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Stephen (Part 3)
a commentary on Acts 7 (Application)
Thank you, Lord, for this day. May it be used for your glory!
Good morning everyone and welcome back to Biblit!
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I won’t waste any of your time, let’s just jump into the application for this week’s Biblit on Acts chapter 7!
Knowing God’s Word Equips Us
Stephen was a Greek man who knew God’s word well. From what I’ve learned, this would’ve been shocking to the Sanhedrin. He was not expected to know God’s word, he was a second-rate Jew.
But by knowing God’s word well, Stephen was equipped to make this impactful sermon.
We don’t get to hear his other sermon that got him on trial in the first place, but we know it was powerful enough to leave the Sanhedrin speechless.
But what was most powerful about the sermon we did read was the fact that all he did was reiterate God’s word. The majority of that sermon wasn’t really his own thoughts at all. It was the Bible.
So for us, I think it is so evident here that by seeking God’s word, studying God’s word, and understanding God’s word well, we will be equipped to do God’s work.
There is a reason Paul equates God’s word to a warrior’s sword:
“For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:13-18 CSB).
If you want to do the Lord’s work, it starts with intentionally studying the Lord’s word.
Speaking Truth is Not a Walk in the Park
The first part of Stephen’s message was not why he got stoned. At least in my opinion. If he had just stopped there, the Sanhedrin would have argued back with him perhaps, but they were not driven to anger until Stephen called them out on their sin.
But that was truth that needed to be spoken.
Hopefully, you and I will never face a moment where speaking the truth gets us killed.
But we will probably face times where speaking the truth will ruffle feathers or make others upset and angry. But when it’s in the Lord’s will and we’re speaking His truth and obeying His commands, that must always come first.
This is hard for me because there seems to be a balance as well. The disciples spoke the truth, but they never sought out conflict. They just spoke the gospel. Stephen in the end here I don’t believe wanted more conflict, but he wanted to call out these other Jews on their sins.
So we should call each other out on sins and we should be calling out the evil in this world too.
But notice that before calling them stiff-necked murderers, he told them the truth of Jesus, that He is the culmination of the Temple and the only true savior. He gave them the gospel message and then called out the evil.
Shouting to people that they are going to hell is not the answer. We must always speak truth but the most important truth is the gospel.
Jesus Welcomes us Home
I think this final vision Stephen has is one of hope for all of us.
For all who call Christ their savior, you are on a mission for Christ. One day that mission will end and Jesus will welcome you home to a mighty feast.
I think that is just such a beautiful picture and reminder for when life gets tough, confusing, frustrating, or anywhere in between. Just like the Temple is not God’s home, this is not our final home either. At least not in its current state.
The beautiful part is that this earth will be our final home. God will remake the earth and we will call it home once again, but this time it will stay perfect, Jesus will be there in person with us, and we will float down the river, climb mountains, and eat tons of good food with the creator of the universe.
Pray for our Enemies
Finally, I think it is so powerful that Stephen in his final moments prayed for Saul and soon Saul will find Jesus.
If Saul never became Paul, over half of the New Testament and the theology of Jesus Christ that we now know would be missing.
But thanks to the Lord who answers our prayers that He answered Stephen’s in a powerful way.
So whenever we see others that we might consider “enemies”, a lost cause, or hated, perhaps that is an opportunity to pray.
Imagine if the worst of the worst came to Christ how many others they could turn as well. The influence they once had for evil would now be all for Christ.