“Word for Today” – Acts 7 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

September 29, 2009 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

E-mailThey arrive in my email inbox almost daily.  Because of my solid character and good reputation, a rich financier from somewhere in Africa would like to deposit millions of dollars in my personal bank account of which I, of course, will remain the chief executor.  All I have to do is share my personal account information with this person so that she can make the transaction.  What a deal!  And what a scam!  As most people already know, these emails are sent out by the millions by spammers, just hoping that people will send them their account information.  For with such sensitive information, these scammers can withdraw, not deposit, money from their victims’ accounts.  Sure, the email sounds good, but, as the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  And indeed, these emails are too good to be true.

Because of the massive amount of misinformation and disinformation floating around the internet, the website snopes.com has become wildly popular in recent years.  Snopes is devoted to tracking down spam emails, false claims, and dangerous schemes, examining their claims, and then asking a very simple question:  “Is it true?”  Does what an email or website claims to offer line up with what it actually delivers?

“Is it true?”  This is the question asked of a Christian named Stephen in today’s reading from Acts 7.  As Acts 6 concludes, Stephen stands accused by the Jewish religious leaders of his day of “speaking against the temple and against the law” (Acts 6:13).  Now, as Acts 7 opens, the high priest has only one question for Stephen:  “Are these charges true” (verse 1)?  “Are these charges just a scam suitable for Snopes,” the high priest wants to know, “or do you really pose a threat to our temple and our faith system?”  Is it true?

Stephen’s answer to this simple question constitutes one of the most eloquent summaries of biblical theology and history in all Scripture.  Rather than answering the high priest’s question concerning whether or not the charges against him specifically are true, Stephen launches into a soliloquy concerning truth in general.  Indeed, he offers a cogent and beautiful defense of the truth of Scripture – from its reckoning of Abraham to Isaac to Joseph to Moses to Joshua to David to Solomon.  “God’s Word is true!” Stephen declares.  He then speaks to the charges against him using the truth of Scripture:

The Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?” (verses 48-50)

Quoting Scripture, Stephen says that the Jewish temple is no longer needed.  Why?  Because “the Most High does not live in houses made by men.”  The Most High needs no temple in which to dwell because he dwells in Jesus.  Jesus is the temple of God!  This is the truth that Stephen declares to his accusers.

“At this they covered their ears…” (verse 57).  Stephen proclaims the truth and the religious leaders refuse to listen to it. What a terrible tragedy.

Do you listen to Jesus?  Or, like the religious leaders, are there Scriptural teachings at which you cover your ears?  Are you listening when God speaks on how you manage your money or how you train your children or how you honor your spouse or how you guard your sexuality?  Or, do you turn a deaf ear and remain recalcitrant in sin?  Stephen would call us to listen to the truth – to uncover our ears.  As the prophet Jeremiah says, “Hear the word of the LORD; open your ears to the words of his mouth” (Jeremiah 9:20).  Keep an ear open to God’s Word today.  For God will certainly speak to you!

Entry filed under: Word for Today.

“Word for Today” – Acts 6 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com “Word for Today” – Acts 8 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

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