Joseph, rejected by Israel, his brothers, was accepted by Gentiles in Egypt. After clicking 'Register', you will receive an email with a link to verify your account and to complete your registration. Stay up-to-date on announcements, new resources, and exciting news from J.D. And his whole life was faith. Enter your email address and we will send you instructions on how to reset your password. And Jews do today. Only when we know that Jesus stands before us, in love and victory at the right hand of God, will we have the power to endure the scorn of the world. That he was tied to God. It’s not usual to find somebody switch gears like that. He just continuing to recite the history of Israel, because he wants them to know that he believes in Israel as its destiny was ordained by God himself. So, she reported that this thing had happened, that Joseph had, you know, done this to her, and she had his coat to prove it. He did not believe God was unholy, unsacred. He blasphemed God, Moses, the law, and the temple.” And those are the big four in Israel. Do you know what happened to Joseph? There are so many lessons that we can learn from this, this morning. That means that some of God’s greatest miracles are supposed to happen through you. So, he began to extend this from the Palestine Jews to the Hellenist or Grecian Jews who would come into Jerusalem. So, in chapter 7, Stephen begins and concludes a great speech in defense of what he said, and he answers the accusation of blasphemy. “‘Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come and bow down ourselves to thee, too?’” What’s become of you? And it may be three weeks before we can pull it together. They called him by many names: Jehovah-Raah, The Lord Who Shepherds; Jehovah Tsidkenu, The Lord Righteous; Jehovah Sabaoth, which means The Lord of Hosts; Jehovah Shammah, The Lord Omnipresent; Jehovah El Elyon, The Lord Most High; Jehovah Mekoddishkem, The Lord Who Makes Holy. They rejected Jesus, who was their Redeemer. It was called Mesopotamia, which is the Greek name for Chaldees, where the Chaldeans lived. Now, so, Stephen must then begin by establishing the fact that he believes in God and that he’s no blasphemer of God. He defended the faith not in vagaries of philosophy, not in logic, but in verbal testimony to the Scripture. At least they would begin to relate it. In fact, they delivered Him into the grave, and God took Him out of the grave and exalted Him to His right hand. Right? Now, it takes a lot of faith to pack up and leave. Do you know how Jesus got captured and put in prison? Honestly, we don’t know always why God allows his people to suffer. God called Joseph sacred; they sold him out of envy. Nothing is more important than teaching the Bible. And so, Stephen begins what climaxes in a great statement about Jesus Christ Himself. Watch this, secondly, at the same time, he has maintained their ears and their attention because he’s been talking about what they care about: themselves, and their history, and the great things that they adore. Quite a man. But he knew what he believed, and he knew why he believed it. Ever since Stephen was stoned to death outside Jerusalem (Acts 7), Christians around the world have suffered and died for the sake of Christ. Is it true? Help Grace to You bring important resources like this to people in your community and beyond, free of charge. Note how the Lord supported Stephen in this grand finale of his short life. For example, every slain lamb in the Old Testament is a picture of the Messiah slain. Do you know that the men delivered Jesus? Wow, that is absolutely the curse of all curses, because circumcision was a mark of Jewishness. Stephen was a Jew who had lived outside of Israel. The closest he got to it was the birth of Isaac, but he never got anything else. And he adds, at the close of the article, “By far the greater challenge to such Christian missionary efforts, especially if directed toward Jews, is to the Jewish community who must increase and intensify its own opportunity for Jews to know and understand Judaism.” Leave us alone while we develop our own heritage, in effect. Now, Charran was another town Mesopotamia. Therefore, they were against God. The high priest asks Stephen: ‘Are these things true?’ Stephen answers by giving a fine talk from the Bible. Even though they were still in Jerusalem, they belonged to Jews who were foreign in their – where they lived, but they migrated to Jerusalem from time to time, and met in their own synagogues. Boy, that was everything. But he’s building. He accepted Christianity and became one of the seven deacons chosen by the disciples to take care of the widows and the needy people in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-5). Not that I know, but I’m guessing. And here he is talking to these Jews. The picture continues; it doesn’t end there. Now, you’ll watch as we go through this, and you’ll see how all of these things are woven together so beautifully by Stephen. The third thing, then, what he wants to do is he wants to indict the people for sin. After the Stoning of Stephen followers of Christ began to leave Jerusalem to escape further persecution. But he was struggling with these minds, and he came out on top. Stephen’s saying, “I believe in the God of Israel right on down to the selection of the tribes. He told Abraham that. Stephen was so awed by this vision that he could not keep it to himself. Stephen was a bold evangelist who was not afraid to preach the gospel despite… When it comes to my schedule as a pastor, I am indebted to my church for allowing me to focus primarily on preaching. They were the fathers of Israel. But you know what’s been a historic problem with Judaism? But also in the phrase “not so much to set his foot on” is the word bēma, which means judgment seat. He believed God was the holy God of glory, the very God Israel. And they are upset. Now, he continues to show how God controlled the destiny of Israel. But Stephen knew that the Lord had said that the pathway of obedience and service would by no means be easy - look up Matthew 5:10-12; John 16:33; Acts 5:41; Philippians 1:29 and 1 Peter 4:12-19, and compare Hebrews 11:34-37. Now, that only leaves two more things that he wants to do. His brothers sold him. GDPR is the new European privacy regulation, which will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK and the equivalent legislation across the EU Member States. He defended it, and then he staked his life on it, and he died for it. Really, Joseph? God talks about the resistance and bitterness and unbelief of Israel as a hard neck that won’t bend. Joseph found the lowest kind of humility and was lifted to the loftiest exaltation. The whole picture of Christ. Paul says in Romans 15:4 – “For whatsoever things were written afore time [speaking of the Scriptures] were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” So let’s see what we can learn from Stephen today as we … God does his greatest work through “ordinary” people. Full of faith, full of the Holy Spirit, full of grace, full of power. So they grab him, and call in people to tell lies about him. All right, so, he wants to establish then that he believes he in God. But apart from Jesus Christ, it becomes just as satanic as any other system in the world that leaves Him out. He is defending himself against the charges of blasphemy. They had a mock trial, and they brought forth false witnesses. Just like Joseph. Nothing is more important than teaching the Bible. The Lord said, in Acts 1:8, that, “You’re to be My witnesses in Jerusalem.” By the end of chapter 5, they had already – or at the end of chapter 4, really, they had already begun to accomplish this. And he didn’t really know what to expect. It’s because of common guys like Stephen—much more than through the apostles—that the early church grew. The speech of Stephen before the Jewish ruler is the first apology for the universalism of the gospel as a message to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Not exactly. “He said – he told it to his father and his brethren, and his father rebuked him and said, ‘What is this that you’re dreaming?’ - What are you eating before you go to bed? Smart thing Joseph did. So, what has Stephen done in the beginning of his message? And he continues, verse 2, in the middle. Peter said, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you regarding the hope that is within you. Then he went to Charran. And then to historically finish it out, Jacob died. “And his brethren envied him, but his father observed the saying.” It was a dream from God, that because of Reuben’s sin, he would forfeit the birthright and be transferred to Joseph. They loved it. There is a subject with which all Christian students are familiar, and that is the subject of apologetics. We learned the lesson of boldness and witnessing, whatever the cost, don’t we? Verse 2, “And he said” – now, this doesn’t sound like a defense; it sounds like he’s finally got his opportunity to give his speech – “‘Men brethren and fathers, listen to what I have say’” – I like that, don’t you? What happened? I don’t know if you saw that little article in the times a week ago, “Rabbi Urges Christians to Curb Efforts to Win Over Young Jews.” New York, “A top Jewish leader has urged Christians to curb fundamentalist evangelistic efforts aimed at converting young Jews to Christianity. And on and on and on. But God appeared to him first in Ur. And Abraham went next door to the handmaid and thought, “I’ll just have a child by her and solve Sarah’s problem.” And he created Ishmael, who became the father of the Arabs sand didn’t solve anybody’s problem. It continues to be a picture of Jesus. He’s about to knock the pins right out. It’s not the famous apostles who primarily spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. We can talk about the God of love, r the God of justice, or the God of grace, or the God of wisdom, or the God of righteousness, or the God of wrath, or the God of power, or the God of presence, or anything we want. These were sacred people. He bought it from the children of Heth, and he bought it as a plot of land to bury himself and his wife in. Joseph got out. There are so many names, so many terms tied to God. The core of Christian commitment is service. And he was saying to him, “You phonies. There’s a fourth thing he wants to do, and every effective sermon must do this: he wants to present Messiah. It is the longest speech contained in the Acts, a place of prominence being given to it as a defence. He said, Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand … As much as I don’t want to look at the face of death in this beautiful time, St. Stephen’s story is as much a story of hope and faith as any other, and I’m impressed by the lessons we can learn from this first incredible saint. Now, when he said “glory,” they immediately thought of Shekinah, the light and the glow of God. Now, of course, the first thing to defend himself against is blasphemy against God. This is a masterpiece of a sermon, because he accomplishes four things at the same time. Watch this, “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt” – do you know what your super spiritual fathers did? And so, he designed, then, to indict them, and from the very start here, with the story of Joseph, he does a masterful job. Nineteen times, in this sermon at least, he talks about God, establishing his belief in God. Okay? That’s a verbal prophesy. And it’s going to be very difficult for me to g to really bring you some concrete conclusions just by virtue of the fact that we’re not going to get past verse 16, which, as you know, is quite an achievement in itself even, starting in verse 1. “Joseph dreamed a dream” - in 37:5 Genesis – “and he told it to his brother, and then they hated him the more.” They already hated him. They took Stephen by force and took him to the Jewish council. And she really liked Joseph. Well, they – his father, Terah – T-E-R-A-H – gathered the family, and they went to Charran. Verse 6, “And God spoke in this way. They sent the brothers down there. And they must have thought, “Uh-huh, uh-huh, I can see it coming.”, That isn’t all, though, look at verse 10, “And they delivered him out of all his afflictions” – God did – “God delivered him out of all of his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.”. There are all kinds of ways, in the Old Testament, that the Messiah is presented. Is the accusation legitimate? He went to their synagogues, as is indicated in verse 9 of chapter 6. As children of God, we can learn spiritual insights about how he managed the many setbacks in his life. That is he never ruled over anything. He must also prove that the God in whom he believes is the God of Israel. Father, thank You this morning that we’ve been able to look into this truth, to consider the Word of God. And so, the persecution came, and immediately they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, which is right on target, right on schedule, exactly where God wanted them to go. That’s what you find Stephen doing in Acts 6. So, God, you see, set Joseph apart as the leader in that family. And so, Stephen establishes, to begin with, that as far back as that, the very formation of Israel, there was rebellions against the purposes of God through one redeemer. Watch the next statement, “but God was with” – who? Stephen had blasphemed none of them. (You could use enrichment activities 4 and 5 to help the children learn about the members of the Godhead.) Look at the end of verse 4. It is not something new that destroys something old; it is something that fulfills something old. Now, when you can’t win the argument, then you slander the opponent. They sold Joseph into Egypt. Now, he’s accomplished those two powerful points. 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