Stephen, Champion for Christ
by Melineze Logan Hite
In Jerusalem there was great disbelief among the people. They had no faith in the almighty God. They were lost, and they were deep in sin.
The apostles were witnesses of Jesus Christ, the son of God. Jesus Christ was born into this old sinful world to save the world, red with sin. Jesus preached the gospel, loved the people, taught the people, and healed the people. Yet, they crucified our Lord and Saviour on Calvary Hill. Some believed; many continued to live in darkness and would not embrace the light of God. Sickness, suffering, and sorrow spread throughout the land. Jesus was the answer, not man. Jesus. There were originally twelve godly men called disciples who served as missionaries, and they went around from city to city preaching and healing the people. There was a great need in the land. When great wonders and signs were performed by the men of God, many people believed and repented of their sins. The apostles had great work to do. The darkness was covering the land; the world needed to be clothed in the light of God. The people chose seven men to assist them. These seven men loved God, were wise, and were touched by the Holy Ghost. The people knew them and respected them. The seven men were as follows: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas. The apostles placed their hands on these anointed men of God as a sign to the people that the chosen assistants had their supreme support and trust. The people were encouraged to honor and respect these men who would help feed the widows and help in whatever way they could and were needed, in meeting the needs of God's people.
But the people disputed with Stephen, who boldly spoke for God to his people. He spoke about the men of God like Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and Solomon. He spoke prophetically as if he were there and knew things that mortal men could not possibly know, unless they knew God personally. Some of the men there felt threatened by his power, knowledge, wisdom, truth, and the glory of God which shined from him. Jealousy? Hatred? Intolerance? Indifference? Distrust? Disbelief? Fear? One or more of these things engulfed the men. They lied on Stephen and said, " This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us." Even though the entire council saw only the angelic face of Stephen, they still questioned and doubted Stephen. He did not have any fear as to what might befall him. He spoke only the truth of God. He knew that God would never leave him, and he drew strength from that knowledge. He continued on with great confidence and overwhelming love of God. "When God be for you, what man can be against you?" God is your rock, your fortress, and your strength. "When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me."
Stephen said to all who would hear and judge him, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 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; Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said,"Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him... And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying," Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." And when he had said this, he fell asleep." Acts 7:51-60 "And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him."Acts 8:2
They took away the earthly life of a godly man, known as Stephen. However, they can not take away, destroy, or kill the Holy Spirit of God. They can not extinguish its power. God continues to use men who are beacons of light to spread his message that we need to come unto his son, Jesus Christ, find rest, peace, and forgiveness of our sins. "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 3:2
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