Summary: Accept the provoking reality Acknowledge the preserved resource Activate a proper response
SO SOMEONE IS THROWING ROCKS AT YOU
Acts 7 is the longest address in the book of Acts, and one of the most important. In it Stephen reviewed the history of Israel and the contributions made by their revered leaders: Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, and Solomon. Stephen’s address was more than a rehearsal of familiar facts; it was also a rebuttal of their indictments against Stephen and a revelation of the Israel own sins.
As Stephen finishes his discourse, boiling emotions explode, violent anger erupts, and Stephen is left . When confronted with sin, the religious are enraged and not receptive. Stephen is taken out to be stoned. When confronted with , grace provided courage and not escape.
Stephen is taken out of the city and stoned. The law of Moses required that the first stones thrown in the of a condemned criminal be cast by the very witness who threw verbal stones at the accused during his trial. That in itself would make any but a wicked person careful to examine both his motives and his honesty at the time of trial.
The Jews themselves tell us that their manner of stoning was this: they brought the condemned person without the camp, because his crime had rendered him unclean, and whatever was unclean must be put without the camp. When they came within four cubits of the place of , they stripped the criminal, if a man, leaving him nothing but a cloth about the waist. The place on which he was to be executed was elevated. One of the witnesses would strike him with a stone upon the loins; if he was not killed with that blow, then the witnesses took up a great stone, as much as two men could lift, and threw it upon his breast. However when a man was stoned by the mob (as seems to be the case with Stephen), then brutal rage armed every man, justice was set aside, and the will and fury of the people were law, judge, jury, and er. Such disgraceful stonings as these were, no doubt, frequent among the Jews.
See tonight what to do when rocks or stones are thrown your way.
I. ACCEPT THE PROVOKING REALITY
The reality that needs to be defined and accepted is that you and I will have stones thrown our way. Hurtful experiences will come your way.
Joseph had stones thrown at him. Job had stones thrown at him. David at stones thrown at him.
Some of these stones may come as a result of our own inappropriate attitudes, actions, or articulations (I Peter 4:12-15).
Others stones may come your way because of your position, your possessions, or your privileges.
People oftentimes become envious or jealous and say or do things which are very hurtful to you.
II. ACKNOWLEDGE THE PRESERVED RESOURCE
What are you gong to do when stones are hurl your way? You better do as Stephen. TURN TO THE WORD OF GOD.
There is no substitute for the eternal Word of God. When Jesus himself was having stones thrown at Him by the devil, He turned to the Word of God. In His trial and temptation, Jesus turned to the Word of God.
Stephen is accused in chapter 6:11-13. Stephen answers their stones of accusations in chapter 7. If the Scripture were removed from his rebuttal very little would be left.
A. The Bible is a map for direction (Psalm 119:130a)
B. The Bible is manual for discernment (Psalm 119:130b)
C. The Bible is mirror for defilement (Psalm 119:119:9-11)
The Bible will direct
The Bible will defend
The Bible will delight
The Bible will comfort us
The Bible will cleanse us
The Bible will convict us
III. ACTIVATE A PROPER RESPONSE
What should be our response when rocks are thrown our way?
You could throw them back. You could save them. You could number them.
A. Don’t NURSE them
Don’t feel sorry for yourself and be filled with a sense of self pity. Nursing them will only cause you to become bitter. Bitter people lose their zeal and zest. They lost their impact for an effective life for the Lord.
B. Don’t CURSE them
See James 1:19,20. A blazing, irrational, uncontrolled temper should not be manifest in a Christian life.
Lady who went to the doctor was diagnosed with rabies. Took out a piece of paper and began frantically to write. "Are you writing out your will?"
"No, I am writing out those I am going to bite."
Lady once came to Billy Sunday and said, "There is nothing wrong with losing my temper. I blow up, and then its over."
Sunday replied, "So does a shotgun, but look at the damage it leaves behind."
C. DISPERSE them
Hand your hurts to the Lord. See I Peter 4:19. The word “commit”