Day 10

Stephen’s Sermon

from the Acts of the Apostles reading plan


Acts 7:1-53, Genesis 15:13-14, Deuteronomy 18:15

Three points and a poem. That was the go-to structure of most of the sermons I sat through in my youth. The preacher (I grew up Baptist, and Baptists have preachers) would find three main points, or hooks, in a passage, and hang his thoughts on them. Then he’d select a few lines from a poem as a sort of wrap-up to everything. These lines were the coup-de-grace, the mercy blow designed to cause us to engage in self-examination, and respond publicly and accordingly during the invitation (a.k.a, tons of verses of “Just As I Am”).

I guess the Baptists stole this sermon approach from Stephen though. Just so you know, Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7 was his last, his coup-de-grace designed to cause the listeners to look at their hearts. They did, then picked up stones and killed the young preacher, just as he was.

Here’s the outline of Stephen’s sermon.

  1. THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND (WELL, IN 400 YEARS) – As Stephen started his sermon (and it was a doozy), he went straight for the jugular. He talked about how prominent the LAND had become in the mind of his audience. To be fair, Israel had to wait a long, long, long time for the land God had promised Abraham. But the land became a “thing” overshadowing the Giver of the “thing.” In other words, the land had become an idol. This did not sit well with God.
  2. WHO’S YOUR DADDY? – Near the end of those long 400 years, the children of Israel got sloppy and blurred their worship of the one, true God by constructing TEMPLES for the many false gods of war and sex. Those temples took on the nature of a “thing” or idol. God their Father wasn’t pleased with this behavior, but He let them continue on and suffer the consequences of their wandering.
  3. EYES BUT DON’T SEE – Interestingly enough, the Israelites had a tabernacle of the covenant LAW with them all that time, built to the exact specifics God had provided to Moses. And while for a season it did represent the presence of the Almighty, it was not the Almighty. It was a “thing” that eventually became an idol, and we know God demands no other gods/idols/things before Him. In fact, that was the very first line written on the tablets of the Law, they just couldn’t see it.


DON’T FENCE ME IN
(closing poem; use expressive voice)
However, the Almighty does not live in houses made by carpenters or masons, never has, never will. As the poetic prophet wrote:
“Heaven is my throne,
  and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
  says the Lord.
Or where will my resting place be?
  Has not my hand made all these things?”
Let us pray.

Written By John Blase

Post Comments (22)

22 thoughts on "Stephen’s Sermon"

  1. Nico Little says:

    To me it teaches me that God as powerful as he is wants a relationship. But due to our own free will we chose sin. And then we create idols that take the place of God.

  2. Nico Little says:

    That it’s easy for me to make idols and do what I want to do. And not the will of God.

  3. Nico Little says:

    I will respond by listening to what God has to say. Check what might be idols to me. Even if it’s not war or sex it could be other things. Like music, video games, or porn. I got to keep myself focused on what God wants me to focus on and grow in my relationship with him

  4. Josh says:

    We tend to worship even the things that God has given us. Even good things that represent Him. But worship of any thing /being other than God Himself is sin.

  5. Josh says:

    He doesn’t need our buildings. He doesn’t need our constructs. He doesn’t want us to spend our best energy and efforts on worshipping things we have made–even things that were made for Him. He wanted relationship with us.

  6. Josh says:

    God is not confined to human constructs. Even religious rules and buildings are not what God came to create. His goal is real, deep relationship with Him.

  7. Josh says:

    I will spend less time on the constructs and more time with Him.

  8. Josh says:

    Lord,
    Help me not to worship anything other than You–even things that were made to point to You. May I, instead, be captured by who you are. Help me to live into You–for Your presence is what real life is about.
    Amen.

  9. Matthew Wieters says:

    For God to direct my paths and focus. That he would have all of my heart in worship. That he would prepare me and my team for this week as we minister to kids and volunteers

  10. Matthew Wieters says:

    The Gospel is something we don’t deserve as we by our own choices have turned against God and pursued our own ways. The Gospel washes us clean of our wrong doing and a chance to follow our creator God

  11. Matthew Wieters says:

    By being more bold in my walk with Christ and keeping him first in my life. I want him to direct my paths and help me serve him undistracted

  12. Matthew Wieters says:

    We are easily distracted. We easily make idols out of anything that satisfies our desires for the moment

  13. Isaac Jones says:

    I will look to God, and pray for the fall of my idol factory heart.

  14. Isaac Jones says:

    We are too evil for righteousness on our own. We needed to inherit righteousness. Jesus died so we could inherit righteousness. We as humanity killed Jesus Himself; we rejected God in flesh here for man. However by God’s death we may have communion with God through the hope of our resurrection with Jesus.

  15. Isaac Jones says:

    God desires our worship and obedience to Him, and nothing else. He needs nothing from man, because he sustains all things himself; heaven is His throne, and Earth is His footstool.

  16. Isaac Jones says:

    Man is an idol factory. Our heart looks for evil all day long, because it is the nature of our heart to be treacherous and deceitful. We are led astray by the wandering a of our hearts.

  17. Isaac Jones says:

    Dear Lord and King,

    You reign from your throne in heaven, and are around all things. All of life is sustained by you. Thank you for giving us an inheritance better than the Old Covenant. Thank you for all the things that needed to happen for us to get her. Please forgive me for making idols in my heart, and with my hands/actions. Lord I love you, please help me love you.
    Lead me from temptation and deliver me from the hand of the evil one, father. For your rod and staff comfort me, and direct me. Stay with me through my afflictions, and train my wicked heart to worship you all the days of my life; amen.

  18. Mike Moore says:

    In Stephen’s short and final sermon I find God as the faithful deliverer, ruler, and redeemer. You can accept his rule and receive redemption or you can resist the Holy Spirit like the Israelites did when they stoned the prophets.

    “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come to DELIVER THEM. And now come, I will send YOU to Egypt.” -Acts 7:34

    God is telling Moses that HE HIMSELF (God) will deliver HIS people and then he says “Okay Moses YOU are going to Egypt.” What amazes me about this is that Moses was a man chosen to deliver Gods people from the chains of bondage.

    “This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.'” -Acts 7:37

    Jesus, also, was a man chosen to deliver God’s people from the chains of bondage. Yet even more parallels exist then that.

    “This Moses, whom you rejected, saying, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ – this MAN God sent as both RULER and REDEEMER by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt, and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.” – Acts 7:35-36

    Moses was rejected even though he did signs and wonders and received the “living oracles” from the Lord to give to the people (Acts 7:38). Jesus, in like manner, was a man “attested by God with mighty works and wonders and signs” (Acts 2:22) who spoke the truth. Yet he was rejected.

    “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builder, which has become the cornerstone.” -Acts 4:11

    Stephen was being accused of speaking blasphemy against Moses and God (Acts 6:11). So his response is consequently a direct response to that accusation. Essentially, everything before his statements about Moses was the contextual backdrop for his main point. Jesus was the “prophet” and the “righteous one” that was to come and redeem his people like Moses. And like Moses, whom you thrust aside, and the prophets, whom you killed, you rejected him and rejected the things God is wanting to do in your life. Just like the Israelites who rejected what God was wanting to do in their own lives.

    God’s plan with Moses wasn’t to just redeem the people from slavery but to rule and live among them in the harmony of his peace and provision and to give them the land He promised. Yet just like the Israelites who could not see Moses as their deliverer and God as the one who could take them into the promise land, Stephen’s accusers rejected God’s plan and resisted His Holy Spirit.

    To resist the Holy Spirit is to resist the plans that God has. And his plans are always good.

  19. Enoch says:

    Even when we have the manual in front of us, we will turn to our selfish and self-worshiping ways.

  20. Enoch says:

    Although I am a helpless sinner by myself, I need to lean on God and live for Him and only Him. This requires daily sacrifice and constant Godly vision.

  21. Enoch says:

    God, give me the wisdom to see the things in my life that I have placed before You. Give me the strength to let them go and trust solely on You.

  22. Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

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