Summary: This message examines the life and influence of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
STEPHEN: THE FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYR
Text: Acts 6:8-15
"And Stephen, full of faith and power,
did great wonders and miracles among
Then there arose certain of the synagogue,
which is called the synagogue of the Lib-
ertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, dis-
uting with Stephen.
And they were not able to resist the wisdom
and the spirit by which he spake.
Then they suborned men, which said, We have
heard him speak blasphemous words against
Moses, and aganist God.
And they stirred up the people, and the
elders, and the scribes, and come upon him,
and caught him, and brought him to the
And set up false witnesses, which said,
This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous
words against this holy place, and shall
change the customs which Moses delivered
And all that sat in the council, looking
steadfastly on him,m saw his face as it
had been the face of an angel."
The Bible speaks of the people of God, the
people of faith, as "those of whom the world is
not worthy." They shine as bright lights in the
midst of the darkness of this world, reflecting
the grace and goodness of Almighty God. Stephen
has the distinction of being the first to ever
sacrifice his life for the cause of Christ. His
commitment to Christ was unwavering, and his de-
votion was unending. We all need to mimic him.
Let’s notice some important things about Stephen.
I.First, Let’s look at THE PERSON OF STEPHEN
Stephen was one of the seven chosen by the early
Christian church to deal with a dispute over the
distribution of food to the needy.(Acts 6:5)
He was a man of great faith, and was filled with
the Spirit of God.(Acts 6:5) Many mighty miracles
were accomplished through him.(Acts 6:8)
II.Secondly, Let’s notice THE PROBLEM OF STEPHEN.
Stephen shook the world around him through his
dedication to Christ, and his bold proclamation
of the truth that sets men free.
The power of God rested upon him, and God
blessed and used him in a great way as a witness.
He became a problem; however, to the so called
"religious people" of his day-the scribes and
Pharisees. He was fearlessly proclaiming Christ
as the Messiah and Savior, and they just couldn’t
stomach it. His ideas would bring change, and
that is something that they did not want. They
were satisfied with the deadness of the letter
of the law, and refused the mighty power of God.
The Spirit of God controlled and spoke through
Stephen, but they rejected the truth of God.
III.Thirdly, let’s notice THE PURITY OF STEPHEN.
Stephen’s face shone, as did the face of Moses,
whose law they accused him of trying to set aside.
God was making a point to them in their unbelief.
It is as if God was saying-"This man is not aga-
inst Moses-He is like Moses, my faithful servant."
IV.Fourthly, let’s see THE PREACHING OF STEPHEN.
Stephen was a dynamic proclaimer of God’s Word.
He preached the longest recorded sermon in the
New Testament. He spoke of the nation of Israel,
of the promise of God fulfilled in Christ,, and
of the need of people to surrender their lives
to Jesus as Lord. He proclaimed that they had
always resisted the prophets of God that had
been sent to them.
In Luke 21:15 Christ promised his followers-
"For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which
all your adversaries shall not be able to gain-
say nor resist." He did just that with Stephen.
V. Fifthly, notice THE PUNISHMENT OF STEPHEN.
Contrary to Roman law, Stephen was taken by the
Jews, and stoned to death.
As he was dying, he prayed for them-for their
forgiveness, just like his Savior had done.
His clothes were laid at the feet of a young
man, named Saul of Tarsus(Paul).
VI. Sixthly, let’s notice THE PERSERVERENCE OF
Stephen perservered and prevailed. He triumphed
over his enemies even though they did murder him.
Because of the persecution that followed, the
Gospel spread to the Samaritans, and then to
Jesus stood up and welcomed this faithful servant
Invitation-Christ will receive us too, if we are
faithful to Him. Come, trust Him now, and give
Him your life.