Faithlife Sermons

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Drumbeat of Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Why do bad things happen to good people?
What is your price?
It seems most politicians can be bought for a price
There had been a problem in the church, racism
The Greek Christians felt their widows were not as well taken care of as the Palestinian Christians
The church resolved the problem by appointing deacons to take care of this, all greeks
Acts 6:1–7 NIV84
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Stephen, a man not for sale any any price

He was a man of Faith and the Holy Spirit
The greatest gift of the HS is faith
This gift not only liberates a person to respond to the gospel, but frees him to dare to believe that all things are possible thru Christ
Faith first produces new life in Christ and then a new life of daring in the individual
Then we are told he was full of Grace and power
Acts 6:8 NIV84
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.
Stephen had been healed by Christ’s unlimited, unmerited unearnable love
He was a released man
defensiveness, self justification, and competiveness were gone
Graciousness became the discernible trait of his personality
Faith got him started, grace had kept him growing and power was the result
Acts 6:8–10 NIV84
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.
They could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke
Stephen had the gift of Wisdom
the indwelling spirit gave him great understanding and insight together with discernment
He was able to understand the great mysteries of God’s nature and the purpose of his people
He could not be dissuaded or bought off

The other man who could not be bought was Saul

Two men with a Mission
Human intellect and brilliance confronted the Holy spirit, wisdom, and knowledge
Each had a passion
Saul could not withstand the deacons wisdom and spirit
Saul also could not be be bought with a price, not even embarrassment before his own synagogue
The Sanhedrin could not understand a man like Stephen. He could not be threatened, bought off, or punished into subservience
Acts 6:15 NIV84
All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
The people around us can always read our hearts by our faces, Even with masks on
What happens to a man’s face when the light in his heart goes out or no flame has ever been set to blaze. Our countenance is connected to our character and aour character to our communion with the living God
Yet they were startled by his face that was strangely like that of Moses when re returned from Sinai
Saul watched as the stones hit his face with that angelic look. Saul could never get that out of his mind
He could not understand how a man could pray and ask God for forgive his attackers
Acts 7:54–60 NIV84
When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 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.
Conclusion
God was there making good out of evil. He took the very one who sought to destroy him and made him the greatest declare of the gospel
Lessons learned
God does not offer us safety but does offer us strength
a Person who has been purchased by the blood of the Cross cannnot be sold for any human price
This passage tells us that our Lord is unrelentingly working out his purpose through the worst things that happen to us
Then we must stop and wonder what we would have done
Have I allowed the indwelling Spirit to give men the gift of faith to trust Jesus completely and to dare unreservedly
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