But not long ago a missionary of the China Inland Mission now OMF International who had just returned from a visit to Burma, told a comparable story of Titus, a former student of his in China. When he would not deny his faith, Communist officials in southwest China held him over a fire; then urged him to recant, but without success.
Tweet Many people who are familiar with the Bible are not familiar with Stephen who was one of the first deacons in the Bible. In addition, Stephen was also the first martyr of the church. His story is wholly contained in two chapters in the book of Acts, but it provides a glimpse into life in the early church and serves as an example of how our faith in Christ can lead to great things.
Local churches were beginning to be established and there arose some problems with Greek widows being neglected in their care. Unfortunately, today, most churches continue to neglect widows that are the responsibility of the church. See 1 Timothy 5: This neglect resulted in the apostles spending their time taking care of the widows at the expense of their ministry of the Word of God and prayer.
Stephen was the first martyr of the church. The apostles addressed this need by tasking the local church members to choose seven men that could be appointed over the business of caring for the widows. They were told to choose men who were full of faith and the Holy Ghost.
The tasking by the apostles pleased everyone and the brethren chose seven men who were full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.
Once the selection was completed, the newly chosen deacons were set before the apostles who laid their hands on them and prayed over them. The result of these deacons being ordained over the care of the widows was the Word of God increasing as the apostles had more time available for their ministry work.
This resulted in the number of new disciples in Jerusalem increasing along with a large number of priests being saved. Likewise, he contented for the faith with those who were ultra-liberal in their beliefs. Using the God given wisdom provided by the Holy Spirit, Stephen was able to cut through their weak arguments.
They responded by conspiring to lie about him in an effort to stir up the people and members of the local synagogue. Their conspiracy resulted in Stephen being taken into custody, brought before the council of the synagogue, and charged with blasphemy.
During this inquisition, false witnesses were set up. After their false testimony, the high priest asked Stephen if these things were true. Instead of disputing the accuracy of their charges, he took the opportunity before the large numbers of people there to share the Gospel of Salvation, beginning all the way back with the calling of Abraham out of idolatry.
Stephen explained how God fulfilled the promises He had made to Abraham through the events in history. He showed that time and time again when it looked like the promise of coming of the Messiah would be prevented, God intervened.
When the counsel and others heard this they were furious and offended and began screaming and insulting him. However, Stephen did not back down. He continued by telling them what he was seeing, which enraged them so much they attacked him.
As they attacked him, they drug him outside the city and stoned him to death. The fact that Stephen was chosen to be a deacon speaks to his public testimony as a man that was a believer that lived his faith openly: Acts 7 Stephen received the strength he needed through faith to stand firm under the most extreme persecution one could suffer as a Christian: He used his role to minister both personally in ways that not only help the apostles, but was directly responsible for the growth in the church.
Stephen also used his popularity to reach a broader base of people with the message of salvation. Stephen relied upon the Holy Spirit to give him the Words to say, the strength to persevere under persecution, and the heart to forgive those who were responsible for his death.
Here is something else you might like to read:Lesson #2 – Stephen was a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts ). But, there is so much peace in knowing that the truth never changes, that the Catholic Church is unwavering and stands firm in the teachings of Christ.
Stephen and the apostles set this precedent. It is you and I that must carry it on. Sep 02, · The Lord Rewards Unwavering Faith By J.
Oswald Sanders Reading: Daniel In the days of our childhood this story of the three young Jewish men who refused to bow to the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up seemed very remote and, while we may not have doubted its veracity, it appeared to be.
Faith doesn’t always shine and sparkle but it helps you live through the darkness and through the pain.
Faith keeps you going when everyone else is giving up, faith keeps you dreaming when everyone else is waking up and faith teaches you the meaning of life and ultimately teaches you how to live. But, Stephen gives us a profound example of what it means to live the words of Scripture: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke ) unwavering is his patience and peace, he knows that truth will conquer.
07/22/18 Standing Up For Faith – The Story of Stephen Acts Pastor Douglas Scalise, Brewster Baptist Church Stories of people with unwavering faith are often inspirational.
Whether we find them in the Bible, history, literature, or film, individuals who possess unwavering faith and often great courage are almost universally admired.
The Foundation of Unwavering Faith. July 13, ; Bookmark Read Later Share Monday Hebrews In our ever-changing world, families move, friendships drift, allegiances shift, and technology advances by quantum leaps. If we seek security in people, possessions, or positions, we’re doomed to be disappointed.