Stephen, one of the seven men chosen to serve the early church as a leader which allowed the apostles/pastors to continue in prayer and in the word, was FULL of FAITH and POWER. Not only should the ministry gifts to the church (pastors, apostles, teachers, prophets, evangelists Eph. 4:11) be full of faith and power but everyone in the body of Christ should be full of faith and power and personally seeing signs, miracles and wonders in their own lives. Because of the New Covenant, every child of God has the right to be empowered and endued with supernatural power. (Mark 16:17-18) The blood of Jesus qualifies you for ministry under the New Covenant and where the blood of Jesus is applied, the anointing follows.
Let’s take a moment and read what happened to Stephen: 9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
Stephen had not graduated from a Christian University but he was full of wisdom because of the Holy Spirit inside of him and also his devotion to God’s Word in personal and corporate study. Now we find he is about to be falsely accused.
11 Then they suborned men, which said, we have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. The Message Bible reads like this: 11 So in secret they bribed men to lie: "We heard him cursing Moses and God."
True children of God will always have false accusations to come against them but you can always distinguish those with the fruits of the Spirit by how they respond to the accusations. Those who respond wrongly it does not mean they are not saved but many times they just need to grow in the fruits of the Spirit. When you are falsely accused it is a hard test that we all must learn to pass. Our flesh is always quick to defend ourselves but faith allows God to defend you. Flesh is always our number one enemy we all have to fight and it’s a daily fight. Jesus, Joseph, Paul, Peter, Job, David and you have all been falsely accused but allow God to defend you.
12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: 14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
Notice what the false accusations did, it stirred up the people. One negative report can stir up fleshly people because fleshly people are like vultures, eager to eat dead things (negative things). The children of Israel missed their promised land because they believed a negative report instead of believing the two spies who said we are well able to possess the land. Friend, guard the conversations you have: first what comes out of you and secondly what goes into you (ears and eyes). For over twenty years as a pastor, I’ve seen people form opinions about someone based on non-truths or partial truths and even when confronted with total truth, damage was done and God’s Kingdom is what suffered the most. True mature children of God are peacemakers not authors of confusion according to God’s Word. (Matthew 5:9, 1 Cor. 14:33) Truth is, we are commanded to even love our enemies…that’s true love.
15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
What a statement! I only hope I can arrive to this point in my personal Christian walk. As Stephen sat there hearing all the lies told about him, those who had arranged him to be falsely accused couldn’t help but see God’s glow on his face. Too many today, would have had a glow but it would have been a glow of anger because of the lies we were hearing told on us but Stephen because he was FULL of God glowed with God’s Presence. Road rage, anger, jealously, murder, resentment, and hatred fill too many who claim Jesus as Lord but we must become more like Jesus and less like us. Jesus prayed for those who had just drove nails in His hands, prayed for those who had just spit in His face, cursed His name saying, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. We need to ask ourselves, are we able to pray that prayer, do we really love others as we love ourselves?
How do you respond when falsely accused? I’ve said it often, I want to be a servant in God’s kingdom but how do I respond when I’m treated like a servant (true test of servant hood).
1. Lord help me to decrease so you can increase
2. Lord remove all bitterness, hatred, jealously or anything that does not look like you in my life.
3. Father Fill me FULL of Your Presence!