An infographic with all of the “one another” commands in the New Testament:
Stoned But Not Wasted : Discussion Questions
Topic: Stoned But Not Wasted: The High Cost of Hearing From God
Speaker: Russell Moore
Scripture: Acts 6:8 – 8:3
Location: Highview Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky
Date: September 27, 2009
- Does it sometimes seem that God is silent when you are desperately wanting to hear from Him?
- What was the people’s response when Stephen gave testimony of Jesus Christ? Why didn’t the people listen to Stephen? Why did the people become angry?
- What connection does the speaker make between Stephen’s audience and us?
- What happens to us when we are confronted by truth and reject it?
- Are there truths from the Word of God that you are rebelling against?
- Are you wondering if you can really believe the gospel of Jesus Christ?
- Have you accepted the truth of the gospel message? Will you?
- The Word of God prepares us for what is next. Where is God leading you? What changes would he have you make?
Acts 6:8 – 8:3 (NIV)
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
7:1 Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”
2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’
4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.
9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.
11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.
17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased. 18 Then ‘a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.’ 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our ancestors by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.
20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for by his family. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
23 “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’
27 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.
30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.
33 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’
35 “This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.
37 “This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us.
39 “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’ 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and reveled in what their own hands had made. 42 But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets:
“‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
43 You have taken up the tabernacle of Molek
and the star of your god Rephan,
the idols you made to worship.
Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon.
44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
49 “‘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?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’
51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
8 And Saul approved of their killing him.
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Church Membership / Church Discipline / Ecclesiology – recommended reading
Does the Bride of Christ have amnesia? Too many churches have lost their sense of identity. Without knowing who they are, they will never know how they are supposed to function. Every local church would benefit from a self-reflective study of ecclesiology.
What are the best books on church membership and church discipline?
9Marks includes the following titles pertaining to CHURCH DISCIPLINE/MEMBERSHIP on their reading list for pastors:
Handbook of Church Discipline, Jay Adams
The Compromised Church, ed., John Armstrong
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Mark Dever
Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life, ed., Mark Dever
The Reformation of the Church, ed., Iain Murray
Democratic Religion, Greg Wills
Grace Baptist Church of Cape Coral, Florida (pastored by Tom Ascol) shares on its website the following list of recommended books on Church Membership.
Life in the Body of Christ: Privileges and Responsibilities in the Local Church by Curtis C. Thomas.
Life in the Father’s House: A Member’s Guide to the Local Church by Wayne A. Mack and Dave Swavely.
Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God by Joshua Harris.
What Is a Healthy Church? by Mark Dever.
Spiritual Disciplines within the Church: Participating Fully in the Body of Christ by Donald Whitney.
Membership Matters: Insights from Effective Churches on New Member Classes and Assimilation by Chuck Lawless.
The Church Member’s Guide by John Angell James
Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has recommended the following books on Ecclesiology.
Brand, Chad and Stan Norman, eds. Perspectives on Church Government: Five Views of Church Polity. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2004.
Bakke, Ray. The Urban Christian. Downers Grove: IVP, 1987.
Clowney, Edmund P. The Church. Contours of Christian Theology. Downers Grove: IVP, 1995.
Colson, Charles. The Body. Dallas: Word, 1992.
Cowen, Gerald P. Who Rules the Church?: Examining Congregatinal Leadership and Church Government. Nashville: Broadman, 2003.
Dever, Mark. Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. exp. ed. Wheaton: Crossway, 2004.
__________. A Display of God’s Glory: Basics of Church Structure. Washington, D.C.: Center for Church Reform, 2001.
Getz, Gene A. Elders and Leaders. Chicago: Moody, 2003.
Hammett, John. Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2005.
Kostenberger, Andreas J., and Thomas R. Schreiner, and H. Scott Baldwin. Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of I Timothy 2:9-15 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005.
Malone, Fred. A Defense of Believer’s Baptism. Founders Press, 2003.
Norman, Stan, ed. The Mission of Today’s Church: Baptist Leaders Look at Modern Faith. Nashville: Broadman, 2007.
Saucy, Robert L. The Church in God’s Program. Chicago: Moody, 1972.
Schreiner, Thomas R. and Shawn Wright, eds. Believer’s Baptism: The Covenant Sign of the New Age in Christ. Nashville: Broadman, 2007.
Strauch, Alexander. The New Testament Deacon: The Church’s Minister of Mercy. Littleton, CO: Lewis & Roth, 1993.
________________. Biblical Eldership: Restoring Eldership to Rightful Place in Church. Littleton, CO: Lewis & Roth, 1995.
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Church. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.
Webb, Henry. Deacons: Servant Models in the Church. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2001.
Webber, Robert. The Church in the World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.
Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church. Chicago: Moody, 1996.
What books would you add to these lists?
A Healthy Church
I recently read an article called “Seven Indicators of Church Health.” Here are the indicators the author points to:
ENTHUSIASTIC VOLUNTEER SERVICE
EXPRESSION OF COMPASSION
GENEROSITY IN FINANCES
I can’t help but wonder why the strange absence of the Bible or Sound Doctrine from this list? If you were making a list of indicators, what would appear on your list?
Are you listening?
“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.
“Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking when they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to his brother will soon no longer be listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there is nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words. One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he be not conscious of it. Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, pages 97-98
“Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you.” Proverbs 22:17-19
Priesthood of the Believer
Bill Hull came up with five basic principles of church polity and practice based upon a composite understanding of the five biblical passages that address the priesthood of the believer; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9, Rev. 1:5-6, Rev. 5:9-10, and Rev. 20:6. I am not saying that Hull’s five principles are wrong, but I am not sure that all of them are necessary inferences from the these particular texts. Take a look at his list, and the Scripture passages that follow them. Do you think the list of principles he shares are natural conclusions from the five biblical passages? If not, do you think they are accurate? If accurate, where would you go in Scripture to argue for their truthfulness?
1. The priesthood of the believer must be held in healthy tension with other basic concepts; it is not absolute.
2. The believer can delegate some of the authority of his life and ministry to other believers.
3. The priesthood of the believer is conditioned by the gifts and roles in the life of the fellowship.
4. The priesthood of the believer implies shared responsibility and ministry as well as shared authority.
5. The priesthood of the believer is the basis for decision-making in the church.
1 Peter 2:5 – you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Revelation 1:5-6 – and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 5:9-10 – And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
Revelation 20:6 – Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
What Do You Think?
Which of the following quotes do you think is closer to the truth?
“All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him, will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity.” ~ James Fenimore Cooper
“A person is a person through other persons.” ~ African saying
What Do You Think?
What are some good ways you have you seen church members get together outside of the church building?
Share you thoughts in the comment section below.
- Monday Night Football
- Bible studies
- IHOP coffee Late Night
- Mystery dinner Party
- Early morning coffee
- Service projects
- Children’s play dates
To Be Continued: Are The Miraculous Gifts For Today?
Over at Pyromaniacs, Dan Phillips has posted a book review of To Be Continued: Are The Miraculous Gifts For Today?
What did he think of it? He gave it 4.5 matchsticks.
“Today we are reaping the fruit of a century spent deliberately ignoring the study and teaching of ecclesiology. I wish that I could hold every Baptist pastor at gunpoint and force them to read Stan Norman and John Hammett.”