Summary: Stephen stood alone when it counted and became the first martyr, giving his life as a testimony.
SERIES: Adventures in Acts 007
TITLE: Standing Tall When it Counts
TEXT: Acts 6:8-15
INTRO: In the eighth chapter of Acts, we are introduced to a man named Stephen, which means "crown." He was a Greek speaking Jew and a deacon who became the first gospel preacher. He was full of faith and power & worked miracles. He is remembered as the first martyr who gave his life for the faith, because he Stood Tall When it Counted.
I. STANDING TALL MAY MEAN STANDING ALONE (6:8-15)
A. Stephen Stood Alone Before the Council
1 There were 480 synagogues in Jerusalem
2. The men from one of those attempted to argue with him
but were unsuccessful, so they bribed false witnesses
3. His face radiant, he stood alone before the council
# Have you ever met another person & you could just tell that that person was a Christian?
B. We May Be Called Upon to Stand Alone
1. Judeo-Christian beliefs are under attack in schools
and in the media
2. Christian institutions are being forced to provide
insurance coverage for abortions
3. Christian businesses are threatened by government
because they won't compromise their beliefs by
providing services for homosexual couples
4. Pastors and churches are threatened with lawsuits for
refusing to conduct ungodly marriages
5. Recently, the lesbian mayor of Houston subpoenaed
pastors sermons to see if they mentioned her or same-
6. Every day we see more evidence that America has
turned its back on God & is moving toward persecution
The Bible says:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (2Tim 3:1-3)
II. STANDING TALL MEANS TELLING THE TRUTH (7:51-53)
A. Stephen Was Unafraid to Preach the Truth
1. He Reviewed the History of the Jews & how they had
persecuted the prophets and rejected Jesus
2. Stephen's preaching enraged the crowd & they stoned
to death while he prayed, "Lord, lay not this sin to their
charge." (Act 7:60)
B. We Are Called Upon to Witness to the Truth
1. We must tell the truth about sin
(Rom 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
2. We must tell the truth about the consequences of sin
(Rom 6:23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
3. We must tell the truth about the way to God
(Joh 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
III. STANDING TALL MAY MEAN SUFFERING (7:54-60)
A. Stephen Died a Martyr's Death
1. The word martyr in Greek is martoos = lit. witness
2. As a result of Stephen's witness & death, a vicious
persecution arose & the church was scattered abroad,
and carried the Gospel everywhere they went.
B. We May Suffer for Our Christian Witness
1. Jesus never promised us an easy life
(Luk 9:23b) "...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
2. He never promised us we would be popular:
(Joh 15:20a) Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you...
CONCL: Are we willing to Stand Tall When it Counts?
Paul, while in prison, wrote to Timothy, warning him:
"...all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (2Ti 3:12-13)
And, then, he encouraged him to Stand Tall,
"... God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord..." (2 Tim. 1:7-8b NKV)