Stephen the Martyr - (Dying Well).

September 10, 2021 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Acts 7:54– 8:3

This passage describes for us in detail the death of Stephen. This is the only death scene and martyrdom described in detail in the New Testament, except for that of Jesus Christ.

What we see at times as a disastrous tragedy is in fact often a divine triumph. Stephen sowed his blood and Saul was saved as a result. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. And because Saul was saved, millions have been ever since. Thanks be to God that the church continues to grow.

The chapter is a powerful reminder that - how we respond to conflict; can be a very effective means of witnessing to the truth of the gospel. We live our faith (or faithlessness!) before a watching world.. We never know what God is doing behind the scene, but thankfully we know that He is in the scene!

This record serves as a wonderful encouragement that the worst thing that can happen to a believer is also the best thing that can happen to the believer! The gospel changes the horrors of death into the hope of glory for all of us who follow Jesus. Death can be a frightening thought to some, but when the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to behold and to love the glory of God and you then live knowing that Jesus is alive and triumphant at God's right hand, then hopelessness and self-pity and resentment and bitterness are consumed by the presence of Christ and by the hope of glory.

Discussion Questions

1. Agree/disagree: A good dose of persecution would be healthy for the modern church.

2. How can we know if we’re truly suffering for the gospel or if we’re suffering because we’re being obnoxious and insensitive?

3. How do the imprecatory Psalms fit in with the idea of loving those who persecute you? Do they apply today (see Rev. 6:10)?

4. Should every believer be “radical” for Jesus? How can we shake off the lethargy of worldliness and be fully committed to Christ?

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