Acts 7

Acts 7 has Stephen before the high priest defending himself.  He gives a long history lesson of God’s faithfulness and the blessings God has bestowed on His people.  He walks through the story of Abraham and Isaac and Moses and continues to the present time where they have killed the Christ.  He then lets them have it.  “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.  As your fathers did, so do you”.  Not a gentle and quiet defense to say the least.  Stephen was direct and in their face.  But he continues.

He tells them “they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it”.  All the show the religious leaders tried to make wasn’t worth anything and Stephen calls them out.  They are not amused.  “Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they  ground their teeth at him”.  The easy way out would be for Stephen to keep his mouth shut and just take the punishment the high priest might hand out.

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God”.  Stephen was tuned in and connected to God.  Does that describe your relationship with the Father?  What would you do if accused of your faith and standing before someone who wants you to deny that faith in order to be set free.  Stephen doesn’t give an inch and “they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him”.  Stephen answered without fear and was willing to face the persecution that was headed his way.

“Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him….the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul”.  Here we meet the man Saul who was right in the middle of the killing of Stephen.  But he doesn’t give an inch, and “as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”.  Stephen doesn’t lose sight of the reality that God is there with Him.  “And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. And when he had said this, he fell asleep”.  Stephen doesn’t lose sight of his relationship with God and even while they were killing him for his faith, he willingly offers forgiveness and love.  That’s faith in action God’s way.

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