Saturday, August 2, 2014

Where Is The Evidence?

They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit… [and] the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith… While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed… "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." Acts 6:5, 7; 7:59

The death of Stephen, a man full of grace, power, and the Holy Spirit is the detailed narrative of the churches first martyr in the New Testament. James, another martyr and the brother of John, is given a single sentence. Yet, going forward--from Stephen and James--the evidence (and cost) of living in the Spirit in Scripture paints a stark contrast to what we see in the hundreds of sermons and books that present the presence of the Spirit of God in one's life as evidenced by: blissful ease, endless (though rarely substantiated) miracles, good health, excessive wealth, and unparalleled success in all endeavors.

Reading through the record of the Book of Acts regarding Stephen (and Peter and Paul and Phillip, etc), you see the one prevailing work and evidence of the Holy Spirit that never subsides--the salvation of people. The message of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection--the substance of God's love for fallen mankind and His desire and power to save them--was always intended to be the most defining example of the Spirit of God filling His people and at work amongst them.

How things have changed…


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