Responding to Oppositions With Godward Perspective – Acts 7:1-60

10 October, 2021

Book: Acts

Responding to Oppositions With Godward Perspective - Acts 7:1-60

Facing Opposition with a Godly Perspective


Last week, we considered Stephen’s Courageous Witness to Sanhedrin

  • God’s Deliverance is thru Faith & Obedience (Abe)
  • God’s Deliverance is thru Suffering Saviour (Joseph-Jacob)
  • God’s Deliverance is from Slavery to Sin (Moses-Israel)
  • God’s Deliverance is not for Stubborn & Unrepentant (Sanhed)

Two weeks ago, we looked at Stephen’s Godly Christ-like Character:

  • 1) 6:3, A man of Good Reputation
  • 2) 6:3, 5, 10, 7:55, A man full of Spirit, comes at Conversion
  • 3) 6:5, a man Full of faith, that comes from Being Filled-Spirit
  • 4) 6:3, 10 A man full of Wisdom – begins with: Fear of Lord &
    • grows as we Focus on Christ Personification of Wisdom
  • 5) 6:8, A man full of grace – as a gift of the Holy Spirit
  • 6) 6:8, A man full of Power of the H. Spirit for signs miracles
  • Being Full: Spirit, produces those 5 other traits including Faith
  • Key Point for today’s message is that:

Being Full of Faith, Opens a Godly Perspective to us, of Everything

  • Having Faith in God, Opens our eyes to See the Glory of God’s Hand at Work in Everything.
  • The Diff. bet. Seeing Glory of God’s Hand at work… and not:
  • Is like 2 people looking at a Grand Masterpiece Painting
  • The Faithless one can only see blobs, swirls, of paint on canvas
  • The Faith-filled one, with a perspective to see beyond: paint – they can see hand & heart of Mst.-Artist, creating every line & brushstroke, producing an engaging painting: glorifies Artist
  • Faith opens our eyes, to see God’s hand at work Sovereignly

Controlling, Arranging & moving everything according to His Master plan and purpose.

1stly: So the Godly Perspective is the Result of Faith

  • Remember what the bible says about Faith, fr. 4:19-21
  • Faith is looking to God, convinced: He is able to keep promises
  • Faith is seizing firmly onto God alone, to get us thru troubles
  • Hebrews.11:1 Now faith is the Assurance of things hoped for, the Conviction of things not seen.
  • Faith is 1st: Assurance of things hoped for – Christ’s Promises
  • We have: Assurance of Christ’s Promises, thru Faith
  • We have: The Assurance of Christ’s Unfailing Presence
    • The assurance of Spirit’s Abiding, Indwelling Presence
    • The assurance of God’s Work in us, being Completed
    • The assurance that whatever evil men may do
      • Nothing will separate us fr God’s Love in Christ
    • The assurance of Christ’s Imminent Return: Pwr & Glory
    • The assurance of our Ult. Salvation, by Christ, fr Wrath
    • The assurance of a Reward, for Faithfulness, from God
    • The assurance of our Inheritance in Christ, from God
  • Steph., standing before the Sanhedrin, had the assurance of Christ’s promise, that words will be given to him, and they were!
  • Faith opens our eyes, to the Assurance of things hoped for

Faith is also, the Conviction, of Things Not Seen – (God’s Hand/Glory)

  • Faith opens our eyes to see God’s Hand Sovereignly guiding, leading, moving everything, like the Chess Master moving his pieces around chess-board with a singular purpose in mind:
    • to Exalt Christ: King-kings & Lord-lords over all creation
  • Faith brings: Godly Sight, to See His Hand behind everything
  • That Godly Perspective is as critical now, in our day, as ever B4
  • If we see the current Global Events, Human Govts, Covid-situation, our own Personal Affairs & Events…
  • without seeing the Glory of God’s Hand at work, behind the scenes, we will quickly despair, we will lose hope,
  • Fear of Man & Fear of Circumstances will Distract us fr our Ult. Purpose, which is
    • to Love/Worship God,
    • to Follow Christ,
    • to Spread: Gospel,
    • to Love Bro-Sis, to Love our neighbours & our enemies
  • If we can’t see: Glory of God’s Hand at work behind the scenes,
  • Those same Fears, of Man & Circumstance, will Divide us against each other, vacced ag. unvacced, and vice versa

Listen, Bros & Sisters in Christ…

  • In the midst of our dark days, what we All need is the same Heavenly, Godly Perspective, that Stephen had.
  • We need the Godly Perspective, that Faith in God Brings.
  • How, did Stephen stand alone in the midst of the 71 most powerful men of Jerusalem: Priests & Lawyers, Pharisees & Sadducees, men who had the power of life & death over him?
  • Men who’d plotted to deliver/destroy: Jesus… and had done it
  • Men who’d repeatedly arrested warned & beaten the Apostles
  • In 6:15, he stood there with the countenance-face of an angel
  • He was so full of Spirit & Faith & Joy, he had: Face of Angel
  • Faith in God brought his Godly Perspective, to see beyond the men and circumstances that threatened his life.

2ndly: The Godly Perspective Sees Gods Hand in Everything

  • Stephen was convinced of: Glory of God’s Hand at Work Histry
  • Notice how he consistently presents God’s hand at work:
  • vs.2, God is: Glorious God, who Appeared to mere man: Abrahm
  • vs.3-4, God, Spoke, Called, Promised, Led & Guided Abra. & Sara
  • Vs.7, God,Revealed Himself as: Judge of all the nations
  • Vs.8, God, Graciously Bound Himself in Covenant with His People
  • Vs.10, God Delivered fr Troubles & gave favour & wisdom
  • Vs.11, God Brought Famines and Troubles
  • vs.15, God Provided for His People
  • vs.17, God Fulfilled Promises and Abundantly Blessed His People
  • vs.18, God Raised up Ungodly kings 4 His Purposes
  • vs.20, God was pleased with His Man, Moses
  • vs.33, God is Absolutely Holy,
  • Vs.34, God is Compassionate to Deliver His People
  • vs.35, God Raised up Saviours for his people
  • vs.36, God Displayed His Power to His People
  • vs.42, God Turned away from Israel & Gave them up to Idolatry
  • vs.45, God Cleared the Land for His People’s occupation
  • vs.48-49, God is Immense, Enthroned, &  Exalted over earth
  • vs.51, God is Persistent & Faithfull to His people,
    • even tho they’re always resisting Him…
  • Stephen is not simply reading someone else’s account of history
  • Stephen is retelling their story fr. His Own Godly Perspective.
  • His portrayal displays Glory of God’s Hand at Work in history.

Bros/Sis We must Learn to see: Glory of God’s Hand at work: our Life

  • Bros & sisters we need a Godly Perspective, to See & Discern, what’s happening in our life-world, fr His Perspective, Not Ours
  • A Godly Perspective comes from faith in God, & it will increase our faith in Him, as we look for his hand at work in everything
  • Rom.8:28, the bible says “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”
  • God causes the “good things” that happen, to work for our good
  • God causes the “bad things” that happen, to work for our good
  • God causes job promotion, and job loss, to work for our good
  • God causes sickness and health, to work for our good
  • God causes-uses godly, or ungodly parents, to work 4 our good
  • God causes financial gain, & loss, to work for our good
  • God causes “fair” & “unfair” circumstances, to work 4 our good
  • God causes pandemics for our good and his glory
  • God causes all things, not some… not most… but All things things to work together for the good of those, who love God
  • He does so, to Increase our faith, to Increase our prayer life, to Increase our growth in godliness, & dependance on Him!
  • Not one Godly biblic person, I can think of, had easy time of it
  • The key to Increasing our Faith, is to recognize, good or bad, God causes, uses, & works thru all things 4 our Good, His Glory

Why was Steph. so unafraid, bold & fearless, facing such Opposition? 

  • He understood: God’s Sover’n Hand at work, even if his life was taken, and it was – God was still in control over it all.
  • Bros & Sist, What is your perspective?
    • Is it a Fearful perspective?  Or….
    • Is it a Spirit-produced-Faith-filled Godly Perspective?
  • Is it a Perspective focussed on Covid, Vaccines, Lockdowns, Case numbers, epidemiological reports… or
  • Is it a Perspective focussed on God, on His Grace, On His Glory
  • Are we fuelling our Perspective with Scripture or Youtube?

3rdly: The Godly Perspective Brings Great Opposition

  • A Witness 4 Christ will bring: Faith/Repent or Anger/Reject’n

Vs.54 they heard these things what things?  Stephen’s Witness That

  • God called/Saved Abe by faith, Before , Law, & Temple
  • Bad treatm’t Jos. & Mos. That resembled their treat Christ
  • Their Fathers had rejected God for idols
  • The Temple was no longer God’s Place, for His people’s worship
  • They’d become: betrayers/murderers: Christ: God’s Right. One
  • They heard: that they were stubborn & unrepentant
  • That they had received the law, but had not kept it!

Vs.54, they were cut to the heart….

  • to be cut to the heart: to be violently, emotionally effected,
  • Its same phrase speaking of repentant Jews in Acts 2:37
  • We’d hope that such a presentation would have convicted them
  • But their hard. hearts only heard blasphemy in his words.
  • Refusal 2 believe, blinds eyes & hardens heart fr. see God’s Glo
  • Especially, as Steph’s Faith, gives way to sight & sees Jesus
  • He sees/testifies: Res., Ascen., Exalt., Glorif. Ld. Jesus Christ
  • So, what Synagogue of Freedmen could not silence w/ Debate,
  • What they could not silence w/ Deception & False Witness,
  • They, will now silence with shouts & violent murder

Vs.54, they were gnashing at him with their teeth

  • How dare he speak these blasphemous words, against them
  • They ground their teeth in frustration and fury,
  • In 112:7, 10 we have these great words of comfort, for when our enemies become like dogs, grinding their teeth ag. Us.
  • (The Righteous) will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.10, The wicked will see it & be grieved; He will gnash his teeth & melt away; The desire of: wicked shall perish.
  • Stephen’s faith & seeing God & Christ in Glory carried him thru

v.57 They cried out w/ loud voice, stopped their ears, & ran at him….

  • The Sanhedrin & Jews, heard his words re: Glorified Christ and shouted, to zealously drown out Stephen’s “blasphemy”
  • They stopped up their ears, that they might not be defiled…

v.58 They cast him out of the city & they stoned him…

  • Now, According to Jewish Tradition-Writings, The place of stoning was to be outside the city, from a cliff or housetop, w/ a height to the ground that was twice man’s ht. (3-4M)
  • They took the condemned person up to the place of stoning,
  • 5M away fr the edge, they would stop & he must confess: sin
  • 2M away from edge, he was stripped & his hands bound
  • He was pushed off edge by One of the Two req. witnesses
  • If he survived, the two witnesses lifted a stone: twice the condemned persons weight & threw it down on him
  • If he still survived, then All Israel would stone him, til he died
  • Nothing in text shows a legal execution, this was Murder
  • He was standing & praying, as they started to stone him
  • “All Israel” was involved in cast. stones, not two witnesses 1st
  • He sank to his knees, praying, as stones rained down on him

Listen! A Godly Perspective will always bring Great Opposition

  • An ungodly world does not want to hear of Christ!
  • Paul said in 2 Corin.2:15–16 For we are to God, the fragrance of Christ, among those who are being saved, and among those who are perishing. To the (perishing), we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to (those being saved) we are the aroma of life leading to life. They don’t want to hear of Christ, becoz it is a testimony to them of their eternal death if they refuse!
  • But a Godly Perspective will see us thru Great Opposition

4thly: The Godly Perspective Prepares Us to see Glorified Christ

  • Step.’s Spirit-filled life increased his Faith to See God’s Glory
  • Steph.s Faith-filled life prepar’d Him to See God’s Visible Glory

Vs. 55 But he (Stephen) being full of: Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven

  • The hour of his death had come, I believe he was given an extra measure of Spirit’s filling, to endure what came next
  • He wasn’t Discouraged, Dejected, Cast down, Looking to ground
  • Story after story of martyrs going to Execution with Grt. Joy

Vs.55, he Gazed, lit. Stared Intently into heaven….

  • he looked up to Heaven, something drew his gaze, to the place, where he wanted to be… where he hoped to be… to the place where his help should come from
  • Im convinced, at that moment, surely, as he gazed upward, seeing the Glorified Christ, the shouts faded from his attent’n
  • Perhaps, in that moment, he remembered. Psalm 121 1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore. Preservation?? He died a horrific death!!
  • But, Stephen’s Preservation was thru martyrdom, not from it
  • What shall separate us fr. God’s Love? Not even persecution.

v.55, he saw the glory of God & Jesus standing at the R hand of God

  • Oh Bros-Sis, Consider the Richness of God’s Grace to him
  • God pulled back: Veil for him to See: Faith’s Reality: Christ!
  • He didn’t see God’s essential glory, but the Brightness that Represented God, Perhaps he saw the Shekinah of Glory that once rested above the mercy seat in the Tabernacle-Temple
  • He saw Jesus, standing at God’s right hand of God and
  • He saw: Glory: symbolic: Christ, Heb.1:3, britness of Gods Glory
  • Stephen in that moment cannot contain his Joy, his Thrill at seeing Jesus, he shouts to the Sanhedrin:

v.56 “Look! I see: heavens opened & Son of Man stand at God’s R hand

  • Steph’s words fulfil Jesus words to them, Mark.14:61-62
  • Asked if He was: Christ, Son of the Blessed? Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
  • Stephen tells them of the Glory of God, in the person of Christ
  • Stephen tells them of the glory of Jesus, as the Son of Man,
    • It reminds them of Dan.7:13-14, the Son of Man, in Authority, as King over All peoples, nations, & languages
  • Stephen tells them, of God’s Glory, Out of his Love for Christ:
    • to magnify Christ to the Jews in the Sanhedrin
    • to bear witness to Jesus’ Res., Ascen. & Glorif. as God!
  • Steph. tells them, to invite them again to repentance:
  •  Heaven was opened, Christ’s arms are spread wide:
    • to welcome all who will repent, even the Sanhedrin,
    • to put aside the fears of any who would come to Christ
  • Steph. tells them: Jesus stand. at God’s R. hand, as his defence
    • that God was indeed on his side
    • that God had honoured Steph. for his witness to Christ

by allowing him to visibly see glorified Jesus Christ

Vs.59-60, And they stoned Stephen, as he prayed

  • “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
  • “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”
  • Stephen’s death imitated Christ’s for His prayers and His Commendation of His Spirit to God

And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

  • He died quietly, as one falls asleep, free of a guilty conscience
  • He died quietly, certain of his hope of resurrection
  • He died quietly, as one who’ll be raised, as if waking a friend.


  • Being Filled with: Spirit Brought & Increased His Faith in God
  • Being full of faith, opened His eyes to see Glory of God’s Hand at work behind everything, in history, and his own life
  • Having Lived a faith-filled life, He was prepared to see the Visible Glory of God, without fear, and died without fear.

So, What do we do with all of this?

  • Trust in God, not merely for salvation, but for all of Life!
  • Learn, bros & sis, to see the Glory of God’s Hand in everything:
  • God is working all things for good, to those who love Him and are called according to His Purpose
  • God is at work in the middle of Covid,
  • God is at work in/thru ungdly human governments
  • God is at work in the midst of the worst things, for our Good
  • God is at work in the midst of the best things, for our Good.
  • Do not lose sight of the Glory of God’s working, in midst of all the sad, potentially frightening things going on in our world.
    • In: best of times, see the Glory of God’s Hand at work
    • In: worst of times, see the Glory of God’s Hand at work.
    • All: time, see: Glory of God’s Hand working 4 our good