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The Power to Stand

Power (The Book of Acts)  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What does it take to stand in the midst of cultural pressure?

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The Power to Stand

How can we be agents of change in our culture.
The Story of Stephen
“they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,”
they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
WHO WAS STEPHEN?
We are introduced to Stephen out of family drama.
A feud begins to arise in the body of Christ over the care of widows. The Hebrew widows were getting the daily distribution of food but the Hellenists (Greek) were not.
It turned into a “your people” “my people” problem. A “your tribe” “my tribe” problem. Instead of being one in Christ there began to resort to old lines.
The apostle have the people elect 7 men to step in to serve the people so they could continue to minister the gospel in teaching.
Stephen was a problem solver! He was a servant.

You have to be Full of IT

Stephen had the IT factor.
Stephen had the IT factor because he was full of IT.
What is the IT factor?
The IT factor in the world. (Huffpost)
They command presence when they walk into the room.
Everyone wants to be on their team
Everyone wants to work for them or with them
They are magnetic.
When they speak people listen.
it is sometimes called Executive Presence
3 Factors
Gravitas
Communication skills
Award winning appearance
A Different IT factor
Acts shows us a different kind of IT factor.
Definition:
Being filled with the Holy Spirit
“Full of”
Stephen was performing signs and wonders.
The religious leaders were upset because he was gathering a crowd. People were following his teachings and witnessing the works that God was doing at his hands.
There was something about Stephen that drew people to him.
Stephen was Full
- “full of the Spirit and wisdom”
- “Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit”
- “Stephen, full of grace and power”
- “But he, full of the Holy Spirit”
What does it look like when someone has IT?
Their Character changes
They grow in wisdom
They walk in power
They are full of faith
They are believing and trusting God
They aren’t eor they’re pooh…think about that one, I’m not being gross.
They are devoted to prayer.
They are passionate for the scriptures
Stephen is going to unpack the Scriptures!
They have a heart for the down and outers.
Stephen served the widows and the orphans.
They want to reach beyond themselves and lay their lives down for others.
$5 fill up (Not from KFC) (Some of you are like Mmm I’m a do that for lunch)
How do you operate when you only put $5 in your car at a time?
You are always worried about running out of gas.
You have to rely on others to get around.
You almost stay away from your car because you may not make it.
How do you operate when you are filled up?
FREEDOM!
You can take care of the things you need to take care of without the worry of your car stalling out or having to stop in the middle of your day to get gas.
How do we get IT?
We in America want to know “How do I get this?!” What’s the formula?
We want to tagline this kind of stuff, sell this stuff and then franchise it!
It’s not something you GET, it’s something you receive
It’s not directed by your wisdom its direction by God’s providence.
Answer: You surrender everything at the foot of the cross.
How does IT work?
Car Racing Game with booster button.
It’s focus is restoration
Acts 6:8 NASB95
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts
If we want to see restoration in our lives and our communities we have to be full of IT!
We have to walk in IT
We have to nurture IT
We have to surrender to IT
Because then....
They will see IT
They will be drawn to IT!
They will ask about IT!
They might even listen to IT!

You have to be confident and bold in IT

You have to rest in IT

Stephens Sermon
7:2 “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of Glory”
Acts 7:51–53 NASB95
“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. “Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
Acts 7:51
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
They hated him
They devised a plan to kill him just like they did Jesus.
They were getting more radical
Notice there were no Romans involved.
Stephens charges are almost identical to Jesus, yet the Romans are never considered. They just take him out and stone him.
Because Stephen was filled up, he was able to operate in boldness.
He wasn’t directed by fear he was directed by the father.
He wasn’t on E he was on full
Boldness requires trust.
Boldness requires being full.
When I was in Middle School I took drivers ed. One day I was waiting for my mom to come pick me up and I saw this kid who always goofed around in the class and so I didn’t like him very much. He had hair that was down to his shoulders and was a little crazy so as he passed by me walking out I said in a synical way “nice hair”, thinking that’ll get him. He quickly retorted, “nice bowl cut”
I quickly ran home, looked in the mirror and sure enough, he had won.
I was bold while being filled with the wrong thing, so it ultimately led to my demize.
Stephen had boldness while being filled with the Spirit and so its effects reverberate into the future.
Stephen trusted God with his life, even if it meant death in a brutal way.

You have to learn to Rest in It

Acts 7:59
Acts 7:59–60 NASB95
They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.
Rest means comfort and security.
Rest means comfort and security.
This term is used to describe death. It describes the period between death and the final resurrection.
In the midst of Stephens last breathes we see a man enduring great pain and agony yet still finding his ultimate rest in Christ.
The End of the Story
I left out one verse
Acts 7:58 NASB95
When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
Saul will become the most influential Christian Missionary of all time.
The Blood that came from the body of Stephen water the seed o faith that will come to Paul in the next chapter.
HOW CAN STEPHEN find rest in the midst of a brutal death?
This guy had the IT factor, even in his death, we are still drawn to this guy.
ITS BECAUSE OF WHO STEPHEN WAS DRAWN TO.
Stephen looked up and saw
“Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Even in Stephens death he was drawn to Jesus.
WHY WAS STEPHEN DRAWN TO JESUS?
Jesus was the OG of the IT factor!
He set the standard for others to follow.
We are attracted to Stephen because Stephen was attracted to Christ.
We want to be like Stephen because Stephen was like Christ.
Check this out:
If we want to have the it factor than we have to follow the IT factor.
We are going to finish with a simple questions
WHY DOES JESUS HAVE THE IT FACTOR?
Jesus was filled up first.
Luke 22:42 NASB95
saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
Jesus wasn’t filled up with power, he was filled up with our sins.
Because Jesus was filled up with your sin, you can be filled up with His Spirit.
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