Summary: Stephen begins his message by talking about Abraham and Joseph
Stephen’s Message, Pt. 1 – Journeys of Faith
Acts 6:15 – 7:16
Jeff Hughes – May 4, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
a. Stephen’s faith in God and his walking it out placed him in harm’s way. Stephen boldly stood up for his faith in front of the Grecian Jews at the Freedman’s Synagogue, we saw this last week.
b. This week, we will see Stephen standing firm in front of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jewish nation, proclaiming that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the long awaited Savior.
c. Just like with the apostles, when they stood before the Sanhedrin to answer charges, Stephen would use this opportunity to try and evangelize this group, as the apostles had done.
d. Stephen didn’t hire an attorney, he didn’t try to make a plea bargain, he just kept trusting God, and proclaimed the gospel. God blessed Stephen for his faithfulness, which we will see both today and next week.
e. But, we notice that Stephen’s message to the Sanhedrin is very long. Now, if importance equated to length, this would be one of the most important sections of Acts. But, really, we don’t know what the purpose God had by including Stephen’s message in Acts, except to give us hope and inspiration when we fall into tribulation. It is important to us though, because God chose to put it here in His Word, and we will study it today.
f. There are two themes in Stephen’s message, and today we will look at the first of those themes. The first theme is that God, throughout history, has sent deliverers and leaders, by faith to lead and instruct the Jewish nation. But, time and time again, the nation rebelled and sinned against God.
g. It wasn’t that these men God raised up failed. On the contrary, these men did exactly what God had called them to do by faith in Him. Each of these men were called to make a Journey of Faith, and we will look at this in depth today, as we continue through Acts.
h. But, first, let’s have a short prayer, to ask the Lord to bless the study of His Word today.
a. When Hudson Taylor went to China, he made the voyage on a sailing vessel. As it neared the channel between the southern Malay Peninsula and the island of Sumatra, the missionary heard an urgent knock on his stateroom door. He opened it, and there stood the captain of the ship.
b. “Mr. Taylor,” he said, “we have no wind. We are drifting toward an island where the people are heathen, and I fear they are cannibals.”
c. “What can I do?” asked Taylor.
d. “I understand that you believe in God. I want you to pray for wind.”
e. “All right, Captain, I will, but you must set the sail.”
f. “Why that’s ridiculous! There’s not even the slightest breeze. Besides, the sailors will think I’m crazy.”
g. But finally, because of Taylor’s insistence, he agreed. Forty-five minutes later he returned and found the missionary still on his knees. “You can stop praying now,” said the captain. “We’ve got more wind than we know what to do with!”
h. Hudson Taylor was a man who was making a journey of faith himself. Many lives would be touched through the work of His China Inland Mission. Stephen made a journey of faith to stand in front of the Sanhedrin to proclaim the gospel.