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Lesson 15

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  1. Lesson 15 Acts, Chapter 7

  2. Time Frame (Acts 7) • Paul’s conversion (Acts 9) • A reference back to Lesson 3 reveals that we have placed the conversion of Paul to approximately 34 AD • The events of Chapter 6 take place not long before his conversion. • Chapter 7’s events immediately follow the accusations of Acts 6:8-15

  3. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 1 • The Purpose of Stephen’s address • First, a defense against the false accusations of blasphemy lodged against him. • Less a defense of self, and more a defense of the gospel he preached • Second, a means of convicting the Jews of their sins. Specifically, of rejecting the one sent by God • Note: Any perceived discrepancies in Stephen’s history can be resolved.

  4. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 2 • A Breakdown of His Address (Reese) • The case of Abraham and the Patriarchs (emphasis on God). 7:1-16 • The case of Moses in Egypt (emphasis on Moses). 7:17-29 • The case of Israel in the Wilderness (emphasis on the Law). 7:30-43 • The case of the Tabernacle and the Temple (emphasis on the Temple). 7:44-50 • The application. 7:51-53

  5. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 3 • The Call of Abraham (1-8) • Stephen, in giving this long history, showed a reverence toward the history and institutions of the Jews. (Thus contradicting the false charges against him). • Note: Stephen reveals details concerning Abraham’s calling (first from Mesopotamia) that are not found in the Genesis account. His words supplement our knowledge of O.T.

  6. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 4 • The Call of Abraham (1-8) • Events of Genesis 11:27 – 12:4 summarized. • Abraham lived a nomadic life in Canaan. Yet, God has promised that his descendents would possess the land. • Abraham begot Isaac, and circumcised him on the eight day (a covenant with God). • Isaac, Jacob, 12 patriarchs.

  7. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 5 • The Patriarchs in Egypt (9-16) • God used the patriarchs’ jealousy of Joseph, and installed him with favor as governor of Egypt • Brothers and then Jacob all came to Egypt, where Jacob died (Gen. 49:33). • Note: Genesis 50:13 reveals that Jacob was buries in the field of Machpelah (Hebron). • It is believed that the burials in Schechem refer to the Patriarchs. (vs. 16)

  8. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 6 • God Delivers Israel by Moses (17-36) • Moses’ appearance was “the time of the promise” (made to Abraham by God) • The people grew numerous in Egypt (Exodus 1:6-9) • New Pharaoh antagonistic toward Israelites (killed male children) • Moses escaped this fate, raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter

  9. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 7 • God Delivers Israel by Moses (17-36), cont. • Moses was well educated and mighty (22) • At age 40, all changed as Moses saved a slave by killing an Egyptian oppressor. He fled to Midian (23-29) • At 80, God called him to deliver and rule over the Israelites (30-35) • Moses did as God commanded (36) • Note: Stephen answered claims of blasphemy by accurately and reverently recounting Moses’ history

  10. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 8 • Israel rebels against God (37-43) • Note that Moses prophesied about the Christ (37) (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15-18) • If these listeners were really concerned about Moses, they would have heeded his words • “In their hearts they turned back to Egypt” (vs. 39) (cf. Exodus 32) • God turned away from them (42) • Sacrifice not enough (42-43) (cf. Amos 5)

  11. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 9 • God’s True Tabernacle (44-50) • Stephen now answers the accusation that he had spoken against the Temple (6:13) • Main point: It is not speaking evil of the temple to note that God would not choose that house as his abode forever • Tabernacle first, until David (45) • Temple next, by Solomon (47) • However, God’s abode not in temples made with hands (48-50) cf. Isa. 66:1-2, Psa. 102:55 (Irony, Paul: Acts 17:24)

  12. Stephen’s Address (vs. 1-53) 10 • The Application (51-53) • Sharp change in tone with the application. Evidently, his hearers were unwilling to heed his message • “Uncircumcised in heart and ears” (not acting as God’s people. Unwilling to hear the truth from God. • When messengers of God resisted, the Holy Spirit is resisted • Fathers killed the prophets, they now killed Jesus, the Son of God • As such, disobedient to the law of God

  13. Stephen the Martyr (vs. 54-60) 1 • The Council’s reaction • Contrast with Acts 2:37. They were enraged • They stopped their ears, and stoned him to death • Saul was there • Stephen’s Demeanor • Filled with the Holy Spirit – Vision (55-56) • Forgiving spirit at his death (59-60)