1 Kings 7:1-51
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!
~ Psalms 128:1
Better to be patient than powerful;
better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
~ Proverbs 16:32
New Testament: Acts 7:30-50
Stephen stands up to his day’s false teachers with boldness, courage, and Scripture knowledge. Don’t ever think God doesn’t care about what people do who claim to be His. Throughout God’s message, he warns us to avoid forgetting the Lord. (Ezekiel 23:35) It is sometimes necessary for Christians to stand alone, like Stephen, not yielding to the pressures that are now pressing upon us to be silent. It is important to maintain our distinctiveness and be courageous in defending our faith and taking the gospel to the world. When we become saved, we belong to God, which makes us unique. It is impossible for us to know the truth if we don’t study and understand what God has written in the Bible. ~ David Campbell
The Sanhedrin, the very council before whom Stephen stands, meets, and the high priest is there. And these are the words of the high priest to the apostles: “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name.” The name of Jesus. “And yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
Well, they got it right. That’s exactly what the early church intended. They intended to fill the city of Jerusalem with the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They intended to preach in His name. When the council had told them to stop, they said we cannot. In the very next verse, Peter says: You judge, do we obey God or men? Preaching the gospel was not only a mandate, not only a command, not only a commission, but it was the passion of their hearts. They had all been transformed, and they could not contain the message.
This is Stephen before the supreme court. He stands alone. He stands all alone. There is no lawyer on his side. There is no attorney to defend him. There is no jury to be objective. There is no one there to process evidence. He stands alone; he defends himself against these four charges of blasphemy. But, he’s not content to only defend himself. He will do what they had been doing all along. He will not only defend himself; he will indict them. He will indict the supreme court of Israel. And, it will cost him his life.
Stephen sees this trial as an immense opportunity to stand before the most erudite religious body in Israel, the supreme court, and speak the truth to them. The truth of his own defense, and then turn the tables and indict them as the real blasphemers. That’s exactly what he does. I told you last time: there’s sort of four things that he has in mind. One is to get their interest and get their ears. And of course, their interest and their ears are all about the Old Testament. So, when speaking to Jews, he started where you always want to start, and that is with the Old Testament. He builds his entire defense and indictment from Old Testament history. Then, the second goal that he has is to answer the charges that he is a blasphemer.
The above is from a sermon by John MacArthur:
Summary: Stephen’s Speech
The majority of the first-century Jews, however, did not repent. In fact, the nation’s official response to the gospel was the stoning of Stephen and persecution of Jerusalem Christians (Acts 7:4–8:3). The followers of Jesus gradually came to realize that the Jewish nation might not repent during their generation and that the Lord might not come back immediately to establish His earthly kingdom. They began to see the church age as an interim. They continued to preach Jesus Christ as the Messiah of the Old Testament Scriptures.