In Order. Don't Be So Defensive
November 18, 2017. Acts 7, 8.
We have the obligation to speak the TRUTH but we don’t have to convince anyone. -Mother Teresa
When we are accused, misunderstood, or questioned, the tendency is to be defensive in the act of defending and convincing ourselves to others.
Stephen was accused of speaking irreverently about God among the people. We find him here preaching to the council, as he gives an account and a background of the Old Testament history.
Stephen isn’t being defensive here. He simply just wants to share the truth, and he’s not interested in defending himself at all. He is simply sharing that God is not confined to a single place.
Stephen shares how God has a spiritual presence with man. God is present all the time. We see who God appears to in Stephen’s speech and what that relationship would reveal:
- Abraham didn’t need a temple to be near to God. Abraham grew in obedience and faith as God was his guide. (Acts 7:2) And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham.”
- Joseph is a picture of Jesus as the Savior. (Acts 7:9,10)
- Moses was called by God to be the deliverer and ruler over Israel. (Acts 7:30) An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.
What was Stephen’s point in sharing the history of these Patriarchs? All of those that were called of God had been rejected by man, just like Jesus had.
Stephen then in a truthful, none defending way brings it home to his listeners. (Acts 7:51, 52) You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers.
We see the strength and wisdom behind Stephen’s preaching in this verse. (Acts 7:55) But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
Do you see it…the Son of God isn’t seated at the right hand of God at the time his servant is in crisis…He stands!!! Stephens who was the first martyr for Christ who chose to defend Jesus with His truth, is now received by His defender and is at complete peace.
(Acts 7:59, 60) And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60. Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Better to simply speak truth in love, and allow the Lord to stand and be your defender! No need to be defensive….
(Exodus 14:14) Jehovah will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.