Tag: dangers of preaching

Jesus Standing!

Scripture reading for November 8th: Acts 5-7

Stephen was a young deacon in the early church.  He was a man full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom and was chosen to help serve the Grecian widows who were being neglected in the daily food distribution and to insure no partiality.  (Acts 6:1-5)  His work was to take a load off of the Apostles so that they could give attention to prayer and ministry of the Word.  The Apostles prayed over Stephen and the others, laying hands on them to consecrate them for their task.  What a wonderful blessing it must have been to be so close to those who walked with Jesus and to be called to serve!  In fact, we are all told that setting our heart on being a deacon or overseer is to desire a noble task! (1st Timothy 3:1)

Acts records that Stephen did many signs and wonders among the people.  (Acts 6:8-14)  This brought opposition from the Jews and they brought false charges against Stephen.  They had him arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious council.  False witnesses accused Stephen of speaking against the Temple and the law of God.  As Stephen faced these religious rulers, it is recorded that “his face was like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15)

Stephen preached to them in the power of the Holy Spirit, recounting the history of God’s people from Abraham to Jesus Christ.  He showed them how God’s people had rejected God’s leader, Moses, and broken His laws.  He then spoke plainly to them about their complicity in crucifying Jesus.  “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears!  You are just like your fathers:  You always resist the Holy Spirit!  Was their ever a prophet your father’s did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One.  And now you have betrayed and murdered Him–“ (Acts 7:51-52)

“When they heard this they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.  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.  “Look,” he said, I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”” At this, they stoned Stephen to death as he prayed for their pardon to the One standing to receive him!  It’s a noble task to be a deacon!

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