Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham…
and, uh, by, should I take your Bibles? We’re going to be looking at acts chapter seven, as we return to our series, as Jared said, at the beginning of the service to, uh, the book of acts, the spirit at work to the ends of the earth acts chapter seven. Uh, we’re going to be looking at a sermon that is presented by Steven, and we’re going to be focusing on really what he had to say in response to a very poignant question.
Two part question that was presented to him. I’m going to do something I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I have never written. And when I say I haven’t done it before, that encompasses a lot of time. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I think this is the longest passage I’ve ever read. So I am probably going to read fast.
I have tried about six different places to just read this part, but it’s a story. And I just think we need to go over. I know a number of you have been reading this this week, uh, with your ACS journals and excited with the thought that you are out there with your own thoughts, impressions from the spirit.
But for those of us that haven’t been reading, I’d like to just present the whole thing. We’re going to go down to verse 50 of acts chapter seven. And the high priest said are these things. So, and Stephen said, brothers and fathers hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father, Abraham, where he was in Mesopotamia before he lived in Huron and said to him, go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.
Then he went out from the land of the Cambodians and lived in Huron. And after his father died, God removed him from. There into this land in which you are now living yet, he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring. After him though, he had no child and God spoke to this effect that his offspring would be so generous in a land belonging to others who would enslave them and inflict them 400 years.
But I will judge the nation that they serve said God. And after that, they shall come out and worship me in this place. And he gave them the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day in Isaac became the father of Jacob and Jacob of the 12 patriarchs and the patriarchs jealous of Joseph sold him into Egypt, but God was.
And rescued him out of all those afflictions gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh king of Egypt, who had made him rule over Egypt and overall his household. Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan and great affliction. And our fathers could find no food, but when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit.
And on the second visit, Joseph made himself known to his brothers and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh and Joseph San and summon Jacob, his father and all this kindred 75 persons at all. And Jacob went down into Egypt and he died. He and our fathers, and they were carried back to check him and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Haymore and check them.
But as the time of the promise, Jr, which God had granted to Abraham, the father increased and multiplied in Egypt until the arose over Egypt, another king who did not know. He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants so that they would not be kept alive at this time.
Moses was born and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house. And when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him down as her own son. And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. And he was mighty in his words and deeds, when he was 40 years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel, and seeing one of them being wronged.
He defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they didn’t understand and have the font on the following day, appeared to them as they were quarrelling and tried to reconcile them saying, man, you are brothers.
Why do you wrong each other? But the man who was wrong, his brother thrust him aside saying, who made you a ruler and a judge over us. Do you want to kill us as you killed the Egyptian yesterday at this time? At this retort, Moses fled and became an exile on the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
Now, when he, 40 years had passed an angel appeared to him in the wilderness at Mount Sinai in a flame of fire and a Bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight and he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord. I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac. And if Jacob and Moses trembled did not dare to look, then the Lord said to him, take off the sandals from your feet for the place where you’re standing is holy ground.
I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and they have heard their groaning and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to. This Moses, whom they rejected saying, who made you a ruler and a judge, this man, God sent us 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 40 years. This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, God will raise up for you. A prophet like me from your brothers. This is the one who was in the congregation, in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai.
And with our fathers, he re he rejected living Oracles to give to us. He received those Oracles. Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside and in their hearts. They turned to Egypt saying to Aaron, make for us gods, who will go before us as for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.
And they made a calf in those days and offered a sacrifice to the idle and rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and gave them over to worship. The host of heaven as is written, the book of the profits. Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices during the 40 years in the wilderness of house of Israel, you took up the 10 of Moloch and the star of your God ref them and images that you made to worship.
And I will send you into exile beyond Babylon. Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses, directed him to make it according to the pattern that he had seen our fathers in turn brought in with Joshua, when they dispossessed the nations that God wrote drove out before our fathers.
So it was until the days of David who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of. But it was Solomon who built a house for him yet. The most tide does not dwell in houses, made by hands. As the prophet says, heaven is my throne. The earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things. You stiff neck people, uncircumcised in heart and ears. You always resist the holy spirit as your fathers did. So do you, which of your profits did your father’s not persecute and they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the righteous one whom you have now betrayed and murdered.
You who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it wild. How about you? I’m exhausted, but let’s pray together.
Lord, we thank you for this sermon. This. Response of Stephen that takes the history of Israel and highlights, things that were intended to reawaken. And in some cases awaken in the hearts of his listeners who knew this story, but are not seeing the emphasis that he is bringing out as it pointed toward Christ.
Lord, may we see those things this morning? May we learn from your spirit? I pray in Jesus name. Amen. We’re looking at the life of Stephen as it is presented here in act six and seven. I mentioned to you, we’re looking at three aspects in these three sermons. First of all, in chapter six, verses eight through 15, Stephen.
Today, Stephen his message. And next week, Steven, his martyrdom we’re highlighting because he is obviously highlighted by Dr. Luke and the book of acts. He’s not one of the apostles. He is one of the, the people that are set aside doing the ministry of deacon work of servant work. Uh, but he is a unique communicator of truth.
He is also blessed by God to have some of the signs and wonders that have been given to the apostles as he is going about doing signs and miraculous works. The message that we’ve just read is actually the result of an interrogation. Stephen arrested and dragged before the Sanhedrin. He is now standing before the 70 leaders of Israel.
And at this point, basically they have had it. They have been dealing with this sect of Jews. For six years since the day of Pentecost. And as they have now gathered around this guy, they are, they are up to here with the blatant disregard. These guys have shown when they have told them when they have arrested them, when they have, uh, uh, beat them, tortured them, they still keep talking about Jesus.
And Steven is now exhibit a is doing that because he’s been doing it in the Senate, in the synagogues of the Hellenistic, which was a Jews. As we saw last time that spoke Greek, it would have been the synagogue where the Saul later apostle Paul attended when he was in Jerusalem. He likely is a very well-known commodity to Stephen.
And now they’ve infiltrated everything in Jerusalem. All his, all Judaism has been infected by this teaching about. Uh, man, that they, his religious leaders have signed the death warrant for now being declared to be raised from the dead. And they bring this guy in and they are seizing. And he is now confronted with an accusation we saw in verse 13 and 14 of chapter six.
And here’s what it said. The people bring this and there’s some truth to the actualization to some exaggeration. Here’s what they say. This man, never ceases to speak words against this holy place. Meaning the temple and the law for, we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and we’ll change the customs that Moses delivers to us.
Basically, this is their accusation. They’re saying that Jesus is going to destroy the temple that he thinks he knows. A better way to view and approach God, basically he thinks we don’t need the temple. The second accusation that is made against Stephen, who is, they are saying, taking the teachings of Jesus and announcing them is that Jesus will do away with the laws and practices of Moses.
He thinks he knows how to do God’s will better than Moses. He thinks Moses is wrong about the way he describes the law. Those are the two accusations. They couldn’t have hit on to hotter topics among Jews than the temple and the law. And they’re saying this Jesus is trying to do away with them both. And he thinks he has better methodologies.
They bring Stephen in now before the Sanhedrin and they’re confronting him with a four word question, are these things so. Is this what you’re saying? Just what you say about the temple. Is this what you’re claiming Jesus was all about? Is this what Jesus is about with the law we have now? Steven’s response now actually the high priest gives to Stephen a multiple choice test.
Are these things, so yes or no. And Stephen turns it into a blue book response. He writes this, it presents this long essay with a two answer description. The two giant questions that are being presented to him are this one of the views of Jesus that you are, you are announcing about worshiping God. And what is your view that Jesus is presenting about doing the will of God.
Now we might look at this passage and probably on first read, you’re thinking, I don’t really know what this has to do with me. I mean, I don’t, I don’t know anything about the temple. I don’t go to the temple. I mean, I’m not Jewish and, and I’m, I’m not under the law. I’m under grace as a Christian. So, so what does this have to do with me?
Well, here’s the two topics that Stephen’s going to talk about, worship your approach to God, how you view God. And secondly, the will of God, how you do the will of God. Well, Ecclesiastes. He says it this way. Fear God, and keep his commandments. This is the whole duty of man. The sticks talks to everybody.
This actually is a tremendously practical passage. Now, Stephen doesn’t play his hand outright. He doesn’t say, well, here’s what I think about temple prayer. Here’s what I think about the law. Here’s what Jesus is saying about temple. Here’s what she was saying about the law. He BA he goes back and basically he wants these guys to see.
I, there are a lot of points where we were, where we touch and overlap with each other. I also believe in the old Testament, I also Revere these four men or for individuals, Abraham, Joseph Moses. Who’s the one who hits on the most. And then he combines David and Solomon. He says, this, these are our, my forefathers.
That’s their story. That, that has formed the foundation of my understanding of God and doing his will as well as your. But he is going to present some things in these passages, in his storytelling that are going to speak directly to how Jesus views, worship, and how Jesus views doing the will of God. The two points we’re going to look at this morning are this, the worship of God has never been restricted to a place that is what he’s going to present in this.
The second thing, and that is answering the temple question. The second thing is. Answering the law question, the law, the will of God has always been revealed and explained through his prophets. All right, let’s look at those two things and try to bring some real application to it. And then he’s going to bring this whole thing.
As we see in verse 51 and 53 to a very startling conclusion, the worship of God has never been restricted to a place. This is Steven’s response in his long discourse to the question about the temple, about, you know, do you need the temple? Is Jesus trying to get rid of the temple? His diseases say the temple isn’t necessary is gonna, he’s trying to destroy it.
The first thing he presents in this as the presence of God is wherever his people are. Now. The people in, in, in Israel’s history. Post the creation of the temple loved the temple. David King. David loved the temple of God, Psalm 27. He says this in verse four, one thing, have I asked the Lord that I will seek after that?
I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. But Jesus highlights and Steven reaffirms in his long answer that as precious as the temple is, it is only a resource that God used to be with his people. It was only a tool.
And throughout this discourse of Psalm, excuse me, of acts chapter seven, he highlights that the greats of the faith, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David Solomon. We’re not limited to one space and one place to find God, let me just highlight a couple of things about Abraham. We see this in verses two through six, the God of glory appeared to our father.
Abraham. When he was in Mesopotamia says, go out from your land and into the land. I will show you yet. God gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot length. He says our father, the founder of our faith, the God who was the first Israel light, the first Jew, Abraham, he had no temple. He had no house of worship.
The guy didn’t even own stones to build an off alter in the, in the, in the promised land. You know, Abraham lived his entire life in the promised land and he didn’t own any. As a matter of fact, when his wife died, he had to go and purchase from somebody, a burial plot in the local cemetery. He had no place to put her.
He was a nomad in the land of promise, the place that God had said, where would be where he would one day see his, his, his descendants, having it as their, their, their dwelling place. But in verse two, but the God of glory appeared to Abraham repeatedly throughout the scriptures were told, and, and Stephen is pointing out Abraham wasn’t dependent on a temple for God to make himself known.
God was with him everywhere. He says the same thing about Joseph, you know, Joseph, who was one of the heroes of the faith. He spent almost all his life in. He, he was a part from, from the family of God, for much of his life. He never lived in the place of promise, the land where God had chosen to meet with his people.
Then Moses, Moses fled at 40 years old from Egypt, where he was with the people of God. And he’s out in the wilderness all alone, but God pursued him in the wilderness. God appeared to him. And he says this in verse 33, Moses, the place where you’re standing is holy ground. He says Moses was alone in the wilderness.
All his people were in Egypt. He’d run for his life. He had no temple, no meeting place for worship services. And God set a Bush on fire to make a holy ground for Moses. What’s he saying with all these examples, he’s saying God is not limited for a temple. It is not simply where God makes himself known in a corporate worship.
God could make a, a piece of Sage brush, a temple to meet with his people. The second thing he highlights is that the presence of God could never be contained in a building. This is the latter part of his discourse in Saul in acts chapter seven. He says David and Solomon David had his heart to build this temple that you’re, uh, you’re you’re revering.
So greatly God then had his son Solomon. And here’s what he said. This was what Solomon said is this is what, excuse me. What Stephen quotes about that in verse 49, God said, this heavens my throne and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things. I mean, you can’t limit me in a, in a temple. Heaven’s my throne. I mean, the earth is just where I put my feet. It’s just a footstool for me. Solomon said it this way. When he built the temple in first Kings chapter eight, verse 27, but will God really dwell on earth?
The heavens even the highest heaven cannot continue. How much less the temple I have built what Steven is saying. Guys, your view of the temple is too big and God too small. You’re seeing God is limited. You revering the temple. Jesus is highlighting the reality that God has always made himself known to his people in all places in all times.
The temple was one tool of that, but you’ve made it much too big and God much too small, a perfect example of this. And then I’m going to try to apply this as Jeremiah seven, where the Lord says to Jeremiah, he says, stand at the, the entrance to the temple. And this is what I want you to say to the people.
This is what the Lord almighty. The God of Israel says, amend your ways and your actions. I do not trust in these deceptive words and say this, this is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord in, in Hebrew. When you want it to really talk about something, being spectacularly wonderful.
You repeated it. We tend to add the word. Great. Greatest, you know, magnificent. They just said three times. That’s why. Holy, holy holy in Isaiah six is he is supremely transcendently holy. The idea was their security was that they had the temple. I mean, God, we got him. He’s here. The temple. I mean, if you want to, if you ever wonder if God’s with us, just look temples right over there.
We could see it every day. The fire’s going up, you know, and Jeremiah is told now remind the people. It’s the choices they make with their lives. It’s not what they do. Just on the Sabbath, where they come to the worship services and meet with God. It is a seven day 24 hour experience. Why? Because I go with my people wherever they are.
I do life with my people wherever they are, whatever they do. The highlight that Steven is trying to say is you guys Revere this place too much. And by revering, this place too much, you Revere God to, oh, God has always been with this people everywhere. He’s saying whether it was Abraham and Mesopotamia and Moses by a Bush in the middle of the desert somewhere, God is not limited to a place.
You need to see him doing life with you. 24 7.
If God is with his people everywhere, we should be looking for him. Everywhere is the inference. I think that’s a direct application to us
at our 24 7 life experience should be with the perception that God is with me everywhere I go at some of the most important worship times you’re going to have in the next few days, have nothing to do with being in the church. They may happen in your car. They may happen in, in the chair where you meet with God each day, they may happen on a stretch of sand on the beach or a particular tree in the woods where you walk.
It may happen on the sports field, in the business meeting on the job site, all kinds of settings, where God wants to make himself known that he wants to make a, a, a holy ground place for you. And Stephen is saying your view of God is way too small. It’s too limiting. If you’re focusing him just as, as he’s a, he’s a temple place.
God, the other thing is if God is with his people everywhere, we should be looking to serve him everywhere. This past week had no idea. This was, was the thing. Uh, I was very excited when I read it. Joanne sharp sent to me, uh, the newsletter that’s coming out for women’s ministry. So I could know what they were saying for June.
And the article is entitled busting out of the building. Here’s what it says. The FCCS women ministry is busting out of the building this summer, just like the early church in acts. We desire to gather together with glad and sincere hearts. You can look forward to a summer full of radically, yet ordinary hospitality let’s learn and grow in our ability to share and be the church and talked about how, how many homes have been opened up by many of you women to just have gatherings and Bible studies and getting to that’s exactly what he’s saying is what should be the perception that the people of God are viewing, busting out.
These guys were limited so well, here’s where God is. But that’s sort of where he is, but I’m doing business, you know, business businesses, business, you know, sport is spiritual life, spiritual life, churches, church, but business is business. Now God says no 24 7 I’m with my people, their view of the temple seemed lofty, but their view of God was diminished by.
And so that’s the first thing he highlights. The second thing he highlights is the will of God has always been revealed through his prophets. Stephen’s answer to the law question. God’s prophets are called, are calling people to the law of God. You’ll notice it says the accusation back in acts chapter six.
It says that they are Stephen’s messaging is trying to change the customs that Moses delivered to us. The word customs is actually the word ethos. It means the ethics. Here’s what they were saying. We’re listening to him talk about Moses law. And he saying things that are actually trying to change the principles of how we look at the law and how we apply the law.
And quite frankly, that was true because what he was saying was the same thing Jesus was saying, Jesus was saying things like you’ve heard that it was said by them of old, you shall not commit adultery, which was a commandment commandment number seven, but then he says this, but I tell you. And if you look at a woman with lust in your heart, you’ve committed adultery.
He says your view of the law is way too low. It’s it’s diminished and it’s, and it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s completely befuddled. The true reality of the law. The law speaks to heart. It speaks to motivation. They were looking at the law just at, by the, the cold letter of the law. And then they actually added the traditions and things, but they didn’t look at it.
Heart-related they didn’t look at the motive behind what they were doing. They didn’t look at the spirit number of years ago, we had actually, Jesus was upholding Moses ethos of the law. They were not, and he’s going to present that. And that was why they are against the prophets of God, because the prophets of God, historically, throughout the old Testament, Constantly they didn’t present new laws.
What the prophets would do is they would challenge the people to the true application of the law, the principles of living out the loss, they would speak hard deep. It’s exactly what Jesus did in his ministry because people tended to dumb down the requirements of the law. They tended to make them something they could manage that it became external.
We see that, of course, with the Pharisees number of years ago, we had a class called the discovery class and it was a followup to the negativity. We would do it every year. We then began to use alpha to do that, but I was teaching the discovery class one year and it was small class of people that had come to the nativity.
And now they were following up just learning about faith and in the class, one of the things we did was go through, uh, trying to. Sin and Jesus is the answer. And we went to Matthew chapter five and just talked about what sin actually is because most people think they know what sin is and they know what the standard of sin is.
And so I was just talking about how Jesus explains what the commandments really are about. And, uh, I talked about Matthew chapter five and I said, um, here, Jesus says, you’ve heard it was said by them of old do not commit murder, but I tell you that is anyone that is angry with his brother and calls them Rocco, which means, you know, it was a harsh name, uh, uh, in anger is, is in danger of judgment.
And there was a guy in the class and he was, um, uh, a river. In other words, he worked the, the super high rises in Philadelphia. He was one of those guys up on the, the metal deal, which honestly, even as he would describe his work, I would feel a little bit queasy. I’m not a height person, but, but just going along those things and, and I mean, he was a, he was a tough guy and I was explaining all this.
And I said, this is an understanding of what Jesus means when he says, do not commit murder. And I’ll never forget his response. He said what? He said, I murder every day. You laugh, but sort of you, uh, but, but I’m not here every day. He does. He did. That was the path that God used. This guy beautifully embraced Jesus Christ as his savior.
Jesus. You need to understand what Moses is saying by the loss. And, and Stephen is saying, yeah, Jesus did come like a prophet to explain the true ethos, ethics of God’s loss by doing so. He enabled people to see their hearts. He reminded people that living a godly life is not difficult. It’s impossible that only God can live the godly life through people, through the influence of his spirit within them.
That’s why the ultimate expression of living with the Lord is dependent. We are cast upon him. We are dependent upon him. We have what Hudson tele is. Talk about the exchanged life. His life is lived in us and through us. Yes. Stephen says Jesus did come, but he wasn’t overturning the principles of, of God’s law.
As Moses presented, he was affirming it. You guys have diminished it, it isn’t that you have too high of you, of law. And Jesus has a low view. You have a low view of law. Jesus Springs, the true high view of the standards of the law. That is why the second principally presents an extra chapter seven God’s prophets have always been rejected by those whose hearts are hard.
He talks about Joseph, you know, the other in verse nine, the other patriarchs were jealous of Joseph. They sold him into Egypt, but God was with him. But the big one he hits on is Moses. And he highlights Moses in verses 22, verse 35. And following this Moses, whom they rejected saying, who made you a ruler and a judge, this man, God sent is both a ruler and Redeemer verse 36.
This man led them out, performing signs and wonders this in verse 37 is the Moses said to the Israelites, God will raise up for you. A prophet like me from your brothers. This is the one who spoke. Who who spoke to him? Sorry, this is the one who is in the congregation, in the wilderness with the angels, spoke to him.
He’s the one that got the law versus our fathers refused to obey him. But for us to move aside and their hearts turned back to Egypt saying, make for us, God’s Aaron who go before for us. As for this Moses guy who led us from the land of Egypt, we don’t know what it’s become a him, what they do with your Moses.
They rejected him. They didn’t listen to his message. They didn’t really want what he had to present. They didn’t ha they want what he offered. He says, this has been the pattern rejecting those that truly speak the reality of the, but here’s what he sneaks in. That is so important when he’s talking about Moses two things, but he says, Moses talked about a prophet that was coming like him one day.
This is a reference to Christ and he affirms it by this statement in that same passage, he says, you know, Moses was affirmed to you by signs and wonders. Do you know, in the whole history of, of Israel, there are only three periods in which signs and wonders were manifested. It of course, is that if you think back through the old Testament, think of time of miracles, big miracles, seasons of miracles, you’ll only find actually three in through the whole scriptures.
One was the time of Moses. We see the plagues in Egypt. We see the red sea. We see the man in the wilderness, I mean, on and on. It goes, there were signs and wonders that affirmed Moses. As the law giver as, as the ultimate prophet of God later, as the prof prophetic ministry, hundreds of years later was introduced under Elijah and Elijah.
There were signs and wonders. The acts had floating in the, in the, in the river variety of other things that they did the calling down a fire on Mount Mount Carmel. Um, but then you come hundreds of years later to another period where the true profit has come. This is what Steven’s highlighting. He also, and those associated with.
Are given signs and wonders. These were, were, were gifts, spirit, uh, excuse me, sign gifts as they’re called and Hebrews two in second Corinthians 12, uh, that we’re authenticating and a number of pastures in the, in the book of acts at least 12, where the signs and wonders are given they’re called in enacts.
A number of times, the signs of the apostles, although they were also, uh, given to Philip and, uh, Barnabas and Stephen. But what he’s saying is look with me in your history. Look back. When have you seen signs and wonders before it was the prophetic ministry of Moses? When have you seen them again? It was the prophetic ministry of Elijah and Elijah has a new era of the profits.
And when do you see signs and wonders again right now? Wow. He says because Jesus, the prophet has. He is the one that is calm. He is speaking about the true nature of living the spiritual life, the true standard of the law, just as Moses presented just as a firm by the profits. And then he comes to his home run, hitting response in verse 51, which must have taken their breath away.
You stiff-necked people circumcised and, and he hears you always resist the holy spirit as your fathers did. So do you, which of the prophets did your father’s not persecute and they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the righteous one whom you have now betrayed and murdered. You received the laws delivered by angels and did not keep it.
Here’s what he said. You are, hard-hearted resisting the spirit in rejecting Jesus. You are rejecting the righteous one himself. The true prophet. You are the ones that are not keeping the principles of God’s law. You are the ones that have lowered the demands of God’s law to deceive yourselves into assuming that you can keep it.
Your ethos is less than God ever intended the law, which would speak to the hearts and motivations of the heart. You see these individuals of course had some familiarity with truth and the Bible story. I mean, the story that he told, they knew they knew Abraham them, and they were probably surprised he knew it that well, there were the teachers, they knew Abraham.
They knew Joseph. They knew Moses. They knew David. They knew Solomon, but he said, You know some of the story, but your knowledge has actually just been an inoculation against the real disease. You you’ve gotten some of the vaccine, you’ve got a taste of it, but it’s inoculated you from getting the real disease of truth of your lives being changed, changed.
And so he says, you need to hear the story in a new light. See that what you’re doing is what people have always done, who are hard to God’s truth, who don’t want to face their own hearts, who don’t want to see the law speaking at the, the hard level. I want to close my sermon this way. Maybe you’re here this morning, familiar with the Bible Christianity.
You could recount some of the story. You hear people talk about the gospel until yeah. Yeah. I, I know that.
But do you, maybe you have got just enough of it to inoculate you to the real disease. What if what you rejected is a cocky, a chair of Christianity, a view of Christianity that seems to declare it. It actually was all about you. You needed to be good. You need to get it right. You needed to be righteous to be acceptable.
And when Jesus comes around, you reject him because he seems to be demanding of you, what you don’t seem to have or ever will have. What if he came to forgive you to liberate you, to give you life? What if he really is the safest person in the universe and he came to seek and save a sinner like you, just because he loves.
What, if it is your pride and your self dependence, your determination to be sufficient in yourself. That is actually what stands in the way of your repentance and embracing of Jesus. Many of these religious leaders didn’t want to admit they were wrong about Jesus. They didn’t want to admit that they needed him, but they were desperate for forgiveness and what he came to offer.
And they threw them aside and they thought they knew it all. And then they understood the lawn and they got all this and they knew the stories of the Bible, but they were not related to the real disease. And they rejected the one that could have given them life.
What if that’s you,
what if you’ve really rejected? What you thought was Christianity, but it’s just enough of religiosity that some of us have raised our kids then, or we braised all others in and, and, and what’s come through, has really been about you and you’ll be in better, but that’s not it. The gospel is that Jesus has come for people.
He loves to rescue them from a life that is bound and caught in sin. These men, most of them, some of them would be exceptions, but most of them felt they knew all of it. They could have told the story better than Steven, but they really missed it. The messaging of the story. They missed the messaging of grace, the message of the beauty of all of it pointing.
All of it was not pointing to, to the day when the S the Pharisees were there and say, yeah, we’ve learned it all. So we could be good people. Now, the whole narrative was pointing to one who is coming to be their, their savior, their rescuer. They were inoculated to the real disease. How about you, Lord? We come to you this morning.
God, I thank you that you are the pursuing God that you’re with us every day. At the only time that we’re going to encounter you is not this morning, 24 7. You’re going to be with us long side of us. Willing to lead, willing to carry us.
Lord, I thank you for the reminder that the Christian life is impossible. Apart from Christ. It is through the spirit of Christ that we can live this life of beauty that you offer to us through him
in Jesus’ name. Amen. Now go in peace to worship the Lord who is with you. Wherever you go, go in peace to live by a spirit who will help you do whatever he asks you are dismissed. Thank you.