Acts 6 reflections

I read Acts chapter 6 the other day. It was a time when the church was really growing quickly and the Apostles were finding it hard to keep up with all the extra work that was required. They felt they were being diverted from prayer and preaching.

As I reflected on this passage four things jumped out at me…

1. The realised they needed help – they were being diverted from their core work and needed help. They called all the people together to discuss it with them (v2).

2. They wanted the right people – they asked the people to chose people who were “known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom” (v3). They didn’t just want anyone to fill the roles, they wanted the right fit and people with God’s annointing.

3. They set them apart – once the seven were chosen the Apostles set them apart by laying hands on them and praying for them. They were released with responsibility for the task which freed up the Apostles (v6).

4. More growth was the result – verse 7 says, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith”. What an awesome result! A bit of organising and releasing made a huge difference.

If you are finding things getting a bit too busy at the moment, perhaps you could call everyone involved together and see if you can set some more people apart to take on some on the workload.

You might feel more released to do your core work and find like the early church that more people come to faith as a result.

What does God require of you?

Micah 6:8 has been one of my favourite verses for a long time. It is simple and straight to the point. If you have ever wondered what God requires of you as a Christian – here’s a good place to start…

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Peter and John’s boldness continues

In Acts 4 we see that Peter and John’s healing of the lame man brought attention. News spread all over Jerusalem and it had even reached the ears of the Jewish High Council and the Sadducees.

The leaders of the day were deeply concerned that they were preaching Jesus and that He was the one who healed the lame man. They were also teaching about resurrection of the dead. This is something the Sadducees didn’t believe in.

As a result the Council called Peter and John before them and warned them not to speak of Jesus anymore (v18). Peter and John’s response was awesome. Not only did they say it was done by the power of Jesus, but they reminded the leaders that He was the one they crucuified.

The thing that jumps out at me is Peter and John’s boldness. Initially they were bold in healing the lame man in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:1-10), but they were also very bold in the way they answered the questions of the High Council. They simply stated what they had seen and heard and did not back down.

So what were the keys to their boldness? What can we learn from them that we can put into practice today? I think there a three main things.

1. Full of the Holy Spirit – Verse 8 says, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…” As Christians we need to be full of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to reign in our lives. Then we will receive power to the be the witnesses Acts 1:8 talks about.

2. Obeying God not man – Verse 19 tells us of their motivation for speaking out. Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God…” Their heart was to be faithful and obedient to God and they were willing to risk punishment for it.

3. The believers prayer – When Peter and John returned to the group they told of the experience before the Council. Together they prayed, “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (v29). As a result the building shook and they were all filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and continued witness boldly.

As Christians if we want to be bold in our wtiness we need to be full of the Holy Spirit, seek to obey God and not man and pray with others for boldness to speak out.

We carry the story and the power

In Acts chapter three we see Peter and John were on the way to the Temple to pray. As they come to the front gate they saw a lame man begging for money. He did this daily to survive as he could not work.

As Peter and John approached the man he asked for money. Peter’s response was awesome. He says, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk”. Peter then took the man’s hand and helped him up. He was instantly healed.

After this miraculous healing the crowd was amazed as they knew the man’s situation and had seen him begging many times before. Peter saw the crowd and instantly began to tell the story of Jesus (vv11-26). He was talking to Jews so he related the story back to Abraham, the Prophets and the promise of the Messiah who would suffer.

This chapter of Acts reminds me that I carry the same story inside of me. Everyday, no matter where I am, I can tell the same story that Peter told. I can tell people of the great love God has for them and how Jesus came to suffer and die for each and every one of us to purchase our salvation.

As a Christian I also need to remember that I can speak the same words as Peter. When someone is suffering I can say, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk”…or whatever else is needed. Like Peter I can take people by the hand and help them up out of their own situation they are facing.

As Christians we need to remember that we carry a great story inside of us – a story of love, compassion, acceptance, healing, restoration and salvation. We also need to remember that we have access to the same power that is found in the name of Jesus. We just need to be aware of those around us who are suffering and be bold enough to speak out when the opportunity arises.

Acts chapter one reflections

I was reading Acts chapter one this morning (Acts 1:1-26). For those who might not be aware, the Book of Acts records the start of the early church. As I read four things jumped out at me…

1. The Resurrection confirmed – In verse 3 we see that Jesus spent 40 days with the people. In this time He proved that He really was raised physically and not just spiritually. It says Jesus, “gave many convincing proofs that He was alive”.

2. Promise of power – In verse 8 Jesus promised the power of the Holy Spirit to help be His witnesses. This makes me wonder why we are timid in our witness sometimes if we have access to this power?

3. He will return the same way – In verses 10-11 we find two angels tell the Apostles that Jesus would return the same way He left. When Jesus comes back it will be from the clouds and visible. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 echoes this description.

4. They replaced Judas – In verses 15-26 Peter and the other believers sought the Lord to replace Judas. Two men were chosen and they prayed to see which one the Lord wanted. It was important that he was a witness to all that Jesus had done.

Acts 1 is a fairly short chapter, but one that contains some pretty significant things – the confirmed raising of Jesus, the promise of power to witness, what Jesus’ return will be like and replacing Judas who betrayed Jesus.

It also shows that the disciples didn’t just sit back and wait for it all to happen. They were proactive in prayer, meeting together and getting on with the task at hand.

John’s sign off

I love the way John signs off his gospel. In John 21:25 he says, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written”.

In John (and the other gospels) we see Jesus was a real man of action. He was always busy preaching, teaching, healing, praying, serving, counselling, mentoring, travelling and sometimes confronting.

It is amazing to think that what is recorded in the John and the other gospels is only a fraction of what Jesus actually did in His public and private ministry. The thought that there wouldn’t be enough books to record it all shows the amazing impact Jesus had while He walked amongst us!

Why did John write his gospel?

In my chapter of the New Testament a day challenge for this year I am up to John chapter 20. In this chapter we read about Jesus’ resurrection and His appearance to the Disciples. However in verse in verses 30 and 31 we read one of the reasons why John wrote His gospel. It says…

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

In these verses John tells his readers his main reason for writing this book of the Bible was so others could learn about Jesus and believe that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God”. His purpose was that people would come to know Jesus in the same way he did.

In many ways this is the same reason why I do the things I do with PASSION. I want people to know Jesus in the same way I do. My heart is that those who don’t know Jesus will come into personal relationship with Him and know what it is to walk with Him everyday.

Walking with Jesus for nearly half of my 42 years has been amazing journey. Even if I was offered all the money in the world I would not want to go back to what my life was like before. The hope, the meaning, the purpose, the forgiveness, the assurance of heaven I have now are just a few reasons I would not want to go back.

Like John’s reason for writing, I also write. It is my hope and prayer that people come to really know Jesus and who He really is. That is why John wrote his gospel and that is why I write on The PASSION Blog.

If you would like to begin a relationship with Jesus, please visit my “Peace with God” page here

God Bless,

Dave

Jesus left heaven for you and I

One of the things I have been reflecting on in the lead up to Easter is the fact that Jesus left the glories of heaven to save you and I.

If we think about it for the moment. Jesus left the most special place in the universe – heaven. He left the loving and intimate relationship with the Father and the Spirit to come and dwell amongst mankind to bring us back to Himself.

I love the way Philippians chapter two puts what He did. Verses 5-8 says…

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

The thought that Jesus would leave the glories heaven, be born into this world as a vulnerable child and live amongst us is amazing. I don’t know about you, but the thought that the God of the universe would leave heaven, to die a painful death on the cross to rescue and restore me is breathtaking.

I think the lengths Jesus went to for you and I is worth reflecting on this Easter.

God Bless,

Dave

Where are you seated?

Where you are seated at a special ocassion often determines how important you are to the host of the function. If you are the bridal table at a wedding reception it means you are very special to the bride and groom. If you are at the King’s or Prime Minister’s table at a special function you are held in very high regard.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus returned to heaven He was seated at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:18-23). That is the highest place of honour in the whole universe. There is no greater place than being seated next to the Father. But that is not where the great news stops. You are also seated with Christ! Let’s have a look at what the Bible says in the next chapter…

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV)

If you are in Christ Jesus (that means in relationship with Him, trusting Him for your salvation, and have received Him as your King) then you are spiritually seated with Christ in the heavenly realms! You are seated with Him in the highest place in the universe!

Because of this great news you no longer have to walk around with your face pointing to the ground or your shoulders hunched over. You no longer have to feel unworthy. You have high standing and high honour with the King and Creator of the universe!

I don’t know about you, but that is great news to me! It is something that has radically changed the way I see myself and as a result it has radically changed the way I live.

God Bless,

Dave 🙂