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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

 

ACTS CHAPTERS 6 & 7

KJV    NAS

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1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.

 

Act 6,1-10

(72d) Authority >> Transferring authority >> Men delegate authority in their position

(80i) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word to minister to God >> To know Him

(130c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Having one faith – The early church was unquestionably a commune; no one had private ownership of anything, but all possessions were property of the group, and they took their meals together. Tables were furnished and the elderly had waiters who would serve their daily meals. Today, something like this would never work. First of all, the word “commune” has a negative connotation, suggesting that society thinks all communes are evil in motive and would be persecuted from its very onset. Nevertheless, the early church was able to manage communal living for a season, until the Church was forced to disperse. It was an ideal setup at the time, in that unity helped people grow in the Lord quickly, but it was only meant to be temporary, and then in 70 AD persecution in Jerusalem dispersed the Christians in a state of unity and joy in the Holy Spirit according to the will of God. Had the commune continued much longer the people would have eventually run out of resources and disbanded from poverty and bitterness. Communal living formed through unity and was disbanded because of persecution, and in the last days communal living will return, only then it will form through persecution and create unity. If we tried communal living before it was necessary, there would be nothing but strife and division, and the commune would unravel from the inside. During the Great Endtime Revival, when the Holy Spirit takes His rightful place in the Church and corrects the schisms and doctrines of heresy and puts everyone on the same page, people will share their inspirations with one another within a framework of truth.

(158g) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Divide and conquer >> Division (Cliques) >> Special interest groups – When people get saved, mature Christians should take them under their wing and mentor them for a season; this is what was happening to the Church as a whole; it was being discipled by the Holy Spirit through His twelve apostles. There was strong single-minded faith and unity, but there were problems too, and this chapter brings out one of them. The native Hebrews looked with contempt upon Jews who had mixed their bloodline with other races and were refusing to serve the tables of their widows. This may have flown in the old covenant, but not in the new age of grace. By this they were forming classes and divisions, which would soon take down their communal way of life, being the kind of thing that can destroy any group, getting its start by forming seemingly innocent factions and then snowballing and overtaking any virtuous qualities among the people.

(227h) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Dependence on Jesus >> Depending on Jesus to impart His gifts into us >> He gives us what we give to each other

Act 6,1-6

(8k) Responsibility >> Responsible to defend God’s cause >> Preparing for the ministry – In preparing for a great ministry you need to assign the right people to the right task so that the job gets done and no one’s ministry is squelched. You might think that serving tables is a mundane job, but Steven was in direct contact with people and had a tremendous opportunity to impart his knowledge and wisdom into those who were like-minded and would receive his words. The apostles knew this and sought people who would be committed to helping them build up the body of Christ during their daily gathering together for dinner.

Act 6,1-5

(14k) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers are indirectly in charge of the word >> They relieve church leaders of menial duties – The story of Steven is one of the most concrete examples of the position of a helper, since it encompasses both elements of the ministry of helps: the anointing and the relieving of menial duties. This is a prime example of why it is so important for these helpers to be anointed. They touch so many lives in the course of their work that to station someone full of grace and truth would provide immeasurable benefit to the Church.

Act 6,1-4

(112a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Wisdom of the spirit -- These verses go with verses 8-10. The apostles were concerned about devoting themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word, because the word of God and prayer go together like peas and carrots. Prayer without the Scriptures is a waste of time, and the word of God without prayer has no ability to instill the truth in our hearts. It is our interaction with the word of God through prayer, deliberately placing these facets together in our hearts that God reveals Himself to our inner man, that we might gain access to the vast treasures of Christ, which dwell within us.

(142k) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a reputation for knowing God >> known as being intimate with God – There were people serving tables who needed replacing because they were shirking their duties, and they replaced them with people who were more competent, synonymous with having a good reputation, and who could meet the needs of the people, being full of the Spirit and wisdom. We would think they would reserve people like Steven for the purpose of teaching the word of God and helping raise up the body of Christ through the so-called five-fold ministry, discussed in Eph 4-11,12. It seems a misuse of resources to use people of this caliber to wait on tables, but they already tried using others of lower order, and all that came of their ministry were schisms. They needed to find people who were full of the Spirit and wisdom, who knew better than to make distinctions among people based on their physical descent. Besides, it turns out that placing them in a position where they interfaced with such a wide cross section of believers in the Church was a ministry in itself, for the responsibility of serving tables meant that Steven had access to people, and he would talk to them about his faith while they were eating their food, which was a heightened time of thanksgiving for God’s provision.

(241g) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Obstacles in the way of the kingdom >> Distractions

Act 6,1-3

(9k) Responsibility >> Strengthen one another >> Tend to the widows

(89d) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Answers of wisdom -- These verses go with verses 9&10

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2-7 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3 "Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." 5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them. 7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

 

Act 6,2-15

(149h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Authority of the rhema given to evangelism >> Preaching the gospel by the power of God

Act 6,2-4

(77c) Thy kingdom come >> Hunger for the essence of God >> Hunger for His truth

(148a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Solemnly testify about the grace of God

Act 6-3

(142c) Reputation (Key verse)

(230i) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Mystery of the trinity >> Anointing is the mystery of godliness -- This verse goes with verse 6

Act 6-5

(210h) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Salvation is from the Jews >> The Jew first >> Jews lead the world to faith in Jesus – A Christian proselyte back in those days was considered a gentile who has come to the Jewish faith in Jesus Christ. Since then, the Jews have ironically rejected their own faith, and the gentiles throughout the bi-millennial age of grace have managed the gospel of Christ. All gentiles should, however, consider themselves proselytes of the Jewish faith, whereas the Jews who believe in Jesus are native to faith in Jesus, because the gospel primarily belongs to them.

Act 6-6

(115i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Laying on of hands >> Ordaining people to the ministry – We have all seen the clergy lay hands on people and pray, but here it says they prayed and then laid hands on them. It doesn’t matter either way, but this verse is making the distinction between prayer and the laying on of hands. Prayer invited the Holy Spirit to join in ordaining the group to the ministry, and then there is a sanctioned, biblical process of laying on of hands. God is able to impart certain gifts into people through this contact ritual. Prayer holds a separate function of ministering to the heart and soul.

(230i) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Mystery of the trinity >> Anointing is the mystery of godliness -- This verse goes with verses 8-15

Act 6-7

(86a) Thy kingdom come >> Belief >> Treating the knowledge of God as fact >> Believe the word by obeying it – Some of the colleagues of those who earlier questioned and flogged the apostles were becoming obedient to the faith. Obviously there are those who are incapable of faith in Jesus, but there were some priests who had a good heart among the Levites, and they understood their role as priests for the nation of Israel. They conducted their ministry in the faith they understood about the old covenant and were able to make the transition. For a Levitical priest to come to the Lord, the most likely proof that led them to faith in Jesus was the many testimonials in the Old Testament alluding to the sacrifice of Christ and the grace He would bring to the world. Israel throughout the centuries sacrificed the blood of animals on the altar of their old covenant temple and ate their flesh, all to symbolize the sacrifice that Jesus would one day make of his own body. The high priest would take a bowl-full of the animal's blood with him into the Most Holy Place once a year to atone for the sins of Israel, and the priests realized that Jesus did this with His own blood, presented it to His Father in heaven, and He accepted it as equivalent to accepting us who believe in Jesus for eternal life.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.

 

Act 6,8-15

(42d) Judgment >> Be like Jesus >> Innocent >> No evidence against you in a court of law

(121l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence >> Confidence in God as you fulfill your ministry

(154i) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is rebellious against God >> Witness against hypocrisy – The religious establishment was totally close-minded, refusing to ponder any other point of view and considered everything they believed to be right, so if anyone disagreed with them, they were automatically wrong. After all the signs and wonders that God performed through Steven and the words he spoke, sitting there not saying a word, he testified against them merely by his countenance. Steven earlier testified against their forefathers saying, “You who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it,” these were the sons of those who persecuted the prophets, who treated Steven in the same manner, whose face was like an angel since he was about to meet God. In the next fifteen minutes he would be standing on the shores of the heavenly kingdom, Steven’s face already making the transition to the next life. In the process God was using him to testify against his enemies, that anyone who would stone a man to death for speaking the truth and performing miracles in the name of Jesus would pose violence against God Himself if ever the opportunity arose, even as they killed Jesus. This is an example of the reprobate mind, people who are utterly unreachable. Nevertheless, it is important to note that many priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

(163g) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the word of God >> Used to Suppress the truth – There is a kind of people who are adamant about getting their way and against everything about God, having no conscience as a requirement to achieving their goals. They never give preference to others or surrender or submit to anyone, but use deception, oppression and murder to solve their problems. These are the alpha-males in society, considering themselves men of renown (description as the Nephilim), bullies who follow their animal instincts, led-on by elementary principles of the world. They went behind Steven’s back and made up stories about him and twisted his words to make him say things contrary to the covenant of Moses.

(166h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Nature Of Man’s Wisdom >> Man’s wisdom will not allow the righteous to succeed

(175e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Using religion to persecute the Church – Moses remained the heart of the old covenant until the days of Christ, and then He replaced the law of commandments with mercy and grace. Therefore, anyone speaking against Moses in those days would be seen as an act of treason. No one greater than Moses ever came after him, not even David who brought the hope of a coming millennial reign, but when Christ came, He established a new covenant written in His own blood that would last for two thousand years.

(181b) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Rebellion >> Rebelling against the witness of God

(182h) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Being deceptive with people >> Lying to others

(198a) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Man withers when he is in control >> Unteachable >> Resisting the knowledge of God – It is virtually impossible to talk most people into faith in Christ. Steven, being full of grace and power performed great signs and wonders among the people, yet some argued with him. How are we supposed to reach those who refuse to acknowledge miracles performed before their very eyes? They discounted them, probably accusing Steven of performing black magic arts through demons as they accused Jesus, an excuse to maintain their own beliefs, so they wouldn’t have to admit to any wrong doing or thinking. They were clutching doctrines they didn’t even believe themselves in place of having a genuine faith in Christ. A person who refuses to see is not committed to the truth but merely a religion, which should not be confused with a sincere faith. They were proud of their religion and that was as far as their faith went. These people had no more faith than their pride and massive egos, and in the eyes of God that is no faith at all.

(200l) Denying Christ >> Whoever is not with Jesus is against him >> He is against Christ who does not receive Him >> Whoever does not receive the Church is against Christ

(202f) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Running from the word of God >> Running from the truth

(209d) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Righteous saved with hardship >> Righteous saved with adversity

(230i) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Mystery of the trinity >> Anointing is the mystery of godliness -- These verses go with verse 3

(242e) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecuting God >> Persecuting the power of God

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 6,8-10

(6i) Responsibility >> Spiritual >> Ministering to people by being in the Spirit -- These verses go along with verse 15

(14j) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers Are Indirectly In Charge Of The Word >> They have the heart of the one who trained them – Steven was full of grace and power, chosen to merely serve tables and guarantee that the widows were properly attended. When the leaders chose the seven, they knew what kind of ministry it would be, that Steven and the others would be interfacing directly with the people. His status by that description was below the title of a deacon, yet he was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; therefore, how much more did they expect from their deacons back then? Nowadays a man like Steven may have risen to become a church pastor, but in his time there were probably more people like Steven then they could use. You wouldn’t think it would require such a man as Steven to be a waiter, but he did more than go from table to table delivering trays and cleaning-up after meals; people had spiritual needs, and Steven ministered to them. He became acquainted with their problems and became personally involved in their lives and became intimate friends with many of those he served. Had the story of Steven happened in our time, the majority of both church leaders and parishioners would have blamed Steven for causing a disturbance and invented a new rule that waiters were no longer allowed to administer the word of God while waiting on tables. No one stopped Steven from ministering, because he was not the one causing a ruckus but his opponents, who resisted the Holy Spirit and were blaspheming.

(71b) Authority >> Believer’s authority >> We have authority in the wisdom of God

(112a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Wisdom of the spirit -- These verses go with verses 1-3

(129b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Bearing the fruit of evangelism >> Spiritual fruit

(147e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Divine works of God >> Signs and wonders

Act 6-8 

(115e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through your ministry >> By the word of God

(143c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> The disciples ministered publicly

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

9-15 But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. 10 But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God." 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. 13 They put forward false witnesses who said, "This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us." 15 And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.

 

Act 6,9-15

(24g) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Envy >> Angry at God because of their poverty

(74i) Thy kingdom come >> Heart of man is sinful >> It is deceitful and desperately wicked

(157k) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Having a murder spirit

(166n) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> >> The carnal mind cannot discern between good and evil >> The carnal mind lacks integrity

(170c) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Pursuing the glory of man turns us in the wrong direction >> Fighting God to keep the glory of man

(175f) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Evading the word of God

(180e) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Be shrewd as wolves and more innocent than they appear >> Wolves are clever

(181f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Lawlessness >> Having no regard for the law >> Forsaking the law

(205h) Salvation >> Salvation is based on God’s promises >> New covenant >> The old one is obsolete – While they performed their duties, Steven and his friends would stop and discuss the word of God with people, which to some were controversial issues. God’s truth was controversial, perhaps more back then than today if that were possible, since they were in the process of pulling away from the old covenant and blazing a trail to the new covenant. On top of that, the Jews were not practicing old covenant customs according to the manner in which they were dictated to Moses, adding further confusion to the job of establishing the doctrines of the Church by which Christians would worship God for the next 2000 years. These changes were virtually impossible to accept without the guidance of the Holy Spirit; if God did not confirm His word to them, there was no hope of anyone believing it, which is still true to this day. These two covenants were adjacent to one another and a painful tearing away was happening for a new age of grace to be fully realized.

Act 6-9,10

(89d) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Answers of wisdom -- These verses go with verses 1-3

(112e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesus light in us overcomes darkness >> The light of His truth

Act 6,11-14

(17i) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Ignorance >> Speaking truth without knowing it – Nothing they posited against Steven was a lie, yet their interpretation and understanding of his words were completely distorted. Steven deeply respected the life and contribution of Moses. How easy it is to twist a person’s words; they didn’t alter what Steven said, but practically quoted him verbatim and still misconstrued what he said. They could not fathom the gospel; they simply didn’t understand it, as Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, because you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God” (Mat 22-29). Steven confounded them simply by telling them the truth, essentially combining the Holy Spirit with an accurate depiction of the Scriptures.

Act 6-11,12

(162b) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Carried Away >> Carried away bodily

(179d) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Stir up the crowd >> Stir up the crowd through jealousy

Act 6-11

(17j) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Ignorance >> Distorting the facts – There were some crucial adjustments that the apostles needed to make to the Church’s knowledge of the Scriptures as they acclimated from the Old Testament to the New, which would seriously and inevitably rock the boat of the Jewish faith. They believed a certain way for fifteen hundred years and now suddenly everything was changing. During the doctrinal upheaval it was easy to accuse the apostles of saying something that went directly against the heart of their ancestral beliefs, and the Hebrew community was highly religious, which did not help the transitional phase.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 6-12

(246a) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Spirit realm superimposed upon the natural realm >> The outside is a manifestation of the inside

Act 6-14

(49a) Judgment >> Nations are destroyed >> Israel judged as an example for us

(55j) Paradox >> Opposites >> Condemning prophecy that you help fulfill – When they put forth false testimony, they posed an argument they claimed Steven said that came true because of them; so not only were they incapable of incriminating Steven, turns out their argument was a prophecy about the fate of their nation that was fulfilled as a direct result of their own actions, persecuting Steven. Not only did the Jewish persecution expel Christians from Jerusalem, the Jews themselves were expelled into all the nations of the world through the dispersion of the Roman Empire perpetrated against them, because of their defiance and unyielding mindset, the very attitudes that kept them from God throughout the Old Testament, then from the gospel. Indeed, God had that place destroyed; indeed Jesus altered the Jewish customs of worship; indeed they were made obsolete through Christianity.

Act 6-15

(6i) Responsibility >> Ministering to people by being in the Spirit -- This verse goes with verses 8-10

(111i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Kingdom of God revealed >> Manifestation of truth

(246hh) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Demonstration of God’s kingdom >> God demonstrates His glory >> Materializing the inner man – Why did God reveal Himself to His enemies through Stephen? Did He make an opportunity for them to repent? No, He demonstrated His kingdom for an occasion to judge them! God knew their intension that they were about to stone Stephen, a man after God’s own heart, a man whom God could have used for many years to promote His kingdom and bring more converts and disciples to the faith. Instead, he died that day at the hands of marauding criminals, religious zealots, who claimed to believe in God but didn’t know the first thing about Him. God tried to show those murderers that they were wrong by causing Stephen’s face to glow with the glory of God, so they would know beyond a shadow of doubt that they were martyring someone better than themselves. The question comes to this: did these religious impostors really believe in what they proclaimed so strongly that they were willing to kill for it, or were their murderous ways based on something other than faith? Fact is, nobody can believe a lie stronger than God's children can believe the truth, because God empowers their faith, and the only power unbelievers have to believe a lie is of the devil. Maybe they believed in their religion through satanic power, but their faith in deception is weaker than faith in the truth by just so much as Satan is weaker than God. If they wanted to kill for their religion, they would have to do it for a reason other than faith, something that goes beyond the power of believing a lie, pride and arrogance.

 

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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

 

ACTS CHAPTER 7

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

1-28 The high priest said, "Are these things so?" 2 And he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, 'LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.' 4 "Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. 5 "But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM. 6 "But God spoke to this effect, that his DESCENDANTS WOULD BE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE ENSLAVED AND MISTREATED FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS. 7 " 'AND WHATEVER NATION TO WHICH THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I MYSELF WILL JUDGE,' said God, 'AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE.' 8 "And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 9 "The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, 10 and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household. 11 "Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food. 12 "But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13 "On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family was disclosed to Pharaoh. 14 "Then Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all. 15 "And Jacob went down to Egypt and there he and our fathers died. 16 "From there they were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. 17 "But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, 18 until THERE AROSE ANOTHER KING OVER EGYPT WHO KNEW NOTHING ABOUT JOSEPH. 19 "It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive. 20 "It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father's home. 21 "And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh's daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son. 22 "Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. 23 "But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. 24 "And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. 25 "And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26 "On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, 'Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?' 27 "But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, 'WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US? 28 'YOU DO NOT MEAN TO KILL ME AS YOU KILLED THE EGYPTIAN YESTERDAY, DO YOU?' 

 

Act 7,1-50

(79l) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word as a sword in spiritual warfare >> To defend yourself from religion – Their level of rage indicated what their Jewish religion meant to them. We should remember that their religion was taken from them 400 years earlier, and the whole nation of Israel was escorted to Babylon at the command of King Nebuchadnezzar, and were in bondage to him for seventy years, and Nehemiah began the process of rebuilding the wall surrounding Jerusalem, and then Herod built them an extravagant temple, which was their pride and joy.

(147b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Remember the Father’s miracles – Isaac got married and had children, who became the twelve tribes of Israel. When Stephen spoke of them and of Joseph and his experiences with the pharaoh of Egypt, how he became second in command, these refer to the sovereign hand of God moving among His people. We must view these events as miracles, because they are the fulfillment of prophecy. Israel's mistakes represent the cycle of life that has continued throughout human history: man learns his lesson, and the next generation forgets, who must relearn at a high cost of human lives. There is always death and destruction along the learning curve, and what is the cause of this cycle? Look to the succeeding king of Egypt for the answer; the guy was a total jerk. He could have listened to his elders who personally knew Joseph and could have judged Israel with kindness, but he didn’t. The motivating factor behind this cycle repeating from generation to generation is sin and depravity and the love of violence, but more than anything the king acted from fear. He was afraid that the Israelites would grow more numerous than the Egyptians and overtake them. The king could have simply released them, problem solved, but from fear he treated Israel contemptuously, and God judged Egypt for it.

Act 7,1-8

(151a) New Testament Bears Witness Of The Old (Key verse)

(151bb) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> New Testament bears witness of the Old >> The Patriarchs >> Abraham >> Story of Abraham Stephen spoke in length about Abraham, who was the father of their nation and the father of our faith, saying that God called him and made great promises to him, yet not even a foot of ground did he personally inherit. Plus, he was without child; his wife was barren, yet God promised this land as a possession to his descendants. All this Abraham believed by following the voice of the One who would make it happen, and for this reason he was “the father of us all” Steven made his defense to the council saying that God commanded Abraham to leave his relatives in Mesopotamia and sojourn to another country that God would show him. Before God spoke to Abraham, he was just another man in the world, but after Abraham heard and obeyed the voice that was speaking with him, his wife gave birth to a nation, Israel being the only nation that was ever conceived by faith. This is why Israel's religion defines them. Nevertheless, it says in Heb 11-39,40, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Therefore, how much more are the patriarchs of old an example of faith, who believed God without receiving what was promised? God’s purpose for Israel was twofold: to create a nation that He would call His own, who would create a city where He would establish His name, subsequently giving them a lineage, so when He sent His Son born of a woman, he would have an identity in the flesh. God also had a second purpose for Israel; the people who were living in the land of plenty were not worthy of it, and since God had given man the rainbow, promising He would not destroy the world again by flood, He sent Israel to evict the inhabitants of the land that flows with milk and honey and take ownership of some of the best real estate in the known world.

Act 7,9-50

(151d) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> New Testament bears witness of the Old >> The Patriarchs >> Moses God prophesied to the sons of Abraham that they would be aliens in a foreign land, and they would be mistreated for 400 years, promising that God Himself would judge their enemies, “and afterward they will come out with many possessions” (Genesis 15-14). That is a very specific prophecy regarding their enslavement to Egypt. The purpose of prophecy is to increase our confidence in God, for if He knows the future, He certainly knows our present. When we don’t know if God is watching, and when we wonder if He knows what to do, He prophesies the future long before it happens so we can trust Him with our circumstances. Steven spoke of Moses, the deliverer of Israel, mentioning a burning thorn bush. The Bible teaches that God’s natural habitat is fire, so this thorn bush is depicting the nature of God’s existence, but it also gives us a picture of hell. The book of Revelation says that God will throw the constituents of the second resurrection into the lake of fire, and this burning thorn bush shows us how something can be on fire but not be consumed. It is interesting that the thorn bush has a way of keeping people and animals at arms length even when it is not on fire, so when God was speaking to Moses, the burning thorn bush was doubly repellent of mankind, and this is the kind of relationship that God had with man before He sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

29-50 "At this remark, MOSES FLED AND BECAME AN ALIEN IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he became the father of two sons. 30 "After forty years had passed, AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HIM IN THE WILDERNESS OF MOUNT Sinai, IN THE FLAME OF A BURNING THORN BUSH. 31 "When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: 32 'I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB.' Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. 33 "BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, 'TAKE OFF THE SANDALS FROM YOUR FEET, FOR THE PLACE ON WHICH YOU ARE STANDING IS HOLY GROUND. 34 'I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.' 35 "This Moses whom they disowned, saying, 'WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE?' is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. 36 "This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 "This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, 'GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.' 38 "This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you. 39 "Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40 SAYING TO AARON, 'MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT -WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM'. 41 "At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42 "But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, 'IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? 43 'YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.' 44 "Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. 45 "And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David. 46 "David found favor in God's sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 "But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48 "However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: 49 'HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?' says the Lord, 'OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE? 50 'WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?'

 

Act 7,29-37

(105lb) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit into the fire >> Into the wilderness >> Wilderness is the true nature of this world – The wilderness is the place where we go to learn what we cannot learn anywhere else. The wilderness is always painful to the flesh, undesirable, virtually devoid of pleasure and happiness, but it hones the man to a sharp edge who submits to it, so his tongue cuts like a razor after God has invested His word into him. The wilderness is a place of revelation; Moses already had knowledge given to him by the Egyptians in their schools of learning but knowledge that was meant only for this world, whereas God's revelation knowledge is useful to our understanding of Him. Moses was an educated man of great faith, who was given the testimony by God Himself to be the most humble of all men, suggesting that education never made anyone haughty. Moses knew that God would one day use him to deliver Israel, but God gave him a revelation of that fact in the wilderness when he stood before the burning bush and heard the voice of God. Now he was ready, but until then none of his previous knowledge could deliverer anyone. When God spoke to him, all his knowledge about God became a revelation to him; then he could discern all things by the Spirit. What he had known for decades he suddenly understood in a whole new light. The things God spoke to him specifically after he removed the sandals from his feet on that holy ground would lead him for the rest of his life, by which he led Israel, and by that voice he would succeed in whatever God called him to do. Suddenly the obstacles were irrelevant; they weren’t metallic; they weren’t obstructions; they weren’t material; they were just shadows. All he had to do was follow the voice of God and all the obstacles would melt from his path in order to accomplish the will that God had given him.

Act 7-37,38

(141a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ ministry >> Jesus as the great shepherd – Why was this summary of the Old Testament provided? Its purpose was to show Stephen's enemies that he knew the Old Testament, but why was that important? He defended himself by proving to the high priest that he was knowledgeable about his heritage (and incidentally for us it proved that anyone who wields the Spirit also knows the Word, Eph 6-17). Had the high priest encountered a man who was ignorant of Israel's illustrious past, it would have proven to him that Stephen was involved in a religious sect that was unrelated to Israel and would have justified him in stoning Stephen to death. Stephen proved them wrong, though, not only knowing the Old Testament backward and forward, but also proving that it was the basis of the new covenant. After Stephen proved his knowledge of Israel’s experience with God, it showed that he was very zealous for his Jewish faith, which was in the process of transformation into a new covenant before their very eyes in a manner similar to Stephen's face transforming into the likeness of an angel. In this way Stephen drew a definitive line from the old to the new covenant. Stephen made his point when he quoted Moses in one of the greatest prophecies of the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 18-15), which referred to Jesus. Note that Stephen called God an angel that spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai (see also verse 53), though Scripture is clear that it was God Himself who spoke face-to-face with Moses. Who was this angel, then? Perhaps it is the one that led Israel into the promise land (Ex 23,20-23 and Ex 33,1-5). In fact, the angel was Jesus! That Scripture calls Him an angel doesn't make Him any less the Son of God.

Act 7,47-53

(135j) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Abortion >> God loves the fetus >> The human body is the work of God

Act 7,47-50

(76a) Thy kingdom come >> Hidden motives >> Based on selfish ambition – There are many motives by which we can build structures for God, such as in pretense, having the true motive to glorify self. That was pretty much Solomon’s motive for building his colossal empire. Many articles of the temple God instructed to plate with God, such as the Ark of the Covenant, the Golden Altar of Incense, the Menorah and pans and saucers used in ceremonies, but Solomon plated nearly everything in gold. People came from all around the world to see Solomon’s temple, palace and city that he had built. The Queen of Sheba came and was utterly impressed by all that he had done, but did Solomon really do this for God or did he do it for himself? He attributed his success to his superior wisdom, but it says later in 1King 12,3-15 that the people were tired of working for Solomon, and they wanted their next king to give them a break. They were disgusted and disillusioned by Solomon’s quest for glory.

(140b) Temple >> Temple made without hands >> Hiding place >> Worshipping God in His temple – God is not impressed by our ability to reform what He has made. He would be impressed if we could create matter, but we can't, so there is no way to impress God by the structures we build. Steven was saying that Solomon’s temple really didn’t mean anything to God, though everybody in Israel was proud of their edifice and thought it should impress Him, after all, didn't the elaborate building indicate how much they thought of Him? Not necessarily, had Solomon built Him a modest temple and obeyed His commands, God would have been more pleased than what he did; Solomon built Him a cathedral and broke His commandments. The fact that Israel failed to please God suggests that Israel did not believe in Him; they believed He existed and believed He communicated with them, but didn't believe in what He said. Heb 11-6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” This means faith impresses God, only if our faith revolves around a humble and contrite heart and makes us tremble at His word (Isaiah 66-1,2). The answer to Steven’s question about how to please God isn’t by building extravagant temples, but living and walking by faith.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

51-53 "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. 52 "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; 53 you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it."

 

Act 7,51-60

(25d) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Murder >> Persecution to the death >> Murder is the way of the world

(42d) Judgment >> Be like Jesus >> Innocent >> No evidence against you in a court of law

(110h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Born of the Spirit by the truth >> Hearing the Spirit

(154i) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is rebellious against God >> Witness against hypocrisy

(163k) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Entertaining demons >> Disciplined by the devil as a son

(180g) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Wolves steal, kill and destroy >> Wolves have a killer instinct

(189h) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Martyr >> Dying to self through persecution

(200l) Denying Christ >> Whoever is not with Jesus is against him >> He is against Christ who does not receive Him >> Whoever does not receive the Church is against Christ

(209g) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Righteous saved with casualties

Act 7,51-53

(72a) Authority >> Ordained by God >> We are ordained to walk in His authority

(155f) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> Conscience >> An evil conscience keeps us from believing God >> Knowledge of evil testifies against our ways – Most Jews did not believe, not even in their Old Testament, which caused them to be the most lost people on earth, who came into being through the faith of Abraham by the voice of God, yet now don't believe in Abraham’s God. They have cut the umbilical cord to their own life source, yet they still hold to the promise that God would never leave them or forsake them. They are still His people according to the flesh, but now that the new covenant has come, they must also become His people according to the Spirit. They don’t know how or what to hope, since their old covenant is obsolete and the new covenant they don’t believe. They are the Bible’s example of people living against their conscience, knowing the right thing to do but not doing it. It is not good enough to know that the law was given by angels; it only means something if we do what it says, and they were not doers of the law. They didn’t love the Lord their God with all their hearts, and they didn’t love their neighbor as themselves. Had they religiously kept the law, they would have had right standing with God to this day, but the law meant something to them only as their religion.

(175e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Using religion to persecute the Church

Act 7-51,52

(242a) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecution to the death >> Killing God’s prophets – Stephen said something to the religious leaders of Israel that Jesus said in Mat 23-31,32, “So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!” Their fathers killed the prophets who announced the coming of the righteous one; they killed Jesus, and now they were about to kill Stephen. Had they received Christ, God would have given them their heart’s desire, but they rejected Him. Had Israel repented and believed in the gospel after His resurrection, we would be living in a different world today; the Jews would have been the rightful managers of the gospel and who knows what would have resulted? Nevertheless, they had stones in their hands, gathered around Steven about to destroy him because they still hadn’t repented of their unbelief. The Jewish people resisted the gospel until it was finally given into the hands of the gentiles, and the gentiles have had it to this day, and all of human history was written because of it.

Act 7-51

(74l) Thy kingdom come >> Let not your heart be hardened >> Insensitive to the things of God

(157i) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Having a reprobate mind

(168j) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world has deaf ears to God >> Deaf from a hardened heart -- This verse goes with verse 57

(180h) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Rebellion >> Rebelling against God’s narrow way >> Rebelling against the word of God – This is a testimony of Stephen’s rebuke against his enemies, and afterward they killed him for arguing with them, because he won the argument. Everything they said in their defense Stephen shredded to reveal their sin. They were reprobates and murderers; they hated God and the truth and were highly religious people. They weren’t secular atheists, but claimed to believe very strongly in their Old Testament laws, but over the centuries their Mosaic teachings became convoluted, until they completely lost touch with the intent of the Law, which was written in great detail by the prophets, who also mostly were martyred by the same caliber of people. So there was murder and rejection of all that was good and right in God’s chosen nation, who were supposed to represent Him in the world. When the new covenant came, they spilled Jesus’ blood, God raised Him from the dead, and now the apostles were proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ, seated at the right-hand of God. Stephen told them these things, and they killed him for it. The truth has been maligned over the centuries as the very last thing man is willing to believe. Actually the leadership of the Church today is not much better than the leadership of Israel in the days of Stephen; they may not be a lot of marauding murderers, but neither do they much believe the truth; if they did, they would be the salt of the earth. Had they obeyed the Lord, people would have known the difference between right and wrong, and it would have given them pause to some of the most wicked atrocities committed in an age of grace. Many would have changed their ways and been converted and joined forces with them and added to the social conscience with the result that the world would not be in the mess we are today.

(185h) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Blasphemy >> Responding with contempt to the Holy Spirit >> Resisting the Holy Spirit – Resisting the Holy Spirit is the very essence of evil. There are all kinds of sins that we commit, but they are all byproducts of the one sin: omitting righteousness. Obeying the Holy Spirit is the basis of bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5-22,23), which is our righteousness before men that we must have if we are ever going to see heaven (Mat 5-20). Stevens’s enemies were guilty of resisting the Holy Spirit, who testified to his enemies that Jesus Christ was the propitiation for the sins of the world. We cannot be saved without obeying the Holy Spirit, for He leads us to believe in Jesus.

Act 7-53

(15h) Servant >> Angels have authority >> They have the power to decree an order

(71k) Authority >> Ordained by God >> We have His seal

(90g) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Law is our tutor >> Had they kept the law, they would not have persecuted the Church

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

54-56 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. 55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently 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 up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." 

 

Act 7,54-60

(48m) Judgment >> Jesus’ enemies are destroyed >> Enemies of His grace – It seems that what Steven said in the ears of his enemies was the vilest of all blasphemies. They hated Jesus because He completely defeated them on every level and in the most insidious ways. He ran them through with the sword of His mouth and destroyed their conscience, and then they killed Him and He rose from the dead to finish the job. In killing Him, they destroyed themselves.

(146f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Deliverance from demon possession >> Casting out violent demons What we see in this passage is that the spiritual realm is divided between God and Satan. With Satan there are a myriad religions, but with God there is only one Truth. When the truth of the gospel is revealed in the word of God and clarified by the Spirit, the contrast between light and darkness is so intense that it often brings about a violent clash between spiritual forces representing opposing kingdoms. What Steven told the Jewish zealots was so offensive that the only thought that came to mind was murder. It wasn’t a thought they determined in themselves, but one that came to them by impulse. Note that the violent demons that resided within the Jewish zealots could not be exorcized because they were willing hosts who were happy to do the devil's bidding.

(194d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Run to God from your enemies

(201e) Denying Christ >> Jesus is an offense >> Truth offends error >> The gospel offends the religious establishment – The Jewish zealots would have disagreed and debated with a person who tried to show them where they were wrong, but the gospel of Jesus Christ that Steven had in His mouth was something they could not dispute. It stood diametrically opposed to them in such a manner that they could not argue with Steven’s wisdom. Some people can argue the point, but eventually their argument disintegrates in light of God’s truth that points out the error in everything that is of this world. People who get saved accept the correction, but most are too proud to accept being corrected, especially when people have believed a certain religion for as long as these Jewish zealots who have fashioned their lives around their beliefs. When we tell them that their beliefs are false, that there is a truth from God that far exceeds what they believe, those are fighting words to most religious people.

(202f) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Running from the word of God >> Running from the truth – Instead of humbling themselves, they gnashed their teeth at Steven. A more proper response would have been to say something like this: ‘You’re right; that was a good assessment of us; we are really wicked.' Their modus operandi was that if they didn’t like the message, they would kill the messenger, but they can’t destroy the truth, which is impervious to human will. They were just taking out their anger on Steven, angry that they were so religious but still strangers to the truth, angry that the law was given by angels but they didn’t keep it.

(242b) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecution to the death >> Martyrs

Act 7,55-60

(29g) Gift of God >> God is on our side >> He stands beside us through hardship

(30l) Gift of God >> God favors you through your prayers – Steven’s response was contrary to the old covenant that reads ‘eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.’ Had Steven been living in the days of the old covenant, he would have said something like, ‘Lord, vindicate me against my enemies; let their houses become a heap of rubble and their children fatherless,’ but the new covenant says, ‘Do not hold this sin against them,’ just like Jesus said on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” God heard Steven’s prayer, and Saul was standing there and received his blessing of forgiveness through the blood of Christ. God answered Steven's prayer when the grace of God came to Paul on the road to Damascus (Act 9,1-6) in a vision that he both saw and heard, and it changed his life forever, along with the lives of many millions of people. This is the righteousness of God’s grace and the calling of every Christian, not only to live but also to walk in the grace of God, as Paul said in Gal 5-25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” by showing grace particularly to our enemies.

(111e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >>

(221a) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Kingdom hidden behind the veil from the world >> God hides from man’s ignorance >> God hides from those who are not looking for Him

(230i) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Mystery of the trinity >> Anointing is the mystery of godliness

(233k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> Seek His glory without wavering >> Seek His glory through hardship

Act 7-55,56

(67d) Authority >> Jesus at the right hand of the father >> He delegates authority

Act 7-56,57

(65g) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Satan unites the world for the cause of persecution

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

57-60 But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. 58 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. 59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" 60 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.

 

Act 7-57,58

(162b) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Carried Away >> Carried away bodily

(246c) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Literally unable to acknowledge the presence of God

Act 7-57

(55da) Paradox >> Opposites >> Darkness exposes itself by its own reaction – The Jewish zealots covered their ears and rushed on Steven with one impulse, not by response but by reaction. Response is based on the exercise of our will, whereas reaction bypasses the will, like two chemicals that are highly reactive to each other, they don’t choose to react, they just do. This spells the difference between operant conditioning and classical conditioning. Operant conditioning is the pigeon pecking at the green light to get the pellet, while classical conditioning is the dog salivating at the tone of the bell, coupled with food. Whenever a dog is given food a bell is rung, until it associates the bell with food, so all the experimenter has to do is ring the bell and the dog automatically salivates. Therefore, classical conditioning is a subconscious reaction to a stimulus. These religious people who hated God and the teaching of the resurrection rushed on Steven with an impulse that was animalistic in nature. They knew what they were doing but didn’t have to think about it. A skill is essentially the process of training our body to do a certain thing (muscle memory) so we don’t have to think about what we are doing, and this is what these Jewish zealots did; they trained themselves with a killer instinct to hate everything that did not correspond with their religion.

(157a) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Rejecting God >> Rejecting the truth

(168j) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world has deaf ears to God >> Deaf from a hardened heart -- This verse goes with verse 51

Act 7,58-60

(124h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love your enemies >> Loving your enemies leaves room for God to Work >> Leave room for the salvation of God – Saul was the apostle Paul prior to His conversion to Christianity, this being the first mention of him in the Bible, who attended Steven’s martyr as the coordinator of it. The others laid their coats at his feet, signifying that he was the ringleader of Christian bloodshed. He was making sure that this sect would be silenced, though it was constantly growing in momentum and influence throughout all Jerusalem and their efforts were proving in vain. Had Jesus not appeared to him, it is highly unlikely that Paul would have ever seen the light, but God saw something in Paul and knew he would not only be converted at the revelation of Jesus Christ but also become the greatest evangelist Christianity would ever know. The man was absolutely driven, and what was special about Paul that made him different from many of his colleagues was that he actually sought the truth with a clear conscience. What Paul believed was not a religion to him; he had a real faith in God, though he was wrong in nearly everything he believed, yet he was sincere about it, sincerely wrong. Steven in the forgiveness of his killers planted a seed that sprouted in Paul after his conversion to Christianity. Grace makes a lot of sense when we are not on the bloody end of it, but when it is our turn to show grace, it is incomprehensible to the flesh. Fortunately, Steven didn't believe in his flesh but in God and forgave his enemies, setting up the moment when God Himself would visit Paul and show him just how far off the mark his religion had caused him to drift.

Act 7-60

(120d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiveness >> Forgiving your brother >> As God has forgiven you

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