Summary: Acts Series: 28th Sermon-- Stephen’s ministry was a like a meteor flying thru the night sky…very brief, but brilliant and bright, powerful and spectacular!
The Stoning of Stephen
Today, we look at the first deacon and his story—Stephen.
Stephen’s ministry was a like a meteor flying thru the night sky…very brief, but brilliant and bright, powerful and spectacular!
We don’t know much about him and his background, but his name tells us much: Stephen=a victor’s crown…and he’ll have a crown in heaven, the martyr’s crown…he was faithful to his ministry, even unto death!
He wasn’t a pastor or an apostle, he was simply a layman who served [deaconed].
I Tim. 3 says the first qualification for a deacon is that they be grave [serious minded]…this is God’s business, and it is the most important business in the world, and what we did in deacon mtg. this past Tuesday nite is more imp’t than what happened on Wall Street this week.
Stephen took God’s business seriously, as we all should. And the qualities in Stephen’s life were worth recording in the Bible, and thus they are worth cultivating in our own lives!
He was filled with the Holy Spirit…didn’t just have the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit had him!
In every believer the Holy Spirit is resident, but what He wants to be is President! [call the shots, be in full control!]
4 Words Which Describe Stephen: [in the Bible]
These words describe his spirituality. Being spiritual: it’s a lot easier to talk it than to walk it. I meet a lot of people who talk very spiritually, but just scratch a little beneath the surface and you find there’s not much there! No real devotion/commitment/roots/depth…all talk and no walk. Steve Proctor says “they’re all suit and no underwear!” I wouldn’t say that, he did…I’m not that crude!
Stephen’s spirituality ran deep, and it manifested in his life in some very tangible ways…here’s 4 of them:
v. 5 How did Stephen get faith? The only way any of us can…from the Word of God.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The fact that he was a man of faith tells us 3 things:
He read his Bible/studied his Bible/memorized his Bible!
The evidence is in chapter 7…read it at home—he preaches an impromptu sermon, extemporaneously w/ out notes! Completely from memory, he gives the entire history of Israel, from Abraham to Moses, Egypt and slavery, to the wilderness, the promised land…he knew where Abraham was buried when he died, and even gave the names of the men he bought the burial plot from!
I’m painting in broad strokes, here, because you can read in ch. 7 the great detail he gave in a lengthy sermon…how many agree w/ me that he must’ve known his Bible?! He was a man of this book…no wonder the Bible says he was full of faith!
May I remind you than you are not truly spiritual if your Bible is collecting dust from Sunday to Sunday! Read it.
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
2 Tim. 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
v. 10 We know where he got his faith, from the Word, but where did he get his wisdom? College books? Seminary? No! He got it from the spirit of God in prayer! The Bible says in
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Since he was a man of wisdom, we can know he was a man of prayer!
Ill.—young preacher wanted to preach in a robe—tailor took measurements, asked “I need to know how long you’ve been in the ministry.” “What does that have to do w/ it?” “Everything, I’ve made a lot of robes, and if you’re young in the ministry you think you know it all and you walk around w/ your head held high and your chest stuck out…so I need to make it longer in front and shorter in back/but if you’ve been in the ministry for some time, you know you don’t know it all, you’re pretty level headed and level hearted!/finally, once you’ve been serving God a long time, you realize you don’t know anything, you spend most of your time w/ your head bowed in prayer asking for wisdom, or on your knees looking to the only One who can help! You need it shorter in front and longer in back!
We may be young looking but I promise you it’s oil of Olay, because we’ve grown up in the ministry all our lives, and thru the years we’ve come to know that we haven’t come to know anything!