As we have been studying the Book of Acts, we have encountered prayer, preaching, and supernatural healings. We have also taken note of ongoing persecution of the early church.
In this week’s reading, we will witness the account of the first murder of a Christ follower. Although Stephen’s position was a food server, and not a preacher or evangelist, he was the first Christian martyr in history.
While some might have expected the violent oppression to quench the fire of the young church, Stephen’s reactions actually turned an act of terror into a triumph, and have served as a model for Christians facing persecution worldwide down through the ages.
(By the way, an estimated 70 million Christians have paid for their faith with their lives–a staggering 2/3 of these in the last century!)
Here are some of the questions we will answer this Sunday:
o How does persecution of the church fit into God’s plan?
o How does God prepare the church for persecution?
o How does Stephen demonstrate he has been freed from fear of death in this passage?
o How does God put Love on display through the gruesome details of the murder of Stephen?
If you would care to look ahead, feel free to review Acts 7:54-60, which will be the centerpiece for our discussion.
Come and join us on Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff, as we share a Sermon called “God Converts an Act of Terror into a Triumph of Love”.