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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Who is "The LORD"?

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Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752


Great topic folks. I'm learning something new. Thank you.


 2012/5/26 11:10Profile


Amen, Miccah, I agree and desire to learn something New everyday - even through Eternity. Isn't it wonderful!
Glad that Joe posted Torrey's Topical Textbook. It's a great companion to his TSK. Taking the verses from the link that he posted on Christ's Deity and putting those verses into the TSK for even more cross-references - it's Endless - never ceases to Amaze me - as HE and His Word is Endless.

 2012/5/26 21:07

Joined: 2012/5/27
Posts: 274

 You ask, ' Who is the Lord'?

Hi! Elizabeth ... (again).

Yes, I easily read between your gentle lines as you made the effort to explain the person of Jesus and I greatly honor you for that.

I nodded with excited agreement when reading your description: "The Living Spirit / Word then comes to live inside of us,
..and then we have a new name and a Spiritual Father....".

When the Bible uses the term "new creature", the literal translation has the meaning "entirely new species". It is testimony to our metamorphosis, (like the caterpillar to a butterfly). Not only do we have a new form (spiritual body), we also have a new home (heavenly places).

Those of us who have come to know the things which you have shared here are enjoying something far beyond imagining.
While some remain (because of a lack of knowledge) only aware of themselves being attached to God as between an obedient creature and creator, there are others who enjoy the transparency of a relationship as between a son/daughter and their heavenly father.

It's plainly evident that you are the latter.

 2012/5/28 1:11Profile

 "Christ is All"


"Christ is all" (Col. 3:11).

The words of the text which heads this page are few, short and soon spoken; but they contain great things. Like those golden sayings, "To me to live is Christ," "I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me," they are singularly rich and suggestive (Phil. 1:21; Gal. 2:20).

These three words are the essence and substance of Christianity. If our hearts can really go along with them, it is well with our souls. If not, we may be sure we have yet much to learn.

Let me try to set before my readers in what sense Christ is all, and let me ask them, as they read, to Judge themselves honestly, that they may not make shipwreck in the judgment of the last day.

I purposely close this volume with a message on this remarkable text. Christ is the mainspring both of doctrinal and practical Christianity. A right knowledge of Christ is essential to a right knowledge of sanctification as well as justification. He that follows after holiness will make no progress unless he gives to Christ His rightful place. I began the volume with a plain statement about sin. Let me end it with an equally plain statement about Christ.

1. Christ is all in the counsels of God

a. There was a time when this earth had no being. Solid as the mountains look, boundless as the sea appears, high as the stars in heaven look, they once did not exist. And man, with all the high thoughts he now has of himself, was a creature unknown.

And where was Christ then?

Even then Christ was "with God" and "was God" and was "equal with God" (John 1:1; Phil. 2:6). Even then He was the beloved Son of the Father "You loved Me," He says, "before the foundation of the world." "I had glory with You before the world began." "I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was" (John 17:5, 24; Prov. 8:23). Even then He was the Savior if "foreordained before the foundation of the world" (1 Pet. 1:20), and believers were "chosen in Him" (Eph. 1:4).

b. There came a time when this earth was created in its present order. Sun, moon and stars, sea, land and all their inhabitants were called into being, and made out of chaos and confusion. And, last of all, man was formed out of the dust of the ground.

And where was Christ then?

Hear what the Scripture says: "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). "By Him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth" (Col. 1:16). "And You, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Your hands" (Heb. 1:10). "When He prepared the heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth: when He established the clouds above: when He strengthened the foundations of the deep: when He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment: when He appointed the foundations of the earth then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him" (Prov. 8:27–30). Can we wonder that the Lord Jesus, in His preaching, should continually draw lessons from the book of nature? When He spoke of the sheep, the fish, the ravens, the corn, the lilies, the fig tree, the vine, He spoke of things which He Himself had made.

c. There came a day when sin entered the world. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and fell. They lost that holy nature in which they were first formed. They forfeited the friendship and favor of God, and became guilty, corrupt, helpless, hopeless sinners. Sin came as a barrier between themselves and their holy Father in heaven. Had He dealt with them according to their deserts, there had been nothing before them but death, hell and everlasting ruin.

And where was Christ then?

In that very day He was revealed to our trembling parents as the only hope of salvation. The very day they fell, they were told that the seed of the woman should yet bruise the serpent’s head, that a Savior born of a woman should overcome the devil, and win for sinful man an entrance to eternal life (Gen. 3:15). Christ was held up as the true light of the world, in the very day of the Fall; and never has any name been made known from that day by which souls could be saved, excepting His By Him all saved souls have entered heaven, from Adam downwards; and without Him none have ever escaped hell.

d. There came a time when the world seemed sunk and buried in ignorance of God. After four thousand years the nations of the earth appeared to have clean forgotten the God that made them. Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Grecian and Roman empires had done nothing but spread superstition and idolatry. Poets, historians, philosophers had proved that, with all their intellectual powers, they had no right knowledge of God, and that man, left to himself, was utterly corrupt. "The world, by wisdom, knew not God" (1 Cor. 1:21). Excepting a few despised Jews in a corner of the earth, the whole world was dead in ignorance and sin.

And what did Christ do then?

He left the glory He had had from all eternity with the Father, and came down into the world to provide a salvation. He took our nature upon Him, and was born as a man. As a man He did the will of God perfectly, which we all had left undone; as a man He suffered on the cross the wrath of God which we ought to have suffered. He brought in everlasting righteousness for us. He redeemed us from the curse of a broken law. He opened a fountain for all sin and uncleanness. He died for our sins. He rose again for our justification. He ascended to God’s right hand, and there sat down, waiting until His enemies should be made His footstool. And there He sits now, offering salvation to all who will come to Him, interceding for all who believe in Him, and managing by God’s appointment all that concerns the salvation of souls.

e. There is a time coming when sin shall be cast out from this world. Wickedness shall not always flourish unpunished, Satan shall not always reign, creation shall not always groan, being burdened. There shall be a time of restitution of all things. There shall be a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness, and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Rom. 8:22; Acts 3:21; 2 Pet. 3:13; Isa. 11:9).

And where shall Christ be then? And what shall He do?

Christ Himself shall be King. He shall return to this earth, and make all things new. He shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and the kingdoms of the world shall become His. The heathen shall be given to Him for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. To Him every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord. His dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Matt. 24:30; Rev. 11:15; Ps. 2:8; Phil. 2:10, 11; Dan. 7:14).

f. There is a day coming when all men shall be judged. The sea shall give up the dead which are in it, and death and hell shall deliver up the dead which are in them. All that sleep in the grave shall awake and come forth, and all shall be judged according to their works (Rev. 20:13; Dan. 12:2).

And where will Christ be then?

Christ Himself will be the Judge. "The Father . . . has all judgment unto the Son." "When the Son of man shall come in His glory: then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats." "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad" (John 5:22; Matt. 25:31, 32; 2 Cor. 5:10).

Now if any reader of this message thinks little of Christ, let him know this day that he is very unlike God! You are of one mind, and God is of another. You are of one judgment, and God is of another. You think it enough to give Christ a little honor, a little reverence, a little respect. But in all the eternal counsels of God the Father, in creation, redemption, restitution and judgment—in all these, Christ is "all".

Surely we shall do well to consider these things. Surely it is not written in vain "He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent Him" (John 5:23).

2. Christ is all in the Bible

In every part of both Testaments Christ is to be found—dimly and indistinctly at the beginning, more clearly and plainly in the middle, fully and completely at the end—but really and substantially everywhere.

Christ’s sacrifice and death for sinners, and Christ’s kingdom and future glory, are the light we must bring to bear on any book of Scripture we read. Christ’s cross and Christ’s crown are the clue we must hold fast, if we would find our way through Scripture difficulties. Christ is the only key that will unlock many of the dark places of the Word. Some people complain that they do not understand the Bible. And the reason is very simple. They do not use the key. To them the Bible is like the hieroglyphics in Egypt. It is a mystery, just because they do not know and employ the key.

a. It was Christ crucified who was set forth in every Old Testament sacrifice. Every animal slain and offered on an altar was a practical confession that a Savior was looked for who would die for sinners—a Savior who should take away man’s sin, by suffering, as his Substitute and Sin–bearer, in his stead (1 Peter 3:18). It is absurd to suppose that an unmeaning slaughter of innocent beasts, without a distinct object in view, could please the eternal God!

b. It was Christ to whom Abel looked when he offered a better sacrifice than Cain. Not only was the heart of Abel better than that of his brother, but he showed his knowledge of vicarious sacrifice and his faith in an atonement. He offered the firstlings of his flock, with the blood thereof, and in so doing declared his belief that without shedding of blood there is no remission (Heb. 11:4).

c. It was Christ of whom Enoch prophesied in the days of abounding wickedness before the flood "Behold," he said, "the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all" (Jude 14, 15).

d. It was Christ to whom Abraham looked when he dwelt in tents in the land of promise. He believed that in his seed, in one born of his family, all the nations of the earth should be blessed. By faith he saw Christ’s day, and was glad (John 8:56).

e. It was Christ of whom Jacob spoke to his sons, as he lay dying. He marked out the tribe out of which He would be born, and foretold that "gathering together" unto Him which is yet to be accomplished. "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be" (Gen. 49:10).

f. It was Christ who was the substance of the ceremonial law which God gave to Israel by the hand of Moses. The morning and evening sacrifice, the continual shedding of blood, the altar, the mercy–seat, the high priest, the passover, the day of atonement, the scapegoat—all these were so many pictures, types and emblems of Christ and His work. God had compassion upon the weakness of His people. He taught them Christ, line upon line, and, as we teach little children, by similitudes. It was in this sense especially that "the law was a schoolmaster to read" the Jews "unto Christ" (Gal. 3:24).

g. It was Christ to whom God directed the attention of Israel by all the daily miracles which were done before their eyes in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud and fire which guided them, the manna from heaven which every morning fed them, the water from the smitten rock which followed them—all and each were figures of Christ The bronze serpent, on that memorable occasion when the plague of fiery serpents was sent upon them, was an emblem of Christ (1 Cor. 10:4; John 3:14).

h. It was Christ of whom all the judges were types. Joshua and David and Gideon and Jephthah and Samson, and all the rest whom God raised up to deliver Israel from captivity—all were emblems of Christ. Weak and unstable and faulty as some of them were, they were set for examples of better things in the distant future. All were meant to remind the tribes of that far higher Deliverer who was yet to come.

i. It was Christ of whom David the king was a type. Anointed and chosen when few gave him honor, despised and rejected by Saul and all the tribes of Israel, persecuted and obliged to flee for his life, a man of sorrow all his life, and yet at length a conqueror—in all these things David represented Christ.

j. It was Christ of whom all the prophets from Isaiah to Malachi spoke. They saw through a glass darkly. They sometimes dwelt on His sufferings, and sometimes on His glory that should follow (1 Pet. 1:11). They did not always mark out for us the distinction between Christ’s first coming and Christ’s second coming. Like two candles in a straight line, one behind the other, they sometimes saw both the advents at the same time, and spoke of them in one breath. They were sometimes moved by the Holy Spirit to write of the times of Christ crucified, and sometimes of Christ’s kingdom in the latter days. But Jesus dying, or Jesus reigning, was the thought you will ever find uppermost in their minds.

k. It is Christ, I need hardly say, of whom the whole New Testament is full. The Gospels are Christ living, speaking and moving among men. The Acts are Christ preached, published and proclaimed. The Epistles are Christ written of, explained and exalted. But all through, from first to last, there is one name above every other, and that is the name of Christ.

I charge every reader of this message to ask himself frequently what the Bible is to him. Is it a Bible in which you have found nothing more than good moral precepts and sound advice? Or is it a Bible in which you have found Christ? Is it a Bible in which Christ is all? If not, I tell you plainly, you have hitherto used your Bible to very little purpose. You are like a man who studies the solar system, and leaves out in his studies the sun, which is the center of all. It is no wonder if you find your Bible a dull book!

 2012/5/28 5:27

Joined: 2011/8/14
Posts: 1148

 Re: "Christ is All"

I must speak In love,the truth, please bear with me,..
God says many times and times,...times,..etc,...This is My beloved / only begotten Son.
The Word says,..Jesus is the 'Son' of God...

* we were in our father's loin's far before we were born,Jesus was in His
Father's loin's from everlasting. The Seed,which is the Spirit / WORD,came
down from heaven into Mary' womb....and the Word / Spirit is Jesus' Father,...through a mirical of God.

* God,who is the WORD,cannot die.(He is from everlasting,and forever )
* God cannot be tempted with evil.( James 1:13 )
Jesus was tempted as we are,..(Heb.4:15 )---( Heb.2:18)

1Jn.5:4,Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that
Jesus is the Son of God ?
Verse 9,If we recieve the witness of men,the witness of God is greater;
for this is the witness of God which He gave of His Son.
Verse10,He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself;
he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar,because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.

Jesus said,that He and the Father were One, and He prayed that we
would be one with He and the Father. The Word makes us one,...unity

(Jesus' prayer to the Father )
Jn.17:3,And this is Eternal Life,that they might know Thee,the only true God and Jesus Christ,whom Thou hath sent.
...Jn.3:34,For He whom God hath sent,speaketh the Words of God;for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.....verse 35,The Father loveth the Son,and hath given all things into His hand.

Since God tells us that Jesus is His Son,...How can we speak agaist what the Word says over and over ?

I really did not know if I should speak this or not as I am not doing it for controversy / unrest,..only what I believe according to what I find in the Word,...because that is what is true....and I ask the Lord to show me differently if He wills.
* God,...the Spirit / WORD was King in the old Testiment,
* Jesus is King,..He was given the Spirit,without measure
* God is the Lord God,..the Father loveth the Son and given all things into His hand.
* Jesus is Lord

In the loving of Him,Who is all worthy,

 2012/5/28 23:23Profile


Yes Elibeth, the LORD is the Eternal Son of God.

You might also see this thread.


 2012/5/28 23:49


Personally, I really liked that article by J.C. Ryle.

 2012/5/28 23:55

Joined: 2005/6/18
Posts: 1481


hi, paul asked this very question... who art thou Lord? the answer was i am Jesus whom you persecute.jimp

 2012/5/29 0:19Profile


Well, I posted here and went over to read the News site and it just hit me what has happened on this thread. This thread, Elizabeth, is about the "Deity of Christ" and not about the 'when did He become The Son' issue.

Jesus 'is' GOD and that is what this thread is about. The suggestion for us to study and do cross-referencing ourselves is being lost by your misunderstanding of the topic of this thread and Joe's last post, bringing up a closed issue.

"The Father sent The Son" is something that I do indeed believe and there's an old thread here on SI from 2005 where I spent 10 pages talking to a "Jesus Only" guy that could not see the Triune Godhead so I posted every verse that mentions "Father" and "Son" on pg 5 of that thread - so now that this thread has been thrown off topic, I'll try to bring it back with another article by R.A. Torrey - one of my longtime favorite preacher-teachers.

Too long to post - "The Deity of Jesus Christ"

One thing I do know, is that if we can't grasp what "absolute co-equality" means - then we don't know Who 'Jesus' is, but that doesn't mean that that person isn't saved.

If as John said in John 1:1, that Jesus is The Word of GOD, then do you see Jesus 'involved' in the Genesis account of the creation? And if so, in which of the verses in Gen 1 do you see Jesus and Who's Words are recorded in that Chpt?

GOD Bless you all today!

 2012/5/29 2:24

 A Christ-like man

Last night, I remembered a time when reading Acts Chpt 7 and thinking to myself, "Oh, if only Stephen had stopped at vs 50, they wouldn't have killed him." - but then verses 55 and 56 straightened out my faulty thinking.
Praise GOD!

Act 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Act 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Act 7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
Act 7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
Act 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
Act 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

From the book: THE VOICE OF GOD IN THE PRESENT HOUR - By R. A. Torrey [1917]


THERE is one man who is pictured to us in the Bible who appears to be more like Christ than any other man of whose life we have an account. That man is Stephen, the first deacon in the Christian church, and the first Christian martyr. There is no fairer life recorded in history than that of Stephen, excepting, of course, the life of Him of whom Stephen learned and after whom he patterned. The character of Stephen presents a rare combination of strength and beauty, robustness and grace. Stephen occupies small space in the Bible, two chapters, Acts 6 and 7, and two verses in other chapters, Acts 11:19 and 22:20, yet in this short space a remarkably complete analysis of his character and the outcome of it is given.

1. STEPHEN'S CHARACTER Let us look first at Stephen's character. One word occurs again and again in the description of Stephen. It is the world "full" He was a remarkably full man. 1. First of all he was "full of faith." The record reads, "They chose Stephen, a man full of faith" (Acts 6:5). Stephen had unbounded confidence in God and in His Word; he believed implicitly in the certainty of every statement in the Word of God regarding the past, and he believed implicitly in its promises regarding the future. He had no fear of consequences when God's Word, or God's Spirit bade him do anything, he simply did it and left the consequences with God. It was God's to promise and to command, it was his simply to believe and obey what God said, and leave the outcome with God. Even in that awful moment when he was surrounded by a howling mob with gnashing teeth, when the pitiless rocks were crushing his body and face and brain, he quietly looked up and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," and then kneeling down uttered a mighty prayer for his enemies, and gently "fell asleep." Oh, that we had more men and women of Stephen's faith, men and women who believe all God says and do all He commands in His Word and leave the results entirely with Him; men and women who walk straight on with childlike, unwavering confidence in Him in the path He marks out. There was never a day when men and women of that sort were more needed than to-day. Our power and our accomplishment will be proportionate to our faith in God and in His Word. Faith is the outstretched hand that helps itself to all God's fullness. The Lord Jesus is ever saying, "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matt. 9:29), and of many of us it must be said that "Jesus could do no mighty work there because of their unbelief" (Mark 6:5; Matt. 13:58).

2. In the next place Stephen was "full of grace." This we find in verse 8, B. V. The Authorized Version reads that he was "full of faith and power," but the Kevised Version reads that he was "full of grace and power." It is true, as already seen, that he was full of faith, but he was full of something besides faith: "full of grace." His faith in God and His Word brought the grace of God into his heart and life. He not only had grace, he was full of it: "full of grace." He was completely emptied of self, of his own will, of his own plans, of his own goodness, of his own thoughts, of his own strength, and the grace of God had just come in and taken complete possession of his heart and affections and will and character and life. This was the reason why he was so much like Christ Himself, Christ was just living His own life over again in Stephen. As we look at Stephen with his face shining like an angel's (Acts 6 : 15), and listen to the words that fall from his lips, it seems as if Jesus Himself had come back to earth again, and so He had: He had come back into Stephen's heart and was manifesting Himself in Stephen's life. And in the same way Jesus Christ is ready to come back again in your life and mine if we are only willing to be emptied of the self-life and filled with grace. Then we can say with the Apostle Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20, B. V.). Ah! friends, most of us have some grace, but let us be full of grace, let us allow grace to fill every corner of our lives.

3. Stephen was also "full of power!" Grace and power are not one and the same thing, though all real power comes from grace, i.e., it is a gift of God's grace. However, the graces of the Spirit are different from the gifts of the Spirit. "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control" are the graces of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22). The various gifts of power for service are the gifts of the Spirit. Many a man has the graces of the Spirit in rich measure who has not much of the power of the Spirit in his work. Others have very much of the power of the Spirit in some directions, but are greatly lacking in the graces of the Spirit, but Stephen was full of faith, grace, and power, and so ought we to be. The graces of the Spirit ought to be richly revealed in our lives; the power of the Spirit ought to be mightily manifested in our work. It is the privilege of every believer to be a man of power in service. Grace and power are both at our disposal, grace for living like Christ, power for working like Christ. (John 14: 12). The men and women needed to-day are the men and women who live graciously and work mightily.

4. Stephen was also full of the Word of God. There is but one sermon of Stephen's reported. You will find it in the seventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. But what a sermon that one sermon is. It is Bible from beginning to end. When Stephen opened his mouth to speak the Scripture just flowed forth. As it is "out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaketh" (Matt. 12: 34), it is evident that Stephen's heart was full of God's Word. He had pondered the Word of God deeply ; he had discovered the deeper meanings of its precepts, promises, history, and prophecies ; he had hidden the Word of God in his heart; he was full of the Word. This goes far toward explaining why he was also full of faith and grace and power. It is vain for one to pray to be full of faith if he neglects the Word of God, for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). I remember a time when I longed for faith, and tried hard to get it, but I never succeeded until I began feeding upon the Word of God. It is vain to seek for grace in the life and neglect the Word of God, for the Bible is the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up" (Acts 20: 32). It is vain to pray for power and neglect the Word of God, for it is when "the Word of God abideth in you" that "ye are strong and overcome the wicked one" (1 John 2:14). Faith and grace and power all come from the Word of God, and in order to be full of them we must be full of it. How much we need to-day men and women like Stephen who are full of the Word of God, who have such a command of the Bible that none are "able to resist the wisdom by which" they speak, and men also who have the ord of God not only upon their lips, but in their hearts and lives. But we cannot be full of the Word of God if we do not study it, study it long and earnestly and prayfully, study it (really study it) every day of our lives.

5. But Stephen was full of something else yet, he was "full of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 6:5). Being full of the Word of God and being full of the Holy Ghost go hand in hand. In Eph. 5 : 18, 19, R. V., Paul says, "Be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." And in Col. 3:16 he says, "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom ; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." By the comparison of these two passages we see that what in one place is attributed to being full of the Spirit, is in the other place attributed to being full of the Word of God. The two go naturally together, but they are often divorced. I know men who are full of the Word, i.e., they have a very large technical and formal knowledge of the Word, but who are not full of the Spirit. They are well instructed but they have no unction. They are dry as chips. Indeed, I have known men who were once full of the Spirit, but they have lost the manifestation of His presence and of His power. As far as the form of knowledge of the Word goes, they know as much as they ever did, but the power has gone out of their words. But Stephen was "full of the Spirit" of God as well as full of the Word of God. His enemies were not able to resist, not only "the wisdom/ but also "the Spirit by which he spake" (Acts 6: 10). Let us seek to be full of the Holy Ghost. Without this our lives will be graceless and our efforts will be powerless. The Holy Spirit's power was manifested in Stephen, as we have already seen, in a twofold way: in his life, and in his work.

6. Stephen was also full of love. In Acts 7:57-60 we see how absolutely his whole inner and outer life were under the control of love. In no other man, perhaps, except Christ, has love shone out as it did in Stephen. Look at Stephen as he falls beneath the stones hurled at him by his infuriated antagonists and assassins. He can no longer stand, and he sinks to his knees. His crushed forehead is throbbing with pain, his strength is fast waning, but he summons all his remaining strength and utters a loud cry. What is it? Is it, Lord curse these my murderers? No, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. " Here we see love for enemies triumphant even in death. There is perhaps no lesson of Stephen's life harder to learn than this, and yet there is no other lesson that we more need to learn than this, and there was never a time when we more needed to learn it than to-day, when we are face to face with a mighty foe who may do us or our loved ones awful harm. Let us never forget to be full of love. Love is the one Divine thing. "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal" (1 Cor. 13:1, R. V.). Ah ! it is easy to love the lovely, in fact it is not hard to have a certain sentimental love for the unlovely, provided they have never crossed our path in any way; but to love the one who lies about you, as these did about Stephen, to love the one who does you harm, seeking, it may be, your very life, as they did the life of Stephen, this is the hard thing, this is the supreme test of whether the Lord Jesus be indeed dwelling in us or not. There are many of us here to-day who have coveted earnestly that we might be full of faith and grace, and power, and the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit, but are you full of love? Do you really wish to be full of love? Remember in answering that question that while love is the divinest thing in the world, it is also the most costly.

7. Stephen was not only full of love, he was also full of courage. Many men seem to be forgiving simply because they have not sufficient energy of character to be vengeful, but Stephen's forgiveness was not of that kind. He was a man of almost matchless energy and fearless courage ; he knew the Jews, he knew what they had done to his Lord, and yet, knowing their history, he faces his angry antagonists and boldly says: "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One" (Acts 7:51, 52), and then when they gnashed upon him with their teeth, he beat no retreat; but looking up steadfastly into heaven, and seeing the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, he says", Behold, I see the heavens open, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). Do we not sorely need courage like that to-day, courage to face the enemies of Christ, and give our uncompromising testimony for Him? How unlike this is to the timid, cringing, sentimentality and gush that passes for Christianity to-day. We need Stephens in business, we need Stephens in society, we need Stephens in public affairs, we need Stephens in the home and in the church. There was then this seven-fold fullness in Stephen: he was "full of faith," "full of grace," "full of power," full of the Word of God, "full of the Holy Ghost," full of love, full of courage.

8. There was one more thing about Stephen's character that needs to be noted, he was a man of prayer. Prayer was the spontaneous utterance of his heart in the hour of trouble. The last two utterances of his life were prayers (Acts 7:59, 60) just as were two of the last utterances of his Master, and Stephen's prayers were closely modelled after those of his Master. No man can be a man of power who is not a man of prayer. No man can be full of grace who is not a man of prayer. No man can be full of the Holy Ghost who is not a man of prayer. Of all the sad neglects in present day Christian living there is perhaps one so sad and fatal as the neglect of prayer. Why is there so much striving after holiness and so little obtaining of it? Neglect of prayer. Why is there so much machinery in the church and so little real work turned out? Neglect of prayer. Why is there so much preaching and so few conversions? Neglect of prayer. Why is there so much Christian enterprise and so little Christian progress? Neglect of prayer. What the church of Christ needs to-day above all else, as in the day of Jonathan Edwards, is a call to prayer. What the individual church and the individual Christian needs to-day is a call to prayer. Oh, that some mighty voice might be heard sounding from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and then around the world: LET US PRAY. Our nation to-day is at the greatest crisis in its history, and what our nation needs to day above all else is prayer, real prayer, prayer by multitudes of men and women who know how to pray. The great majority of our statesmen are right when they say that the great need of our day is preparedness, but the preparedness that we need is not the preparedness that is wrought out by Germanizing our land, building up a vast military system; it is the preparedness that is wrought out by prayer.

II. THE OUTCOME OF STEPHEN's CHARACTER There is little time left to dwell upon the outcome of Stephen's character and life.

1. His face shone like an angel's (Acts 6 : 15). The face of any man who is full of faith, and grace, and of the Spirit, and of the Word of God, and of power, and of love, will shine.

2. He preached with unanswerable wisdom and resistless power (Acts 6:10).

3. He "wrought great wonders and signs" (Acts 6:8).

4. "The Word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly" (Acts 6:7). The Word of God is bound to increase, and the number of disciples is bound to multiply exceedingly when we have deacons and workers like Stephen.

5. Men were "cut to the heart" by his preaching (Acts 7 : 54) . The preaching of such a man, full of the Holy Ghost, is sure to bring deep conviction. Our Lord told His disciples that when the Holy Ghost was come He would "convict the world in respect of sin." There will be convicting power in the preaching and personal work of any man or woman who is full of the Holy Ghost.

6. But this conviction in Stephen's case did not result in conversion. As men could not gainsay the truth of what he said, they took to lying about the preacher (Acts 6 : 13) . But they did not stop at that, they gnashed upon him with their teeth (Acts 7 : 54), and they did not stop at that, they stoned and killed him (Acts 7 : 58-60). This is the sort of treatment that a man like Stephen may expect from a God-hating and Christ-hating, and truth-hating world. In all probability there will be conviction of sinners and conversion of sinners, but sooner or later there will be hatred and persecution and suffering, and it may be death.

7. But there was another outcome of Stephen's character, Stephen had his exceeding great reward, a reward that far more than compensated for the cruel treatment that he suffered. The heavens were opened and he saw Jesus and the glory of God (Acts 7: 55), then he gently fell asleep and departed to be with Christ, which was "very far better" (Acts 7: 59, 60; cf. Phil. 1 : 23), and out of that seemingly fruitless sermon and triumphant death there sprang the prince of Apostles, Paul. Paul and all his mighty ministry and all the results of that wonderful ministry were the outcome of what Stephen was.

 2012/5/29 11:12

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