I have decided to combine chapters 6 and 7 as one story spans across 2 chapters. These two chapters have 2 different stories, yet there is a strange connection which I think is interesting and relevant today. Let’s take a look.
The first part of chapter 6 shouldn’t come as any surprise to any of us that attend a church in a first-world country. As the church grows, people start to complain. Sound familiar? We all have good intentions, but for some reason, when we come together, we don’t always see eye to eye. This causes people to moan and complain. It is not new for today, it has been going on for a while.
The second story is about Stephen. Stephen is out and about doing miracles and great signs, as we all wish that we were out doing, and people didn’t like that. People were so jealous and hated what Stephen was doing so much, that they lied about him to the council to get him into trouble. The council then arrest Stephen and get him before them and ask him if the accusations were true. Now at this point, Stephen could have just said no, but he didn’t. He had a whole story for the council, showing them some of the mistakes made by their ancestors, and telling them not to make the same mistake now. Even when Stephen could have just denied the charges (which were false anyway), he still took the opportunity to teach the council. As usual, they didn’t like this, because it highlighted where they were in the wrong.
Long story short, Stephen gets killed for his actions. Stephen was out doing what God had called him to do, this made others jealous, which caused them to lie about him. This lead to him being questioned, where again he tells the truth, which leads to his death. Throughout this story, you see that God’s favour is on Stephen. Yet he still got killed. When I talk about God’s provision and grace and the fact that He wants to bless us, people use scripture like this to oppose me. This is about persecution. God never promises that we won’t face persecution, in fact He says that we will. If you live in the US or UK, we may not be killed for our faith (yet, it may still get there), but you will be persecuted. God does not want us to be persecuted, yet He will not interfere with people’s free will, so His grace is sufficient. Just look at God’s answer to Paul when he asks Him to remove his thorn (persecution).
Now I’m sure that you can see the points to these two stories, but do you see the connection? Maybe it was not intended like this, but it is ironic that these two stories are one after the other. Here we have one group who are moaning and complaining that their church is not ideal, and another person being killed for his faith. Sound familiar? We sit in our first world countries, moaning about our churches, while people in Iraq are being killed for believing what we believe. Now I am not saying that we shouldn’t try and fix our church, nor am I saying that we should go to Iraq to get killed, I am just saying that we need to get this in context. Are we speaking the truth? Even if it gets us into trouble? Let’s spend less time moaning and complaining and more time speaking the Word of God. More time stepping out in Jesus name and doing what God has called us to do. Less time worrying and complaining about ‘church politics’. When you read the Bible, meditate on it, and speak the Truth, you will upset people. You will set some people free, but some will get upset. I promise you. Even some Christians will get upset with you, but it is far better to speak the Word of God, than to keep men happy.
Join me in speaking the Truth more and complaining less.