Archive of Pastor Darby's Sermon Notes, transcribed from his original typewritten documents
Acts 6:8 - 7:60
MARTYRDOM - THEN AND NOW
Mar 21, 1965 pm
WE NEED TO STUDY CAREFULLY HOW GOD USED MARTYRS IN THE BIBLE. WE MAY NEED TO KNOW HOW.
I had intended to say a lot about modern martyrs, McChesney and others- we need to be aware of the martyrs under communism- they have far surpassed the Nazi Jew killings! Instead, you make the application- while we study the ministry- message- and monument- given by the Greek Deacon- Stephen!
THE MINISTRY OF STEPHEN, THE DEACON WHO BECAME THE FIRST MARTYR (ACTS 6: 8-15)
THE MIRACLES AND PREACHING OF A GREEK DEACON (8,10) - STEPHEN DARED TO BE DIFFERENT
- The miracles were great- full of faith and power- and did great wonders
- The preaching was irresistible- they couldn't resist his wisdom- logic- in spirit (Holy Spirit)
- The life was unimpeachable- they had to bribe men to witness against him- could you match this?
THE OPPONENTS TO STEPHEN ARE LISTED- THERE ARE OVER 480 DIFFERENT SECTS IN JERUSALEM
- Libertines-freed men, whose parents were sold as slaves in 53 BC when Pompeii captured Judea
- Cyrenians- northern Africa, city 1/4 Jews- many in Jerusalem named in other places-
- Alexandrians- second city and empire- Septuagint came from there- great Hebrew culture- Hellenist
- Cilicians and of Asia- the area that Saul of Tarsus came from - his group
THE ARREST OF STEPHEN AND THE CHARGE AGAINST HIM
- The hired witnesses accused him, stirred up the mob, and dragged him before the council
- The charge was speaking against the temple, and against the law- (V. 13, 14)
- Stephen's attitude was meek, polite, within custom, but firmly unyielding
THE MESSAGE OF STEPHEN, A SURVEY OF GOD'S LEADERSHIP AND MAN'S REBELLION
He addressed himself courteously to answer the priest's question- is this so?
THE FACTS AND OUTLINE OF HIS MESSAGE- A SURVEY TYPE OF SERMON- BEST FOR LAYMEN
- The patriarch's history of being personally led by God (2-16)
- The age of Moses, and history of the people misunderstanding him (17- 46)
- The age of the prophets and temple, and the people's betrayal of both (46- 43)
STEPHEN POINTED OUT THE PARALLEL OF JESUS AND MATCHED THE TIMES OF HISTORY
- Joseph was betrayed by his brethren- an yet he was the savior of the nation (9)
- Moses was opposed for his strength, and God's leadership, yet he saved his nation (39)
- In the wilderness- (38) and in the land (45) the men preferred Moloch to God
STEPHEN ARGUES THAT TRUE WORSHIP DOES NOT CONSIST OF LAW, MOSES, TEMPLE, BUT SPIRIT AND TRUTH
- Not with law- but with the patriarchs - God dealt with them through the Theophanies- Messiah
- Not with Moses- but God dealt with the people through him as a spokesman- the message is important-
- Not with temple- for with temple and Tabernacle- the fathers deserted God for Moloch
- Not with their fathers- national salvation, but with individuals who believed
THE MONUMENT, TO STEPHENS FAITH AND TO THE SANHEDREN'S GUILT AND SHAME
Stephen's sermon pricked their hearts- pointed out their guilt- they had no argument but hate
THE RESULTS OF THE MESSAGE IN THE HEARTS OF THE LISTENERS
- Some say- preach the gospel and you will have great success and crowds of people - yea, for your hanging.
- They were pricked with guilt (51-53) and in their rage- gnashed on him with their teeth
- They left logic, order, and procedure, and turned into a bloodthirsty mob.
STEPHEN'S ACTIONS OF FAITH INCITED THEM TO FURTHER RIOTS AND BLOODSHED
- He saw Jesus, and said so (55, 56)- worse thing today- but without a great crisis- know Jesus.
- As they cast him out- he resisted not, but prayed for God to receive his spirit- (59)
- As he prayed- he echoed the words of Jesus- lay not this into their charge- was rocked to sleep
THE APPLICATION TODAY- DON'T LET SATAN TRICK YOU OUT OF CHRISTIAN ACTION IN EMERGENCY
- Stephen had no trouble until he started making an application of his Bible message (he hadn't read How To Win Friends And Influence People, but he saw Jesus - can you?)
- His death was for the testimony of Christ, not for his misbehavior, or just politics.
Some today would have us just give our necks to the communists and liberals
IF YOU DON'T GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR LIFE, YOU WON'T IN YOUR DEATH - MAKE YOUR LIFE COUNT.
- Had Stephen died for his own sin instead of the witness of Christ- no martyrdom
- Had Stephen refused to speak out plainly for Christ he would have had no power.
- Are you ready to face death for the testimony of Christ?