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Stephen, Full of Grace and Power (Acts 6:8-15)

June 18, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon rests upon the Holy Spirit’s power and presence in times of trial. Elder Duncanson illustrates how God delights in using His people to accomplish His plans. The focus of this sermon is on the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to provide His Spirit when His disciples needed Him, namely, among their persecutors.

Provision: Full of Grace and Power

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And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people (Acts 6:8).”

Along with serving tables, Stephen participated in more tasks than those assigned to him, although, the emphasis was not on Stephen (Acts 6:1-7). The doing of these great wonders and signs were in response to the grace given him. Christ had told His disciples to give freely as they had received (Matthew 10:5-8). Thus, Stephen made himself readily available to the working of the Holy Spirit, in his doing so, others experienced the Spirit’s power.

Provision: Full of Wisdom and Spirit

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 (Acts 6:9-10).”

Against whom were these men rising up and disputing? This was the same situation, the council faced when they brought accusations against Peter and John or even Jesus Christ, namely, in whose authority are they doing these things (Luke 20:1-8). The council was opposing Christ when they opposed the ones He sends. Stephen was not the message, nor did he come in his own authority, instead he was merely a representative; an ambassador to the Lord Jesus, and as such, he received help in his time of trouble (Psalm 31).

Among His Persecutors

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 (Acts 6:11-14; ESV).”

Therefore, in response to Stephen, they chose to secretly instigate. When they could not find any charge against him, they bear false witness. Rather than investigate Stephen’s claims, they devise a scheme against him in hopes of silencing him. Nevertheless, Stephen served the Risen Lord, who though He experienced this same conspiracy at the hand of men, overcame them and even death in His resurrection (Matthew 28:11-15; Colossians 1:14-15). Christ upheld His promise by providing His Spirit’s power and presence as Stephen witnessed for Him (v. 15).

Am I faithfully representing Christ?

Faithful service in a sinful world will bring opposition (cf. Hebrews 11). The miracles were not the issue. The world has no problem with the Church meeting needs. The problem is when the Church speaks for Christ.

Do you know what keeps us silent when opposition comes? Fear of incompetency. We do not believe that we know enough to give an answer, which really translates into not trusting Christ to keep His promise. Let us not shrink back, but open up our mouths for Christ.

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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