Summary: WE SEE IN THIS SERMON, THE SPLENDOR OF STEPHEN,THE SERMON OF STEPHEN,AND THE STONING OF STEPHEN.
THE DEACON WHO WAS DEVOTED TO JESUS
Acts 6:8-15, 54-60
Written anonymously on the walls of a medieval castle were the following words:
You call me Master and Obey me not. You call me Light and See me not. You call me the Way and Walk me not. You call me Life and Desire me not. You call me Wise and Follow me not. You call me Fair and Love me me not. You call me Rich and Ask me not. You call me Eternal and Seek me not. You call me Gracious and Trust me not. If I condemn you, Blame me not.
These words could not be said about Stephen, for he was truly a deacon who was devoted to Jesus.
I. NOTICE THE SPLENDOR OF STEPHEN:
(There is one word that is used to describe Stephen and it used three times in these passages. It is the word "full".)
A-Stephen was a Spirit-filled man:
Acts6:5-"....and they chose Stephen, a man full....of the Holy Spirit."
1)Because he was spirit-filled, they couldn’t resist him according to verse ten.
2)The secret of D.L. Moody was not in his education, nor his speech, nor his looks, nor his wealth but it was that he was a man full of the Holy Spirit.
B-Stephen was a Stable man:
Acts6:5-"....and they chose Stephen. a man full of faith."
1)He had a faith in that he believed something and and that something was the Lord Jesus Christ. He believed in Him so much that he was willing to die for Him.
2)Michael Faraday, the great scientist, was taken ill. When it became evident that the sickness that had fastened itself upon him would soon result in his death, a group of fellow scientists came to see him--not so much to talk about science as to talk about death. One of them said to him: "Mr. Faraday, what are your speculations about your future?" With evident surprise to them he replied: "Speculations! I have none. I am resting on certainties." Then he quoted II Tim. 1:12: "For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
C--Stephen was a Strong man:
Acts 6:8-"And Stephen, full of faith and powers, did great wonders and miracles among the people."
1)The divine power of God was upon him, not to exalt him but exalt Jesus. And it was to be used in bringing people to Jesus.
II. NOTICE THE SERMON OF STEPHEN:
A-The Contents of the Sermon:
Acts 7:2-:And he said, men, brethren and fathers, hearken;the God of Glory..."
1)The content of Stephen’s sermon was about the Lord, and based on his Word.
2) The story is told about an old American Indian who attended a church service one Sunday morning. The preacher’s message lacked real spiritual food, so he did a lot of shouting and pulpit pounding to cover up his lack of preparation. In fact, as it is sometimes said, he "preached up quite a storm." After the service, someone asked the Indian, who was a Christian, what he thought of the minister’s message. Thinking for a moment, he summed up his opinion in six words: "High wind. Big thunder. No rain." Yes, when the Scriptures are neglected, there is "no rain." Only when preaching is based on God’s Word are His people blessed and refreshed.
B-The Courage of the Sermon:
Acts 7:51-"Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost : as your fathers did, do ye."
1) Peter Cartwright, a nineteenth-century circuit-riding Methodist preacher, was an uncompromising man. One Sunday morning when he was to preach, he was told that President Andrew Jackson was in the congregation, and warned not to say anything out of line. When Cartwright stood to preach, he said, "I understand that Andrew Jackson is here. I have been requested to be guarded in my remarks. Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn’t repent." The congregation was shocked and wondered how the President would respond. After the service, President Jackson shook hands with Peter Cartwright and said, "Sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could whip the world."
2)Stephen was a person who knew such courage because he knew that Jesus was with him as he preached.
C-The Conviction of the Sermon:
Acts 7:54-"When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart...."
1) There is tremendous power in the Word of God. This truth is illustrated in a story told by C. H. Spurgeon. Out of curiosity, an agnostic who belonged to what was known as the "Hell-fire Club" attended a service where George Whitefield was preaching. At the next meeting of the club, the young man began to ridicule the evangelist before the other members, repeating Whitefield’s words and mimicking his inflections and gestures. About halfway through the speech, however, he stopped abruptly as the Holy Spirit began to convict him. Responding to the message he had been repeating so flippantly, he confessed his sin and opened his heart to Christ right then and there. Needless to say, the meeting was quickly adjourned. That young man became a zealous witness who led many others to Christ.