Tag: conviction and repentance
Scripture reading for June 10th: Acts 7:30-50
Stephen’s sermon to the rulers of Israel who crucified Jesus and now were plotting to get rid of him was taken from their own Scriptures. Stephen went on to show how Moses, rejected by the Israelites, was picked by God 40 years later to be their deliverer. He was sent to them with signs and miracles and led them out of Egypt. (Acts 7:35-36) Moses also prophesied that God would raise up another prophet like him from his own people.
While Moses was on the mountain of God getting the Ten Commandments, the people rebelled by making a golden calf. They began to worship the works of their hands and turned away from God. God gave them over to the worship of the creation and idols that they made. Their rebellion would eventually send them to captivity in Babylon. Stephen quoted Amos 5:25-27 showing that God knew about the rebellion and promised to punish them.
Stephen was being used by God to instruct these men, showing God held the Israelites accountable for their idolatry. They had always rejected His prophets and refused to follow His ways. Even now, these men were rebelling against the same God by persecuting those who were preaching Jesus Christ as Lord and performing signs and miracles in His name. Their forefathers had rejected God’s chosen leader Moses and now they had also rejected the prophet like Moses that God raised up, Jesus! They were in danger of being given over to their own idolatry of the Law and the temple!
Stephen used Isaiah 66:1-2 to show that God had already stated that He was in heaven and that any earthly house could not contain Him. These truths were made plain by Stephen’s preaching to those who were ruling in Jerusalem. But truth will either bring conviction and repentance, or bring hardening and God’s judgment. Stephen’s job was simply to present the truth in the power of the Holy Spirit and let the people choose their response. How are you at listening to God’s truth when you are living outside of it? Do you like it when God reveals an area of rebellion in your own life? God loves each person enough to send witnesses to confront sin and rebellion. His desire is to save those who will listen!