Stephen’s Challenge – Lesson 16.18
Act 6:8 - 7:60
In Acts chapter 6 we are introduced to a servant of Christ named Stephen. Stephen is described in 6:8 as " a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people". In 6:10 his opposition "could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke". Because of this, several men conspired against him and convinced others to testify falsely against Stephen.
When Stephen was brought before the spiritual ruling bodies, he was asked about the false testimonies. In chapter 7, Stephen gives an AWESOME run down of the history of Israel which culminates with Stephen's rightful telling of how they persecuted every prophet that was before him. He asks in 7:52, "Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute?". He goes on to say in the same verse "They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him!"
Verse 7:53 is where I was really convicted. Stephen then says "you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it". After this, the leaders were so violently mad that they literally cupped their ears in defiance as not to hear him anymore, dragged Stephen out of the city and stone him! .... Essentially they plugged their ears and said "LALALALALA, I can't hear you!"
This rocked my world. I had to take some time to really look at my heart and wonder "Have I received God's grace, mercy, even laws written on my heart and NOT obeyed them?" Am I like the so-called "spiritual leaders"? Have I plugged my ears like a child and brought the evidence of my sin out to the city walls to bury it? How can we be obedient to God if we do not allow the light of truth to penetrate and expose our sin? How can we call ourselves Christians if our response is not repentance?
I hope Stephen's challenge will be a reminder to us all. Invite truth into your life. Run to it; embrace it; do not plug your ears and run to the outskirts of the city to hide your sin and squelch truth.
Soli Deo Gloria - Jesse