Summary: The Hand of the Lord is with us! 1. When we suffer. 2. When we are saved. 3. When we are separated. 4. When we are sent to new places in life. 5. When we spread the gospel.
The Hand of the Lord Is with Us!
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 16, 2014
*The Bible often talks about the Hand of the Lord. In the KJV, the phrase "hand of the Lord" is found 39 times, with 36 times in the Old Testament, and 3 in the New Testament. The phrase "Hand of God" is found 16 times in the Bible, 7 times in the Old Testament and 9 times in the New Testament.
(Note: All of these Scripture passages with some context are listed at the bottom of this sermon, and for further information, see SermonCentral sermon "The Hand of the Lord in Scripture" by Rick Crandall Exodus 9:1-4.)
*Naturally, there are other references to God's Hand that don't include these exact phrases.
For example, 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 says:
9. Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain.''
10. And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!'' So God granted him what he requested.
*And Ezra 7:8-9 says this about Ezra:
8. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
9. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
*With this background in mind, let's read Acts 11:19-21, to see how the Hand of the Lord is with Christians today.
*Is the Hand of the Lord with us tonight? Sometimes we might be tempted to doubt it. The Hand of the Lord was surely with the Christians in Acts 11. And there is no doubt about it, because vs. 21 says with certainty: "The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord."
*The Hand of the Lord was surely with those Christians. But is the Hand of the Lord with us today? We might be tempted to doubt it, maybe because we don't see a great number turning to the Lord, or maybe because we are going through a terrible hardship.
*But think back to the early church, and let me ask you some questions. Acts 11:19 mentions Stephen the Deacon. He was stoned to death, murdered by the authorities for his strong witness for Jesus Christ. Was the Hand of the Lord with Stephen when he was stoned? There is no doubt about it, because in Acts 7:55, Stephen "being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God" to welcome him home.
*Was the Hand of the Lord with the early Christians in Acts 5, when a married couple tried to deceive the church, and had to die for their sin? We may not understand why all of that happened. But Hebrews 13:5 tells us that Jesus has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you.'' So we have to conclude that the Hand of the Lord was with the church on that day of severe judgment.
*Was the Hand of the Lord with them starting in Acts 5:17, when the Apostles were thrown into prison and beaten? The answer is yes. Was the Hand of the Lord with them in Acts 6:1, when there was fussing and complaining in the church? The answer is yes. Was the Hand of the Lord with them in Acts 8, when a great persecution arose against the church? Again, the answer is yes.
*Was the Hand of the Lord with the Apostle Paul when he was falsely imprisoned for two years. We have to say yes, because at the beginning of that ordeal, Acts 23:11 tells us that one night "the Lord stood by him and said, 'Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.'''
*In every hardship, trial and tribulation, the Hand of the Lord was with those Christians. And the Hand of the Lord is with us today. We can be most sure of this great truth, because again in Hebrews 13:5, Jesus Himself said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you.''
*Also Christians, I have to say that the Hand of the Lord is always with us, because we are in His Hand! As Jesus said in John 10:27-29:
27. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.