The church gets intentional
The church gets intentional
I. THE PROBLEM—vv. 1–7
A. The confusion—v. 1. The widows were not getting enough food. The church had set up a plan similar to our welfare plan today.
B. The concern—v. 2. The disciples felt they shouldn’t do the work that laymen could do. Often a pastor is overburdened with work and has no time to pray and study.
C. The characteristics—v. 3. Note that these seven men should have these qualities: (1) have an honest report, (2) full of the Holy Ghost, and (3) full of wisdom. This is what God expects of leaders today also.
D. The call—v. 4. The disciples were called to do God’s work, not the work which laymen could and should do.
E. The choice—vv. 5–6. Seven men were chosen. The disciples laid hands on them, praying for them, then sent them forth to work.
F. The conversions—v. 7. Because the disciples had more help, now they could study and pray more. Because of this, more accepted Christ.
II. THE PERSON—v. 8
A. Person—“Full of faith.” He put his faith into practice. Faith is of little value unless it is put into practice. Note the words of James: “Dear foolish man! When will you ever learn that ‘believing’ is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith” ( LNT).
B. Power—“Full of … power.” This was the power of the Holy Spirit in him. The promise of becomes a reality with Stephen. This power is available for all people.
C. Practice—“Did great wonders and miracles among the people.” When God’s power is put into practice, there will be miracles and wonders. God’s power always produces results.
A Spirit-Filled Layman
Stephen was a layman who was filled with the Spirit. As the result of being filled with the Spirit, he did wonders and miracles. He set an excellent example of meekness for all Christians to follow.
I. THE PERSON—6:8–10
A. The character—v. 8. Note a three-fold example of Stephen’s character:
1. Full of faith. All Christians should practice faith.
2. Full of power. He had power over sin, Satan, and self.
3. Full of miracles. Stephen did great miracles in the power of Holy Spirit.
B. The confusion—v. 9. These people opposed Stephen. God’s people always face opposition by the world.
C. The consecration—v. 10. Because Stephen was filled with the Spirit, he had wisdom. One of the gifts of the Spirit is the word of wisdom (). Wisdom is:
1. Knowing what to do. This means being led by the Spirit.
2. Knowing why we do it. Having a reason for what we do.
3. Knowing when we do it. Knowing what to say at the right time.
4. Knowing how to do it. Not knowing how to do something can hinder God’s work.
II. THE PREACHING—7:51–54
A. People—v. 51. Many Jews were stubborn, resisting the Spirit as their fathers had. Many people know what is right, but they resist because they are stubborn and disobedient.
B. Prophets—v. 52. “Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered” (LB). The Jewish people rejected the prophets and Jesus Christ. Now they rejected the message of Stephen.
C. Problem—v. 53. “Yes, and you deliberately destroyed God’s laws, though you received them from the hands of angels” (LB). God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, but the people rejected them.
D. Personality—v. 54. The preaching of Stephen caused anger among the Jewish people.
Pentz, C. M. (1978). Outlines on the Holy Spirit (pp. 45–46). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
I. The Trial of Stephen—6:8–15
A. Person—v. 8. Stephen was a layman. He was one of the seven men chosen to help the apostles—. The Holy Spirit worked through him, performing many wonders and miracles.
B. Problem—v. 9. These wonders stirred up the non-Christians. When God works the sinner is offended and disturbed.
C. Power—v. 10. The non-Christians could not resist the wisdom which Stephen displayed as he spoke.
D. People—vv. 11–12. The leaders helped to stir up the people to oppose Stephen and the other Christians. Stephen was wrongly accused. He was brought before the council.
E. Perversion—vv. 13–14. The leaders had false witnesses speak against Stephen. These people did not know the full truth.
F. Purity—v. 15. Stephen’s face shone, just as Moses’ face shone—.
Pentz, C. M. (1978). Sermon Outlines from Acts (p. 24). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
III. THE PLAN—vv. 9–15
A. The plot—vv. 9–11. Satan works through people, seeking to destroy Stephen. They could find nothing wrong with him. “So they brought in some men to lie about him, claiming they had heard Stephen curse Moses, and even God” (v. 11 LNT).
B. The people—vv. 12–14. When a person lives for God, there will be lies told against them. However, the truth will always win.
C. The proof—v. 15. Though these men were sinful, yet they could see Stephen’s face shine with the glory of God. Note: It was like the face of an angel.
Pentz, C. M. (1975). Outlines from Mark and Acts (p. 41). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.