Acts 23:1 “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
Paul made a very bold statement. He declared that he has literally lived in all good conscience before God. Can we say this? The principle here is that we are to live in good standing before the Lord. This man knew that God would have been pleased with the way in which he lived.
Let us examine ourselves. If we were honest before the Lord today we would see that we could not honestly make such a statement. Those that hear “well done” are those that will finish “well”. We must examine our lives and see what is not right before the Lord.
Today’s Challenge: Start today by living in good standing before the Lord.
Acts 22:14-15 “And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”
Being a witness has specific requirements. The concept of a witness is someone that can give another person an actual account of what really happened. A witness is a person that gives a true testimony to what actually happened. God declares that we are to be His witnesses. That by itself is an amazing calling. God has chosen us to declare His Glory. He has chosen us to speak on our behalf. The problem that many face today is that they are trying to speak of someone they know nothing about. The reason our witness is so poor is because we have not seen much, heard much or experienced much.
- God Desires that we Experience Salvation: We can’t be a witness of the saving grace of God if we were not there when it happened.
- God Desires that we Extend Salvation: We are to tell others about our experience. A person that has truly experienced salvation will not have a problem sharing their story.
- God Desires that we Enjoy Salvation: One of the greatest ways to share the salvation experience is to live it out. Honestly, the reason so many lack fruit is because they lack salvation. The fruits of the spirit are still witnesses that God has done an eternal work within us.
Today’s Challenge: Be a witness for the Lord. Testify on God’s behalf.
Acts 21:13 “Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
This is a true example of being fully surrendered to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul had such a burden for the Gospel in Jerusalem that he was ready and willing to die at the hands of those he wanted to win.
- Notice he was ready to go. The progression of passion starts by being willing and ready to go. Paul was willing to go to the most dangerous part of the world, knowing that he would be risking life.
- Notice he was ready to suffer. If we only chose to go to places where we will be safe then we are risking very little for the Gospel. The greatest need for the Gospel will be to those that hate us the most.
- Notice he was ready to die. He was ready to die for the Lord Jesus Christ. He had surrendered his desires and therefore had surrendered his life.
Today’s Challenge: Are we ready? Assess your life and see if you can truly call yourself a follower of Christ. Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone and accept the extreme consequences that come with it?
Acts 20:35 “I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Christianity is not about “survival of the fittest”. Christianity is about helping others that are weaker than us. The Lord has informed us that we are to support the weak. We are to labor in such a way that allows us opportunities to support those that are weaker. The cure for society is the Gospel. The greatest way to present the Gospel is through giving. We often directly think support is financial. Support does not have to be financial. It can be spiritual, physical, or even emotional. The Lord desires that we learn the principle of giving. I want us to look at three principles giving presents. (This is the lessons we learned in our previous mission’s conference)
- Giving is the Heart of Christ: Jesus was poor because He gave way more than He received. All I can think about is John Chapter Four when He told His disciples: “I have meat ye know not of”
- Giving is the Health of the Church: A healthy Church is a giving Church
- Giving is the Hope for Every Creature: At the heart of the Gospel is the principle of Giving.
Today’s Challenge: Remember that it much more blessed to give than to receive.
Acts 19:15 “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
This is by far one of the most convicting testimonies that I read in scriptures. Jesus and Paul were definitely known by the evil spirit. They were known by Hell’s forces because they created such a problem for them. These men literally waged war against the forces of Hell and prevailed at every corner. The demons of Hell knew Jesus and Paul because they were Hell’s greatest enemies.
The question no arises…How known are we by Hell? Do we really bother Satan?
I am afraid that so many of us are more worried about the perception of people, the popularity among the community, or the opinions of man that we have forgot about the enemy we are waging war against. We are not in the Christian army to be popular among the world’s people. We are at war against the “wiles of Satan”. We need to be Hell’s number one enemy, while honestly we are so lukewarm that Satan or his demons don’t even give us a second thought. We have become so weak, spiritually, that we are not even a bother to the forces of Hell. We lack the power of God because we lack the presence of God.
Today’s Challenge: Decide that you are going to the Satan and the forces of Hell all they can handle. When you walk into a person’s life the power of God must be so evident that it makes a difference in the spiritual and in the physical.
Acts 18:9-10 “Then spake the Lord to Paul in then night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.”
I am afraid we, all too often, make mountains out of mole hills. We must learn to rid ourselves of the spirit of fear. It is a dangerous sin that holds us back from so many blessings. The Lord reminds us that He has our backs.
- Fear will hinder the Gospel from being preached. The greatest need in a person’s life is to here a clear presentation of the Gospel.
- Fear will hinder God’s progress in our lives. We must remember that each step is supposed to be a step of faith. The presence of fear causes us to lack the faith necessary to move forward.
- Fear will cause us to hold back when we need to be speaking up. We are so afraid of offending people that we have forgotten how to make a stand for Christ. People need to hear the truth, regardless of how much it hurts.
Today’s Challenge: Don’t hold back. God is present with us. Don’t be afraid.
Acts 17:23 “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”
There is no doubt that this same inscription is read all across America. We must first take a glance at what we see. Look at the devotions of people.
- The Bible and its principles have been restricted. People are more devoted to what is right in their own sight rather than aligning to what is right in the sight of God.
- There is a great devotion for stuff over a devotion to the Savior. It is amazing at how devoted our things we have become in this society. We have created idols out of our careers, educational systems, houses, and lands. There is a failure in among those in this land to allow Jesus Christ to be the Lord of their life.
- The ignorance toward the Lord is becoming more common. It is a scary thought to be living a day when the average Christian cannot quote at least five Bible verses. We have become so ignorant toward the Lord that we no longer reverence or respect Him. We have majored on the character traits of God that appeal to our flesh rather than majoring on the character traits of God that make us more like Him.
I am seeing the same thing Paul saw during his time. As I pass by and look at the devotions of people, Christians, and even our Church leaders, it reads “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD”. We have grown so deluded in our walk with the Lord that we don’t even know the one we worship. \
Today’s Challenge: Quit living in the worship of the unknown and come to the place where we will worship the God of All Glory. May the Lord help us realize who, why, and what we worship.
LORD, HOW OUR LAND MUST REPENT!!!
Acts 16.5 “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”
When we measure the growth of our Churches we do at certain increments. Most of our measurements are based on weeks, months, quarters, and years. However this Church was growing daily. There are two key principles that can be addressed from this verse:
- Churches must be established “in the faith”: I am reminded of the saying “just because there is a sign that says “church” does not necessarily mean that is what is taking place on the inside.” Churches should be faith based. In the American Christian Culture of today we are seeing Churches be more demographic based, or data based. The leaders of today’s Church seem to look at the numbers surrounding them rather than turning to the God above them. Anything other than faith will be establishing something on unstable ground.
- Churches must increase “daily”: WOW…This is convicting. We look at our numbers on a service date basis. We measure our Sunday Services, our Small Group Meetings, and our other Ministry Meeting that meet throughout the week. This Church increased daily rather than during a time when they met. The Lord presents His Church with a great principle. We are to increase daily. Each day, each member, must push themselves to multiply themselves. The Church will increase daily when the people of the Church start to multiply themselves daily.
Today’s Challenge: Try to duplicate yourself on a daily basis. It is not a matter of filling a building. It is a matter of filling a Kingdom.
Acts 15:26 “Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
The word “hazarded” means to “surrender”, “yield up”, or “entrust”. These men placed themselves at God’s disposal. This is such a tremendous example of Christianity. True Christianity is not a part time thing. It is being completely yielded to the will and workings of God. Society in America has created a Christian that is no longer available for God at all times. People today have put tried to place the Lord at their disposal rather than placing themselves at God’s disposal. Complete surrender is necessary for God to bless. It will do us some good to get an idea of what it means to be at God’s disposal.
- We must be available to Serve: God wants us to be available to serve Him…whenever He desires us to serve.
- We must be available to Suffer: These men suffered much for God. We must be yielded to the principle that those that live Godly will suffer persecution.
- We must be available to Sacrifice: We have to come to the place everything we are and everything we have belongs to the Lord.
Today’s Challenge: Check and see if you are a person that can be described like these men were described. Does your life carry such a tremendous testimony?
Acts 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
Some teach that the Christian life is this “bed of roses”. They teach that when you give your life to Christ then all the problems, suffering, and hardships go away. While living “in Christ” is a much better life, I cannot say that all our problems are going to vanish when we accept Christ. The Bible teaches us that those that live godly will suffer persecution. In this verse we are exhorted that we must continue and that the journey to the kingdom of God will include much tribulation. We must understand that through all that we face in life that we “continue in the faith.” There is going to be a lot of obstacles, a lot of difficulty situations, and a lot of tribulation. We will be tried by fire, tempted of Satan, and tested by God. We are given the charge to continue. Don’t stop, don’t quit, and don’t give up on the Lord. Real Christianity will be the one that last through the duration. This world is filled with fair weather Christians. We need faithful Christians that are stuck on finishing the course and fighting the fight of faith. Through it all we must continue!
Today’s Challenge: Don’t quit when life gets tough…continue in the faith!