ACTS of the Apostles - Learning to Be Daring & Dynamic

Read Acts 6:8-15

Focus Verse: Acts 6:8

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.

Yesterday, we learned about the new group of men joining the disciples to lead the first Jesus-followers. At the end of our reading yesterday, these new disciples's work was paying off, and the number of Jesus followers was growing. In fact, Jewish priests were also becoming obedient to faith in Christ.

As you might have imagined, the growth of Christianity attracted negative. All eyes turned to Stephen. The Bible says that Stephen was "full of grace and supernatural power." He performed many signs, wonders, and miracles. A particular sect called "The Freedmen's Sect" conspired against Stephen.

I have read over this passage of Scripture many times, but I've never paused to figure out what this Sect was. The Passion Translation offered commentary.

- Most commentators view this group as former Hebrew slaves.

- It's possible these members followed a Roman mythical hero.

- They focused on drunkenness and promiscuity and promoted freedom against all Mosaic Law.

- They acted with such hedonism that even the pagans viewed them as wicked.

They joined together to argue with Stephen; however, he was full of the Spirit which provided him with all of the answers to battle lies with Truth. But, they were able to rally the crowd and religious scholars to seize Stephen.

It doesn't take much for religion to lose all sight of wisdom, right? This group of hedonists that were labeled "wicked" by even the pagans joined forces with the religious. It's alarming, really.

I can't spend too much time focusing on the problems of false accusations and religion joining with evil, because I'd rather focus on Stephen. In the midst of false accusation and imminent death (spoiler alert), Stephen's face glowed like an angel.

Sisters, I want this for us. The world around us has gone crazy. In many ways, it's evil. And, I'm afraid religion is joining the evil more often than I want to admit. But, we can be filled with the Spirit, overflowing with grace and power, and able to operate with signs and wonders. I bet our faces could shine in the darkness. Honestly, we were made for this.

Lord, make us like Stephen! No matter how dark this world gets, You can cause us to shine. We want to cooperate with You. Make us more gracious than we've ever been, more powerful than we ever thought we could be, and more radiant than the darkness can hide. Amen.