[Linux4christians] Wednesday - Acts 7:51 – 8:3
dcolburn at bibleseven.com
dcolburn at bibleseven.com
Tue Oct 18 10:44:54 EDT 2011
Acts 7:51 – 8:3
7:51 “You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are
always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! 7:52 Which of
the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who
foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and
murderers you have now become! 7:53 You received the law by decrees
given by angels, but you did not obey it.”
Stephen is Killed
7:54 When they heard these things, they became furious and ground their
teeth at him. 7:55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently
toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right
hand of God. 7:56 “Look!” he said. “I see the heavens opened, and the
Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 7:57 But they covered
their ears, shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one
intent. 7:58 When they had driven him out of the city, they began to
stone him, and the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young
man named Saul. 7:59 They continued to stone Stephen while he prayed,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 7:60 Then he fell to his knees and
cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”
When he had said this, he died.
8:1 And Saul agreed completely with killing him.
Saul Begins to Persecute the Church
Now on that day a great persecution began against the church in
Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout
the regions of Judea and Samaria. 8:2 Some devout men buried Stephen and
made loud lamentation over him. 8:3 But Saul was trying to destroy the
church; entering one house after another, he dragged off both men and
women and put them in prison.
Lord, You blessed Stephen with clarity and purpose, and You also gave
him courage and certainty of salvation. May I also find clarity and
purpose and courage in the certainty of my salvation and in the perfect
righteousness of the Lord God Whom I serve.
Summary & Commentary
Stephen concludes his defense with a powerful challenge to the religious
leaders, much the same as those previously given by Jesus and Peter and
John and is murdered for it - Stephen becomes the first Christian martyr.
Immediately prior to his death Stephen is given a vision of Jesus
standing next to God the Father, then as he dies Stephen reprises the
words of Jesus on the Cross for His killers "Lord, do not hold this sin
against them." [Note: Those who murdered Stephen carried enough sin to
condemn them endlessly, Stephen perhaps did not want his martyrdom to
add to that but instead still longed for them to accept and submit to
the saving truth of Jesus.]
Saul, who oversaw and approved the stoning of Stephen, initiated a
"great persecution" which drove all but the Apostles into hiding. He
hunted and imprisoned many in the Church (believers), doing great harm
to their fellowship.
The Bible says that all believers will face persecution and that the
forces in power and at work in the world today are overwhelmingly
aligned against God.
Begin with the context of the historic persecutions of the Church in
China, most Muslim nations, and elsewhere - in both the past and in the
present. Imagine for the moment that you lived there, how do you think
your faith would serve you then?
Stephen demonstrated courage, knowing that the truth would likely cost
him his freedom and as-likely his life, he remained undeterred.
When have you known men and women of truth, not noisy self-important or
immaturely noisy people, but humble and mature and thoughtful people who
valued truth above all else and spoke it boldly when asked without
regard to personal consequence?
Faith in Action
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone who fearlessly shares God's
truth whom He wants you encourage with a note or a call or a visit. It
may be a missionary, a community or political leader, a religious
leader, a student, a co-worker, or someone else who steps out in faith.
Today I will pray that political and religious leaders will listen to
God and turn away from paths that lead to the repression and persecution
of Christians and devastation to everything that they value in this
Be Specific ______________________________________________________
Thursday's text will be:
Draw nearer to the Lord and He will bless you,
Have an http://Ultrafidian.com Day!
David M. Colburn, DMin. MaCo
Personal Site: http://bibleseven.com
Bible Resources: http://bible.org
Teacher's Verse: John 7:16
Defend free speech or lose your freedom.
I don't google I SEARCH! Yippy.com
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