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Purpose: The Bible exposition of Get Motivated for the Kingdom of God on Acts 6-7 challenge us on how to get rightly motivated for God’s work through the example of Stephen who was filled with the Holy Spirit and grace of God. (Part 1 of 4).
Get Motivated! (6:8-7:60) | Mp3 Podcast
A. Understanding Motivation (Acts 6:5,8) |
B. Uncompromising Motivation (Acts 6:9-15)
C. Affirming Motivation (Acts 7:1-60)
Over 17,000 people turned out for the ‘Get Motivated’ seminar in Pittsburgh. They certainly were motivated enough to endure lots of traffic congestion and very long lines on that hot day. Motivation is an important matter. The lack of motivation is not only a problem outside the church, but inside too. The statements, “Our people don’t want to serve” and “We don’t have enough helpers” are so often heard that they have become slogans! The church has a motivation problem.
Unfortunately, motivation seminars that link to life’s success, fame, riches or significance are not going to help anyone in the long term. Our efforts on this earth or to save the earth will make little significance because we do not deal with the root issues.
Think with me of an illustration. A building is on fire. In the front you have all sorts of individuals with water hoses and buckets of water trying to put out the fire. ￼But in the back of the house a huge fire breathing dragon blows his fiery breath into the house.
Man is fighting the wrong battle. The world’s solution is to keep throwing buckets of water and ignore the major issues of motivation. And to be honest, God’s people have too often joined in this game of triviality.
Whether one or another political party or sports team wins is trivial in the long term. Whether your health plan or another’s takes effect is trivial too. We are measuring these things in light of earth or as Solomon says, ‘under the heaven.’
He rightly assessed the situation, “All is vanity.” Jesus, our chief motivator, noted the same problem with identifying one’s happiness with the way things go on earth.
“For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s a save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:35-36).
It is not that what we do on earth is unimportant, but the question is whether it will have significant impact, that is, will it make an eternal difference?
Why is it that so many people would pay to ‘Get Motivated?’ God made people with a sense of responsibility, meaning and contribution. People want a purpose to live for to establish their importance and to feel significant. They do not like being bored.
In Acts 6-7 we will consider one man who was highly motivated. Perhaps if you were in line, or wanted to be in line of that ‘Get Motivated’ seminar, you would think that we shouldn’t parade highly motivated people around. The seminar offers highly motivated speakers (who wouldn’t be for their pay!) They in comparison might make you feel even more bored and remind you of how meaningless your life is.
The opposite is true. We can learn a lot from those who are properly motivated like Stephen. Stephen was shaped by eternal factors, truths of life that took hold of his life as it should each one of us.
Acts 7 is Stephen’s long message but understanding its context in Acts 6 allows us to see how the things he believed radically shaped his life. People are motivated to do all sorts of things, even things they are not motivated for. Those who complain about Monday morning work still show up, do they not? Their performance, however, will be poorly affected.
We need to be careful about who motivates us, why we are motivated and what might cause us to lose focus and be ‘de-energized.’
So as we continue on, think through your own life. What is most important to you? How important is it to you? How does our belief in Christ make a difference? Is living as a faithful Christian in an increasingly hostile world worth it? Our search for motivation will take us on three roads as we study this extended passage on Stephen.
Next -> A. Understanding Motivation (Acts 6:5,8) helps us understand where that motivation comes from.
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