Summary: Stephen had incredible faith. We can have a faith that changes the world!
World Changing Faith: October 19, 2008
This world may shake our faith, but faith can shake the world!
What is Faith? The substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 Faith is not just an idea...
The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a span of 39 feet, but can be held by three foot wall enclosure because they will not jump where they cannot see where their feet will land. That’s not faith!
Stephen. Acts 6:5
When we say we have faith, or someone is full of faith, it is more than a noun; it has clear implications: We can have a faith that changes the world.
1. Faith comes from God, not ourselves. 6:5
a. When we are full of the Spirit, we will be full of faith.
b. Some people got filled once and quit.
2. Faith is willing to do Anything: Stephen was a food ministry leader
a. Faith does not promote itself
b. Early Christians took the worst jobs
c. If we want faith, we need to be willing.
Henry Blackaby - “We should attempt things so great that they are doomed to failure unless God intervenes.”
3. Faith is physically evident. He looked like an angel. 6:15
a. You can tell who has faith.
b. A sound mind is a witness. 2 Tim. 1:7
c. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my race. 2 Tim 4:7
Illus: Young girl on train during storm remains calm...my dad is the engineer
4. Faith knows what it believes. 7:1-50 (Rom 10:17)
a. Faith may be blind, but it is not stupid (ignorant)
b. Weak faith will crumble under pressure.
c. Are you reading the Bible more or less than you used to?
5. Faith sees beyond this world (literally). The heavens opened. 7:56
a. It takes faith to see Jesus (the Jews did not recognize him)
b. Malachi 3:10: Faith opens the heavens.
c. See beyond the curve in the road.
6. Faith forgives the worst offense. 7:60
a) We will never experience full faith without full forgiveness.
b) Many people are in fear because they are not living in forgiveness.
c) Scar tissue is painful.
7. Faith is positive
a) We are on the winning side!
b) The problem with prophecy that leaves out hope.
c) God is not done – things can change.
8. Faith is either or – not some.
a. Watered down faith is worse than no faith.
b. You are either saved or not.
c. We can grow in faith (we do have doubts).
9. Faith feels better than fear.
a) Faith makes sense, but it could cost your life…
b) Imagine having no faith.
c) I would rather have faith than fear.
10. Faith is not perfect: My weakness is a motivation for faith.
a) My faith is not in me, but in Him (the world has not worked)
b) The greatest Christians have the greatest struggles.
c) Often in failure we find true faith.
d) Job 42:5: Now I have seen with my own eyes.
AN EPITAPH TO GRACE In a small cemetery of a parish churchyard in Olney, England, stands a granite tombstone w/ this inscription: “John Newton, clerk [pastor], once an infidel & Libertine, a servant of slavers in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the Faith he had long labored to destroy.” You may not remember his name, but all of us know the song he wrote as a testimony of his life: “Amazing Grace.”
11. Faith changes the world.
a. Stephen preached the first sermon that would bring faith to the Gentiles
b. Change: He challenged the worship of the Temple.
c. “That Day” 8:1 Saul was there.
Conclusion: This is a Wake Up Call: Will we hit the snooze button?
a) Money is not the Answer: Money Cannot Buy Spiritual Power
b) The key is not what the world does, but what we do.
Action: Pray for Faith: 40 days, 30 days, 21 days, 7 times per day!
Let the heavens open! We want to see Jesus!