The man of God Allowed To Speak

“The Man of God Allowed To Speak”
Acts 7: 1, 2


  • In our last study of Acts 6, we learned how church members can often get “stirred up” when someone has a claim against the church. By the way, this is not uncommon in any church of any age.
  • I look back alone at our church SBBC and remember several people who have stood up and made false accusations. One in particular accused me of stealing money from the church when he himself only put $20.00 in the plate all year long claiming it as tithe. He was guilty of lying first and then robbing God of his tithes and offerings but yet has the brass to stand up in front of everyone to make false accusations against the pastor.
  • I have had another deaf man claim that I shouldn’t be getting any money from the church for my services rendered because the Mennonite churches don’t pay their ministers. I showed him scripture where God has established early in the O.T. and in the N.T where priests or pastors (and even the apostles that followed Jesus) are to receive whatever is necessary for the men of God to continue to minister to the people of God.
  • I called several pastors when I was accused because it caught me off guard when opposed. I couldn’t believe the boldness or rather stupidity of someone to stand up in the house of God and accuse the man of God for something that God established already but they have not the sense or decency to sit down and shut up until after church is over and confront me in private as the Bible teaches us to do.
  • These pastors that I called had some really wild stories that they had experienced of like manner.
  • It reminds me of the old saying… “Give somebody and inch, and they will take a mile.” You give people a little freedom to speak in church and they take every opportunity to say what’s on their mind without knowing the truth and blurting out false accusations.
  • Well, this is exactly what Stephen was facing in chapter 6. And the last we remember was where Stephen was like Moses and had the “face of an angel” when being accused.
  • When I saw that in scripture I thought there is no way I would be able to carry off that kind of face. No way I could sit there and do nothing.
  • However, when I was accused by deaf with false accusations I stood there with nothing to say as I was just flabbergasted at the boldness of idiots.
  • By the way, I (as well as many other pastors) have learned over the years that the person who speaks up with false accusations are always guilty themselves of the same said crime and are releasing their frustration out on someone who is not guilty.
  • Enough already of my venting on people devoured by Satan to a point that they disrupt the service and worship of our Lord.
  • Let us look at Stephen’s reply to his accusers as we start our study of Acts 7…

I. Stephen’s Address To The Council

  A) The call of Abraham

  • Look at verse 1…Acts 7:1…Then said the high priest, Are these things so?
  • The high priest asks Stephen if these accusations by the Libertines true.
  • Did the council really think that Stephen would say “Yes, they are true.” Even if he was guilty? Come on, get real.
  • This priest was more than likely Caiaphas since he reigned till A.D. 36.
  • When Caiaphas asked “are these things so?” it is like a judge would ask people today… “How do you plead?”
  • I think it is interesting to see where Stephen starts out with the O.T. prophet and man of God in verse 2) And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,
  • What Stephan was referring to was the account of Abraham in Genesis 12:1- 4.
  • Note first that Stephen claimed Abraham as his ancestor as well saying “our father Abraham.” Stephen was trying to get them to understand that whatever they were fixing to do in judgment against him (Stephen) then they would be doing unto one of their own.
  • Let us note the words of Jesus concerning those who speak against the children of God in Matthew 25:40…And the King (Jesus) shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
  • Abram’s call started in Genesis 12 but was repeated in Genesis 15:7 because Abram had settled in Haran. This was not where God wanted him to be.
  • We can see Stephen’s remembrance of God’s Word (Genesis 12) in Acts 7:3…And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.
  • Stop right here for a moment and look at these words carefully…
  1. “thy country” God told Abram that this is a country of your choosing not mine. Oh, my friends… we must be careful about where we choose to live, the people we call friends, the church we attend, and etc. Because if God did not choose it, you will lose it. You will not be blessed of God.
  2. “the land which I will show thee” Blessings are bound to occur when you dwell in a land of God’s choosing, pick people to be your friend that are Godly and help you grow spiritually.
  • Stephen must have had a good memory to memorize scripture so well. But here in verse 4 we will notice that Stephen was repeating what Moses wrote in Genesis 17:8, and Genesis 48:4 in Acts 7: 4) Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans (land of Ur), and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
  • Stephen was telling the church leaders in their court that Abram realized the wrong choice he had made by staying where he wanted to stay in Ur and moved to the land that was now possessed by the church.
  • Acts 7:5…And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. 6) And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.
  • This passage of scripture here in Acts 7:6 is taken directly from Genesis 15:13, 14 where God Himself rounded off the exact length of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt
  • Here in Acts chapter 6 verse 7 we can see where Stephen recites even more scripture… 7) And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.
  • This was a quote from Exodus 3:12.
  • Stephen here is led of the Holy Spirit to bring to remembrance the account of Abraham so that these men could see that they were picking on someone that knew God’s word. He knew the history of their family.
  • He made them realize that they were picking on the man of God who was filled with the Spirit of God to deliver a message from God.

B) The covenant of Abraham

  • Look at Acts 7:8) And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.
  • What was “the covenant of the circumcision?” As we already know…circumcision is the cutting away of the male foreskin. This is the physical aspect of the Jews relationship with God. The Gentiles did not practice circumcision. For a male to be circumcised would keep him from getting diseases prone to start and stay in the folds of the foreskin. Therefore the cutting away of the foreskin removed the risk of getting diseases.
  • This action taken was a symbol of the cutting away sin and to be cleansed.
  • Who were the “twelve patriarchs” that Stephen was referring to? They were the twelve sons of Jacob who became heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Gen. 35:22-26)

C) The Patriarchs in Egypt

  • Now look at the story of Joseph (son of Jacob) who was supposed to be one of the tribes of Israel’s leader in Acts 7, verse 9) And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, 10) And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
  • As we already know the story of Joseph and his brothers selling Joseph in Egypt but we need to realize the divine providence of God in that the brothers were moved (led) by the devil (with envy) while God was with Joseph.
  • Satan can do what he wants… to a point/limit. But where God’s divine will is involved there is no interruptions. It will happen.
  • God’s people will always be afflicted (be hit with pain, suffering, or trials). But as verse 10 points out that God always does for us what He did for Joseph “…delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom.”
  • The other brothers of Joseph learned a valuable life lesson from their actions towards Joseph.
  • Look at Acts 7:11- 16.
  • 11) Now there came a dearth (famine) over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance (food). 12) But when Jacob heard that there was corn (some commentators say that this is wheat, as in Matt.12:1) in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. 13) And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.
  • It wasn’t until the second time going into Egypt that Joseph was recognized by his brothers.
  • Verse 14) Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. 15) So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, 16) And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.
  • Stephen further goes into detail as to how many of their relatives went into the promised land. Stephan says “threescore and fifteen souls.:” This the equivalent of 70 people. Now if you count Joseph’s descendants born in Egypt add 5 more.

D) God delivers His people from bondage in Egypt

  • Look at Acts 7:17…But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, 18) Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. 19) The same dealt subtilty (deceitful and cunning) with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.
  • Again Stephen was telling the church that God carries through with His promises to His children (unlike His children keeping not their promises to God). This is the problem over and over with God’s children of all ages… they start growing in number and confidence in themselves and little by little they backslide into a pit to forget the God who brought them blessedness.
  • Then Stephan reminds these people of their ancestors being slain by the thousands to get rid of the “deliverer.”
  • Do you remember that the threat of Egypt was the fact that the Jewish nation was becoming so populated that the Egyptian leaders felt threatened in a way that the Jews may overthrow their captors.
  • 20) In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: 21) And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.
  • The term mentioned describing Moses’ appearance was “…exceeding fair.” It means that he was extremely handsome in that any woman would be very pleased to have him for their son, husband, or leader. I don’t know if Charlton Hesston fits that description or not.
  • But I think it is interesting to note that Moses – the deliverer of the Jewish nation was “exceeding fair (quite handsome) and Jesus – the deliverer of the Gentile nation “had no form of comeliness (very ugly).”
  • Moses needed his good looks to gain popularity and a high position in the Egyptian empire to also win the hearts of those later to carry out the plan of God.
  • Jesus needed to be accepted by His actions and miracles not His looks. He did not need the popularity of the world.
  • This vast difference in the two deliverers may be why the Jews were confused with who was to be the Deliverer/Messiah in the New Testament. They were expecting the Messiah to be as Moses handsome, popular, and able to overthrow the Roman government that oppressed them.
  • Now look at Acts 7:22…And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. 23) And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.
  • I think the important thing to notice is that Stephen recalled the age of Moses being a “full forty years old.”
  • Moses’ life may divided up into three forty year periods…
  1. The first forty years are about his birth and life in Pharaoh’s courts.
  2. The second forty years are about his life of exile in Midian. (vrs. 29, 30)
  3. The third forty years of Moses life revolve around the events of the Exodus from Egypt and Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness.
  • 23b) “…it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.” When Moses wrote of himself in Exodus, and Stephen is remembering the words of Moses we note that “it came into his heart.” The word “it” I believe means God’s Spirit. The Spirit of God moves the man of God to get him to do the will of God for His people.
  • When Moses was made aware of whom his people were God gave him the desire to go visit them. This is much like many accounts today of siblings being separated at birth and then they get older and find the other siblings, real parents, or even a twin.
  • There are some who are cold natured and desire not to see those who abandoned them at their youth.
  • Verse 24) And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: These events took place in Exodus 2:11, 12.
  • Moses immediately took to defend His new found brethren
  • I might add that this should be true in any race color creed, friend relative, or church member. When you see someone being done wrong…defend them. I cannot believe the people who stand by to watch and not defend someone or lift not even a finger to help them. It is sad.
  • In verse 24, what was wrong with Moses’ response (in God’s eyes) toward the wrong doer? He “…avenged him.” We are supposed to defend our self and others, but not seek vengeance.
  • What does God tell us? Deuteronomy 32:35 (KJV) …To me (God) belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
  • Deuteronomy 32:43 (KJV)…Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he (God) will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.
  • Moses would not know “The Law” of God because he was raised up in a worldly environment. Moses was raised up in the wisdom of the world not God. The world (Satan) always wants to seek vengeance unwarranted.
  • So, Moses does what seemed to be natural. Did Moses truly intend on killing the guy? I don’t think so. I believe that he allowed his anger to get the better of him and then in a fit of uncontrollable rage killed the man.
  • That was the law of God in the Old Testament. What about the New Testament? Paul reminds us in Romans 12:19 (KJV)…Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
  • In Exodus 2:13 we can see what Stephen referred to here in Acts 7:25) For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. 26) And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?
  • Isn’t this like most people? When you see two people (especially brethren) arguing or fighting, you want to break it up, right? That is all Moses wanted to do. Moses desire was to keep the peace.
  • The next two verses here in Acts 7, are quoted by Stephen from Exodus2:14…
    Look at verses 27) But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Isn’t this much like today’s reply when people say… “Well, who died and made you boss?”
  • I believe what was really meant in this verse was… “Who are you to be getting involved with our business?”
  • Note verse 28) Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?
  • There are several things that are important in the next two verses…
  1. Before this man said anything, Moses had thought he had gotten away with murder. His dealing with people and friends had not been any different than before the murder. No one seemed to act different, so Moses remained calm. Moses had thought that no one knew he had murdered a man until this man said… “Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?”
  2. Moses now thought… “Well, if this man knew, who else would know. I better get out of Dodge immediately.” Acts 7:29a) Then fled Moses at this saying, There are those who would maybe call Moses a coward, or a chicken for running from his crime. In reality, it was the plan of God… 1) To protect His deliverer of the Jews from bondage in Egypt, 2) To give time for Moses to be spiritually mature, 3) To allow time for vengeance against Moses for this murder to cool down.
  3. 29b… and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. When you see the word “stranger” it carries the meaning of a person who is new to the land and knows no one. God leading Moses in thought and travel took Moses to a land where no one would find him. 
  • Now remember that Stephen is going into great detail about this story of Moses for a reason. So bear with the renewing of our minds by going over it again with Stephen for those of you who have studied it before or watch “The Ten Commandments” on T.V. every year.

E) Moses 40 years in training

  • Now let us look into Acts 7:30a)…And when forty years were expired,
  • Stephen here in Acts skips the details of Moses rescuing the daughters of a priest (Reuel) from some shepherds, and then later marrying his daughter Zipporah to have a son named Gershom. Moses later became a shepherd to the large flock at Midian to prepare him for leading a much bigger flock.
  • This part of the account of the Exodus of Israel from Egypt is where Moses receives the call of God in his life to do what God has preserved him to do. Look now at verse 30b)… there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. (This account is in Exodus 3:2.)
  • Many commentators believe that this angel was none other than Yahweh (God) himself.
  • HOLY GROUND- Look at Acts 7:31) When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, 32) Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. 33) Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.
  • God commanded Moses to remove his shoes because where he was standing at “…is holy ground.”
  • This is why many “old school” pastors and believers like me believe it to be important as to how we dress, and act when we come to the house of God. It is Holy Ground. It is where we meet with God. God told Moses to remove his sandals because he needs to be careful as to how he walks (behaves) in front of God.
  • Look now at Acts 7:32…Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst (dared) not behold.
  • So what…did Moses have more than one father? NO! What God meant by that was that “I (God) am the God of your real ancestors.” I wonder if maybe that wasn’t enough to distract Moses’ original thought of “Okay, well here is another god like the ones I worshipped in Egypt.” You see, false gods do not answer you. False gods do nothing for you
  • Then God tends to clarify exactly who He is by saying “…the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” This means something to Moses because evidently he had heard the accounts (true stories) of that particular God.
  • We can see that now in verse 32 Moses trembled and dared not to look at God.
  • Now notice verse 33, and 34… Acts 7:33-34 (KJV) Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.
  • Holy Ground is to be respected. Holy ground is to be looked as set apart from any other ground. It is a place where God is at.
  • Verse 34) I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.
  • I love this part of the verse where God says “I have seen the affliction of my people.” This reminds me of God’s omniscience. When His children are struggling, when they are in danger, when they are in need of a higher power…God is on the way to hear their groaning.
  • Now also note that God said “…and am come down to deliver them.” God came down personally to take care of the matter. God could have barked orders from heaven, given Moses a vision, or sent an angel to tell Moses that He was the deliverer anointed by God to deliver His people from bondage in Egypt.
  • God came down in person. God gave Moses the order or command to go to Egypt (verse 34… And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.)

F) The clarification (making clear) of the angel

  • In these next few verses we will see that Stephen was making it clear to the crowd as to whom the angel was that gave Moses the orders on Mt. Sinai.
  • Stephen wanted them to understand that it was the same Jesus (as he mentioned in verse 30… “The Angel of the Lord”) as the one in Exodus 3:2…And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
  • I am sure that most of you who were here for our study on angels remember that “The angel of the Lord” was mentioned many times in the Old Testament and never in the New Testament.
  • The reason for that is because it was Christ (God in the flesh) manifested for man to assist man, direct man, accompany man, and to lead man.
  • Back to our study in Acts 7, now look at verse 36…He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
  • This verse definitely describes Israel’s continual disbelief and God’s assurance. I mean, ever time that Israel would doubt God and Moses as the one to lead them and supply their needs, they would complain and remember how good they thought they had it in Egypt.
  • But God showed up on the scene of these miserable wretches and give them what they were crying for.

G) This Is THAT Moses

  • Stephen is directing the confused and misled thoughts of the Jews who have been misguided by church rulers and priests to show them the “mystery” that was hidden until now. Now look at Acts 7:37… This is that Moses, “…which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. Stephen is telling them that Jesus was that prophet that Moses prophesied of. He was the Messiah talked about in Deuteronomy 18:15…The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
  • Stephen further announces in verse 38) This is he (Jesus), that was in the church (the O.T. Tabernacle) in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles (The Ten Commandments) to give unto us:
  • Stephen furthermore describes the hearts of their ancestors who transgressed (rebelled) God’s order from God’s man (Moses) in the following verses… 39) To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them (rejected), and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, 40) Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not (do not know) what is become of him. 41) And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
  • Stephen reminds them of their ancestors rejection of the 10 Commandments, their worship of the golden calf because they were impatient with God as to give them direction (How many times do we get impatient with God for His direction in our lives?) Then Stephen also brings up the fact that they “rejoiced in their works.”
  • They were happy with themselves, happy with the idols they have created and happy in their rebellion. They were satisfied and complacent in their worship. This is a dangerous place to be my dear deaf friends. God does not tolerate satisfaction in our own works.

H) God abandons Israel

  • Look now at what Stephen tells the Jews in Acts 7:42 concerning the judgment of God to a rebellious peopleThen God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven (the stars); as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?
  • Stephen quotes Amos 5:25… Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26) But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god (astrology, horoscopes of that time), which ye made to yourselves. 27) Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.
  • You see, these people were doing as many of us have done before and look to the stars for our future. I know for awhile I used to look at my horoscope in the Newspaper just to see what it said. They usually give general answers. They could apply to anyone. I quit doing that for fear that someone might see me reading this nonsense and say… “Hey Bro. Wilcoxson looks at horoscopes.” It would not look good for this child of God who never put much thought into anyway.
  • Stephen further continues the rant of God against Israel for their rebellion in Acts 7:43) Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

I) God’s True Tabernacle

  • Look now at Acts 7:44…Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
  • Let us examine this verse 44…
  1. “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness,” Stephen uses the word “our” fathers to include himself as one of them to relate better to them and gain their trust or belief in what he is saying.
  • Stephen is calling this early church of the O.T. “the tabernacle of witness.” “witness” to what? To God’s presence, God’s grace, God’s forgiveness of their sins, God’s Law (the Ten Commandments). It was visible proof that God was with them, like “Emmanuel” in the N.T. God with us.
  • Stephen is bringing this up because Israel had not appreciated their church, their temple of worship, or their place to meet with God. (Sound familiar folks?)
  1. “… as he had appointed,” God appointed this tabernacle to Moses and God’s children for this specific time as “a witness.”
  2. “… speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.” Everyone has their own way to build certain things. God is no different. God knows what works and stays with the plan. He doesn’t have architects, interior design artists, or sub-contractors.
  • Verse 45) Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
  • “our fathers that came after” None of the generation that came out of Egypt were permitted to enter into the land of Canaan on account of their rebellion, except Caleb and Joshua. Stephen meaning not “that generation” but the next.
  • “brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles,” Every commentary that I have looked at said the same thing on this verse about “Jesus” name being written here instead of Joshua. In the Greek language Jesus is the new way of saying Joshua. In fact it is written “Yeshua.”
  • Verse 46) Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. (The house of Jacob is Israel) The “favour” was God’s blessings upon them to drive out the Gentiles (heathens, idol worshippers) in the land of Canaan
  • 47) But Solomon built him an house. The house of David was not mentioned by Stephen here because God would not allow David desires to build a temple come to fruition because of his behavior in war and many unrighteous killings. So, it became Solomon’s duty to build the temple.
  • This next verse is “KEY” for every child of God. Look at verse 48) Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
  • Stephen’s point to make here with the Pharisees was that God was not confined strictly to their temples made with hands. By the way, this quote of Stephen here in verse 48 of Acts 7 was from Isaiah 66:1, 2. The Jewish leaders were guilty of blasphemy confining God to their temple.
  • They had forgotten that God is omnipresent (Everywhere). 49) Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50) Hath not my hand made all these things?
  • Stephen is reminding these pious Jewish leaders that Heaven is God’s throne and that the temples they have built are a mere “footstool” for God to place His feet. Man’s construction is worthless to God because it deteriorates. When God makes something it is to last forever or last until He destroys it because of its failure to please Him. God made every material that man built God’s temples with.

J)  Israel resists the Holy Spirit

  • Now let us look at Acts 7:51…Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do
  • Look at the strong message of Stephen here to the Jewish leaders…
  1. Ye stiffnecked” Stiffnecked in the Greek is sklērotrachēlos. This is the same meaning as obstinate in the English which means … to be unreasonably determined to have their own way; not yielding to reason or plea. Stubborn, or mulish. This is how Stephen is describing the leaders of the church.
  2. “…and uncircumcised in heart and ears,” according to Jewish reasoning, to be circumcised is to be clean. To be uncircumcised is to be unclean.
  • Stephen is calling these Jewish leaders unclean in their heart as to how they think and what they do and unclean as to their failure of listening to God or His people that are abused by their rules. Stephen is basically calling them “Gentiles” which is a slap in the face of a Jew. Why? Because, Gentiles were considered to be unclean.
  • “… ye do always resist the Holy Ghost:” Stephen is really “hitting the ball out of the park” with telling these leaders that they are not only once in a while resisting the Holy Spirit, but rather “always” resisting the Holy Spirit. WOW! This is a low blow to their self sanctification right in their spiritual bread basket. Stephen is literally calling them “lost sheep.” This is the behavior of Satan and all who follow him. They believe in God but lack the following of God by doing as the Holy Spirit convicts you to do. They are following their ancestors, their traditions, and their rituals.
  • “… as your fathers did, so do” Stephen is telling them that they are not any different (or haven’t improved on their spiritual status) than their ancestors.
  • Stephen’s sermon here to these Jews is exactly how a pastor is supposed to preach to his congregation. Don’t pull any punches…let them have it. Let them know exactly how it is in the eyes of God.
  • Man will always seek for excuses as to why they did whatever. An excuse is nothing but a lie wrapped in an alibi. An excuse holds no value to God. Save your breath to cool your soup if you are trying to give God an excuse for your behavior.
  • Verse 52a) Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? Stephen is telling the leaders here that their fathers (ancestors) had prosecuted every prophet that came in the name of God, or in the Spirit of God.
  • 52b) “…and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One;” Barnes Notes puts it like this….That is, they have slain the prophets, whose main message was that the Messiah was to come. It was a great aggravation of their offence, that they put to death the messengers which foretold the greatest blessing that the nation could receive.
    Naturally we know that “the Just One” is Jesus Christ. And Isaiah was one that prophesied of His coming.
  • Verse 52c) “…of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:” Stephen is calling these Jewish leaders “betrayers” and “murderers” of Jesus Christ. To be betrayed is to be un-loyal to someone. To be a murderer, that’s a big one. Betrayal is a sin of the heart and murder is a sin against the body and soul.
    – Stephen is no different than his leader Jesus Christ. Jesus called people murderers and betrayers in Matthew 5:21…Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:”
  • Stephen continues to lay a “Guilt trip” on these Jewish leaders in verse 53) Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
  • In this verse Stephen uses a word diatagē”(Greek) which is “disposition” in our English language. It means… to distribute and put in place.
  • The thing that the angels have distributed and put in place is “the Law.” This Law was given to the Jewish leaders by God through His angels and Stephen is accusing these leaders of not keeping (or obeying) the Law themselves. In fact, these leaders are being accused of the very thing that they themselves have accused their people doing.
  • Now then several of the commentators (old and new) of God’s word have said that the angels were not actually the distributors of the law but rather they were present when God dispensed the Law.
  • Whatever the case, the Law of God was given and Gods leaders of His people have ignored it. Serious offense.
  • Now let us get this straight here about Stephen’s message. He is accusing the church leaders of Jerusalem and Judea of…
  1. Blasphemy confining God to their temple. (When we know that God is everywhere)
  2. Being “stiffnecked” (Determined to get their way)
  3. Being “uncircumcised” (unclean) in their heart and ears. (Failure to listen to God or His people)
  4. Always resisting the Holy Ghost (Not paying attention to their convictions)
  5. Not improving on their spiritual status over their ancestors. (They never change for the better)
  6. Persecuting prophets that God had sent to help them understand God’s Law.
  7. Killing and persecuting the prophets who prophesied of Jesus (Just One)
  8. Being murderers. Killing the Messiah (Jesus) whom God sent.
  9. Law breakers. By not keeping the Law of God sent by His angels.


  • This is quite the list of offenses to be indicted for by God’s chosen to establish the church of Jesus Christ.
  • All of these charges by Stephen was blasphemy in the eyes of the church leaders which led to…

 K) The martyr of Stephen

  • Look now at Acts 7:54…When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their
  • You think what you want, but I believe that this was a response to Stephen’s sermon that proved his point of ignoring the Holy Spirit when it says here in Acts 7:54… “…they were cut to the heart.”
  • When a person continues to ignore the Spirit of God they become bitter and angry people. Anger unleashed leads to murder of the spirit and body.
  • Now then when we read “…and they gnashed on him with their” I do not believe that they actually went up to Stephen and started to eat him alive.
  • I personally believe that they spoke to him very harshly and gave the distinct feeling to Stephen that they were out for blood. His blood.
  • If ever a person is a saved child of God, born in the Spirit of God, comes to a situation where their life is in danger, they will have the peace of God come over them and suddenly death is not feared.
  • I believe that this is exactly what happened to Stephen in these next verses 55) But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
  • If ever there was a peaceful feeling, something pleasant to look at, it would be heaven with God on the throne saying “I’ve got it under control my child,” and then Jesus on the right hand side of God with His arms opened wide for the reception.
  • I truly believe that these men could not help but see the look on Stephen’s face. A look of peace, not resistance, and then Stephen says what appeared to be his last words of His sermon in verse 56) And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
  • This was the icing on the cake of the Jewish leaders. They were tired of hearing what they called this “Blasphemy.”
  • Note what they do now in verse 57) Then they cried out with a loud voice, (A satan led voice of anger, unrighteous anger) and stopped their ears,(Made a decision to not listen to any more jibberish) and ran upon him with one accord,(immediately attacked and seized Stephen)
  • When satan gets a hold of a person who is determined to do what they feel is right without consulting God… they act like Saul of Tarsus, the Sanhedrin against our Lord, and these men here, angry enough to commit murder.
  • This is why God teaches us to keep our anger under control. Be “slow to anger” (Psalms 15:18, Psalms 16:32)
  • The anger of these men of the church resulted in their actions against Stephen (a man full of the Holy Ghost) in verse 58) And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
  • Note that… “…the witnesses laid down their clothes.” Why? Did they strip down naked? No. I believe that they may have had coats or heavy clothing on and their anger had caused them to work up a lather of sweat in their stone throwing. It is like being outside in the cold and working up a sweat enough to take of your coat so that it makes your work easier.
  • Like Jesus before him, note the words of Stephen as he realizes death is eminent and these people do not know what they are doing…59) And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
  • This is almost the exact same words of our Lord at the cross in Luke 23:46 (KJV)…And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
  • These words can only be said of someone who is ready to die, someone who knows that their salvation is secure, someone whose soul is in the hands of Almighty God and their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • Lastly let us note the second words of Stephen that were identical to the very words of our Saviour Jesus Christ at the cross in verse 60) And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
  • What were Jesus words at the cross that were copied by Stephen? Look at Luke 23:34 (KJV) …Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
  • Again, only a follower of Jesus Christ could say such a thing. Only a follower and believer in Christ Jesus can even think to say it… Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
  • Stephen said “…lay not this sin to their charge.” Meaning…forgive these men for killing me. These men were church members, followers of God.
  • Stephen knew that these men thought they were doing a “God-service.”
  • You know what people…this should be our heart anytime we are accused of doing something that we did not do. This should be our heart when we are tormented and angered by actions of others… “Father, forgive them because they really do not know what they are doing.”
  • The reason they do not know what they are doing is because they “…see through a glass darkly.” (I Cor. 13:12)
  • Oh my dear deaf friends… allow the man of God to speak, and the Spirit of God to convict, and your heart to heed the Laws of All mighty God.