As I read my Bible this morning, i was struck once again by the fact that the enemy knows the scripture. When attempting to tempt Jesus after His 40 days of fasting, the enemy said, in Matthew 4:6, “…it is written…” and then he quoted Scripture.
This is just another reminder to me that even folks who don’t trust Jesus as Savior know the Word and that I must be careful to search the Scriptures and not be deceived. Unfortunately, some false preachers make their living off of trusting and Scripturally uninformed Christians. It is imperative that we Christians study the Word for ourselves and trust the Holy Spirit to teach us, so that when someone preaches the Word out of context, we are immediately struck with such a sense of dis-ease that we step back until we can research the Word for ourselves.
There are wolves in sheep’s clothing out there–knowing the Word will help us to avoid being taken in by them.
Thank God for His Word.
Stephen the deacon was full of the Holy Spirit, and he performed miraculous signs and wonders. Because of the attention he drew, he became a target of the same mindset that had already crucified his Savior, Jesus. His detractors set him up the same way they set Jesus up. But Stephen refuted their false testimony by giving them a history lesson about God’s chosen people–Israel*. It enraged the rulers who heard him speak, and they became a crazed mob which forced Stephen to the outskirts of the city, where they stoned him.
Stephen died a horrible death by stoning. Did he whine? No. Did he beg? No. The Word says he looked heavenward and saw the Son of God standing at the right hand of the Father. Jesus was preparing to meet Stephen. Stephen’s face glowed with the vision. A few short minutes later, Stephen asked God not to count his murderers’ sins against them, and he died.
When Stephen got up that morning, I bet he didn’t consider that it would be his last day on earth. Yet that is exactly what it became.
Before the day was out, even though his testimony proved his accusers were wrong about him, the powers that be had incited yet another crowd against another innocent man.
We in America don’t have people chasing us to the edge of town in order to stone us because we are a testimony against their lives. Don’t be deceived, though. The enemy still hates us. Watch the news–every day the battle grows more heated. Who knows what God has in store for His followers who seek to glorify Him with our lives?
What sort of testimony will we leave behind when that day arrives? Will we be able to look into the heavens and see the Son standing next to the Father, waiting to welcome us home? Will our faces glow as we gaze into the heavens?