Sermons

Summary: This is the 16th sermon in the Action Series. This series began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Series: Action [#16]

WHEN JESUS STANDS

Acts 7:54-60

Introduction:

Last week we listened to Stephen’s sermon. Stephen went through the spiritual history of Israel and condemned those who disobeyed God and those who destroyed those who proclaimed God’s Word. Once his sermon was completed, we see the reaction of those who had heard him preach.

When the religious are faced with the truth, they will either confess and repent or they will fight. Which one are you? As Stephen was being killed look at what happened.

Acts 7:54-56

As Stephen was being killed…

1. He saw Jesus standing.

Stephen stood before the Sanhedrin; but his focus went away from the Temple, the priests, the scribes, and the crowd of people. He looked up to Heaven and saw Jesus standing. Stephen went from seeing the physical world and began to see the spiritual world.

Stephen pointing out to the religious leaders that he could Jesus standing at the right hand of God the Father was enough to “flip them out”. Not only was he telling them that he was a man of God; but he was also proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah. Stephen told them to look with him; but they didn’t. They had no interest in seeing into Heaven. They had their minds set about Jesus and would not have been able to see into Heaven. They were unwilling to believe the truth.

Why was Jesus standing? I thought Jesus was sitting down at the right hand of God because His job was completed. I believe it shows His approval and His readiness to bring Stephen into Heaven.

Acts 7:57-59

As Stephen was being killed…

2. He asked Jesus to receive his spirit.

The crowd grabbed Stephen and dragged him out of the city. They took him to the east side of the Kidron Valley. There were witnesses there and they laid their coats at a young man’s feet that we will hear much about in the Book of Acts.

According to tradition, Stephen was shoved into a pit where 2 large stones were thrown at him; and then there was a pause. The pause was to give Stephen time to repent. Instead of repenting, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” We are told that he was praying this while everyone was throwing stones at him. “Receive my spirit” is the same thing Jesus said to God before He died. Jesus asked God the Father to receive His spirit and now Stephen asked Jesus to do the same.

Acts 7:60 (NIV)

As Stephen was being killed…

3. He asked Jesus not to hold their sins against them.

Again, Stephen was responding as Jesus did. It was all about Jesus and not Stephen. Stephen’s last act was to ask for forgiveness for those who were killing him. Asking for forgiveness, mercy, and grace for your enemies is a great example of being like Jesus.

Conclusion:

Does your life cause Jesus to stand in approval or does it embarrass Him?

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