Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stephen was Full of Faith and Power

Read Acts 6: 8-15

Let's dissect a single verse, verse 8:
Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.
Stephen is full of grace (many translations have faith) and power. There are 2 Greek words here: pistis and dunamis. You know me, I love, love getting to the root of these words. Pistis means faith. It also refers to Christian doctrine – all that Christianity stands for – the Gospel and especially reliance upon Christ for salvation.  And it also means persuasion (to be persuaded, to come to trust).

Faith (pistis) is a gift from God, and not something that you can produce. There's a difference between belief and faith. Faith is "God's divine persuasion" – and therefore different from human belief. The Lord gives faith; it is the persuasion of His will (read 1st John 5:4).

Ages ago pistisin its secular use, referred to a guarantee or warranty. In Scripture, God's gift of faith is His guarantee that He will do what He said He would.

Again, faith (pistis) is always received from God. We can't make it up ourselves. Romans 12:3 tells us that God has given us a “measure of faith” (pistis)

Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith (pistis); and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

So, Stephen had faith. He also had dunamisDunamis means force and especially miraculous power (we get dynamite, dynamo, and dynamic from this word). The Greek dunamis is used 120 times in the New Testament. It refers to “strength, power, or ability.

Dunamis is not just any power; the word often refers to miraculous power or marvelous works. And it can refer to inherent, inborn, or natural power. In Matthew 22: 29 Jesus tells the Sadducees, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power (dunamis) of God.” Jesus also said (Matthew 24:30), “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” In other words, the Lord has inherent power residing in Himself. Dunamis is part of His nature.

We do not live the Christian life in our own power, but in God’s. It is God’s ability that makes us able to accomplish anything of value, because without Him we can do nothing – Jesus tells us exactly that in John 15:5. It is His strength that makes us able to overcome anything.

Now think on these 2 words for a moment – Stephen is full of pistis and dunamis. How does the verse end? 

He did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.

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