E100 Devotion – Day 73July 17, 2012
Reading: Acts 6:8-8:8
Once again the Church is on the offensive as God answers their prayers for extending His hand to heal and perform signs and wonders. Who does He use to do it? Does He do these great things through an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher? No, God uses a newly appointed servant. The word deacon means servant.
Not only was Stephen anointed to do signs and wonders, he was also anointed with the Spirit of Wisdom which the most intellectual leaders couldn’t resist. Stephen was on the offensive and the corrupted leaders had to go on the down and dirty defensive in their effort to stop him.
The devil doesn’t play fair so don’t wonder why life isn’t fair. False witnesses were brought in to make false claims against Stephen which brought him before the High Priest and highest counsel.
When accused of blasphemy again Stephen goes on the offensive telling of the history of Israel’s leaders working against the prophets, killing them and opposing God given authority. He starts with Abraham and brings out the history of the opposition of the forefathers and confronts them using the Word of God about doing the same thing.
Stephen goes on to say that they had killed the Just One Jesus Christ who Moses said would come. He asks, “Which of the Prophets did their fathers not persecute?” They brought Stephen to court and Stephen ended up trying them! They were so convicted that they actually gnashed him with their teeth, while covering up their ears to stop from hearing the truth.
Stephen prays for their forgiveness including the man holding his coat – Saul who later becomes the apostle Paul. Stephen sees the heavens open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God before Stephen goes to be with the Lord as the first Martyr.
Persecution intensified which pushed Christians out, fulfilling the command to go out and preach – which they did. Saul was on the forefront of the persecution not knowing his destiny was about to change.
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