“The reality in the first century was that the most intense persecution of the Christian church came, not from the Romans, but from the Jewish community. The Romans and the outside world viewed the Christian Community as merely a small sect of Judaism. Christianity did not s … More
Up to this point, the sign gifts seem to have been administered only by the apostles, but now we find Stephen, a newly appointed deacon, also demonstrating these extraordinary powers. Apparently his ministry was primarily among the Hellenistic Jews, referred to here as the “Libertines” (vv. 8-9). This group engaged Stephen in hot debate over the Messiahship of Jesus and the importance of temple worship. (The Jews would see these two matters as a threat to their whole religious system). However, nobody was able to match or resist Stephen’s wisdom and power (v. 10).
These were the men who heard God’s command, and were not afraid to obey it.
Stephen insisted that men had worshiped God long before there ever was a Temple. To the Jews the Temple was the most sacred of all places.
What is the worst lie anybody has ever told about me? As I see how Stephen handled his opponents, which of his qualities do I feel I need the most? Lord, help me to acquire it.
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly instigated men who said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God." And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and they set up false witnesses who said, "This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us." And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
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Acts 9:19b-31Previous Persecutor Begins Preaching Ministry
Acts 3:1-10A lame man healed
Acts 3:11-16Supernatural healing of the crippled man
Acts 3:17-26Peter’s Message of Repentance
Acts 4:1-12Early Church Persecuted for their Faith
Acts 4:13-22Boldness Brings Results
Acts 4:23-31Prayer Produces Unity
Acts 4:32-37Sharing Shows Brotherly-Love
Acts 5:1-11Ananias & Sapphira Hide the Truth & Suffer Consequences
Acts 5:12-16Effective Church Ministry
Acts 5:17-32Obedience to God and Man
Acts 5:33-42Gamaliel Convinces the Council – No Persecution
Acts 6:1-7Deacons Chosen To Serve
Acts 6:8-15Stephen Summoned before Synagogue Leaders
Acts 7:1-8Stephen’s Sermon–God’s Covenant of Circumcision to Abraham
Acts 7:9-19Stephen’s Sermon–Abraham’s Promised Descendents
Acts 7:20-29Stephen’s Sermon–Moses Identifies with God’s Chosen People
Acts 7:30-43Stephen’s Sermon–Moses’ Mandate From God
Acts 7:44-53Stephen’s Sermon–The Bold Conclusion!
Acts 7:54-60Stephen Stoned to Death for his Faith
Acts 8:1-8Persecution Scatters Believers / Philip Boldly Preaches
Acts 8:9-25Simon Seeks and is Denied the "Spiritual” Gift of Healing
Acts 8:26-40Ethiopian Eunuch Evangelized by Philip
Acts 9:1-9Saul’s "Damascus Road Conversion” to Paul
Acts 9:10-19aAnanias is Available to Disciple Saul–a New Believer!
Acts 9:32-43Peter Used by God in Joppa to Heal Beloved Dorcas