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Jan 23, 2022

The Glory of God in the Death of His Saints

Passage: Acts 6:8-15

Speaker: Omar Ortiz

Series: Acts: Windows into the Missional Church

Category: Sermon

See for a summary of the information Omar shared on martyrdom

Sermon Summary:

Stephen was:

(1) A Man of God
  • Full of the Holy Spirit (6:3, 5, 8, 10; 7:55)
  • He Acted like Jesus
    • He was part of the group of people how have been dedicated to the teaching of Jesus' Apostles—and so he is becoming like Jesus
    • Full of Godly compassion and care for the vulnerable (he is one of the men chosen in 6:5)
    • Miracles are done through him (6:8)
    • Making persuasive arguments (6:10)
    • In sum: he was mighty in word and deed (like Jesus, see Luke 24:19)

(2) A Messenger From God
  • He preached like Jesus
    • Jesus claimed to be the true Temple, the way we enter into the presence of God. He preaches against the Temple (the building and rituals) as an end in itself. So does Stephen (6:13-14)

(3) A Martyr For God
  • "Martyr" = "witness"—to the truth of the gospel at the expense of your life
  • He died like Jesus
    • "Do not hold this sin against them"
    • As he dies he sees King Jesus standing at God's right hand to honor and welcome him.

How do we follow Stephen's example?
  • Pursue a life of discipleship,
    • Devoted to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (2:42)
    • Preaching the gospel of Jesus
    • Expecting and accepting persecution
  • Pray for the persecuted Church

Discussion Questions
1. Go back over the references to the role of the Holy Spirit in Stephen’s life (Acts 6:3, 5, 8, 10; 7:55). How did Stephen come to exhibit such godliness? What factors contributed to his christ-likeness?  Consider the context in which he was discipled. Look at the following passages to review the way the church lived: Acts 2:42-47, 4:23-37, 5:12-16, 5:41-42.

2. Stephen is described in ways that are very similar to Jesus.  Look at the following similarities.  Why would Luke want to paint a portrait of Stephen that appears so similar to Jesus?
  •     None Could Resist Their Wisdom nor Answer Their Arguments
    •     Acts 6:10 (And) Matt. 13:54
  •     Both Had False Witnesses Against Them
    •     Acts 6:11 (And) Matt. 26:59
  •     The Pharisees Stirred Up the People Against Them
    •     Acts 6:12 (And) Matt. 27:20
  •     Both Were Brought Before the Council
    •     Acts 6:12 (And) Matt. 26:59
  •     Both Were Accused of Blasphemy
    •     Acts 6:13 (And) Matt. 26:65
  •     Both Were Accused of Not Keeping the Law
    •     Acts 6:13 (And) Matt. 12:2
  •     Both Had Association with High Priests
    •     Acts 7:1 (And) Matt. 26:3
  •     Stephen Dealt with The Same People Jesus Did
    •     Acts 7:1 (And) Matt. 26:57
  •     Both Prayed for God to Forgive Their Killers
    •     Acts 7:60 (And) Luke 23:34
  •     Devout Men Buried Both Jesus and Stephen
    •     Acts 8:2 (And) Matt. 27:59

3. Spend time as a group praying for persecuted Christians. You can go to this website to find items for prayer.

See for a summary of the information Omar shared on martyrdom