Summary: We all stand for different things in our lives either physically or personally. Stephen took a stand for Jesus and died for it. So what do you stand for? Is it worth dying for? Then start living for it today
What do I Stand for?
Today I want to talk about a concept, that affects all of us, but dependent on your background and/or how you were raised or what you were taught growing up you may have one view or another. Now this particular question can have several answers depending on that view. So if you're taking notes go ahead and write this down, What do I stand for? I’m sure if we wrote down 5 answers and took a poll around the room, a lot of us may have one or two similar or like minded answers. As a church I am sure some would say they STAND for Christianity or some would say that they stand for America or Freedom or Democracy.
Let’s now talk about physically standing, there used to be a tradition for men to STAND UP when women enter/leave the room now days standing just because of a woman’s presence will come off as weird to most women, although my wife probably could get use to it. Now it’s more appropriate to stand when being introduced. Alot of us STAND to cheer our favorite football team when they make a big play, although the Gator fans didn’t do much of that last year, I am a Miami fan so I have felt that pain for 10 years. At concerts the bands sometimes get STANDING ovations and so on. There are many reasons that cause us to STAND.
I had the privilege of serving for our country for four years. When I joined the military it was during the first Gulf war, what this meant was I was to complete my training and they would ship us directly from training to the Gulf. I knew this when I joined and I made the decision that I would be willing to fight or STAND UP for my country in this way. God had a different plan and the war ended while I was in training so I never got that opportunity. While I served they trained us to physically STAND for a few things, like when an officer entered a room we would STAND at attention as a sign of respect or honoring the rank that they had achieved, or during the national anthem we would also STAND at attention to honor the country that we serve. To this day whenever I hear the national anthem I still STAND at attention. I think all of us STAND for something in our lives either physically or personally in our lives.
Here recently I feel God has lead me to a particular person in the bible to study and as I have been studying this person he has revealed some things that I would like to share. I feel there are so many lessons that can be learned from this man’s life it really should be covered in several messages. Today I want to talk to you about a man named Stephen and what he decided to STAND for. Many of you may know the story of Stephen, but for those who do not I will give a brief overview of the life of Stephen. See Stephen was introduced to us after Jesus had been crucified and had risen into heaven. It was a time of rapid growth in the church through the bold witness of Peter and John after the Holy Spirit came upon them. As a matter of fact after Peter and the apostles received the Holy Spirit, Peter preached to the crowd and 3,000 people that came to see what was going on gave their lives to Christ became believers and got baptized. As those believers spread the news of Gospel the news and love of Jesus spread faster and faster.
This caused 2 things to happen,
First thing that this caused was opposition amongst the High priests or the Sadducees, as more and more people were becoming believers, as people were being healed and delivered from evil spirits. The bible says that they became jealous. The keepers of the Religion or Laws were so upset about what the apostles STOOD for, because they felt that it contradicted the Laws of Moses and the temple so they had the apostles arrested and threw them in jail. Well that did no good as an Angel of the Lord came and opened the doors of the jail and let them out to continue spreading the Gospel. When God has a plan for you, and you are being faithful and STAND for him, not even steel bars can STAND in your way of what he has for you. So throwing them in jail did not stop them, so they arrested them again had them beaten and told them to never speak in the name of Jesus.
This did not stop them, it says in Acts 5:41-42 (NLT)