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How Have We Changed?
11/26/2008

How Have We Changed?
    
     You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it. Acts 7:51-53 (NIV)
    
    The more things change, the more they remain the same&
    
    Does that sound familiar?
    
    How about this one? History Repeats Itself!
    
    They do sound familiar because they have been around for, well&. throughout history.
    
    We are creatures of habit, creatures of our own nature known as the flesh. Need proof? Probably not, but here goes anyways. Take a look at the scripture above. It is from the Book of Acts and it records the first martyr of the Christian church whose name was Stephen. He was brought before the Sanhedrin, which were the most powerful religious and political body of the Jewish people.
    
    Stephen was holding the people accountable for their evil motives, and actions and it stung them deeply. They could not stand it and they responded in protest and outrage.
    
    When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. Acts 7:54 (NIV)
    
    But Stephen never backed down, as He continued to look to God and speak what he knew to be true, but it was too much for them to be confronted with, and they could not bear to hear the truth any longer. And soon, words were no longer sufficient to show their disagreement with Gods ways, and violence broke out and Stephen was killed.
    
    At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Acts 7:57-58 (NIV)
    
    As I watched the news last night and was seeing thousands of people walking the streets of Los Angeles in protest of a law that was voted in by the people of the state and that had reflected Gods wishes, I thought how it resembled this story of Stephen. I watched as these people descended on a Church and blamed Christianity for taking away their rights. Not their rights to live a homosexual life style, no, they were complaining about not having the same right to marry their same sex partner. They wanted all the same rights and privileges as the people who had been legally married under God. They wanted the dignity of being married. Where is the dignity in violating Gods wishes and commandments? How can a human possibly derive self-respect, or self-esteem from disobeying the God of the universe; the very one who created us?
    
    These people didnt care that it was God who instituted the act of marriage (See Gen 2:24; Eph. 5:22-25)), nor did they want to do it His way. And, in fact, just like the Sanhedrin, they became angry with those who spoke of history and of how God designed and commanded marriage to be. And the more they were confronted with Gods view of the situation, the angrier they became.
    
    God did give us the right to choose our actions, but He also said that we were to abide by the laws with which our leaders put into effect, unless those laws violated Gods laws. Well the way I see it, we have a law that states that a marriage must be between a man and a women, and if we were to do otherwise, we would be violating Gods law. But those who dont want Gods laws will not abide by, nor listen to His will, or His Word.
    
    So, we are to continue to speak His Word in love and in truth, just as Stephen did. It is not our goal to antagonize or instigate problems with non-believers. It is however our job to be witnesses for God, and His ways.
    
    Stephen paid the ultimate price for standing up for what he knew to be righteous, and it was not in vain. We can see clearly in Scripture that many events were a by-product because of this persecution upon Stephen, either directly or indirectly. Here are some of the events.
    
    "Philips evangelistic tour (Acts 8:4-40)
    "Pauls (Sauls) conversion (Acts 9:1-30)
    "Peters missionary tour (Acts 9:32-11:18)
    "The Church in Antioch in Syria founded (Acts 11:19)
    
    Hey Christian, dont ever underscore the importance of standing up for what God has instructed us to do, say, or be, unto a dark world. It may be the very thing that they need to hear or witness that puts them on the road to salvation. Above all, do everything in love, with an attitude of care and compassion.
    
    STUDY QUESTION: What was the reaction of the people who heard Stephen recalling their sinful history?
    
    PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to speak up about what is righteous according to God, and hold to your beliefs regardless of what a deteriorating society is doing?
    
    APPLICATION: Think about what is going on, and compare it to what God says is right. Always go with what God says, and even if you are persecuted, you will be victorious, and rewarded.
    
    Father, Thank You for the many lessons that You have made available through Your word. It is great to know that we can go to it and find just about every situation that we need to work through within it so that we might learn. In Jesus precious name, amen&
    
    Be Blessed, Pastor Scott
    
    

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000