Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  (Ac 7:59-60)

Focus on the extreme mercy and forgiveness that Stephen displayed!  Here are people in the process of killing him, and he forgives them and asks the Lord to forgive them.  Then he dies. What mercy!  What forgiveness!  Stephen went to heaven as a martyr for the gospel.

According to Daniel 9:9, mercy and forgiveness belong to God.  The Bible says (see below) that mercy and unlimited forgiveness belong to God.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is mercy and with Him there is unlimited forgiveness.  (Ps 130:7 GW)

In the church of Jerusalem, Stephen was chosen along with six other men to serve as deacons.  As deacons, they would take charge of the gifts of the people, and give assistance to those who were in need, including widows.  The criteria for choosing these men was that they had to have the Spirit of God and to have wisdom. 

Stephen not only cared for the poor, but he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone—Jews and Gentiles both.  This conduct enraged some of Jews, who plotted against him.

Clearly, as Stephen shared the Good News, the Holy Spirit used Stephen as an instrument for the Kingdom of God.  History records that Stephen, as he ministered to the people, performed signs, wonders, and miracles among them.  Glory to God!

Stephen clearly loved and obeyed Jesus Christ, his Savior and example in all things.  Stephen emulated the Lord Jesus Christ in his life, work, and even in death. 

This is a good moment to reflect upon our own lives; and to determine whether we are allowing mercy and forgiveness to operate in our lives, our responses, and our actions.

What Do You Know?

What Do You Know?

Today, we’re considering what we can KNOW.

Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.  (John 9:31 NKJV)

Then he said, “The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.”  (Acts 22:14 NKJV)  – Ananias spoke this to Paul after he prayed for Paul to receive his sight.

… having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself … (Ephesians 1:9 NKJV)

We may claim these promises for ourselves.  God has:

  • Chosen us (Acts 22:14; 1 Peter 2:4) – We’re precious to Him.
  • Caused us to know His will (John 9:31; Acts 22:14; Ephesians 1:9) – God shares mysteries with us.
  • Made us know His voice (Proverbs 20:12; Acts 22:14; John 10:27; 18:37) – What an honor it is to know His voice!
  • Promised that we’ll see the Just One – Jesus (Acts 22:14; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 7:22; 8:35) – This is a glorious promise.

We belong to the Lord Jesus; we are set apart and made holy because of that fact.  We may trust Him to reveal His will to us in every circumstance; and we can accurately and clearly hear His voice, if we will train our ears to listen.  If what you “hear,” agrees with the Bible, you can be reassured that you’ve heard from God!

How do you train your ears to hear Him?  Read, meditate, and study the Bible, which is the Word of God.  The better that you know the Word, the easier it will be for you to hear His voice, because He will never contradict His Word. 

Rejoice in your sweet relationship with the God who is more than enough!  Hallelujah!