May 16/Acts 7

This how chapter 6 ended for Stephen:

Acts 6:9–15 (NLT) — 9 But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. 10 None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke. 11 So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, “We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.” 12 This roused the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law. So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council. 13 The lying witnesses said, “This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses. 14 We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” 15 At this point everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s.

Stephen was lied about, wrongly accused and arrested. Through all of that he was able to maintain his composure. In fact there was a glow about Him. This gives new meaning to the verse where it says to let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your father in heaven:) Remember Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit and he let the Holy Spirit shine through him. When ever we respond with the character of Jesus I believe that is letting the Holy Spirit shine through us. It doesn’t matter if others see it or if we see it, what matters is that God sees it. So no matter what type of a situation you are in remind yourself to let the Holy Spirit shine through.

In chapter 7 Stephen tells them how their ancestors always resisted Moses’ leadership and Moses said that a prophet like him would be raise up to lead the people. That prophet is Jesus. Stephen said just like their ancestors resisted Moses and all the other true prophets of God so they now had resisted Jesus and even killed. Stephen said that they were always resisting what the Holy Spirit wanted to do among them. They got angry with Stephen and began to stone him. What will Stephen do? It is one thing to let the Holy Spirit shine through when words are flying but what about rocks! In the most dire of situations God let Stephen have a glimpse of what was going on in heaven when the rocks were flying at Stephen. Jesus was standing cheering him on! With that vision in his mind and full of the Holy Spirit Stephen responds >

Acts 7:55–60 (NLT) — 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” 57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him 58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

Who does Stephen’s response remind you of? Yep, Jesus on the cross when he said, “Father forgive the for they don’t know what they are doing.” Stephen could respond this way because the same Spirit that was in Jesus was in Stephen. Hilltop we have that same Spirit! How ’bout letting the Holy Spirit help us to respond no matter what the situation. If we let him respond through us it will be the same response Jesus would have. To do this we have to maintain close fellowship with the Holy Spirit so it becomes a natural or supernatural way of life for us. Ask Him today to help you to be aware of His presence no matter what you are going through. Picture Jesus standing and cheering you on as you live for him. Now this verse in Philippians will come alive to you:

Philippians 4:13 (NLT) — 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Be Inspired Hilltop!

 

Comments

  1. Mark Gundersen says:

    In this chapter we are introduced to another important person in the New Testament. At Stephen’s stoning there is Saul who will become Paul. Like Stephen he is fully committed to what he believes in. Right now he walks the party line but when shown the light a second time he becomes one who shows the strongest flame of the apostolic spirit. Stephen did not know Saul was there but the Holy Spirit did.