Hope for Rebels (Acts 7:1-53)

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana.

The history of Australia is a story of Christianity in decline. There have been moments of great promise, like the Billy Graham Crusades of 1959, which historian Stuart Piggin says is the closest we’ve come to nationwide revival. Is our story a story of missed opportunities?

What about your own history? There may be moments of great spiritual feeling, but there have also been times of spiritual laziness and even rebellion.

Does it encourage you to find that we are not alone? That even God’s chosen people have been unfaithful rebels time and time again?

Acts 6-7 is the account of the Jewish people are turning against the followers of Jesus. Why?

This is a court drama. The crowds have dragged a powerful advocate of the truth about Jesus, Stephen the Deacon, before the Sanhedrin (6:11-14). They charge him with speaking against the way things are: “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” (v13-14). He is accused of threatening to destroy everything that makes it possible to know and please God.

The High Priest asks Stephen, “Are these things so?” (v1). How does he reply?

  1. Remember A History
  2. Accept A Defence
  3. Admit A Prosecution
  4. Embrace A Hope

As we see Christianity decline in respectability and influence, as our place seems under threat, we need to remember what Stephen says: People have always rejected His deliverers, but God is always delivering His people.

Sunday 16th September 2018

Review questions:

  • What were Stephen’s opponents trusting in (6:11-14)?
  • How long was it until Abraham’s family owned Canaan (v7)?
  • Why did God save Israel from Egypt (v17)?
  • Why didn’t the Israelites like Moses (v26-27)?
  • God made Moses ______ & _________ (v35)
  • How long was it between Joshua’s conquest & Solomon’s temple?
  • The Tabernacle is an imitation of something in ______________________ (v44)
  • The real temple is __________ (John 2:19)
  • How did Israel treat God’s servants (v35, 52)?
  • Resisting the Holy Spirit means rejecting God’s _____________________________ (v51)
  • Is the Old Testament relevant to us? Yes/No
  • God makes _______________ & keeps them.
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • How I should live:
  • Something to pray about:

Published by Stephen McDonald

Christian, preacher, broadcaster

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