Word for the Week...MAY 23 --- 29 / 2005

"And The Word of God increased and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests weere obedient to the faith.(v.8)and Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people".

Stephen, whose name means 'an elaborate symbol of honour'(Gk.), was the first named Christian martyr, who paid the ultimate price for his faith:(Ch.7:60). He was a wise man of good character, previously chosen, along with six others, to care for the Greek widows. These were from a neglected minority known as the Hellenists. This branch of Jews retained many Greek customs; they chose to speak Greek, rather than Hebrew. The Disciples' response, in creating a new Church office, was considerably diplomatic. All seven men appointed were Greek Jews. Therefore, the Disciples had entrusted the minority with full Authority to solve their own problems! In verse six, we see that the Apostles 'laid hands' on the seven after prayer. This was not an 'act of violence' ! , but rather the Impartation of The Holy Spirit's annointing for their particular calling, witnessed by The Church. It was an O./T. custom; (Num.27:22-23), and was continued in the N./T.;(1 Tim 4:14). As we can see, (v.8), The Holy Spirit Was confirming The Word of God with signs following. Of course, we know that the Word of God is a seed, which grows up into eternal life, in the right soil! (Mark 4:14-20). Addition is one thing, and when people in the Church today hear of someone who becomes a Christian, there is a cause for celebration ! But what of multiplication? I believe that there was such a powerful Annointing present with the early Church, that droves of people were being swept into the Kingdom of God. In previous Issues we have covered many reasons for this Phenomenon. An explosion will definately leave an Impression ! The explosive power of The Holy Spirit, (Gk.'Dunamis'-from which we get the word 'dynamite' !), brought about the recorded results of Church growth on this scale. There are two words to consider carefully here...'Disciples'...which means 'Disciplined Learner'...also 'Obedient'...Most of us in The Church today, shy away from such a degree of commitment, but if we were to embrace the cause of the Gospel with the same passion as the early Church, we would begin to experience the same results ! (Hebrews 13:8).               Stephen wears the Victor's crown in Heaven because he was so in love with The Lord, that he knew the greatest secret of all,...forgiveness...the heart of the Gospel...(Acts 7:60). Through his faithful witness, to the end, many eventually came to The Lord, including Saul, a Pharisee. .As in the days of the early Church, not everyone will rejoice when we share the Gospel ! There may even be opposition, of one form or another. As we stand on The Promises of God, duriing bad times, as well as good, we do our part in 'contending for the faith'...(Jude 3). 

May The Lord Grant us His Grace, to live a life worthy of His Calling.



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