Week 41   Day 5

 

In the Old Testament Scriptures

the Holy Spirit is mentioned

            rarely

            and usually in connection

            with a person in a leadership role 

 

In the book of Acts

            we are introduced

            to the age of the Holy Spirit

            poured out on

                        young and old 

                        men and women 

                        slave or free

                        lowly or mighty

 

The source of power for the early church

            was the Holy Spirit

            filling every believer 

 

Ordinary people were transformed

into extraordinary witnesses for Jesus.

 

 

We know little about Stephen

            but in this passage

            we first hear of Saul

            who became the apostle Paul

            whose story fills the second half of the book of Acts

                        and who wrote

                        most of the remaining books

                        of the Bible.

 

 

                        THE FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYR
   One man's death cracked another man's heart of stone.
                                            Acts 6, 7 & 8

    8Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders among

the people.  9Then there arose some, disputing with Stephen. 
10They were not able to
resist the wisdom and the Spirit by
which he spoke. 
   
12So
they stirred up the people and seized Stephen, and
brought him to the council. 
They also set up false witnesses
who said, "This man does not
cease to speak blasphemous
words against this holy place and
the law; 14for we have heard
him say that Jesus of Nazareth will
 destroy this place and change
the customs Moses delivered to us." 

    15All who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at Stephen,

saw his face as the face of an angel.  1Then the high priest said,

"Are these things so?"

    48Stephen replied, "The Most High does not dwell in temples
made
with hands.   51You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in
heart
and ears!  You resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so
do
you.  52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? 

And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One,

of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers. 

53You have received the law by the direction of angels and

have not kept it."

    54When the council heard these things they were cut to the
heart,
and they gnashed at him with their teeth.  55But Stephen,
being full
of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory
of God,
56and said, "Look, I see the heavens opened and the
Son of
Man standing at the right hand of God!" 

    57They cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and

ran at him.  58They cast him out of the city and stoned him. 

The witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young

man named Saul.  59They stoned Stephen as he was saying,

"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  60Then he knelt down and
cried out with a
loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this
sin."  When
he said this, he fell asleep.  1Saul was consenting
to his death.

    At that time a great persecution arose against the church; they

were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria,

except the apostles.  2Devout men carried Stephen to his burial.

    3Saul made havoc of the church, entering every house, and

dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
              This Bible passage was condensed from the NKJV

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The Bible Condensed. From Genesis to Revelation (Old Testament and New Testament)
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from beginning to end, as one continuous story.