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Summary: How can we shine for Jesus? 1. Seek to be full of faith (vs. 7-8). 2. Seek to have words of wisdom (vs. 9-11). 3. Seek faithfulness over fairness (vs. 12-14). 4. Seek a radiant relationship with Jesus Christ (vs. 15).

Shine for Jesus!

Acts 6:7-15

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 8, 2013

*Matt Redman is one of the best-known writers of Christian music today. Shortly after the devastating terror attacks on September 11, 2001, Matt and his wife Beth co-wrote a worship song called Blessed Be Your Name."

*On 9-11, Matt and Beth were here on sabbatical from their homeland of Britain, and they wrote this song to help inspire worship in the dark and tragic times of our lives.

*The Redmonds found their inspiration in the words of Job, who continued to worship God in the face of devastating loss. In Job 1:21, this grieving father said: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.''

*"Blessed Be Your Name" became one of the Redmonds most popular songs, and it opens with these words:

"Blessed Be Your Name

In the land that is plentiful

Where Your streams of abundance flow

Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name

When I'm found in the desert place

Though I walk through the wilderness

Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out, I'll

Turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord

Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name" (1)

*Church: In the times of darkness, our Lord Jesus Christ still shines, and we can shine for Him! How can we do it? Stephen the deacon shows us in this Scripture.

1. First: Seek to be full of faith.

*Stephen was full of faith, and we see this great quality in vs. 7-8, where:

7. . . the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

8. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

[1] How did Stephen get so full of faith? -- It came from the right kind of food.

*And we see this food in vs.7. It was the Word of God. The only way we can ever be full of faith is by taking in this one-of-a-kind spiritual food. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

*There Christ quoted something He told Moses to say 1,400 years before the Lord came to earth. This Scripture is found in Deuteronomy 8:1-3, and there Moses said this to the Children of Israel:

1. "Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers.

2. And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

3. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord."

*God wants us to know that we have a lifetime supply of faith-building food right here in the Bible! That is why 1 Peter 2:1-3 says this to Christians:

1. Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,

2. as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

3. if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

*The only real food for Stephen's faith (and our faith) is the Word of God. As Paul said in Romans 10:17: "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

*Ray Stedman suggested a little exercise with God's Word to help build our faith. Ray said: "If you want a wonderful experience, take your Bible and use a concordance to look up the two little words: 'But God'. See how many times human resources have been brought to an utter end, despair has gripped the heart, pessimism and gloom has settled upon a people, and there is nothing that can be done. Then see how the Spirit of God writes in bright, shining letters: 'BUT GOD,' and the whole situation changes into victory. (2)

*I tried this exercise, and here are some examples:

*In Acts 7:9-10, Stephen said:

9. . . "the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him

10. and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house."

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