Summary: Stephen life as an example and challenge to stand for Jesus in spite of the consequences
Stephen is the first recorded person who died for the cause of Christ. Let us examine a few facts of his life and try to learn something for it!
Qualifications for him to be chosen were: honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom
Stephen gave himself fully to the work he was picked out for. He went beyond mere serving in excess
Act 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
When you are to be entrusted with the assets of the church it's essential that people have confidence in your honesty.
Having the Holy Ghost is vital in all aspects in the service of Christ.
A lot of sticky situations may arise requiring wisdom.
He was described as a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost
Act 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,
He was also called a man full of faith and power
Act 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
Stephen gave 100 % and more. How much do we give?
Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
1Co 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Act 6:9-10 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. (10) And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
When honest men full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom take a stand for God there will always be someone to oppose and dispute. It is important that we trust not in our own wisdom and abilities but to depend on the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Jas 1:5-8 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (6) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (7) For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (8) A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Act 6:11-14 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. (12) And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, (13) And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: (14) For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
In Acts 7 Stephen demonstrates his knowledge of the Scripture.
It indicates insight into the success of Stephen's ministry.
He studied and meditated on the word of God.
Many spend all their lives studying everything else except the Word of God.
We may much rather prefer to read some cheap fictitious story than the Word of God but there is simply no comparison to, or substitute for, the Word of God.
Ecc 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Paul's exhortation to Timothy was:
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 3:14-17 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Some may want to say all this God...God...God thing is not good but we need to understand that if it not all God...God...God then it will be the opposite
Stephen also demonstrated that not only does he know the Word but is able to apply it effectively. So effectively that his opponents resorted to the only thing weak men do when they are shown to be wrong..they killed Stephen