Rebelliously Moral

  1. Message: In Acts 7, Stephen had been brought before the Sanhedrin council and was falsely accused of blasphemy. Specifically, he was accused of saying that Jesus came to change the customs that Moses had handed down to their ancestors. They brought false witnesses to support their cause and then asked him “Is this true?” Then entire chapter is a history lesson and a cliff’s notes condensed version of a large chunk of the old testament beginning with Abraham. As I read this, I kept wondering what Stephen’s point was but I also remembered that right before he began speaking they saw his face shone like an angel. This was not Stephen speaking, this was the holy Spirit speaking through Stephen. He highlighted through the generations of respected prophets of old and described the rebellion of the people against every single one of them. He called out their hypocrisy. They were accusing Stephen of blaspheming the prophets of old when truly, none of their generations had honored the prophets of old. They rejected them and often killed them and now they were about to do the same to Stephen. Stephen boldly told them that just as their ancestors rejected Moses, they rejected Jesus and were continuing to do so. Since they were still in rebellion, they did not receive this correction and instead they stoned Stephen to death.
  2. Command: Let the gospel be observed in my life by surrendering my heart to it, not just outwardly defending it.
  3. Promise: God willbe made known by my surrendered heart not my defensive/offensive words.
  4. Warning: Those who are hardened in heart or in rebellion will not respond in repentance. They will be offended by it.
  5. Application: As I read this, I thought about America overall. We describe ourselves as a Christian nation and many of our people who describe themselves as God-fearing Christians are not even surrendered over to Jesus and are actually living in a state of rebellion. They are blind to the rebellion though, because they see their moral code and political stance as a defense against those whom they see as offensive to God and in opposition to our Christian roots as a country. Just like the Sanhedrin council, who saw themselves as men of God defending their roots, this is what many American Christians look like. They appear moral on the outside, but they are not inwardly surrendered at all. God needs no defense. The gospel is strengthened when we surrender our lives like Stephen did and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. I challenge myself to pay attention to the moral code I project, and ask God what areas I am defending traditions and roots in an outward response, rather than surrendering my heart and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through me.

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