Acts 6:8-7:38 (AD 31)
A short devotional today, because it’s a long reading and getting that done is, of course, the priority.
Two things for us to focus on:
1. Hate-filled opposition is inevitable.
We don’t want it, we don’t court it, and we certainly shouldn’t deliberately provoke it. But as if the example of Jesus wasn’t enough, here we Stephen being Spirit-filled, miracle-working and with compelling arguments…and the religious leaders plotted to have him killed by getting people to lie about him.
That’s why it’s so important for us to focus on being faithful to God’s command to spread the gospel, without kidding ourselves that if only we do it just right, everyone will accept it.
Pray for faithfulness, boldness and courage. In yourself first, then in others.
2. Our faith is based on historical events
Stephen’s was not a rallying cry to a philosophical idea, or even a lifestyle. It was a reminder of what had really happened, a restatement of the staggering power and faithfulness of God in making – and keeping – all his promises. Culminating in Jesus Christ coming to earth, living, dying, and rising again so that we can be made right with God forever.
We live by faith, not by sight, yes. But our faith is in what God has done behind the scenes: justifying us from our sins, giving us his righteousness. We don’t need faith for everything else – it’s just well-attested history.