The Message of Stephen.

September 3, 2021 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: Christian Living, The Gospel Scripture: Acts 7:1–53

Last week we started looking at Stephen in 6:8-15. We saw “Stephen, the Man” and his godly characteristics that made him so courageous in his witness for Christ…despite the difficult situations he faced. Today we will study, “The Message of Stephen” (7:1-53); and then next week we will consider, “Stephen, the Martyr” (7:54-8:1a).

Stephen understood how important the church of Jesus Christ was. Stephen, could see clearly that to follow Christ would require a complete separation from the temple and all of its liturgies and laws. He could see very clearly, as an “outsider,” that the days of Judaism were numbered. And we know from the content of his sermon that Stephen had a firm grasp that the God who saves His people from their sins is not localised to a particular piece of real estate. Stephen knew that, ultimately, to be a God-follower, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, was not about the land. And it was precisely because he got it that the Sanhedrin was so angry.

The explanation of Stephens' message can be divided into three main themes:




We can so easily become like the Sanhedrin and substitute the gospel of grace for works and achievements of our own hands….and performances in our own power. Maybe, just like the Sanhedrin you are very familiar with religion, have been going to church your whole life and are acquainted with the gospel, heard it many times, but do you LOVE it? Do you share it with others? Can you explain it to someone else who has never heard it before? Are we sometimes guilty of missing the main point of Christianity and the gospel of Jesus Christ in our own context.

If we truly understand the grace God has shown us, our hearts will burn to see that same grace shown to others.  Greg Gilbert in his book, "What is the Gospel?" says If you are a Christian, realize that you hold in your hands the only true message of salvation the world will ever hear. There will never be another gospel, and there is no other way for people to be saved from their sins. If your friends, family and co-workers are ever to be saved from their sins, it will be because someone speaks the gospel of Jesus Christ to them…Remember what the grace of God has done in your own life, and imagine what he could do in their lives. Take a deep breath, pray for God’s Spirit to work, and open your mouth and speak!

Pray with David (Ps. 139:23-24), “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”

Discussion Questions

  1. Do God’s grace and patience have limits? Is there ever a time when we cannot offer His grace to rebellious sinners?
  2. Since we all sin repeatedly in many ways, how can we know if we are presuming on God’s grace?
  3. How can we guard against outward Christianity? How can we keep our hearts genuinely close to God?
  4. Was Stephen too confrontational in his indictment of his audience? How can we know how confrontational to be when we present the gospel to someone?


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