What would you do to look up to the heavens and see Jesus Standing at the right hand of God?
What we know about Stephen, he was “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost long before he was a Deacon. Becoming a Deacon is nothing more than being promoted to the office of ‘waiter’ or ‘busboy’, a true servant of the people. That is the position of any minister of the Gospel from Apostle to Teacher, from Pastor to Usher, you are a servant of the people.
The best the writer had to say about the other 5 Hebrews that were selected as Deacon was nothing. We know that all 7 men were part of the Church and were believing Christians. Nicolas was a convert to Judaism and not a born Jew. Many think this is the same Nicolas that Christ was talking about his followers in Revelation 3, the Nicolaitans. Nothing else is known about Nicolas. There was no other mention of the other 5 in the Scriptures.
Stephen was mentioned in Chapters 6, 7, and 8 in Acts. His story of preaching to the Pharisees and false witnesses in the Synagogue and Sanhedrin. When their logic could not confound Stephen, nor even challenge his thinking, they brought forth false witnesses, or as we would call them down South, Liars.
They told falsehoods about Stephen much the same way as they had done about Christ. They forced Stephen out of the city and began to stone him. He looked in the heavens and saw ‘the Son of Man Standing at the right hand of God.’ Many places in Scripture have we been told of Jesus sitting at the right hand of God, the power hand. This is the only time we find Jesus standing instead of sitting. I envision it much the same as at a ballgame and your team is doing great things, you leap to your feet and cheer them on. Christ was doing that of Stephen as he gave a powerful witness to the Messiah of mankind. Jesus was cheering him on to the end.
Stephen was set apart because of his total submission to the Holy Ghost that he was a man ‘full of God’s grace and power’. Stephen was able to do this because he was full of the Holy Ghost, ‘full of (God’s) grace and power, he did many signs and wonders among the people.’ The Amplified Bible puts it like this:
Acts 6:8 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
Stephen was making come alive the commands and encouragement of Christ in Mark 16
Stephen was not doing signs and wonders in the Synagogue to the leaders of the Jewish Faith, he was going to the world, operating in the world, among the people, healing the sick, making the blind to see, healing the lame, the lepers, those with all kinds of ailments and diseases, feeding the poor and widows, sheltering the homeless, these are the duties of a Deacon, and yes, they are the duties of a Christian.
Some are ‘anointed’ by the church to be a Deacon to the church, we are all ‘anointed’ by Christ to be a Deacon to the world. Stephen was clearly more active and more productive than the other Deacons or we would most likely have some account of their activity. It occurs to me that the biggest difference is that the other 6 had a job to do, Stephen had a life to live.
The functions as described in the Great Commission in Mark 16 and elsewhere are to be the way of life for a Christian. Not something we do on certain days of the week. Why do we have healing serviced on the 1st Saturday night of the month? Or why do we have prayer meetings just prior to big events. If we are full of the Holy Ghost, we don’t go to Church on Sunday mornings, rather, church is where we are all the time. We go there to meet with each other, share our experiences, share what God has done for us, share what God has taught us and to corporately praise His name.
If you are born again and have received the Holy Spirit, you have all you will ever have. The question is, does the Holy Spirit have all of you He will ever have. Picture a hollow vessel. It is filled with air. The air represents the Holy Spirit. He is in contact with every part of your life. Now, if you force some water into the vessel, the air will compresses and water now takes up part of the space. You have the same amount of the Holy Spirit, just the Holy Spirit has less of you. The only way to get back to where you were is to get the water out and let the air expand back to where it was originally. That is how your life is. The only way the Holy Spirit can take over your whole life is to get as much of YOU and the WORLD out of your life and let Him take over.
This is what truly following Jesus means. Come put on the fullness of Christ. Or as my friend stated it once, ‘God is all over me’ and He is, if you let Him. God will not force you to do this, this must be your choice.
The difference in Stephen and the other 6 deacons mentioned in Acts 6 is clear. Stephen was totally submissive to the will of God and allowed God to fill him as the Holy Ghost and take every aspect of his life. Stephen was willing to do anything to preach the Gospel, perform many signs and wonders and even die for his faith. Stephen showed us what it is like to ‘Follow’ Jesus, to be more like Him than ever imagined.
We can work at doing church or we can be the church. The answer is simple to the question ‘Who is in control’. That answer must be we are surrendered to the power and will of Almighty God, to the teachings of Christ and the leadership of the Holy Ghost.
If you aren’t there in your life, it is not to late to make it your way. May God work in you that you too may be ‘full of God’s grace and power’ that others may see Christ in your life and be drawn to Him.
If you want the life like Stephen, ‘full of God’s grace and power’ then pray this prayer and allow God to take over your life.
Father, I come before you and admit that I am not living the Spirit directed life. Father, I want to know and feel you in control of every aspect of my life. I come before you now, surrendering the throne of my life to Christ, letting Him be in control of my thoughts, feelings and deeds. I give you my life freely to do as you will. I submit my will to your will. I pray that you accept me as I am and make me what you want me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Now, dive into the Scriptures and allow God to speak to you. The Scriptures are where you will find his will. Then seek ways to share Christ with others. Find where He wants you to be both in church and in your daily life. The two should begin to meld together so you are always in church and always involved in your daily life. And seek your giftings and seek those signs and wonders as outlined in Mark and in Acts. Cast aside all your former ‘doctrines’ keeping the good things you have been taught and adding to them. May you too, someday, look into the heavens and see Jesus ‘Standing at the right hand of God’.
May God bless the reading of this message and may lives be changed because of it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.