Acts 9 “The Way of Love” 7/20/14 – CD#1515

God sees that we are attracted by sin, and He resolves to attract us with His more powerful Way of Love. Remember when Jesus first moved you away from the fascinations of the world? He will do this again and again, whenever He sees us being attracted to sin. Just as he did for Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), Jesus will take you and me to a lonely place. And this place is not a paradise, but a wilderness, because in such a place there will be nothing to take our attention from our God. In loneliness and affliction the presence of Jesus Christ becomes everything to us, and we love His fellowship more than any other. When we are all alone the Lord has great things to say to us as He speaks to our heart. Lord, help us understand this promise through our experience! Alone and comforted by the Way of Love, we will know the Lord more intimately, and sing for joy! Acts 9 Demascus

Acts 8:26-40 “Submitting to God’s Plans” 7/13/14 – CD#1515

Acts 8THE MAN OF ETHIOPIA, (Acts 8:26-40) was a man with great authority who had a sincere desire to know God, and come to be submitted to God’s plan. In his search for God, he had gone to Jerusalem, and acquired the Holy Scriptures. He was going back to Ethiopia when Philip, who was a man of great Spiritual authority, met him and taught him about Jesus Christ from the Holy Scriptures. I believe God honors hearts that are searching sincerely for Him. I believe God will reveal Himself to an honest heart that is truly seeking Him. There are stories of people in remote areas who, when missionaries came to share the truth of Jesus Christ, these people said; “We’ve come to believe in Him, we just didn’t know His name!”

Acts 8 “Preaching Through Persecution” July 6, 2014 CD#1514

Stephen could no longer be with his loved ones, for his hour had come to die; but he left them with a message and a vision from the Holy Spirit – the Glory of God awaits us. When our loved ones are called home to Jesus, we must console ourselves with the fact that they’re in the Glorious presence of God. Though our loved ones have left, Christ has not left us but lives with us forever. What joy we have! God is with us as individuals; as families, and churches. The early church continued preaching the Gospel bravely and joyously through persecution. They knew Stephen was in the Glorious presence of God, and that Christ was with them. The Gospel must continue, the truth must win, for the Lord is with those who are with Him. Every day God’s Holy Word brings strength and joy to every Christian who turns to Him. No greater happiness is possible.

Acts 7:37 – 60 “Israel’s History of Rebellion” June 29, 2014 CD# 1513

STEPHEN’S MESSAGE WAS FIRST; GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PLACES. The temple was beautiful but it was wrong to idolize it as “the house of God.” Second, Israel had a long history of rebelling against God’s messengers. Jesus said it is impossible for old wineskins to hold new wine (Matt 9:17). Through Stephen, the Holy Spirit shows how the old traditions (wineskins) of Judaism (especially idolizing the temple) cannot contain the new wine of Christianity. God used Stephen’s martyrdom to send the church out to the whole world, but God also used his message to show that there was no theological reason to prevent the gospel from going to the Gentiles. Stephen took the sharp knife of God’s Word and exposed the sins of the people, laying open their hearts. The fact that he was facing certain death made Stephen even more zealous.

Acts 7 “Israel’s History and Vision” – June 22, 2014 – CD#1512

THE HIGH PRIEST ASKED: “Are these things so?” That was all Stephen needed, he saw it as an open door to testify concerning Israel & God’s promises for them. (Acts 7) . Jesus told His disciples that they would be brought before kings and magistrates. Christ told them not to worry about what they would say in that hour because the Holy Spirit would give them the words. So we find this model for us throughout the Book of Acts. Every time Christians stood before courts, kings or judges; when God gave them an open door, they used it to share the Gospel. Pastor Chuck Smith

ACTS 6 “CHOSEN TO SERVE” – Father’s Day 2014 – 6/15/14 – CD#1511

STEPHEN was a man filled with faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 6) He was a man who was serving tables in obedience to God’s call. I’ve heard ministry referred to as “the highest calling.” But there is no one “highest calling.” Whatever God has called you to do is your highest calling. If it’s serving tables, great! Do it as unto the Lord. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col.3:17). I am what I am for the Lord because of His calling upon me. It is important that I be faithful to His call on my life. Pastor Chuck Smith

ACTS 5 “Holy Spirit Power” – June 8, 2014 – cd# 1510

Hypocrisy (acting like you’re something you are not) is a horrible sin that has plagued the church, and mankind, since Adam fell. God dealt very severely with hypocrisy during the birth of the church. In Acts 5 Ananias and Sapphira were making a pretense of giving everything to God, and yet were holding back, obviously by agreeing between themselves to lie. So peter, exercising the gift of discernment, challenged Ananias. “Why would you pretend to give everything to God when you are holding back?” Notice that Peter told Ananias that he was lying to the Holy Spirit. Peter explained that he had not lied to man, but to God. Lying to the Holy Spirit is the same as lying to God, the Holy Spirit is God, one of the three Persons of the Trinity, and He exercises the power of God. Ananias and Sapphira paid the highest price for this hypocrisy.

Acts 4:13-37 “Who Do We Obey?” June 1, 2014 CD#1509

FAITH AND OBEDIENCE ARE ALWAYS FOUND TOGETHER IN GOD’S WORD.. It’s impossible to separate obedience from faith. The two sides represent the normal Christian life. Separate them and they have no value. Insisting on honoring only one side of the faith-obedience coin has worked a lot of harm in Christian circles. Faith has been made everything and obedience nothing. The result among Christians is moral weakness, spiritual blindness, and a slow but constant drift away from New Testament Christianity. Jesus made it very plain that spiritual truth cannot be understood until the heart has made a full commitment to it. “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17). The willingness to do comes before the knowing. Jesus demands obedience before He will unveil His riches to the seeker.

Acts 4 “A Time To Worship & Pray” May 25, 2014 – CD#1508

PRAYER SHOULD ALWAYS BEGIN WITH WORSHIP; a time of recognizing the greatness of God, acknowledging the One to whom we are coming for help, and realizing that Jesus has it all under control. Worship gives us spiritual perspective and spiritual strength. Then we are ready to bring our petitions to Him.
When we see unrighteousness in the world, we can do much more through prayer than we can through public demonstrations. I am not a person who likes to protest, or carry picket signs; but if you want to get together and pray about it, I’m ready. Pastor Chuck Smith

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