January 3, 2019
Acts 7:44-53 The Message (MSG)
According to Scripture, Christ followers are to find a church home that preaches the Spirit-filled Word of Truth; we are to plant ourselves so we can grow as worshipers and serve as missionaries. The church is to be a House of Healing to groom worshipers who have become individual temples of the living God. No matter what church you may attend as a worshiper of the Most High, it will never be perfect until Jesus’ Second Coming. There are no perfect churches because there are no perfect people. We all come with soul messes that need to be turned into Life lessons with Christ. However, every church can be counted as faithful as we allow the Spirit to bring forth the Truth and the necessary healing of our individual souls.
As we enter a new year, let’s reflect on our worship. Why do we resist God’s healing Truth and the work of grace to transform our physical temples? I suspect it is because we do not want to hear the Truth about the mess in our souls (minds, wills, emotions); it pierces, wounds, and crucifies our flesh, so we walk away rather than receive the healing Christ offers. We may say we worship God but we deny him the power to change us; we can squander the gift of grace. We may choose to point an accusing finger at others, ignore the Spirit, and avoid the work of grace to correct us.
The early church was filled with people who came from all walks of life with all kinds of soul messes. Some people allowed the Spirit to bring the Truth of Christ and the power to change them. Some people did not. Stephen, full of the Spirit and wisdom, was a leader and preacher of the Truth in the early church. He was accused of blasphemy and taken to the Sanhedrin or religious council of the Law for correction. How will the religious council respond when they hear the Spirit of Truth through Stephen? Will they allow the words to stir and redirect them toward true worship?
44-47 “And all this time our ancestors had a tent shrine for true worship, made to the exact specifications God provided Moses. They had it with them as they followed Joshua, when God cleared the land of pagans, and still had it right down to the time of David. David asked God for a permanent place for worship. But Solomon built it.
48-50 “Yet that doesn’t mean that Most High God lives in a building made by carpenters and masons. The prophet Isaiah put it well when he wrote,
“Heaven is my throne room;
I rest my feet on earth.
So what kind of house
will you build me?” says God.
“Where I can get away and relax?
It’s already built, and I built it.”
51-53 “And you continue, so bullheaded! Calluses on your hearts, flaps on your ears! Deliberately ignoring the Holy Spirit, you’re just like your ancestors. Was there ever a prophet who didn’t get the same treatment? Your ancestors killed anyone who dared talk about the coming of the Just One. And you’ve kept up the family tradition—traitors and murderers, all of you. You had God’s Law handed to you by angels—gift-wrapped!—and you squandered it!”
Prayer: Lord, help me to be an authentic worshiper and sharer of Truth. Shape my life and bring the change that is necessary, so I may share in the work of your Grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.