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The Story of the Bible Leads to Jesus 

Acts 7

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • March 12, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs on the Bible

Prelude

  1. The Bible shows that at the present time, Jesus sits on His throne next to God,

    So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God (Mark 16.19).

    This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 10.12).

  2. Remember those passages. 
    1. Consider that some Jews debated with Stephen, and
    2. could not with the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.
      1. Therefore, they charged him with blaspheming Moses and God.
      2. They also said Stephen taught that Jesus would destroy Jerusalem.

Persuasion

  1. Acts 7.1 | Be Ready

    1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”

    1. What would you say?
    2. Do what Stephen did; he answered what he knew.
  2. Acts 7.2–8 | The Foundation of the Biblical Story

    2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. 5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him. 6 But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years. 7 ‘And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’ 8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.

    1. The biblical message starts with the promise to Abraham.
      1. The end of Genesis 11 shows Abraham on the move.
      2. Then Genesis 12 shows why Abraham moved from the Persian Gulf,

        1 Now the LORD had said to Abram:

        “Get out of your country,
        From your family
        And from your father’s house,
        To a land that I will show you.
        2 I will make you a great nation;
        I will bless you
        And make your name great;
        And you shall be a blessing.
        3 I will bless those who bless you,
        And I will curse him who curses you;
        And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
        (Gen 12.1–3)

    2. On the way to Canaan, Abraham’s father died.
      1. Finally, Abraham moved into the Land of Canaan, but
      2. he never owned a piece of land on which he could live.
        1. However, although Abraham had not had children yet,
        2. God promised to give the Land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants.
    3. Before they could inherit the Land,
      1. they would live in another land,
      2. nearing the end of that time, they would suffer oppression.
        1. Then Stephen quoted Genesis 15,

          13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions” (Gen 15.13–14).
        2. He also referred to Exodus 3,

          12 So He said, “…When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain” (Exo 3.12).
    4. As a sign that God would keep His promise,
      1. He gave Israel a sign of His covenant,
      2. which was circumcision, and
        1. Abraham was circumcised, and
        2. Abraham circumcised Isaac, and
        3. Isaac circumcised Jacob, and
        4. Jacob circumcised his twelve sons.
  3. Acts 7.9–16 | How God Got Israel into Egypt

    9 “And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. 11 Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. 13 And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people. 15 So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers. 16 And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.

    1. Ten of Joseph’s brothers conspired against him, and sold him into Egypt.
      1. While there he went to prison through no fault of his own, but
      2. Pharaoh freed Joseph, making him the number two man in Egypt.
    2. Later, God created a famine in Canaan,
      1. that drove Jacob and his family to seek food in Egypt.
      2. Eventually the brothers come before their little brother,
        1. who was no longer a 17-year old teen-aged shepherd, but
        2. a 39-year old Egyptian man.
    3. Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and
      1. he invited them and their families, and their father
      2. to come live in the land of Egypt during the rest of the famine.
  4. Acts 7.17–22 | Fulfilling the Land Promise

    17 “But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt 18 till another king arose who did not know Joseph. 19 This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live. 20 At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months. 21 But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

    1. When God promised Abraham to bless all the families of the Earth,
      1. He also made a Nation/Land promise,

        1 Now the LORD had said to Abram:

        “Get out of your country,
        From your family
        And from your father’s house,
        To a land that I will show you.
        2 I will make you a great nation…”
        (Gen 12.1–3)

      2. To bless all the families of the Earth,
        1. He had to make a nation that would settle a land
        2. that would give to the world the blessing, who is Christ.
    2. Eventually the time got closer to when God would give them that land.
    3. Unfortunately, the schools in Egypt failed to teach history and
      1. the children did not learn about Joseph.
      2. Thus, a new pharaoh watched Israel grow, and
        1. seeing them as a threat, enslaved them and
        2. ordered them to them to throw their baby boys into the Nile River.
    4. The parents of Moses could do no such thing, and
      1. they kept him hidden for 3 months.
      2. That became difficult so they placed him in a little ark on the river.
        1. Pharaoh’s daughter spotted him and saved him.
        2. His first 40 years he grew up as an Egyptian,
          1. learning all the wisdom, words, and deeds of the Egyptians.
  5. Acts 7.23–29 | Moses Tries to Help His Hebrew Brethren

    23 “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. 25 For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ 27 But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.

    1. Before Moses’ Egyptian education,
      1. Pharaoh’s daughter unknowingly had his mother nurse him,
      2. giving her time to teach him of his true identity.
    2. Later, when he was 40, he wanted to visit his brethren.
      1. He saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite.
      2. Moses fought for the Israelite and killed the Egyptian.
        1. The next day he saw two Israelites fighting, and
        2. he tried to reason with them that they should not fight, because
          1. they were brethren.
          2. One of them challenged Moses,
            1. asking who made him a ruler and a judge over them, and
            2. if he would kill him like he did the Egyptian.
      3. Moses fled and lived in Midian for 40 years and had a family.
  6. Acts 7.30–34 | 40 Years Later

    30 “And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. 31 When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him, 32 saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look. 33 Then the LORD said to him, ‘Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’

    1. After he turned 80, the Lord appeared to Moses in a fire in a bush.
    2. The Lord spoke to Moses from the bush, and
      1. told him to take the sandals off his feet, for
      2. he stood on holy ground.
    3. The Lord said that He had heard and seen Israel’s oppression, and
      1. He would deliver them from Egypt,
      2. using Moses to do this great work.
  7. Acts 7.35–37 | The One They Rejected Turned Out to Be Their Savior

    35 “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 37 This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’

    1. Stephen said that the man Israel rejected as a ruler and a judge,
      1. God used to rule over Israel and
      2. to deliver them from Egypt and to judge Egypt.
    2. This man
      1. showed wonders and signs in Egypt,
      2. brought Israel out of Egypt, which they wanted, and
      3. led them for 40 years in the wilderness.
    3. What did the Jewish Council think as Stephen reminded them of their history?
    4. He then said that it was this Moses
      1. who prophesied of another prophet,
      2. who would be like Moses, and
        1. that they had better listen to this new Prophet, because
        2. they did not want to be like their fathers who rejected Moses initially.
  8. Acts 7.38–41 | They Rejected Moses

    38 “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us, 39 whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41 And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

    1. The man they rejected tried to reconcile them, and later
    2. went to Pharaoh to seek their release,
      1. when their fathers cursed Moses
      2. for angering Pharaoh who made them work more.
        1. Moses spoke with the Angel
        2. on Mount Sinai to receive the oracles of God.
          1. Amazingly, their fathers rejected Moses and
          2. decided to return to Egypt.
  9. Acts 7.42–43 | Idolatry Characterized the Wilderness Wanderings

    42 “Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:

    ‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness,
    O house of Israel?
    43 You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch,
    And the star of your god Remphan,
    Images which you made to worship;
    And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’

    1. By rejecting Moses, Israel rejected God.
    2. They offered sacrifices, but
      1. in their hearts they worshiped Moloch and Remphan.
      2. For their endless idolatry God finally moved them to Babylon.
  10. Acts 7.44–47 | Israel Set Up in the Land

    44 “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, 45 which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, 46 who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built Him a house.

    1. God brought Israel into the Land of Canaan, and
    2. they even built a temple there.
  11. Acts 7.48–50 | The Earthly Temple Was Inadequate

    48 “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

    49 ‘Heaven is My throne,
    And earth is My footstool.
    What house will you build for Me? says the LORD,
    Or what is the place of My rest?
    50 Has My hand not made all these things?’

    1. Solomon knew that the temple he had built could not contain God.
    2. As Isaiah said,
      1. Heaven is God’s throne, and
      2. the Earth is His footstool.
  12. Acts 7.51–53 | Stephen Made His Application

    51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”

    1. Most people want a sermon that touches their needs!
    2. Stephen gave a brief history of Israel, showing ow they
      1. rejected the good things and the good people God sent to them, because
        1. they had stiff-necks, unable to turn and repent,
        2. uncircumcised hearts and ears,
          1. something covered them so that
          2. they would not hear the Good News and accept it.
      2. He told the Jewish Council that they did just as their fathers had done,
        1. resisted the Holy Spirit, and
        2. persecuted all the prophets.
          1. They killed the prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah.
          2. Those men had betrayed and murdered the Just One of God.
  13. Acts 7.54 | They Did Not Like What They Heard

    54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.

    1. Even as Peter cut to the heart the Jews on the Day of Pentecost,
    2. so Stephen cut to the heart the Jewish Council, but
      1. the Jews on Pentecost wanted to know what to do, whereas
      2. these Jews gnashed at Stephen with their teeth,
        1. showing their outrage and
        2. violent intent against him.
  14. Acts 7.55–56 | Stephen Saw Jesus

    55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

    1. Acts 6 shows that Stephen was already full of the Holy Spirit, and
      1. now we see another way he experienced this fullness of the Spirit.
      2. He could see into Heaven and
        1. what did he see?
          1. He saw the glory of God, and
          2. he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
            1. What do you think when someone stands for you?
            2. What would you think if Jesus stood for you?
    2. Stephen could not contain himself and spoke what he saw.
    3. Did that thrill the Council or do something else?
  15. Acts 7.57–58 | What the Council Did with Stephen

    57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

    1. They thought that they had stopped Jesus by killing Him.
    2. They thought that they stopped His disciples by arresting and beating them.
    3. Now, they have another man preaching Jesus, and
      1. connecting Him with Moses,
      2. showing that Stephen did not blaspheme Moses.
        1. They did not threaten Stephen like they did the apostles, but
          1. cried out with a loud voice,
          2. stop their ears,
          3. ran at him,
          4. threw him out of the city, and
          5. stoned him.
        2. In the Council, a young man heard and saw all this.
        3. He gladly tended to the garments of those who stoned Stephen.
  16. Acts 7.59–60 | The Spirit of Jesus Lived in Stephen

    59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

    1. Stephen did not curse his killers, but
      1. he called on God, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
      2. Stephen was ready to die.
    2. Amazingly, even as Jesus asked God to forgive His executioners, so
      1. Stephen asked the Lord Jesus
      2. not to charge the Jewish Sanhedrin with the sin of murdering him.