Summary: Stephen was able to face death because he had a sure faith. True faith will take us through any crisis.
God’s Not Done! Acts 7:51-60
Review: The early Church of Acts had many ups and downs, but they led to victory.
Context: Stephen was able to stand in the face of death because he knew exactly what he believed in. There were no doubts. (Most of Chapter 7 is a retelling of the Old Testament and Gospel from memory!)
He was facing people who held his life in their hands. But he was able to speak the truth because he knew for sure what his faith was.
I. We can have a sure faith:
A. Can we really believe in God?
Illus: Biology class. The more you learn, the more it is obvious that this is no accident("It takes a lot of faith to believe in nothing" Danny Beasley)
B. Christianity is not about manipulation or scaring anyone into being a Christian…it is an invitation.
What is going on in our world is clearly described in the Bible…
We don’t know exactly where the future will go, but…
Faith feels better than fear.
Illus: Man loses job, house, but doesn’t want Christian’s opinions
II. If you choose faith, make clear choice.
Struggle with your faith: "The greatest Christians have the greatest struggles."
"Faith is blind, but it is not stupid."
Get rid of all compromise, deception – ask God to open your eyes
People will fall away. We see it happening.
Perry Stone: The one thing that is secure in this world is the Church – get in it! Everything else will be shaken.
Joshua: Choose today for yourself…
III. If we are full of faith, we will see Jesus
Illus: Boy looking out window at airplanes, wants to see "heaven."
Stephen saw the heavens opened
Do we really know Jesus? The Jews waited hundreds of years for the Messiah, but most did not recognize him when he came.
What will it take for us to see heaven? Will we recognize Jesus?
IV. This generation could be the most critical generation.
Stephens’s life ended, but the work of God increased.
If you live for God, in His will, your life will end when God is done with you.
It’s Not Over – only Jesus can see "It is finished."
Conclusion: What can we do?
Worship like never before – Even if he slays me! I will praise Him!
Pray like you have never prayed before, then pray more.
Fast – give something up so you can pray even more.
(Daniel’s fast brought a vision)
Read the Word – power (we better know it by heart like Stephen did)
Fast: Eliminate greed in your life – starting with food, finances.
Warriors – This generation can change the world.
Illus: Little dog wants to fight big dog.