Summary: Marks of being full of the Holy Ghost
“Full of the Holy Ghost”
Acts 6:3,5; 7:55
I want us to look at a man called Stephen who is described in the Bible three times as a man full of the Holy Ghost. I want to learn some truth from the life and the work of this man whom we are told three times that he was full of the Holy Ghost.
In Acts 6:3 men were chosen to help in the expanding and growing work of the early church. They were to be men full of the Holy Ghost. In verse 5 Stephen is described as such a man. In verse 8 instead of putting “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost” as is found in verse 5, the Bible says that Stephen was “full of faith and of power.” We are fully aware that one who is full of the Holy Ghost is full of power (Acts 1:8).
The thing that I find exciting is when Stephen is first mentioned and when he is last mentioned (7:55), he is described as being full of the Holy Ghost. Here was a man in whose life fullness was maintained right to the very end.
Let us see what it means to be “full of the Holy Ghost.”
I. Notice how a life full of the Holy Ghost SERVES
See verse 2. The early church needed some men to serve and they recognized that service cannot be what it ought to be without the fullness of the Holy Ghost.
A. The lowliness of the service demanded of him (2)
Stephen was asked to raise the dust in a hurry, to serve, to minister to the widows. Stephen was asked to care of the errands of the church.
Yet, here is a man who was humble enough and willing enough to do a very insignificant thing, by human standards.
Far too many are willing to serve if the job is big enough; however, fullness of the Holy Ghost will allow one to serve without recognition
In 1853, J. Hudson Taylor arrived in Shangai as a young twenty-one year old missionary. Twelve years later, he founded the China Inland Mission and became the first Protestant missionary to go into inland China. Taylor led the China Inland Mission for the next 40 years and at the time of his death in 1905, the mission had 205 stations, 849 missionaries, and 125,000 Chinese Christians.
Near the end of his life, two ladies in Shanghai once began talking about him, wondering if he was ever tempted to be proud. One of the ladies went and asked Mrs. Taylor. She did not know. But Mrs. Taylor went and asked Hudson.
He was surprised and inquired, "Proud about what?"
Mrs. Taylor replied, "Why, about the things you have done."
Then immediately Hudson replied with the beautiful answer, "I never knew I had done anything." He was right. Hudson Taylor never had done anything, for it was God who had worked in and through him.
B. The faithfulness of the service displayed by him
Stephen was faithful to death (7:59). Stephen was faithful to the finish.
An elderly preacher was rebuked by one of his deacons one Sunday morning before the service. “Pastor,” said the man, “something must be wrong with your preaching and your work. There’s been only one person added to the church in a whole year, and he’s just a boy.” The minister listened, his eyes moistening and his thin hand trembling. “I feel it all,” he replied, “but God knows I’ve tried to do my duty.” On that day the minister’s heart was heavy as he stood before his flock. As he finished the message, he felt a strong inclination to resign.
After everyone else had left, that one boy came to him and asked, “Do you think if I worked hard for an education, I could become a preacher—perhaps a missionary?” Again tears welled up in the minister’s eyes. “Ah, this heals the ache I feel,” he said. “Robert, I see the Divine hand now. May God bless you, my boy. Yes, I think you will become a preacher.”
Many years later an aged missionary returned to London from Africa. His name was spoken with reverence. Nobles invited him to their homes. He had added many souls to the church of Jesus Christ, reaching even some of Africa’s most savage chiefs. His name was Robert Moffat, the same Robert who years before had spoken to the pastor that Sunday morning in the old Scottish church.
The fullness of the Holy Spirit will help us to be faithful and He will give us the grace to leave the results with Him.
Stephen’s faithfulness cost him his life. However, a young man named Paul was watching (58). Stephen’s martyrdom must have looked to the early church as a waste, but Stephen was making an indelible mark on the soul of Saul.