Stephen was held in high regard in the early days of the Christian church. Luke tells us Stephen was “a man full of God’s grace and power” who “did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people” (Acts 6:8, NIV).
Stephen is trying to get through to people who have hardened their hearts against Christ. So he takes them back in history to the beginnings of their faith — back to Abraham, the Patriarchs and Moses.
What Stephen hopes to do is show them that the Jesus they are rejecting is the very Jesus that had long been prophesied. And in the midst of this history lesson, Stephen says something really interesting. Moses received words from an angel, he says. These words were “living words.”
The author of the book of Hebrews says something very similar: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV).
When Moses spoke, or Stephen spoke, or you and I speak of Jesus, we can be confident. Because the words of the gospel are not ordinary words. They’re extraordinary, supernatural words that contain the power to give life, and to change lives for eternity.
There are no other words like these. They contain powerful ideas, but they are so much more than simply a vehicle for the communication of ideas. They are Spirit-produced, and Spirit-conveying words.
What will we do with these words? Hopefully, by God’s grace, we will listen to them, believe them, and allow them to shape our entire life.
These words truly do give life. And they really do change lives. I’ve experienced that. And I hope you will too.
And the cool thing? With these “living words” at our disposal, we don’t have a thing to prove. We’re not forced into the role of God’s defense attorney, needing to “make a case” for him. We’re simply a witness to Jesus, using his living and life-giving word to tell others of his love and power.
“This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 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” (Acts 7:37-38, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Thursday, June 11, is 2 Samuel 16:15 – 18:18, Acts 7:20-43 and Psalm 72:1-20.
Lord, your word is living and powerful. May it work an unassailable faith in my heart. Give me the joy of sharing these living, active words with others that many people may know Jesus as their Savior and their Lord.
Header image based on "Bible" by Nicholas LabyrinthX, CC By-SA 2.0