Summary: The story of the first Christian martyr
The story of the first Christian martyr
The kingdom of Heaven is at Hand - it is always a stone’s throw away
Life is short - to live like Stephen you must:
Decide before you go through tough times how you will act and what you will say
AC 6:8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God."
12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."
Why were these problems among the Free Men
Free man - angry with Stephen - once slaves - were they trying to work their way back into God’s good graces, they just didn’t want to hear that the law and the temple were transcended by Jesus
15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
7:1 Then the high priest asked him, "Are these charges true?"
This was no filibuster trying to spare his life - (Strom Thurmond 24 hours and 18 minutes to block the 1957 Civil Rights Act) - Stephen knew he was a dead man.
Luke wanted to show how enemies of God killed people of God but the people of God would not back down
Outline of the longest sermon in Acts:
7:2 God appeared to Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia,
3 `Leave your country and your people,’ God said, `and go to the land I will show you.’
5 He gave him no inheritance here,. But God promised that he and his descendants would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child.
6 will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.
8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision.
9 " the brothers were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued . He gave Joseph wisdom and the Pharaoh of Egypt; and made him ruler over Egypt.
11 "Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan,, and our fathers could not find food.
17 " the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham,
another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.
20 "At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child.
21 Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son.
22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
23 "When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. AS A JUDGE
25 Moses thought that his people would realize God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.
27 ", `Who made you ruler and judge over us?
29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner
30 "After forty years had passed, God spoke to Moses in the flames of a burning bush
34 I will send you back to Egypt.’
35 "This is the same Moses whom they had rejected
37 "This is that Moses who told the Israelites, `God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’
39 "But our fathers refused to obey him. they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.
41 they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it
42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets:
`Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?
Therefore I will send you into exile’ beyond Babylon.
44 "Our fathers had the tabernacle with them in the desert.
until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him.