Acts 6:8-15 (ESV)
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
Wow, look at Stephen now. Not long ago, Stephen was just another believer – a fine one to be sure – but still just a regular believer.
Then, because the Hellenist widows were being neglected, Stephen was chosen as one of seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, to make sure the widows were properly cared for.
The next thing we know it, he’s acting more like an apostle than a deacon. He was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Some folks disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. He’s so full of the spirit that his face was like the face of an angel. In chapter 8, we’ll see Philip demonstrating similar powers.
There’s something to this – something important. What’s going on?
The answer is in Acts 6:6, which describes the ordination of Stephen, Philip and the other deacons. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
This is the first of many cases we’ll see of the apostles laying on hands – to great effect.
When Stephen was ordained as a deacon, he received special gifts.
We often don’t think about the importance of laying on of hands. We lay on hands in the ordination of deacons and elders, and in prayer for healing. There’s something to this – something important.
How well do you know your deacons and elders? We tend to think of them merely as leaders. We look up to them and trust them, but we usually don’t think about their jobs in supernatural terms. That’s a mistake.
Church officers have spiritual warfare responsibilities. It doesn’t always come up, but when it does they usually can’t talk about it. Thus, their greatest prayer requests are a secret.
They need your prayers more than you know. They live in the crosshairs.
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