by: Timothy Vazquez
Acts 6:10 (NLT) But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
One of the things that I have enjoyed in the past is when there is a debate between an atheist and a Christian apologist. On one hand, you hear the wisdom of the world from the atheist and on the other hand you hopefully hear godly wisdom from the Christian apologist. These are usually very intelligent and scholarly men and while it is enjoyable to hear them debate and especially enjoyable when the Christian apologist gets a good point across that the atheist is temporarily unable to refute, at the end of the day, no one is convinced of anything. The atheist retains his views along with the people in the audience that share his view and the Christian apologist obviously will not renounce his faith, nor will the Christians in the audience.
That's what man's intellect versus a Christian's intellect results in. While entertaining, it usually leads nowhere. Jesus never told us to debate our faith with people. What He did tell His followers to do is to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey what He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). At the same time He told them to wait for the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). It would be then that they would receive power to be His witnesses everywhere. He did not send the disciples out to preach the Gospel in their own intellect and in their own strength. As a matter of fact, they couldn't have done that even if they wanted to because the last thing that anyone would accuse the disciples of being was being intellectuals. So they did wait for the promised Holy Spirit and they did preach the Gospel and many, many people were saved through their message. And it was the same with Stephen, whose official title was Food Program Worker. But the Food Program Workers were men who were full of wisdom AND the Holy Spirit. In the passage of scripture above, Stephen had gotten into a discussion with some men from a certain synagogue who tried to refute what he was telling them about Jesus. But they couldn't stand up against his wisdom because he was speaking under the power and the unction of the Holy Spirit. Even though this encounter eventually led to his martyrdom and it seemed that his message didn't get through to anyone, there was a young Pharisee there, Saul (Paul), who although he gave his approval of the stoning of Stephen, heard his wisdom and for sure saw the power of God at work in Stephen's life. At one point, the Bible says that Stephen's face became like the face of an angel. Soon after Stephen's death, we read that Saul had an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, and his previous encounter with Stephen, a Holy-Spirit filled believer, set him up for that encounter.
We all have a mission to accomplish as the Great Commission that Jesus gave is not just for churches but for each of us individually who are born-again believers that are truly following Christ. By the example of our lives, the reflection of Christ in us through the Holy Spirit and by the wisdom that He gives us, we too can have an effect on people around us who do not believe and who even may try to refute what we are saying about Jesus. It is the Spirit who gives us the wisdom to say the powerful and effective words that will make the truth of the Gospel come alive, even to those that don't think that they can be persuaded. Let's rely on the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to speak His Living Word through us as we submit to Him. The difference is life-giving words instead of just another debate that leads nowhere.
Pastor Joey Vazquez