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YOU ARE BORN TO SHINE

2 Corithians Chapter 4 verse 6

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Friday, December 30 2011

Introduction: The week before last, we learnt that there were still some mind-sets and doctrines still being unconsciously practised by this generation of believers that we need to, like Stephen, correct. We also learnt that we should seek to live consistently impactful lives full of God's determined and already established purpose.

Today, we look at the concluding part of Stephen's message; comparing it with Peter's, the outcomes and his circumstances around his death.

Verses 37 - 62

Reading through these verses, we see that Stephen responded to the allegations tailored against him by reviewing the call of Abraham and God's promise to him and the nation of Israel.  He then described how God used Moses to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage and led them for forty years through the wilderness.  Yet Israel rebelled against Moses, through whom God gave the Law.  Not only in the incident involving the golden calf, but throughout their wilderness wanderings Israel continued to worship false gods (Amos 5:25-27).  Turning to the matter of God's dwelling place, Stephen acknowledged the role of the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon, but contended that God does not dwell in temples made with hands (Isa 66:1-2). 

He concluded by charging the council of resisting the Holy Spirit just like their ancestors, for as their fathers persecuted and killed the prophets who foretold the coming of the Just One (Christ), so they became His betrayers and murderers. Indeed, they were the ones who have not kept the Law.

What can we learn from Stephen? How does his response relate to Peter's message and Jesus' lifestyle?

1.        He capitalised on the opportunity to preach. He must have been "born ready" (Vs. 1-53)

2.        He was bold! (Vs. 2, 2:14)

3.        His Message

  • His Message was based on the word of God; quoting the scriptures (Isaiah 7: 37 - 50) Notice he did not defend himself - he never once did throughout his message!

He was quoting from Deuteronomy (18:15, 18), to Exodus (19), Jeremiah (19:13), Amos (5:25-27), Isaiah (66:1-2)

  • His message was delivered without fear or favour. (Vs. 51-53, 2:23)

He must have learnt from our man Peter!

4.        The Outcome

His message brought conviction (verse 54)

 "Now upon hearing these things, they [the Jews] were cut to the heart and infuriated, and they ground their teeth against [Stephen]."

From all indications, conviction met with pride in the Jews because it led to guilt and anger

Verse 57

But they raised a great shout and put their hands over their ears and rushed together upon him.

5.      His Character - A Disciple like his Master

(Verses 55 - 60)

Like Jesus, Stephen

         Was full of the Holy Spirit and controlled by the Holy Spirit  (Vs. 55a, Luke 4: 1)

"But he, full of the Holy Spirit and controlled by Him"

"THEN JESUS, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led in [by] the [Holy] Spirit"

         In agony, he prayed (Vs. 59, Luke 23:46)

"And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit!"

"And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit! And with these words, He expired."

         Had a heart of compassion (you will know from his prayer) (Vs. 60, Luke 23:34)

"And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death]."

"And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And they divided His garments and distributed them by casting lots for them."

         Did not retaliate (Vs. 60, 1 Peter 2:23)

"And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death]."

"When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; [when] He was abused and suffered, He made no threats [of vengeance]; but he trusted [Himself and everything] to Him Who judges fairly."[AMP]

 

CONCLUSION

Stephen was a man just like you and I; what made him stand out was the Holy Spirit in Him that is in you and I. However, he allowed the Holy Spirit to control him; well, I wish I could say the same of us. Are we genuinely controlled by the Holy Spirit? Or are we our own masters?

We have also learnt a few other things from the life of Stephen - taking opportunities as they come, his message (Word based, delivered without fear or favour), his heart (loving and compassionate) - a disciple like his Master. And the Master stood for him! Can He do the same for us?

Good news? We can be like Stephen if we allow the Holy Spirit

 

Contribution: Isekhua Evborokhai

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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