ACT 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.
Yes, there are many enemies of truth in this world. Those that secretly instigate accusations against others, those that hide in the shadows of darkness to place stumbling blocks in the way of true believers. Isn’t it clear that those that hide their actions in secret, those who feign their alliance and loyalty in the light of day, are the ones who demonstrate their betrayal when hidden away from those they would accuse. If someone is on the side of truth, will they not speak to their brother directly in truth and love?
But if someone is in darkness, if someone is a slinking, crawling child of that enemy of the Lord, won’t that child be afraid of standing in the light? But won’t he instead hide in the shadows, talking about his fellow brother or sister when they are not even there to present a witness and defence for themselves, which has no value other than to distract others from this accuser’s own guilt. But guilt can be hidden from other men, but the Lord knows the truth about a man’s heart.
Approaching someone directly and in love, in hopes that they will hear truth, is discipleship and has value and is scriptural and is righteous. But gossip, it is cowardly and wicked, and it is an area where I fall short and where I see so many fall short. But nothing is as alarming as when I see it done from the pulpit. Whether it is a message targeting “that person” that the whole congregation knows that a son is “aimed at”, or whether it is about someone that is not present to defend themselves – it is cowardly and wicked, and falls short of God’s Glory. A Word from that Holy Spirit of God is received so that we can receive it as nourishment for OUR OWN LIVES – not so we can think, “Oh, so and so really needs to hear this message!” Don’t let our hearts be so hardened and proud that we think the Word we receive is not meant for us. We have not been lifted up like Enoch and Elijah to walk with God, so let’s remember that we need to hear this message – or we will find that we are walking around deaf, blind, and naked stumbling in the darkness, but telling ourselves that we have the light.
This message is for me. I share it because I believe in fellowship and accountability with fellow believers and not hiding the light of a lesson that I’m learning. I do not hide in darkness, but share openly in the light of day. If you are hungry too, I am happy to share from my plate because I love you. But please, do not trust any man (including me) to be perfect in our delivery, but test all spirits against the truth of the Word. My own application of the Word is for my life, and how you receive and apply scripture needs to be appropriate for your season and calling. May you believe and know Jesus Christ as our Savior, as God come in the flesh, who died on the cross as fulfillment of God’s mercy, love, and grace towards His children (even His bride as the church)- so that you can have the assurance of your salvation, know that you are a chosen Child of God, and live a renewed life of repentance and service and love and truth.