Sunday, July 10, 2011

A True Man Of God : Stephen

   God gives us many people and examples to study throughout the bible. Even though the humans lived thousands of years ago, we can still relate to them today.
   Stephen is first introduced in Acts 6:8. He is desired as a man full of God's grace and power. He did great wonders and miraculous  signs among the people. Members of the Synagogue of the Freedman - Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia began to argue with Stephen. They accused him of the unforgivable sin. 
Acts 6:11 says... "Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
Luke 12:10 speaks of the unforgivable sin... "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Mark 3:29 also speaks of it..."But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."
   They then seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses and lies flew out of their mouths. The high priest then asked if there charges were true. Then, Stephen begins to tell his speech. I want to encourage you to take a moment right now and read Acts 7. Stephen sure did know his Old Testament history! He told of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and others. 
Acts 7:51-53 says... "You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
   He told this whole speech by memorization. He stood strong by God. He was challenged by his enemies and he challenged right back. Do you know enough of your bible history and some verses so if that someone challenged you, you would be prepared?
   When the others heard this, they were furious! Then Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God. "Look," he said, " I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." At this they were infuriated and they drug him out of the city and began to stone him. 
Acts 7:59-60 says... "While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
   So, who had the victory in the end? Well, of course, Stephen did! He is of this Earth and now living and eternity with Jesus Christ in heaven!
   There is so much to be learned throughout the bible. What did you learn from Stephen? Do you need to change something in your life that God wants you to? When you get to heaven will you hear from Jesus, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"? (Matthew 25:21) I challenge you to notice something in your life that perhaps you should stop or change today. God will be there to help you. Talk to him about it. Talk to God about ANYTHING. He will always be there....your father....ready to listen to you.

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