Responding to Opposition with Christ-like Character – Acts 6:1-10

26 September, 2021

Book: Acts

Title:     Godliness Brings Good Reputation & Great Usefulness 


  • Acts 2:40-7:60, The Church in Jerusalem
  • 2:1-36, Pentecost and the Pouring out of the Spirit
  • 4:21, First Sanhedrin Trial, ending in a Warning
  • 5:40, Second Sanhedrin Trial, ending in Flogging
  • 6:15-7:60, Final Sanhedrin Trial ending in Death
  • The widening split between the Judaism and Christianity
  • Stephen’s martyrdom was the final decisive moment of Sanhedrin-Judaism’s rejection of Christ & Gospel
  • We are going to consider: His Character then His Actions.
  • Stephen: Ordinary man, used by God in extraordinary way


God does not use Extra-ordinary People, He uses ordinary men-women

  • Remember Paul’s words in 1Cor.1:26–28 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are…

God only uses Ordinary People: (examples)

  • God Fills Ordin. People w/Spirit to Transform into Godly People
  • Godly People are not extraordinary, in and of themselves,
  • Godly Men & Women are Extraordinary, simply-only because of the indwelling presence of the H.Spirit in their lives.
  • Like a Wood Stove, its heat/light is only comes fr. Fire within
  • Like Moses Burning Bush: Fire Burns, but does not consume

Stephen was an Ordinary man, filled w/ God’s Spirit, living a Godly Life to Glorify God, first Inside, then Outside the Church

That reality, (Godly Living to Glorify God) must be the desire of us all

  • God has Saved Us & Filled Us w/ His Spirit to Transform Us to Be Christlike, to Live Godly Lives, to Glorify Him, above all else.

Three Foundational Things we need to know as consider this:

  • 1) Godliness Glorifies God, by Displaying His Transforming Pwr at work to create Living Statues of Christ, in our world….
  • 2) Godliness is Possible – Christlikeness is Possible becoz:
    • 1. Christ has Paid our Debt for sin, reconciling us to God
    • 2. Christ has Imputed His Righteousness to us,
    • 3. Christ has Filled us with His Spirit, and
    • 4. Christ has Given us His Living Word
  • 3) Godliness Demands our Involvement:
    • Godliness happens thru Faith in God & Obedience to God
    • we’re to pursue Godliness…  as Stephen did.
  • I want us, to see that Stephen was a Godly man, whose
    • Godliness Gained him a good reputation, (glorifies God),
    • Opened doors for service to God (glorifies God)
    • brought Opposition & martyrdom (glorifies God)
  • I want us to see Steph. Eg. & follow it, not “to be a Stephen” but to be Christ-like, and point others to Christ, which he did.
    • 1) Godliness is being Full of the H. Spirit
    • 2) Godliness is being Full of Wisdom
    • 3) Godliness is being Full of Faith
    • 4) Godliness is being Full of Grace

[Next week]  5) Godliness is Necessary for Gentle Service

    • 6) Godliness is Necessary for Great Speaking
    • 7) Godliness is Necessary ag. Great Opposition


Remember the situation [read Acts 6:1-3]

  • Hellenistic Widows: being missed in daily distribution of food
  • Church was to seek fr. among themselves men to serve tables
  • Apostles-elders: devote ‘selves to prayer & ministry of Word.
  • “men of good reputationmartyroumenous: those who’ve rec’d the witness of others re: their good character/behaviour
  • We remember what Jesus said: Matt.5:15-16, Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven – Light of God’s Truth W/I shining thru our words, our actions, & our responses…
  • So that others see our character changed by Truth W/I…
    • not just about knowing truth, it’s about living it out.

So, this message is a Call to Grow in Godly Character to Glorify God

  • It’s what Peter was talking about in 2Pet.1:5–8 giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue… knowledge… self-control… perseverance… godliness… brotherly kindness & love.
  • 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Ld. Jesus Christ.
  • 2Peter 3:18, but grow in the grace & knowledge of Christ


1stly) Godliness is Being Full of the H. Spirit

  • Notice Vs.3) men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit
  • We know Spirit Permanently Fills & Seals us at moment of salvation, 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…
  • John 12:3, Mary anointed Jesus feet with a pound of oil of spikenard, and the house was filled with fragrance.  So, also our Entire lives R 2 B filled w/ fragrance of Spirit’s presence
  • Eph.5:18-6:18, describes a Spirit-filled life: marriage, family, work & warfare, lived in Full submission to the H. Spirit
  • The Bible doesn’t say there’s multi fillings of: H. Spirit, but
  • The Bible does say that there is an increasing influence of the H. Spirit, as well as the possibility of grieving or hindering the Holy Spirit’s influence in our lives.

The Influence of: H. Spirit Increases thru Prayer

  • Jesus, Himself taught us, in Luke 11:13 If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the H. Spirit to those who ask Him!”

The Influence of: H. Spirit Increases thru Repentance

  • Eph.4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
  • Sin unchecked, unrepented, will hinder & grieve His Influence
  • Heb.12:1, lay aside Sin easily ensnares us fr. running: race, Life of Faith.  Sin allowed to remain will hinder: Spirit’s Influence

Influence of: Spirit Increases: we Discern His Leading thru Scripture

  • Acts.16:6-7, The Spirit forbade P&B to preach in Asia
    • The Spirit did not permit P&B to go to Bithynia
  • We have the completed Spirit-Inspired Word to teach us how to live and to lead us in this life.

So, How do we increase the Influence of the Spirit? – to become Full?

  • 1) Pray, in Faith/Obedience for Increasing Influence of Spirit
  • 2) Examine your heart & life B4 God Asking Him to reveal to us the sin needing to be confessed and then forsake it!
  • 3) Read & Study scripture, in faith, seeking to Hear God’s voice


2ndly) Godliness is Being Full of Wisdom, vs.3

  • Stephen was a man, who in the majority of occasions, made the right decision, as to the right behaviour in the circumstances of his life & family & work & relationships.
  • He followed Christ, full of the Holy Spirit, Imitating Christ
  • We have the specific Wisdom Lit. in our Bibles: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, (some would say: Song of Songs ?)
  • But we also have something even better we have the perfect living demonstration of Wisdom given to us in the Bible


The Bible tells us that Christ is Personification of God’s Wisdom

  • Jesus said in Luke 11:31 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment w/: men of this generation & condemn them, for she came fr: ends of the earth to hear: wisdom of Solomon; & indeed (One) greater than Solomon is here.
  • In 1Corin.1:24, Paul said: Christ is Pwr. of God & Wisdom of God
  • 1Corin.1:30 Paul said: Christ became for us Wisdom from God
  • Col.2:3, Paul said: In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge

Where will we find wisdom? In Christ, so how does Proverbs fit in?

  • Prov.2:1-5 Solomon, inspired by God’s Spirit pleads with us:
    • To Receive the Words of Wisdom,
    • To Treasure wisdom’s commands,
    • To Incline our hearts to understanding,
    • To Cry out for discernment,
    • To Search for wisdom as for hidden treasure…
  • So, Knowing, that Christ is the Personification of Wisdom,
  • The Words of Proverbs Become Christ’s Words of Wisdom 2 us
  • We search for Wisdom in Christ’s words, teachings, actions
  • We search for Wisdom in: Spirit-inspired words of Proverbs
  • Proverbs describe, in principle form, the Wisdom of Christ


So, How do we Increase in Godly wisdom – I sure want to know!

  • 1) We Pray, in Faith & Obed. for God to Give us His Wisdom
    • James.1:5, If any of U lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally & w/o reproach… given to Him
  • 2) We Pray in Faith for an Increase in the Fear of the Lord
    • Study God’s person/works/attributes: Incr. Gdly Fear
  • 3) We Recognise
    • that Wisdom of Proverbs is Inspired by Spirit of Christ
    • that Christ’s Life & Teaching is Living Eg. of Proverbs
    • By Faith & Obed. we Strive to Conform our lives: Christ.


  • A Situation arises in life, family, marriage, work, ministry, etc.
  • We (first) plead with God for wisdom to respond rightly
  • We search: Proverbs, Jesus’ Teachings, all Scripture to discover the biblical wisdom principle, applying to our situation
  • By faith & obed., we apply those biblical wisdom principles to our particular situation, glorifying God for the provision of it.


3rdly) A Godly Character is Full of Faith


4thly) A Godly Character is Full of Grace