Summary: Let’s take a look at Stephen’s life and how it stacks up against ours. 1- Full of grace 2- Did great wonders 3- Met mean opposition 4- Faced with death
INTRO.- ILL.- One Friday morning, a teacher came up with a novel way to motivate her class. She told them that she would read a quote and the first student to correctly identify who said it would receive the rest of the day off.
She started with “This was England’s finest hour.” Little Suzy instantly jumped up and said, “Winston Churchill.”
“Congratulations,” said the teacher, “you may go home early.”
The teacher then said, “Ask not what your country can do for you…” Before she could finish the quote, another young lady belts out, “John F. Kennedy!”
“Very good,” says the teacher, “you may go also.” Irritated that he has missed two golden opportunities, Little Johnny said, “I wish those girls would just shut up.”
Upon overhearing this comment, the outraged teacher demanded to know who said it. Johnny instantly rose to his feet and said, “Bill Clinton and I’ll see you Monday.”
Who is the man of the hour? It depends on the time and era and what the people think. At one time, in England, it probably was Winston Churchill. In America, at one time, it was J. F. K. And perhaps even Bill Clinton.
Who the man of the hour is depends on your viewpoint. It could be a sports star, a Hollywood star, a rich person, a politician or even a Christian person.
It could be Barry Bonds. It could be Brad Pitt, Matt Damon or George Clooney. It could be Bill Gates, who is still considered to be the richest or one of the richest men in the world. Or it could be Billy Graham.
The man of the hour may or may not be the man of the hour in God’s eyes. The people of this world ALWAYS have a different view than God does. Why? Because most people are not connected with the God of the universe! They could care less what God thinks and says.
Just because a person is a man of the world or a man of the hour in the eyes of the world it doesn’t make him so in the eyes of God!
ILL.- Remember David of old? Remember what God said about him?
I Samuel 16:1 “The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king."
I Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”
11-12 “So he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," Jesse answered, "but he is tending the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives." So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one."
Even though David was a nice looking young man, it was his heart that moved God’s heart to choose him. God said, “He’s the man. He’s the man of the hour.” Wouldn’t you like to be God’s man of the hour? Or perhaps God’s woman of the hour?
In this particular text, the man of the hour was Stephen, the early church deacon. Today, someone might say, “He was just a deacon.” JUST A DEACON! He was that and a whole lot more!
PROP.- Let’s take a look at his life and how it stacks up against ours.
1- Full of grace
2- Did great wonders
3- Met mean opposition
4- Faced with death
I. FULL OF GRACE
Acts 6:8 “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace.”
EPITATHPS. How will yours read?
ILL.- Here are some actual epitaphs on tombstones.
- The land I cleared is now my grave. Think well my friends how you behave.
- Under this sod,
Under these trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease
Be is not here
But only his pod
He has shelled out his peas
And gone to His God
- Gone to a better land. I hope.
- Behold my friends as you pass by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, so you must be
Prepare for death and follow me.
How will your epitaph read or will it say anything at all?
ILL.- Enoch “Walked With God”
He “walked with God!” Could grander words be written?
Not much of what he thought or said is told;
Not where or what he wrought is even mentioned;