May 19, 2019

Stephen’s Defence

Passage: Acts 7:1-60
Service Type:


  • Stephen had a vision of the Lord Jesus
    • Very few people have had a vision of Jesus
    • The Lord Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of the Father
    • He is ready to receive Stephen into glory
  • This chapter has so much to teach us
    • How much of the Bible do we know?
    • How well do you know the Bible?
    • The Bible is God's word and we need to know how to use it
    • Example of Andrea Williams
  • Stephen before the 71 men
    • An intimidating situation
    • Accused ...
    • ... of Blasphemy
    • He answers the charges in an indirect manner
  • Overview:
    • The Man
    • The Message
    • The Martyrdom

The Man

  • A deacon - waiting on tables
  • A remarkable speaker - empowered by the Holy Spirit
  • He had great wisdom from God
    • He calls them 'brethren and fathers'
    • He speaks of their shared history
    • He brings out lessons from this history
    • He speaks about things in veiled terms - not to cast pearls before swine
    • He becomes clearer
    • He brings conviction to their conscience
  • He is using the word of God as His defence
    • No one can stand against this
    • He knows how to speak of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, etc
    • This should encourage and challenge us
  • He is expounding progressive revelation
    • He is unfolding revelation
    • He is coming to the fulfillment in Jesus Christ
  • As innocent as a dove and wise as a serpent

The Message

  • Charged as being 'against Moses and against God' - 6:11
    • He starts "The God of glory"
    • He says that God is not just the God of Israel but of Mesopotamia, of Moses (the burning bush), of Egypt
      • It is not all about a physical land
      • It is about the God of glory ruling in His way
    • He says there was a promise of an inheritance, but it was not given to Abraham
    • He says that the patriarchs were envious - v9
      • He implies that they are envious
    • He says that God was sovereign
      • At the right time God raised up Joseph and Moses
      • Moses was not understood
    • He brings out important events of the Old Testament
      • He speaks of the deliverers provided by God
      • He speaks of the people's disobedience
        • v42-43 cf Amos 5:25-27
    • He comes to the time of the temple
      • He says that God cannot be contained by buildings
    • As there is no response, reflection or repentance
      • He charges them with being stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart
      • v52 - He charges them with disobeying God's law and that they murdered Jesus
  • Application:
    • When we bring God's word - not everyone will receive it
    • It doesn't mean that someone well versed in Scripture will see fruit
    • It reminds us that God has different purposes for different people
      • You read of great deliverance and of martyrs in the Bible
      • God would use Stephen's death for the expansion of the Kingdom

The Martyrdom

  • A horrible death
    • They take off their clothes
    • They put them at Saul's feet - v58
      • This likely troubled him
      • God likely used this in the conversion of Saul
    • They don't want to hear
      • They put their fingers in their ears
      • They run at him
    • They cast him outside of the city
      • Does this not remind us of Jesus Christ?
      • Does Stephen's prayer not remind us of Jesus' prayer?
  • This is a glorious death
    • God is with him
    • God strengthens him
    • The way he dies glorifies God
  • Application:
    • God will always stand with His people in their hour of need
    • God can fill our hearts with such love, even in such terrible circumstances
    • God will bring us to be with Him

Closing Remarks