Summary: We must not be set in opposition to God.
THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING HISTORY
C: Purpose of the Community
Th: A People with Purpose
Pr: WE MUST NOT BE SET IN OPPOSITION TO GOD.
We must not set ourselves in opposition to God.
TS: Since Stephen stands accused of blasphemy, we will find four pleas he makes in order to be found not guilty.
Type: Narrative (in a somewhat propositional form).
The ____ plea is regarding…
I. GOD (2-16)
II. MOSES (17-37)
III. LAW (38-43)
IV. TEMPLE (44-50)
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• We must not be set in opposition to God; we need to be on God’s side.
• We need Jesus.
RMBC 19 March 06 AM
Taking his seat in his chambers, the judge faced the opposing lawyers. "So," he said, "I have been presented, by both of you, with a bribe."
Both lawyers squirmed uncomfortably.
"You, attorney Leon, gave me $15,000. And you, attorney Campos, gave me $10,000."
The judge reached into his pocket and pulled out a check. Handing it to Leon the judge said, "Now then, I’m returning $5,000, and we’re going to decide this case solely on its merits.”
Well, I am sure you are like me, in that…
When we are being judged, we want fairness.
The issue of fairness is certainly one that pertains to our topic this morning.
When we studied Acts 6 last week, we discovered that…
1. Stephen has successfully debated his Jewish colleagues.
It was a formal debate.
The premises were agreed upon.
And as Stephen went point upon point, they were unable to refute him.
He was the clear winner.
There was a problem though.
His conclusions were unacceptable because they meant the destruction of their whole religious system.
2. Since they could not win the debate, they brought fraudulent charges against him (cf. John 2:19).
They deliberately misrepresented what Stephen had been saying about Moses and the law.
In so doing, they stirred up the people to the point of a frenzy.
3. Stephen is seized and brought to trial before the Sanhedrin.
The Sanhedrin was the Jewish court.
It was a combination of priests and theologians, including both Pharisees and Sadducees.
Stephen was brought forth before this court with the charges of committing blasphemy against Moses and the temple.
In our study today, then…
4. Standing accused of blasphemy, we will find four pleas Stephen makes in order to be found not guilty.
The message that Stephen is about to give in his own defense is perhaps not what we would expect.
We are more used to the Greek-like arguments of Paul.
But this is the proclamation of a Christian message in terms of Judaism, and he has a very distinct point he is about to make.
As our text begins, the high priest asks a question.
(1) And the high priest said, "Are these things so?"
This priest is likely to be Caiaphas, which is not a good sign.
This is the same high priest that presided over the trial of Jesus.
But Stephen is going to answer these charges with a “not guilty” and proving it with history.
He is going to show that he has history on his side because they are repeating the sin of their fathers of resisting the Holy Spirit and the plan of God.