STEPHENS AMAZING OUTREACH OPERATION
- AN ATTEMPT TO WIN THE COUNCIL
STUDY ON THE CALL OF ABRAHAM
As we heard Colin quote vs 60 of Acts 7: Lord lay not this
sin to their charge….. was it just I, or did you also see a replica or a draw a
parallel to an incident that had but recently occurred… the death of Jesus and
the events leading up to this were so similar - that finding no fault in Jesus they accused
him falsely and crucified him. Blasphemy, as Colin said, was a crime worthy of death….
Jealousy and envy stand out most, but
more importantly, they could not withstand the Spirit of Wisdom that was upon
Jesus and now upon Stephen
6: 10 supports this and so they chose to accuse Stephen of blasphemy – He spoke
against the Temple and the Law of Moses.
Who were they?
1. It is said that Caiaphas who
officiated as high priest at the time of Jesus’ trial was officiating as high
priest of the council that Stephen was now brought before. He was a Judge.
2. The people accused Stephen of
blasphemy – Acts 6 : 13
3. They seized him and brought him
before the council
4. False witnesses were raised to
speak and to accuse him of this
5. “He speaks continuously against
the holy temple and the Law of Moses.
shone like an angel, God himself was present and Stephen sensed the presence of
1. He did not get angry
did not counter the accusation
did not defend himself.
4. He used their common history –
sacred and holy to them to introduce to Caiaphas and the council that the NEW
MUST TAKE CENTRE STAGE AS THE OLD HAS COMPLETED ITS ROLE. Not on this mountain
and not in Jerusalem, Jesus had said to the Samaritan but in spirit and truth
true worshipper will worship me.
And so in Chp 7
of Acts, to the Question of Caiaphas, “Are these things true?” Stephen sets out
to answer his question. He finds a place of commonness and common ground from
which to preach the gospel to a bunch of really hard-hearted Jewish leaders.
The God of
Glory….. not just any visitation, but one brilliant manifestation of God
himself, in HIS appearance to our Father Abraham called to Abraham.. Abraham
was visited by one beyond whom there is no one bigger, mightier or comparable.
My question to you is was Abraham in the Temple when it happened? No it was not built. And both Caiaphas and
the Council knew this to be true.
God appeared to
your father and mine – Abraham. God did not stand in Jerusalem or on Mount Zion
and roar his message out to Abraham, He visited Abraham. He is not restricted
to this temple. This temple is temporal and so is the Law of Moses and must be
replaced with the Wind of change blowing. He visited Abraham in Mesopotamia…. A
heathen idolatrous land. It was not Israel, it was not Jerusalem, it was the Ur
of the Chaldees.
So who was Abraham ?
We have to go
back in history to trace the line from which Abraham came and to know who he
Abraham has been
mentioned 299 times in theBible and he was and is known as the Father of
Nations, the pursuer of righteousness, the Friend of God, the Confidante of God
with whom God shared his secrets, Father of the Faithful, Carrier of Blessings,
and a haggler, he even bargained with God.
At the time of the
Flood, Noah and his family were the only humans who God saved – Noah and his
wife, his three sons and three daughters-in-law – 8 humans only. When the
floods receded and life began again on earth, Japheth went to the North west to
Europe and Asia, Ham went to the south, to Africa and Shem to the East – to
modern day Iraq to Mesopotamia.
It was 10
generations from Shem to Abraham. Terah was Abraham’s father. Terah at age 70
fathered Nahor the eldest of 3 sons – Abraham was the youngest and Haran who
was second had died leaving behind his son Lot. Where were they living …. IN
MESOPOTAMIA (The Ur of the Chaldees)
“Meso” means in
the middle or in between and “potamia” means rivers. Between these two very
large rivers was this land - 1) The Euphrates and The river Tigris.
Today, it is Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, Syria.
Today we are
studying Abraham and the Call of Abraham…God saw Abraham and his ways. Abraham was 70 years when God appeared to
him. He becomes the confidant of God, the carrier of great blessings so that we
are called the sons of Abraham, the sons of righteousness and faith and grace.
Moses writing the Torah sketches the life and character of Abraham and this is
one portrait the scriptures draw with great detail.
Genesis 12: 1 and
Acts 7: 3 In great splendour, with an outward manifestation that gave him the unmistakable basis for belief even in the worst circumstances, the God of
glory appeared to Abraham. What an experience !!!!! And said to him :
God spoke: Get thee out of THY COUNTRY
thee out of THY PEOPLE
thee out of THY FAMILY
Jesus said, If
any man wishes to follow me, let him DENY HIMSELF, TAKE UP HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW
To a land that I
will SHOW YOU…. 700 miles from Ur to Haran, 700 Miles from Haran to Syria, 800
miles from Syria to Egypt. It was a long long journey.
The Call was
specific, it was intangible (involving faith and obedience) and it accompanied
great blessing, it called for a lonely walk with only God as his companion, it
called for separation and singlemindedness.
uncompromising call that now explained the perks, the advantages of making a the decision to hearken to the call.
I will MAKE YOU A
I WILL BLESS YOU
I WILL MAKE YOUR
You shall BE A
BLESSING…. ( To those who bless you I will bless, to those who dishonour you, I
will curse … e.g. as the lives of Pharaoh, his concubine's, entire court and
country were at risk, their lives threatened by a lie…. God would keep His
word… He is the word.
All the families
of the earth will be blessed in you.
I will SHOW YOU A LAND - Not give you…. Not
one you will own…. No.. only show him… not a foot of the land did he promise
I will MAKE YOU A GREAT NATION - I am 70 years
and have no heir…. If we take a look
At Genesis 11,
oddly enough for each of the generations before Abraham and Terah, all the
ancestors between the ages of 29 and 32 had their first child, Terah had his
first son at 70 and here was Abraham – 70 years but with no signs of having an
heir…. And God is saying I will make you a GREAT NATION….. But the “I” was so
great and glorious and the voice behind the promise so faith instilling, that
So Abraham hears
the CALL AND OBEYS….. The call was definitely not easy and he starts correctly
by leaving the Ur of the Chaldees,
Part one … leave country
Part two …leave people…
He disobeyed the call,
leave family…he disobeyed the call.
Take a look at
Genesis 12 which says Abraham departed, yes he obeyed but how – he took with
him vs 4 Lot and Terah. At age 75 after
5 years of staying in Haran ….. not
Canaan…. He almost forgot his call, because he compromised … we need to
beware of the Terahs and Lots in our lives, who bring compromise instead of
obedience in our lives. They come in comfort, covered packages.
vs 5 Abraham, Lot
and all the souls that they had gotten in Haran, they went forth after Terah
My POINT IS THAT
ABRAHAM WAS NOT PERFECT. But Abraham
lived in the dispensation of Grace and not law, for under the law, for this
lack of obedience he would have paid heavily, even with his life….that was the
law… The obedience to the Call of God was mingled with partial obedience and
for 5 years neglected…. BUT GOD LEFT THE DOOR OPEN FOR HIM TO ENTER….. THAT IS
GRACE….and so if anyone feels, I didn’t obey when the call was given… don’t
live in regret, the door is open ….. and God’s gracious hand still beckons us. A partial failure holds great lessons for
us DON’T COMPROMISE.
When Terah died
partial obedience and idolatry were out of the way. Terah worshipped Idols.
happened, “From I will show you the land” …. It turned to “I will give your
offspring the land” Gen 17:8.
As we proceed, I
want to dwell on the CALL OF GOD, the latter part in particular.
IF YOU OBEY
THE PROMISE: I will make you a GREAT
1. Today Israel is a contender
amongst the big economies of the world, silent, strong, impenetrable, backed by
the worlds biggest economy.
and I are the sons of Abraham …. God promised…. Many, many children
At Bethel …. As the dust of the earth
At Mamre …. Uncountable stars in the sky
Gen 17: 2…. I will multiply thee
3 : 7, 29…. If you are Christs then you are Abraham’s Offspring…. Included in
that golden circle by faith.
4. Gen 17:8 I will give ….. for an
everlasting possession… This is yet to be fulfilled… forever….. A GREAT NATION
But how ???? I
don’t have a son ….. no CHILDREN… I am 70 years and NO SIGN of a child.
Abraham was to learn with THE PROMISE
THE PROVISION ( Provision does not mean to
be provided…. BUT ALREADY MADE READY AND AVAILABLE… THAT IS WHAT PROVISION
So don’t ever
forget…. If you are given a PROMISE ….. PROVISION IS ALREADY MADE … KEPT READY
IN ADVANCE …. NOT AN AFTERTHOUGHT.
So what did GOD
I WILL BLESS YOU
….. THE ANSWER – EVERYTHING….. YES EVERYTHING
A. In you is a SEED
13: 2 – Abraham was very rich with livestock, gold and silver……
15: I will be your SHIELD …. WOW …. From the sun, from the enemy, from the
pestilence, from the famine…. And on and on and on.
15: I will be YOUR EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD ……
13: 17 WALKTHROUGH THE LENGTH AND BREADTH OF THE LAND for I WILL GIVE IT TO
was not just a Shepherd, He was a Chieftain, He was an Army Chief… He had a
brain for strategy… He was successful…. Not one died when he went to war to
rescue Lot. All the women and the possessions of Lot, he brought back….. He was
wise… He knew that the architect and founder was God himself and he lived like
a pilgrim in spite of all the wealth and wisdom and possessions.
WITH OBEDIENCE COMES PROMOTION
will make YOUR NAME GREAT
Was God saying I
will see how you do and promote you ……NO NO NO….
I HAVE ALREADY
PLANNED YOUR PROMOTION ….. I have faith in you….. I created you…. You were made
in my likeness and image.
HOW MUCH GREATER
CAN A MAN GET ???? AND HOW MUCH GREATER CAN A MAN’S NAME BE when for the last
3000 years, the nation of Israel and the
Jews call ABRAHAM their PATRIARCH,
FATHER OF THE NATION.
THIS COULD ONLY
BE GOD… This is his faithfulness, This is Him fulfilling HIS word…. He is the
word…. So If you are going through a bad season…. Don’t fret…. Promotion is NOT
WHO SAID THAT
BECAUSE GOD HAD PROMISE, PROVISION AND PROMOTION IN MIND THAT we should NOT
FACE DIFFICULTIES ????
It is SO THAT YOU,
Abraham, you… (put your name) MAYBE A
God said to
Abraham: YOU WILL BE A BLESSING
BRINGS BLESSINGS AND PROTECTION….. Healing, Deliverance, Manifestations
of great miracles and signs.
YOU …. I will bless
YOU … I will curse
I got your back….
I am with you… I will watch over you, I will punish and bless
AND ALL FAMILIES
OF THE EARTH THROUGH YOU WILL BE BLESSED.
BLESSINGS ……. THIS WAS THE EPITOME…… UNFATHOMABLE.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.