moses just as they did Stephen.

2. They said that he speaks blasphemy against God. Stephen proclaimed that Jesus is the Son of God, one with God (v55-57.) Jesus Christ our Lord is both God and Man. Those who reject Christ’s messengers reject Christ. And those who reject Christ reject God.

3. They said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place. Sinners love their places of worship more than the Lord of glory. Still do! Vain religionists will enter a church building once a week, thinking they are more righteous for doing so. That is exactly why the Lord promised to destroy the temple and Jerusalem. It was all worthless. That is why he promises to destroy this world and everything in it when he calls the last of his redeemed children home.

4. They said that he preaches, Against the law. They hated that Stephen declared that the law of commandments was given for the purpose of showing sinners their dire need of a Savior and for restraining the unrighteous. They hated that Stephen proclaimed that the ceremonial law had served the purpose of foreshadowing Christ our High Priest and our Lamb. They could not understand how a believer follows Christ, led of the Spirit, not the flesh; how believers serve in newness of Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter. They had a form of godliness but denied the power of Christ to dwell in and constrain the believer by love rather than law.

The Word strips man of his imaginary righteousness by declaring sinners are altogether a stench in God’s nostrils. Religious men hate to be told they are unrighteous. God chooses whom he will and passes by whom he will. Sinners hate God’s sovereign right to do as he pleases. Christ alone pleased God for his people. Sinners hate for someone else to receive the glory they covet. The Holy Spirit must regenerate and draw a sinner to Christ. Sinners hate to be told they can not do anything to bring themselves or to keep themselves from bowing to God. Believer, settle it in your mind, men do not reject the truth set forth in God’s word because they love God and believe on Christ. They do so because they love themselves and hate God.
Clay Curtis.

“That gracious spirit of our brother Stephen”
“…and they (false brethren) were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he (Stephen) spake” (Acts 6: 8-15).

Of all the foul, revolting and blasphemous things which I have seen and heard in today’s religion, I must also rejoice with this scripture . . . none have been able to resist this books wisdom and blessed truth once delivered unto the saints. I have heard one scheme after another, many of which I was in agreement with years ago, but since the Wisdom and Spirit of Grace has touched the heart, He has shown THE path clearly and brightly. I am amazed that even in spite of my weaknesses and ignorance in many things He will not let me go the way of man. What comfort, what protection the saints of God have in the words and work of our Redeemer….’how firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent word’…!!! The wisdom and spirit by which we speak must find itself grounded and settled in this book of books, which tells of that everlasting gospel of the free grace of God in the face of Jesus Christ! May we never neglect its pages, nor think to lightly of its content!
Drew Dietz

When Stephen went into the synagogue of the Jews to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, they could not resist the wisdom by which he spoke, nor could they collect any evidence to argue against him, “they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake” (Acts 6:10). Instead of listening and taking heed to the gospel he preached, they went about to set up false witnesses to say they heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, God, the holy place and the law (Acts 6:11-14). Stephen was a faithful servant of God who would not speak any evil words about the things of God. The Scripture says he was, “A man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 6:8).

I will tell you what he actually preached that made them so angry. Stephen, when he preached about MOSES, preached that Jesus Christ was that Prophet that Moses said would come (Deut. 18:18). Moses wrote about the coming of the Just One. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (John 5:46). When Stephen preached about GOD, he plainly told them that Jesus Christ was God almighty manifested in the flesh, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14; 1Tim. 3:16). When he preached redemption from sin, it was not through the deeds of the law (Gal. 2:16), but rather through the effectual sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Heb.9:12). When he preached about THE HOLY PLACE, the mercy seat, the ark of the covenant and the Day of Atonement, he preached unto them that they were only pictures pointing to the real Lamb, Mercy Seat and the only atonement for sin, Jesus Christ the Righteous (John 1:29). When Stephen preached about THE LAW, I am sure that he told them that Jesus Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill, honor and magnify the law on the behalf of His elect. Our Lord through His blessed obedience obtained for us eternal redemption and perfect righteousness (Matt. 5:17, Isa. 42:21).

This true messenger of the gospel was faithful to declare that Jesus Christ is “ALL AND IN ALL” in the gospel (Col. 3:11). Even though this message cost him his life, he never compromised the message of the gospel to pacify his enemies, but was faithful to glorify Jesus Christ.
God help us to imitate Stephen’s attitude and his boldness in declaring the message of grace though Christ (Rom. 3:24)! Even when the enemies of the gospel of God’s sovereign grace accuse us of speaking blasphemy, let us never compromise one word of truth to silence those who speak against the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (l Cor. 9:16; Mal. 3:13-15).
Tom Harding

Acts 6: 8
One thing God requires in his servants is faithfulness. And faithfulness is one thing God honors in his servants (I Sam 2: 30.) Stephen did not come to have this testimony given of him overnight. He began believing God by grace as a faithful church member, faithful to God and to his brethren. Then he served as a faithful deacon, faithful to God and to his brethren. At last, God used Stephen as a faithful preacher of the gospel, faithful to preach Christ. All along the way it was the Lord who blessed Stephen among the people filling him full of faith. In spiritual blessings from God, Stephen’s barns were filled with plenty and his wine press with new wine (Pro 3: 10.)

The believer whom God increases full of faith he also fills full of power. Most everything a person does in this life is to gain power. Most forsake Christ in their pursuit of worldly power. But those who God fills with the glory of Christ are the ones whom God truly fills with his power. So much so, that the most temporally powerful man is no match for the believer.
Clay Curtis.

“Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ”
(2 Peter 3:18).
Growth in grace is utterly unique. When anything else grows it gets bigger. When a Christian grows, he becomes smaller! Like John the Baptist said, “He must increase, I must decrease.” In a dark room, if a candle is but a flicker, it is all you see in the room. But if it is a strong flame, it lights up the room and you actually see less of the candle. As we grow, Christ will be seen more clearly and self will more and more take the background.
Todd Nibert

Nothing Except . . .
Chris Cunningham
John 3:27
John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven…John 3:27

God’s revelation of Himself in the scriptures is a vast ocean of knowledge and wisdom of which the combined understanding of all mankind is but a drop. If the vast sum of all the volumes, both of what has been written and what has been spoken truthfully concerning God’s Word, were all amassed it would amount to a mere handful of jewels from His infinite and unsearchable riches. While His children marvel at what we do see and are overwhelmed at times with a comparatively clear view (by His grace) of His glories, we mourn the extent to which our sin has blinded us and the more we learn, the more we realize how little we know. The most distinguished scholar as well as the newest of babes in Christ has need daily, as His disciple, to ask Him for the simplest and most basic needs: Lord, teach us to pray. Lord, increase our faith.

Another effect which comes with each step of truth we take is the increasing realization that we owe all spiritual understanding to the free, revealing grace of God. In this school, the intelligent student has no advantage over the idiot; the well behaved will not excel beyond the troublemaker. Both will see when the understanding is enlightened by the Teacher and until then, both will be equally in the dark. How humbling is the free grace of God to the wicked pride of man! His gospel has nothing for any who are able to receive it or do anything to deserve it, but gives precious hope to the most wretched offender.

We are most blessed, as Christ declared Peter to be, (Matt. 16:17) whose testimony revealed a higher learning than that which man can bestow. Lord, we bow to Thy prerogative each time we speak, write, read or hear and acknowledge that it shall profit . . . NOTHING, except . . .

What Should I Do?
Acts 6: 8
Believers often ask, “What should I do?” Service to God involves giving ourselves to the gospel of Christ. That is exactly what Stephen did. Stephen was filled with faith and power by hearing Christ preached, by studying his word, by praying to God for his blessing upon his word. Stephen did everything to make sure nothing interfered with the message of Christ crucified. When asked he supported the ministry and his brethren faithfully doing whatever he was asked to do at the time. He was not a debater, not contentious, and he did not stand for any to be so in the midst of the church. But he faithfully, cheerfully attended to the word in hearing it and in giving himself for the furtherance of it. That is serving God.

We must hear the constant message of our King Messiah. We must hear of him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith; him who is our power. There will come a day when those who hate the Lord will rise up against you, your brethren and your Lord. It will only be by faith in Christ, from whom we receive faith and power that we will stand in the face of our enemies. But if all our care is cast on Christ the Lord then stand we shall.

It is by filling helpless sinners full of faith and full of power that the Lord works the greatest wonders and miracles among the people.
Clay Curtis.

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