Summary: The Sanhedrin’s reaction to the Gospel is pretty typical for those who reject it, but the boldness displayed by Stephen is something WE must learn from!
The Death of a Deacon
- Stephen (the first deacon) has been seized by the Sanhedrin
- He is brought before them to answer the charges of blasphemy (no proof needed)
- The Council of the Sanhedrin ultimately were condemning themselves when they condemned Stephen. Why? Because they rejected what he preached: JESUS!
- I have three points today and my first two points ARE the introduction (smile)
-- So, let’s just dive in and I want to ask you … hold on … this is an amazing text
Point 1 – History is Important! (1-50)
- Read Acts 7:1-3
- v1 – Stephen is asked point blank, “Are these charges true?”
-- Has a chance to save his neck; to lie; to weasel out; to say anything he wants
-- Instead what does he do? He starts to remind them of who they are to God
-- He walks them through their own heritage; much to their shock I’m sure
- v2 – He recalls for them the promises to Abram (who later becomes Abraham)
-- What were these promises? Go to and read Genesis 12:1-3
- Thing for us to see: We must be willing to recognizing God’s voice!
-- Notice that the first thing we see is that God spoke, and Abram heard
-- This is a unique position that we see in the life of Abram; already following God
-- And so, when God spoke; there was an immediate recognition by Abram
-- Challenge: Can you and I say the same? Do we hear/recognize God’s voice?
- What Abram hears though is more than a text message type of translation
- Abram gets the full script and promise of his life revealed to him in 2 sentences
- (v2-3) “I” will do these things; the great “I AM” is responsible and in charge
- The promise here is God saying, “I am in charge, and I will take care of you”
- Stephen then gives them an all-out assault on the senses of THEIR history
-- He not only recounts Abraham, but Moses’ calling and his obedience to God
- Then, in v39 Stephen does some just amazing … (read v39)
-- APP: He shows them exactly where we have failed as a people
- Ancestors refused to obey
-- They rejected Moses’ leadership
-- They asked Moses’ son, Aaron, to build them an idol to worship
-- They had the tabernacle, they had God’s provisions, and still they disobeyed
-- Stephen shows them their failures with Joshua and the disobedience to God
- I would say, when all was said and done – these people were fuming with anger
- TRANS: But wait – there is EVEN MORE that Stephen does!
-- Stephen then displays the most critical piece of his testimony … HONESTY!
-- He unleashes on them the comparison of who they are EXACTLY like!
Point 2 – Serving God takes Bravery (51-53)
- Read Acts 7:51-53
- Not only are you people stiff-necked (means: haughty; stubborn) …
-- You are just as big as sinners as your ancestors were
-- This is why you have no power; this is why you are weak
-- This is why your testimony is foolish and why no one listens to you!!!