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Summary: Stephen is an example of a person doing God's will, yet he will lose his life for it. Does that seem consistent with a God who loves you?

INTRODUCTION

• Apostle Paul Video Clip

• SLIDE #1

• Why me? Have you ever had a day, a week, a month, or a year where you asked yourself this question?

• There are a variety of reasons we can feel this way.

• We see loved ones develop a fatal disease. We lose a job we have help for many years.

• Your spouse decided the grass was greener on the other side of the fence.

• You lose a child, or as we will see today, you get persecuted for the doing the right thing with the right spirit for the right reason.

• I mean, Jerry shared the story of Jonah last week. When you look at the story of Jonah, I think we can all safely say that Jonah kind of had it coming to him.

• God asked him to do something, and he did not want to do it at first.

• After he became fish bait, he has a change of action, not so much a change of heart.

• So, really, Jonah in good conscience could not really ask WHY ME, he knew something was coming.

• Today, we will look at a situation that almost defies logic.

• In Stephen, we have a man who was filled with the Holy Spirit, full of power and grace. Stephen was selected by the church to be one of the original Deacons.

• Stephen was performing signs and wonders and was doing great works for the Lord.

• Stephen was so good at preaching the Gospel that the Jewish leaders were mad at him because they could not stand against his wisdom and spirit.

• So, these guys did what you do when you cannot win an argument, you smear the person and make up accusations against them.

• Glad we have grown past that on our time. ?

• Stephen gets dragged before the Sanhedrin, he is falsely accused of blasphemy (the act of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things).

• He was accused of speaking against Moses and God.

• So, what does Stephen do?

• He does something that every Jew loves to hear. Stephen takes the crowd to a trip down memory lane as he shares the history of the nation with the crowd.

• What could go wrong, he has the crowd eating out of his hand. Here is a man who has God on his side, he is doing the work God called him to do.

• If anyone has the right to ask WHY ME, it is Stephen.

• Let's begin with verse 54. Well, I will start with verse 51 for context and because it humors me.

• SLIDE #2

Acts 7:51–54 (CSB) — 51 “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit. As your ancestors did, you do also. 52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. 53 You received the law under the direction of angels and yet have not kept it.” 54 When they heard these things, they were enraged and gnashed their teeth at him.

• SLIDE #3

SERMON

I. Why me? Remember that God doesn’t always keep bad things from happening.

• Honestly, I do not know what happened for sure, or how Stephen went from re-telling the history of the nation to You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears?

• Suffice to say, the group got really mad at Stephen.

• I would imagine as he was preaching the false accusers were working on swaying the crowd, I think Stephen was watching his audience and finally realized he was getting nowhere with them.

• The crowd was so mad that they were gnashing their teeth, which means they were grinding their teeth together.

• Imagine if I was preaching and then all the sudden, I busted that line of thought on you, I am sure it would not be received very well. ?

• Stephen is a man who is doing God’s will, he is a man that God has blessed with the ability to perform miracles as well as being able to confound his critics.

• God blessed this man with wisdom that his opponents could not match.

• Yet here he is, the crowd is about to turn into a mob.

• This situation is going to go from bad to worse in a hurry.

• Does Stephen have anything to fear? He is a servant of the God Most High, carrying out God’s will.

• SLIDE #4

Romans 8:31 (CSB) What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

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