Summary: How we can be a pen in God’s hand, allowing history to unfold through our lives.
Title: A Pen in God’s Hand
Text: Acts 6:3-6; Chapter 7
At 16 years of age, the son of a nobleman, was captured from his homeland in Britain by a band of pirates and taken to Ireland. He was sold to a cruel master and a pagan warlord.
Like the prodigal son, Patrick remembered better days. Who would have thought that the cherished son of a nobleman would be tending sheep and cattle? The seed of truth which he had been taught but not embraced now found receptive soil in his heart. Later in his life he would write of this time
“The love and the fear of God and faith increased so much, and the spirit of prayer so grew within me, that I often prayed a hundred times in the day. The Spirit was burning within me.” Captivity became a training ground for his future mission.
After 6 years of slavery, Patrick heard a voice in his dreams, telling him, “Behold, the ship is ready for you.” He escaped and miraculously journeyed home. Patirck’s family begged him never to leave them again, but the calling of his heavenly father to return to Ireland had to be obeyed. Forsaking comfort, he was compelled to bring God’s love to those who were once his captors.
Returning to Ireland, Patrick used a pagan feast day to demonstrate God’s power of heathen darkness. All over Ireland, fires were to be extinguished until a signal blaze was lit but Druid priest at Tara.
On the hill of Slane opposite the valley from Tara, Patrick lit a fire to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The Druids warn the king that unless this fire put out it will blaze forever in this land. Repeated efforts were made to kill the one who lit the fire. The Druids and magicians used all their occultic power, but they had no power to harm the one who represented the all powerful God.
As a result, the King of Ireland gave Patrick the permission to preach his faith throughout Ireland. During his thirty years of ministry in Ireland, he dedicated 350 bishops, established at least 300 churches, baptized over 120 000 Irishmen. After his death, it would be the Irish who return as missionaries to England, Scotland, France, Belgium and Germany.
St. Patrick was a history maker and a world changer. Through a life moulded and yielded by Christ he became a spiritual giant for the Lord. Through his willingness to answer the call of the Lord, he became a pen in the hand’s of God and a new chapter in Church history unfolded.
This afternoon the title of my message is “A Pen in God’s Hand.”
I would like to share with you the story of a man whose life and ministry was short, but yet his life had such a strong impact on the early church. Through him the gospel which remained largely in Jerusalem, penetrated into Samaria. Through him, the gospel went further into Asia Minor and even Europe. This man is none other than Stephen. We will examine his short life and see what it took for Stephen to become a pen in the hands of God.
1. A man who is a servant (Acts 6:5-6)
When we think of a man filled with the Spirit, the picture that comes to our mind is that of a preacher moving powerfully in signs, wonders and miracles.