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Proclaiming Christ in the face of opposition

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Proclaiming Christ in the face of opposition.

(KJV 1900)
8 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 stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
Verse 8
There are a few of words in Verse one we will look at:
Full - This word has the idea of no empty space. There is no room for doubt.
Faith - the conviction that something is true even though it is not seen. Several Good translations use the word Grace here instead of Faith.
Power - Dunimus
Wonders - Not done in a way that can be explained.
Miracles - As a sign. These would mark Stephens ministry as legitimate.
These were not be done in private or among the privileged. They were witnessed by the people. God had put his stamp of approval on the actions of Stephen.
Verse 9
This verse tells us the source of the oppositions: the libertines.
The Acts of the Apostles with Introduction, Notes, and Maps 1. Stephen’s Arrest and Trials, 6:8–15

The synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, etc. The synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia, etc. The different communities of Hellenist Jews had their own synagogues in Jerusalem, and those who belonged to five of these synagogues disputed with Stephen.

It is said that Jerusalem contained four hundred and eighty synagogues.

Libertines, freedmen. Most probably the descendants of Jews who had been carried captive to Rome by Pompey the Great and others, and who had been freed in Rome. Eighteen years before this these Jewish freedmen had been banished from Rome, and many had returned to Jerusalem.

Cyrene was in Africa, about half-way between Carthage and Alexandria. It contained a large number of Jews, who constituted one-fourth of its whole population (Mark 15:21; Acts 13:1).

Alexandria, the capital of Egypt, founded by Alexander the Great. In no city save Jerusalem were there so many Jews, nor had they so much power anywhere out of Palestine. The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament had been made at Alexandria for the Jews there; Jewish philosophy flourished in the person of Philo; and the Jewish Therapeutæ of Alexandria were probably the source of the mystical Essenes. The Jews of Alexandria had great privileges as well as great influence; they were permitted to have a council and ethnarch of their own, and were to a large extent a self-governed body.

Cilicia was at the south-east corner of what is now called Asia Minor. It contained a large number of Jews, the descendants of the two thousand Jewish families whom Antiochus the Great transplanted from Palestine. Its principal town was Tarsus, the birthplace of Saul, who in all probability belonged while in Jerusalem to the synagogue of the Cilicians, and was one of those who disputed with Stephen.

Asia in the New Testament always means the north-west corner of Asia Minor, which had Ephesus for its capital, and contained within it most of the seven churches of the Apocalypse. In all these places the Jews lived apart from the Gentile inhabitants, and had their synagogues; they had also in all probability synagogues in Jerusalem which they frequented when sojourning there at the feasts or at other times.

Verse 10
They could not answer with with the authority or power that Stephen had. His message was In the power of the Holy Spirit.
As a result they decided to lie. The Devil has lied from the beginning and he always will. Beware of those who lie.
Verse 11 -13
Here is where we find what the lie is going to be and what they wanted to accomplish..
Blaspheme -irreverence toward that which is sacred. He is brought before the highest Jewish court (The council); the Sanhedrin.

SANHEDRIN (Greek συνέδριον, synedrion; Hebrew סַנְהֶדְרִין, sanhedrin). The supreme council in charge of Jewish affairs in Roman Palestine.

While the exact makeup and nature of the Jewish governing body in first-century Palestine is uncertain, the varying depictions of the Sanhedrin reveal a group consisting of priests and religious teachers who meet to decide on legal matters with religious, political, and social ramifications.

The supreme council in charge of Jewish affairs in Roman Palestine.

While the exact makeup and nature of the Jewish governing body in first-century Palestine is uncertain, the varying depictions of the Sanhedrin reveal a group consisting of priests and religious teachers who meet to decide on legal matters with religious, political, and social ramifications.

Verse 14 -15
In verse 14 they take ownership of the lie “we have heard”. What dangerous statement they make. in verse 15 the court looks on him with contempt. They saw his face as the face of an angel.

The Truth is Told

: 44-53

44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. 45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; 46 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built him an house. 48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50 Hath not my hand made all these things? 51 Ye estiffnecked and funcircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

Verse 1
After the false accusation the High priest is asking for a plea from Stephen; guilty or not guilty. Stephen does not lose his focus. Stephen does not refute the charges against him but instead gives a defense of the Gospel. He is seizing an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. Present in this assembly are those from every walk of life. The most prominent and the most insignificant people in Jerusalem. The High Priest and the lowly door keeper. His arrest has brought him an opportunity that he could not have arranged any other way. Sometimes a predicament turns into a once a life time opportunity to spread the Gospel. The very thing they are trying to quench is being fueled by their refusal to submit to the truth.
Stephen does not refute the charges against him but instead gives a defense of the Gospel. He is seizing an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. Present in this assembly are those from every walk of life. The most prominent and the most insignificant people in Jerusalem. The High Priest and the lowly door keeper. His arrest has brought him an opportunity that he could not have arranged any other way. Sometimes a predicament turns into a once a life time opportunity to spread the Gospel. The very thing they are trying to quench is being fulled by their refusal to submit to the truth.
Stephen actually only has 2 points:
Acts 2. The Defense of Stephen (7:1–53)

God’s worship not confined to Jerusalem

Acts 2. The Defense of Stephen (7:1–53)

God’s purpose often missed by His people

God’s truth is not popular. The opposition is already set. When they hear something they do not like you will be labeled a hater. The moral compass is no longer the Bible. Every man does what is right in his own eyes.
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