Patterns that Reveal God’s Purpose

2019/05/12
Passage: Acts 7

Patterns of God’s Purpose
By Apostle Aje Pelser at Harvester Reformational Church, Cape Town, 12th May 2019.

In Stephen the Martyr’s Sermon we see several patterns that reveal God’s Purpose with His people in the past, present and future.

Pattern #1: Worship of not is not restricted to a geographical place.
Act 7:2 And he said, "Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

Pattern #2: God revealed Himself to Abraham before he reached his promised land.
Act 7:3 and said to him, 'GET OUT OF YOUR COUNTRY AND FROM YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME TO A LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.'

Pattern #3: God appeared to Moses and gave his laws to Moses while he was still in the wilderness.
Act 7:25 For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.
Act 7:30 "And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.
Act 7:38 "This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us,
Act 7:39 whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt,

Pattern #4: God has never dwelt in temples made with hands. Heaven is His throne and earth is his footstool. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Act 7:47 But Solomon built Him a house.
Act 7:48 "However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
Act 7:49 'HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS MY FOOTSTOOL. WHAT HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME? SAYS THE LORD, OR WHAT IS THE PLACE OF MY REST?
Act 7:50 HAS MY HAND NOT MADE ALL THESE THINGS?'
1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
Eph 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Eph 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
Eph 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
Eph 2:22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Pattern #5: God’s true prophets always suffer rejection in their own time from their own people.
Act 7:51 "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
Act 7:52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,

Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites as a slave. Moses was rejected by his own people even though God raised him up to be a deliverer of his people.
Act 7:9 "And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him
Act 7:10 and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

The prophets God sent to warn the nation they stoned and killed and rejected.
Jesus came as a personification of God and His love for the world and Him they crucified.
Act 7:52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,

And Stephen whose face shone like an angel, who did miracles among the people, who served in the church, who preached one of the most historic sermons they stoned.
Act 6:15 And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.
Act 7:54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.

Pattern #6: Honour
If you stand up for Jesus, He stands up for you. Gordon Lindsay writes that when Jesus stood up, he annulled and reversed the judgment of blasphemy that the people pronounced over Stephen at his stoning. God accepted his message and martyrdom and stood up for his innocence.
Act 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
Act 7:56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

Pattern #7: Forgiveness
When Stephen followed the pattern of Jesus who showed the greatest love by laying down his life for his brothers who rejected him, Jesus acknowledged His pattern in Stephen when He said: Father do not hold this sin against them for they know not what they do.” Jesus said: “Father forgive them fro they know not what they do.” In recognition of the Christ’s pattern of suffering and forgiveness, Jesus stood at the right hand of the Father and.
Act 7:58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
Act 7:60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

It therefore remains for us to ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to see God’s patterns that reveal His purpose through all the situations of our lives. When we see the heavens opened and Jesus at the right hand of God standing and acknowledging you when you acknowledge Him before men, it makes it all worth it.