Focusing on Jesus Christ as our heavenly advocate changes us in three fundamental ways:
- We can take bold risks to communicate Jesus Christ to others.
How do you think Stephen was enabled to take such bold risks?
What do you think he was most burdened to communicate?
- We can extend mercy and forgiveness to those who sin against us.
What are Stephen’s last words?
How different are they than the climactic last words of another prophet that was stoned in the temple in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22?
Where might have Stephen received the idea to pray like this?
Is Stephen’s prayer answered? “The church owes the Apostle Paul to the prayers of Stephen.” – Augustine.
Is there anyone on earth with whom you are at odds and struggling to forgive?
- We can die peaceably and well.
What is the last phrase of Acts 7? Do you find this unusual after so brutal a death?
What are the first words of Stephen’s prayer as he is dying?
Where might he had gotten the idea to pray like this? See Psalm 31:5.
How are Stephen’s prayers different from his Lord’s?
One Important Application: “Change is painful to us all, especially when it affects our cherished building and customs, and we should not seek change merely for the sake of change. Yet true Christian radicalism is open to change. It knows that God has bound himself to his church (promising that he will never leave it) and to His word (promising that it will never pass away). But God’s church means people not buildings, and God’s word means Scripture not traditions. So long as these essentials are preserved, the building and the traditions can if necessary go. We must not allow them to imprison the living God or to impede His mission in the world.”
– John Stott, Acts: The Spirit, The Church and The World, p. 143.
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