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Summary: "Lord, lay no charge"

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STEPHEN

THE PRINCELY PRAYER

“Lord, lay no charge.”

Date: August 18, 2002 P.M Service

Place: Allendale Baptist Church

Text: Acts 7:55-60

Introduction

Over these past few months I have taken scriptures and prayers in the Bible and used them as sermon topics. I have called them prayers that made a difference.

Tonight we will look at a man that modeled the Lord he so loved and served. He even modeled him in his death. That man was Stephen.

What kind of man was Stephen?

He was selected as a Deacon to serve the Body of Christ during the early church beginning. Acts 6 tells us he was a man of honest report, full of the Hoy Spirit and wisdom. He was a man full of power, who did great wonders and miracles among the people. He was also a man full of faith.

He is best remembered as the first Christian martyr because of his death. His name means, “Crown”. Jesus promised, “be faithful even unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

I want you to look at his death in these verses tonight and notice three things.

I. His Triumph Over Fear.

A. Stephen was an effective preacher and had angered the people with his words of truth. They were “cut to the heart” with his accusations that they were responsible for the death of Jesus.

B. He recounts the deeds of Moses and the faithlessness of the people, reminding his accusers of the idol worship of their ancestors. Then he turned on them saying, “You stiffnecked & uncircumcised in heart & ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit, as your fathers did, so do you.”(v. 7:51)

C. Infuriated by his statements of truth and they “ran at him with one accord.” But it says, “Being full of the Holy Spirit looked up into the heaven, and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.”

1. Someone has said Stephen’s outlook may have been bad, but his uplook was glorious.”

D. Stephen stood courageously as they attacked him.

1. Maybe he remembered the word Jesus spoke, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.” (Matthew 10:28)

2. Or perhaps he was foretelling what Paul would later say, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”

3. Or maybe he heard Jesus Sermon on the Mount; “Blessed are you, when men revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake… great is your reward.”

E. The Christian who faces opposition and death courageously wins a great victory over fear.

II. Triumph of Faith (v. 59)

A. We will all face death some day.

B. It does not matter if you face death with courage but if you face it with hope.

C. The time to prepare for death is before you face it.

D. Augustine noted only one deathbed repentance in the bible; the thief on the cross. He said; “This case is there so that we will not despair; but it is only there so that we will not presume.”

E. “True repentance is never too late, but late repentance is seldom true.”

III. His Triumph of Forgiveness (v.60)

A. Stephens last cry was for forgiveness. Not for himself. Stephen prayed God would forgive those who were killing him.


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