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"Witnessing Heaven's Truth" (Acts 6:8 - 7:60)

Sermon Date: 
Aug 27 2017 to Aug 30 2017
Sermon Audio: 

SORRY NO AUDIO RECORDED

"While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' When he had said this, he fell asleep." - Acts 7:59-60

Stephen was recognized as one full of the Spirit, full of wisdom, full of faith, full of God's grace and power. Although Stephen's Christian life/witnessing for Christ was brief it was of eternal significance. His life's testimony was not only accounted for in God's Word but would make an impact upon a man who would end up writing most of the New Testament, that being, Apostle Paul.

The whole point in Stephen's ministry was to reveal the need to receive Jesus as Israel's Messiah - that God is working and present outside the Law, the Land, and the Temple as witnessed through Christ. Regrettably, Stephen's message fell upon hardened hearts which ultimately resulted into our first Christian being martyred for his faith in Christ.

We are able to learn a few principles through Stephen's powerful witnessing:

1. As Stephen was CHOSEN BY CHRIST, we too, as Christians, are CHOSEN BY CHRIST TO REVEAL CHRIST (Matthew. 16:24; John 15:16; Ephesians 1:4-6);

2. Heavenly Truths will CHALLENGE mistaken, false, idolatrous ideologies in order to DIRECT all people towards their God-Sent Saviour, Jesus Christ. German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer shares how all truths passes through three stages. "First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

3. DEATH IS NOT AN ENEMY BUT A SERVANT (1 Cor. 3:21-23; 1 Cor: 15:54-57; Rom. 8:35-39; idea from John Piper). Death is swallowed up in victory through Jesus Christ. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me."-Ps. 23:4

4. LOVE YOUR ENEMIES BY FORGIVING THEM (Matt.5:44; 18:21-22). N.T. Wright says this about Stephen, "...what makes Stephen's story stand out, is that rather than going to death sprouting words of judgment, hatred, curse and revenge, Stephen calls down upon his murderers blessings and forgiveness. For those who had not known Jesus, who had not heard the Gospel this surely would have been a strange occurrence. What was it about this man that made him act so counter culture - so against the way things were meant to work? There is of course only one explanation. Stephen had learnt something from Jesus, who made loving ones enemies a central, non-negotiable part of this teaching..."

"When the ambassador of Christ speaks the truth in love, and meets death with joy, a strange miracle occurs: the eyes of the unbelievers are opened." - Josef Tson

May our Risen Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, place upon you His great love, strength, and courage to share Heavenly Truths that brings Kingdom Light & Fruit into the darkness of this world.

Pastor Trevor