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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Sons of the Kingdom, #23
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. (Acts 7:54)
Stephen and the Sanhedrin. Stephen was a good man, a pure man. He was filled with the wheat of the Kingdom. His understanding of God grew each day. Just before he was stoned to death he could see the Lord Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
The members of the Sanhedrin, supposedly the most devout men of Israel, were filled with rage, with the spirit of Satan. This is an awesome picture. It reveals how otherwise righteous men can be so deceived by evil.
The Orthodox Jews to this day are extreme in their devotion to the Torah. The grandfather of a member of our congregation is said to have risen at 2:00 each morning and sat with his feet in a bucket of ice water as he studied the Torah. He did this to keep from falling asleep.
The religious Jew is very diligent, very sincere in his worship of God. He will do anything to please God. And yet, here was the Sanhedrin of Israel judging a servant of God. The spirit of Satan, of murder, filled the members of the court. At this point the leaders of Israel were sons of the wicked one.
Let us all take heed because any one of us could be as deceived as they. Let us search our heart to see if any of the four characteristics of Satan are active in us.
Alexander the coppersmith.
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. (II Timothy 4:15)
What motivated Alexander that he would invite the curse of Paul? Perhaps Alexander was a fine man with many friends. So often we picture the tares as being the personification of evil with whom no decent person would dare associate. You may find that your best friend is an Alexander and will begin to plant doubts in your mind about the integrity of your pastor or of some other Christian worker. What will you do then?
If you are a true saint you will go to the Lord for the strength to avoid your friend, in accordance with the directive of Paul. Or, being weak of spirit, you may continue to associate with the critic until you have been robbed of your crown. Meanwhile the Lord goes on building His Kingdom through that very imperfect pastor or Christian worker.
If the Christian leader is truly living in sin, then the elders of the church may have to take action. However, prayerful action of the elders of an assembly is worlds apart from the cheap, idle gossip and slander that passes from believer to believer. Such loose talk often is not based in truth. Nevertheless it will still be destructive. This is the work of Satan himself.
If Satan always worked in an obvious manner there would be no such thing as deception.
To be continued.