Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:51)
We are doing a historical study of Psalms 105, 106, 107, and Acts 7. This week we will look at Stephen’s defense of the faith from Acts 7.
Today we back up to Acts 6:8-15. Stephen is accused of blasphemy against Moses, God, the holy place, and the law. We need to understand this passage to fully appreciate Stephen’s defense of the faith in Chapter 7.
“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: 14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. 15 And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:8-15)
Note that Stephan was “…full of faith and power…” Note that it was false witnesses that accused him. The charges were false.
Today, we see much of the same thing happening. People are perverting what the Bible says for their own advantage. Some are in it for the money, some to change the gospel message, and others to totally deny Jesus Christ.
Stephen is given the opportunity to defend what he believes. Chapter 7 documents what he said.
So what about us? When people curse our God, promote false doctrine, or refuse to believe, what is our response? I hope we will lean some lessons from Stephen’s defense of the faith.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001