Summary: In the story of Stephen we see that when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit of God we can confront and confound our culture. It is by the same character that Stephen lived an abundant overcoming life that we too can live a life of peace, power, and purp
Intro: In the story of Stephen we see that when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit of God we can confront and confound our culture. It is by the same character that Stephen lived and abundant overcoming life that we too can life a life of peace, power, and purpose.
Stephen is the hinge in the story of the early church that helps move the momentum of the Gospel to move from Peter to Paul.
I. Character of A Godly Man
Lloyd J Ogilive Dr. “Luke’s admiration for Stephens character and radiance is evident in the terms he used to paint a portrait of the deacon.”
Stephen’s character was an identifiable outward showing of the inward grace that Stephen had experienced in Christ.
What qualities or attributes made up his character? There are four that Dr Luke pointed out.
In Acts 6.5 and 6.8 we find 4 things that Stephen was full of.
Full in the Greek is play’ race
1) Spoken of hollow vessels
2) Spoken of a surface covered in every part
3) Spoken of the soul thoroughly permeated (saturated) with
4) Spoken of full lacking nothing, perfect.
What Jesus promised to leave us in John 14.27 His peace, His completeness, lacking nothing.
The Message translation of the Bible translates this word brimming.
Stephen was full to the brim (Old coffee commercial – To the Rim with Brim) (Stephen to the Rim with) ready to overflow into others lives.
Stephen’s cup was just at the point of overflowing, He was living the abundant life. I believe If God had given Stephen one more drop of the daily filling of the Holy Spirit he would have exploded!
The sad commentary on most of us as Christians is that most of us can only be said to be full of ourselves.
A) Full of Faith Acts 6.5
1) Totally controlled by faith (trusting God) (believing God)
2) Totally confident in God’s control of his life. (God rules history)
He could stand with Paul and say, “If we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’” (Romans 14.8)
B) Full of The Holy Spirit Acts 6.5
A privilege of every believer (Eph 5.8)
1) Obeying God completely
2) Submitting to God’s leading
C) Full of Grace Acts 6.8
1) The Grace of God in the life of man
No matter Stephen’s situation, needy widows, angry accusers, or evil executioners Stephen displayed the grace of God in his life.
2) The Grace of God in the death of man
Stephen displayed the ultimate of Christ-like character forgiveness of ones enemies and even executioners.
D) Full of Power Acts 6.8
1) God’s promise Acts 1.8
2) God’s provision
Dr John MacArthur says verses 5 and 8 together show the God-ward and man-ward side of Christians Character. A man full of faith toward God, yielded to the Spirit’s control, will be gracious toward others and manifest great spiritual power.
Like the woman at the well, I was sinking
For thing that would not satisfy;
And then I heard my Savior speaking
Draw from my well that never shall run dry.
Fill my cup, Lord
I lift it up Lord
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven
Feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup
Fill it up and make me whole.
There are millions in this world who are craving
The pleasures earthly things afford;
But none can match the wondrous treasure
That I find in Jesus Christ my Lord
So my brother if the things this world gave you
Leave hunger that won’t pass away;
My blessed Lord will come and save you
If you kneel to Him and humbly pray.
Many look to Jesus for eternal salvation, but never ask for daily bread. We have spiritually starving Christians standing on the sideline of life not even aware that we are in a war of life or death. Sadly to some Jesus holds no power, place, or purpose in their day-to-day ordinary life!
But Jesus wants to help us with great and small, remember He taught His disciples to pray for daily bread!!
The fullness of faith, the filling of the Holy Spirit, fullness of God’s grace and power acting in our lives leads to two things we see in Stephen’s life.
1) Unmistakable signs! Acts 8.10
· There was no doubt that the Lord Jesus Christ had saved him and written Stephen’s name down on the heavenly roll.
· Unmistakable signs, very similar to the way Jesus showed himself alive with certain infallible proofs! (Acts 1. 3)
2) Unmatched power!
They could not cope with the power of God working through Stephen’s life!