Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Mission in Christ’s Spirit
Acts. 7:54-60
Reji Joseph, New Jersey

Diocesan Yuvajana Sakhyam Secretary
60 Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.

Stephen was one of the seven people chosen by the apostles to care for the widows in the early church. He was chosen because of his good reputation, fullness of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. This empowered the ministry of the church in Jerusalem and the number of disciples multiplied greatly. The meaning of the name Stephen is ‘crown’. Of course he was a crown of the great ministry in the Spirit of God. It is the Holy Spirit that leads one to Christ centered mission. No one was able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. But the rewards of such a ministry were not sweet.
1. Accusation of blasphemy
         Stephen was accused of speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.  When the Word of God is proclaimed in its true authenticity, opposition will come swiftly. If the Word of God is proclaimed to please the authority and people around us, there will be a smooth journey. But the Spirit of God will always lead a person to be sincere in sharing the Word of God ignoring the consequences.
2. Revealing the reality
         Stephen boldly proclaimed the history starting with Abraham and emphasized how God used Moses to deliver Israel. In fact, Stephen was pronouncing how the filling of Holy Spirit and true knowledge of Word of God go hand in hand. Stephen made a true astonishing illustration of the intervention of God in the life of Israel.
3. Proclamation that God is controlling history
         Stephen filled with the spirit made a powerful declaration that the Most High God does not dwell in temples made with hands. This is was a statement that stirred the people accusing Stephen. Only a person filled with Holy Spirit can say like this. It was an eye opening statement for the whole humanity.
4. Ignoring the consequences
         Stephen filled with Spirit was not worried about what is going to happen to him. He was martyred. He became the first martyr of the early church; the ultimate persecution a person with the Spirit may go through.
5. Gazing at Heaven in the midst of persecution
         The power of the Holy Spirit strengthened Stephen to look up to heaven, his final destiny when he was being stoned. How can a person pray to God for those persecuting him? The Spirit empowered Stephen to pray for his enemies.
Let us pray to God for the faith, wisdom and fullness of Spirit so that we will boldly discharge our Christ given responsibilities.

PRAYER

Almighty Lord, fill us with Your Spirit to be part of Your missions in this world. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
"Missions is the overflow of our delight in God”― John Piper