Stephen – A Respected Leader Who Stood Strong

Actions of The People, Part 2

Stephen – A Respected Leader Who Stood Strong


Charles Billingsley

Acts 6:1-5a (CSB) In those days, as the disciples were increasing in number, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. The Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit…

1. Stephen had a GOOD REPUTATION

Acts 6:3b … select from among you seven men of good reputation…

  • He was also full of the SPIRIT AND WISDOM
  • The people were pleased to choose him to serve

2. Stephen brought DIVERSITY TO THE CHURCH

Acts 6:3b …from among you…

  • To this point, the church was of “one accord” meaning Jews who believed
  • In chapter 6, we are introduced to the “Hellenists” who were Greek speaking Jews and were DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHERS
  • Stephen was one of the Hellenists who expanded the reach of the church to represent the WILL OF GOD

3. The work of God expands WHEN MANY CONTRIBUTE

  • Acts 6:7 So the word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.
  • Stephen and the others contributed to the spread of the Gospel
  • When we are willing to be used, GOD WILL DO A GREAT WORK
  • The greatness of the work is dependent on our OBEDIENCE

4. Stephen stood strong regardless of the OPPOSITION

Acts 6:8 Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people

  • Stephen was respected because of his willingness to stand for truth
  • God never called us to be popular, He called us to be faithful – Rev. Jerry Falwell
  • Acts 6:11-12 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; so they came, seized him, and took him to the Sanhedrin
  • Stephen’s sensitivity to the SPIRIT made all the difference in his impact

5. Stephen knew how to deal with CONFLICT

Acts 6:15 And all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel

  • The natural human reaction to lies being told about us is TO SEEK REVENGE
  • We desire revenge in the face of these attacks, but Stephen’s Spirit-led response is a great example
  • His sermon in Acts 7 shows his willingness TO STAND ON TRUTH IN THE FACE OF LIES

6. Even when they continued to attack, HE FORGAVE

Acts 7:59-60 While they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 He knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” And after saying this, he fell asleep

  • He left an example, as Jesus did, to forgive those who harmed him
  • This is only possible through a life lived “full of grace and power”
  • Does this example REFLECT YOUR LIFE?

What about YOU?

1, Do you have a GOOD REPUTATION?

2. Are you living IN THE SPIRIT?

3. Do you face opposition with GRACE?