By Glen Dawursk, Jr. 9/2002
That’s it! If all three are in tact, your faith has the basis for being a “radical” faith.
Stephen was an early Christian believer who professed his beliefs openly around him.
Check out Acts 6:8-7:2.
Here we see that Stephen __________ the scriptures.
We desire to know more about God. We actually “__________” for the scriptures. We need to know what God says for faith to grow.
Next, Stephen was not afraid to _____________ His beliefs. He truly believed what he talked about. He had the ___________ knowledge
Next Stephen stood up for his beliefs.
Check out Acts 7:51-53.
Stephen was in their faces. His “head knowledge” transcended to his heart and became a _____________.
8Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.
11Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God."
12So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."
15All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
Stephen's Speech to the Sanhedrin
1Then the high priest asked him, "Are these charges true?"
people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You
always resist the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your
fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of
the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him-- 53you
who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not
We see that Stephen was eventually stoned to death for his beliefs. He would not compromise his beliefs for anything – including his own death.
It does not allow for a compromise, relativism or mediocrity. It does not hide itself “under a bushel” for any reason. It requires _______ service NOT just ______ service!
Saul gave permission for Stephen’s death. He was a learned Jewish scholar who had __________ what Jesus taught. He knew that the Jewish leaders had fabricated the case against Stephen and in his blindness had an innocent man killed.
BUT God had mercy on Saul; God had other plans for him.
Check out Acts 9:1-9.
The Stoning of Stephen
54When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56"Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
1And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.
2On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
5"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.
6"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
You may not have a gun to your head, but God asks you daily “if you believe in Him.”
10In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!"
"Yes, Lord," he answered.
11The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."
13"Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."
15But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."
17Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem
20Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?" 22Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.