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Stephen was 1 of 7 Greek (Hellenistic) Jewish Christians that were appointed by the Apostles to be serve the church as Deacons . Stephen was “ full of faith and the Holy Spirit .”. Acts 6: 8-15 Stephen performs miracles & preaches
Stephen was 1 of 7 Greek (Hellenistic) Jewish Christians that were appointed by the Apostles to be serve the church as Deacons.
Stephen was “full of faith and the Holy Spirit.”
Matt. 24:2 / Mark 13:2 / Luke 21: 5-6
5 “Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another;
every one of them will be thrown down.”
* The Temple was Destroyed in 70 A.D. *
John 2: 19-22 (Mark 14: 57-59)
19 Jesus answered [the Jewish leaders],
and I will raise it again in three days…”
21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body.22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.
Then they believed the Scripture
and the words that Jesus had spoken.
Stephen chooses to make his Defense to the Sanhedrin by appealing to Old Testament Scriptures and stories.
When defending the faith, it is always best to start where there is common ground with those who listen.
Abraham & the First Patriarchs
Joseph & Israel’s move to Egypt
Moses’ Life (pre-Exodus)
Exodus & Desert Wanderings of Israel
The Tabernacle & The Temple
The People of God often reject
His “deliverer” the first time around.
God’s deliverer is always proved right.
A pattern of disobedience & idolatry
The Holy Land and The Temple aren’t the main avenues that God has used to connect to His people over the centuries.
In a stunning reversal, Stephen then goes on the offensive.
He pronounces judgment on
the Sanhedrin and the religious leaders
for rejecting and killing Jesus Christ.
“When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious
[cut to the heart]
and gnashed their teeth at him.”
55 But 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.”
Stephen modeled Jesus Christ’s attitude and actions in his death:
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
“Precious in the sight
of the Lord is the death
of His faithful servants.”
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
- Tertullian (Early Church Historian)
“… You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 8: 1 & 4
“… all except the Apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria…
Those who had been scattered
preached the word wherever they went.”