Stephen (Acts 6:5, 8; 7:55)
Acts 6:8, And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
Acts 6:5, And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch.
Acts 7:55, But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
1. Stephen Served.
Stephen had a godly testimony. Stephen was a good man of “honest report”. He was a gifted man, ‘full of...wisdom”. He was a godly man— ‘full of the Holy Ghost”. The Bible makes it clear that the source of Stephen’s fearlessness was the Holy Spirit. Three times the Bible records that he was “full of God’s grace and power” or “full of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5, 8; 7:55). He was filled with the Holy Spirit who allowed him to speak truth wisely, witness boldly, and to face death peacefully.
Stephen’s character displayed the character of God through the Spirit of God, and that Spirit who gave him a servant’s heart and courage. The Spirit who empowered Stephen is the same Spirit who fills Christs followers today. No matter the chaos or opponents to the Gospel you face today, you can have the same power, boldness, and humility as Stephen.
2. Stephen Suffered.
Stephen was a godly young man who followed the teachings of Jesus in a time when much uproar was found in the religious world. Stephen preached Jesus before the Sanhedrin (A supreme council of the Jewish people). Stephen was not filled with fear that day before his opponents. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and he boldly shared the truth of God. Stephen preached a long sermon. He began with the “God of glory” (Acts 7:2) and ended with the “God of glory” (Acts 7:55). His purpose in preaching this sermon was to show how each leader of Israel had tried to bring them out of their tradition into a broader revelation of God’s will and purpose for Israel, and how in every instance they had rebelled against the truth. This was exactly what the Sanhedrin was doing as they tried Stephen for blasphemy. He charged them with rejecting the Christ of Israel. He began with Scripture and used the Scripture to reveal their sinfulness. When Stephen mentioned their crime against the Just One, it was then that they charged him like a rioted mob. Stephen suffered, and through that we see that Saul (Paul) was a witness.
3. Stephen Shined.
Stephen shined at his death. He died calling upon God to ask forgiveness of his enemies. The religious leaders looked intently upon Stephen they saw that his face was “as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15). Stephens death was not in vain. God honored his life and his death. Paul witnessed his death, and as a result, Paul would later accept Christ as his Saviour. Through His suffering he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”. “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:59-60). We know that those who exhibit godly character do not necessarily have literal shining faces. They do, however, glow with the countenance of the One who fills their heart. Sharing the Gospel of Christ is the greatest news you could ever spread. Although not everyone will receive it well, it always brings pleasure to the LORD.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I know You want to fill me but will not until I remove the barriers. Please bring to my mind my unconfessed sins and help me repent of them. Will You fill me with Your Holy Spirit? Live Your life through me today. Make me the person You want me to be that You would be glorified, in Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.