Father in heaven we pray in your powerful name to remove all obstacles to the word we stop you Satan. We call for the spirit we ask the heart of Mary. We ask that your kingdom, would extend to the ends of the earth and we will be like the disciples to pray in Jesus . We are not able to master your word without your spirit. So send your holy spirit to inkindle the fire of our heart. We stop you evil spirit once again just like Stephen did. We pray Lord that we would be touched to the heart so that we might be new people. And we pray in your precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen
According to the Navarre Bible we can see that the apostles were indeed engaged in God’s work. However, the Sanhendrin (sin he drin)were not impressed and in punishing Jesus’ disiciples, they only bring about what our Lord had said would happen-that they would rejoice to suffer for his sake. St. Stephen became the first martry for Christ. But it did not deter the Apostle from spreading the good news of Christ.
So far we've been talking about the spread of the good news in Jerusalem. And now we begin to move into the neighboring regions of Judea (Jew dee ah) in verses six and seven and then in Samaria in eight. Verse seven of chapter 6 is very significant, “The word of God continued to spread, while at the same time, a number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased”. When it says while at the same time, a number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased –that makes you think that the word of God continuing to spread must be outside of Jerusalem, because they say they it continued to spread while at the same time in Jerusalem; as if Jerusalem was differentiated from the first. So here we have a subtle reference to the spread of the word in areas additional to Jerusalem. The word of God continued to spread. There were so many more Jesus’ now, thousands and thousands of people going around in the name of Jesus and not only were the thousands and thousands of people going around in the name of Jesus they were now starting to cover more mileage, covering a bigger area. Not only were they covering a bigger area with more people. They were touching groups of people that previously were not included.
Listening to Fr Al’s teaching he points out The main part of Acts 6;1-7 is not the need of assistance as it is entitled, but the main part is the growth of the community and the need of assistance is just brought up to give an opportunity to express the great growth that is taking place as expressed in the number 7, as expressed in the Greek names of the seven men; as expressed just overtly in the great number enormously increased and in even 6:1” in those days as the number of disciples grew “this passage is about numbers, it is about growth in numbers and a secondary message here is the same message as before with and Ananais and Cythera or with the arrest that no matter what it is, It's going to be used for God's kingdom to spread. Just like the arrest were used. Just like and Anniais and Cythera were used. Even this disagreement within the community, this problem as far as the feeding of the people even that was used for the furtherance of the preaching of good news in the name of Jesus. So the emphasis here is not on feeding the people and taking care of the problem. It is really not even on deacons. The emphasis is on this was an occasion where it would seem that nothing to do with the word of God it would just be a little detail to take care of to get back to business, but it didn't turn out to be a detail to take care of to get back to business it turned out to be furtherance of the preaching of the good news of Jesus and Lo and behold Stephen, who was called to be a deacon so the apostles would be free for the Ministry of the word he ends up doing the ministry of the word anyway.
At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenist, complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to the task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the minsitry of the word. Verse 5 is an important verse as it ; one of the most important verse you don’t hear much about is verse five, which is the naming of the deacons, the naming of these deacons were all Greek names and these Greek names gives the overall picture, especially the last one says,” this person was a convert from Judaism;” indicative that so many people are coming to the lord and the number seven is the number that symbolic of an indefinite number that emphasizes there so many people coming to the lord. Verse 5 says the proposal was accepted to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, aslo Phillip, Prochorus, Nicaanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judasism. ,
Lo and behold Stephen, who was called to be a deacon so the apostles would be free for the Ministry of the word he ends up doing the ministry of the word anyway.Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Yet he would be slandered due to his great gift of preaching. turned out to be furtherance of the preaching of the good news of Jesus ++But they didn’t have a chance because of his wisdom and his spirit with which he spoke and then they tried to stop him. Now, that's always a big mistake. When you try to stop him it’s going to really turn bad. They continue to try and to stop Stephen. Father Al said “They didn’t know who they were reckoning with in verse 9 amd10 it says thatcertain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke. An now the accusations begin in Verse 11-20Then they instigated some men to say, "We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God."They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, accosted him, seized him, and brought him before the SanhedrinThey presented false witnesses 6 who testified, "This man never stops saying things against (this) holy place and the law. For we have heard him claim that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.“ All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
in chapter 7 it seems like Stephen never will stop. They are really mad at him but his face is like that of an angel and he really goes on in a statement says.” You’re ready to kill me but before you do, let me go through salvation’s history “. He starts off and he goes all the way back to the Abraham and he goes through Pharaoh, Joseph, Moses, going through dessert, going to the promise land, and the burning bush, he gets into David he quotes the prophets and he just goes on and on at all in and then he starts really calling for repentance and he’s just starting to get through with his introduction, and they cut them off. hen the high priest asked, "Is this so?"And he replied, 1 "My brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia, before he had settled in Haran,and said to him, 'Go forth from your land and (from) your kinsfolk to the land that I will show you.‘ So he went forth from the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, he made him migrate to this land where you now dwell. Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot's length, but he did promise to give it to him and his descendants as a possession, even though he was childless.And God spoke thus, 'His descendants shall be aliens in a land not their own, where they shall be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years;but I will bring judgment on the nation they serve,' God said, 'and after that they will come out and worship me in this place.'Then he gave him the covenant of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, as Isaac did Jacob, and Jacob the twelve patriarchs."And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into slavery in Egypt; but God was with him And rescued him from all his afflictions. He granted him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, who put him in charge of Egypt and (of) his entire household. Then a famine and great affliction struck all Egypt and Canaan, and our ancestors could find no food ;but when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there a first time. The second time, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to Pharaoh.Then Joseph sent for his father Jacob, inviting him and his whole clan, seventy-five persons; and in verse 16 Jacob went down to Egypt. And he and our ancestors diedand were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor at Shechem.When the time drew near for the fulfillment of the promise that God pledged to Abraham, the people had increased and become very numerous in Egypt,until another king who knew nothing of Joseph came to power (in Egypt).He dealt shrewdly with our people and oppressed (our) ancestors by forcing them to expose their infants, that they might not survive.Again he goes on with the history of the people and in verse 21 it says this time Moses was born, and he was extremely beautiful. For three months he was nursed in his father's house ;but when he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. In verse 22 it says thatMoses was educated (in) all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds."When he was forty years old, he decided to visit his kinsfolk, the Israelites. When he saw one of them treated unjustly, he defended and avenged the oppressed man by striking down the Egyptian.He assumed (his) kinsfolk would understand that God was offering them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. Verse 26 goes on to tell us that the next dayhe appeared to them as they were fighting and tried to reconcile them peacefully, saying, 'Men, you are brothers. Why are you harming one another?'Then the one who was harming his neighbor pushed him aside, saying, 'Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? Doesn’t that sound just like what someone today would say? Criticizing those who as a follower of Christ leads by His example?Verse 28 goes on to ask, Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?Moses fled when he heard this and settled as an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.Verse 30 "Forty years later, an angel appeared to him in the desert near Mount Sinai in the flame of a burning bush.When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look at it, the voice of the Lord came, (Imagine what that would sound like? If you heard the voice of God how would you react? In verse 32 He says,'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.' Then Moses, trembling, did not dare to look at it. But the Lord said to him, 'Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.'This Moses, whom they had rejected with the words, 'Who appointed you ruler and judge?' God sent as (both) ruler and deliverer, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the desert for forty years. He goes on to say that It was this Moses who said to the Israelites, 'God will raise up for you, from among your own kinsfolk, a prophet like me.‘ It was he who,in the assembly in the desert, was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our ancestors, and he received living utterances to hand on to us."Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him; instead, they pushed him aside and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, 'Make us gods who will be our leaders. As for that Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.‘ So they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifice to the idol, and reveled in the works of their hands. Verse 43-48 Then God turned and handed them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: 'Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings for forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?No, you took up the tent of Moloch and the star of (your) god Rephan, the images that you made to worship. So I shall take you into exile beyond Babylon.'"Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the desert just as the One who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern he had seen.Our ancestors who inherited it brought it with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out from before our ancestors, up to the time of David,who found favor in the sight of God and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob.But Solomon built a house for him. yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:'The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool. What kind of house can you build for me? says the Lord, or what is to be my resting place?Did not my hand make all these things?'Phillip then goes on with intensitiy and says in verse 51-53"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors.Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it.
When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. You can see why, because he did call them murderer and betrayers in verse 52 “and you have received them law and the Ministry of the Angels has not observed” it anyway just dying to get to the point, after a lengthy introduction and notice he was just waiting on tables to start with, and the people couldn’t listen to his words anymore, they were stunned to the heart. In verse 55-56 it tells us he, Stephen wasfilled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."They would not listen to him although he spoke the truth instead they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. Are there times where we just cover our ears and not listen to the Lord? I find that in my darkest moments that I had failed to listen to the Lord. Verse 58 goes on to say They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. (amazing, here is Saul as persecutor who later becomes a disciple) Now what you hear next is amazing, an example of true forgiveness.As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 5Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them"; and when he said this, he fell asleep.Stephen meanwhile filled with the Holy Spirit looks to the sky above and saw the glory of God's right hand. Luke 22; 69. You find Jesus at his trial, saying something and experiencing something quite similar when “from now on the Son of Man will have to see at the right hand of the power of God,’ and then he saw Jesus standing at God's right hand that’s a link to Jesus’ passion and then also Stephen praying that the sins would not be held against them he cried out in a loud voice in verse 60 that’s also Jesus cried out a loud voice and prayed “father forgive them”
he death of Stephen in Acts matches closely the death of Jesus in Luke. Both accounts speak of the Son of Man at the right hand of God (Luke 22:69; Acts 7:56); both have a prayer for the forgiveness of those who are effecting this execution ( Luke 23:34a; Acts 7:60); both have the dying figure commend his spirit heavenward (L uke 23:46; Acts 7:59). In the figure of Peter, Acts has shown continuity with Jesus' ministry of healing and preaching; in the figure of Stephen Acts has shown continuity with Jesus' death. And just as Jesus' death was not the end because the apostles would receive his Spirit to carry on the work, the death of Stephen is not the end, for observing is a young man named Saul (7:58). He consents to the death ( 8:1a), but in God's providence he will continue the work of Stephen
Father Al spoke about very specific connections and that there are people who are very much aware of the phrasing of the passion. What’s the point of these connections? The point is that just as Stephen's spoke in the name of Jesus. He got to a point where he was so identified with Christ Jesus that his death was quite similar, because his life was quite similar. So he was not only another Jesus in life, he was another Jesus in death, that’s the teaching here. Stephen is another Jesus, he becomes so closely identified but now some the similarities are very obvious.
Now Saul was consenting to his execution. On that day, there broke out a severe persecution 1 of the church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the church; 3 entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonmentin 8:2 they talk about Saul again. Obviously, Stephen's burial is taking out of its natural place and put between two passages referring to Saul and what is the teaching there? The teaching is when you try to stop the church your in trouble, because what happens? This result in Saul being converted and become even a greater preacher than Stephen was. Stephen was just supposed to take care of other things but he became a great preacher, and so now you kill one and you get a better one. There is no stopping. This murder of Stephen resulted in ever greater persecution that ended up in the evangelization of Samaria 8:1 Saul for his part concurred in the act of killing that day saw the beginning of a great persecution of the church in Jerusalem, all except the apostles scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria” just exactly words of Act I.
In chapter 8:4 it begins with the proclamation that “Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.Thus Philip went down to (the) city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them.With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. Verse 8 says that there was a great joy in that city.9 This shows how the kingdom of God is building up for us like in verse eight the rejoicing built up to a fever pitch that is just building up momentum and momentum is going to just can't steamroll whole world. That’s the teaching here, When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God they said I don’t believe it. I would have to send down someone and I would have to see it with my own eyes So they sent Peter and John down and they two went down and they prayed the people may receive the Holy Spirit. It had not yet fallen down upon them
Chapter 8 verses 4 through 40 this is always good. These are three incidents and their first and last are a lot about Philip and the middle one has Philip, John and Peter involved in so eight four “the members of the church who had been dispersed went about preaching the word, this where they are fugitives running while spreading the word. Chapter 8 verses 4 through 40 this is always good. These are three incidents and their first and last are a lot about Philip and the middle one has Philip, John and Peter involved in so eight four “the members of the church who had been dispersed went about preaching the word, this where they are fugitives running while spreading the word
And here we have a guy who is really in league with the devil and he comes to the Lord,” a certain man named Simon had been practicing magic in the town and holding the Samarians spellbound and he passed Himself off as someone of great importance. People from every ranks of society were paying attention to him; they said he is the power of the great God.’ Simon was considered the founder of all heresies, and he still had a great reputation over 100 years so this Simon was kind of the super magician of all times. He had such a following and such an importance and impact on society that even 100 years or so later they would, refer to this man and they would even trace all heresies back to this man as if was the ultimate evil in the whole world, and so you have to understand Simon is a little like the Samaritans. He is the worst of the worst. He is evil personified. He's the closest thing to in the name of the devil on the face of the earth. And this man is brought to his knees and so the teaching goes on there.” There's no stopping, if Simon the magician came to the Lord. Well, there's just absolutely no stopping him.” “Those who followed him who had been under the spell of his magic over a long period. But once the began to believe in the good news that Phillip talked about the kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Chris, even men and women alike accepted baptism’ Even, AND FATHER AL POINTS OUT THAT IS A KEY WORD Verse 13 if that is the key word here is even Simon believed in it. The reaction was it is impossible It was hard to believe and people said It couldn’t be even Simon that I should imagine I'll believe it is impossible. It’s like saying Hitler Stalin and Jack the Ripper rolled in all of a sudden gave their lives to Christ. Even Simon believed he was baptized like the rest, I can’t believe he is baptized I can’t believe he did, but he did and he became a devoted follower of Phillip. He watch the signs and great miracles as they occur, he was quite carried away now this guy who is a super magician was just overwhelmed by the whole thingA man named Simon used to practice magic 4 in the city and astounded the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great.All of them, from the least to the greatest, paid attention to him, saying, "This man is the 'Power of God' that is called 'Great.'"They paid attention to him because he had astounded them by his magic for a long time, but once they began to believe Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike were baptized.Verse 13-15 tells us that Even Simon himself believed and, after being baptized, became devoted to Philip; and when he saw the signs and mighty deeds that were occurring, he was astounded. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John,who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit,for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit.When Simon saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me this power too, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit.“ Image his arragonce of Simon, he would simply just buy the gift of the Holy Spirit. In verse 20 Peter said to him, "May your money perish with you, because you thought that you could buy the gift of God with money. He continues to chastize him and goes on to say,You have no share or lot in this matter, for your heart is not upright before God.Repent of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your intention may be forgiven. For I see that you are filled with bitter gall and are in the bonds of iniquity. Then Simon has an aha moment and "Simon said in reply, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.“ in verse 25 it says So when they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem and preached the good news to many Samaritan villages.This shows how the kingdom of God is building up for us like in verse eight the rejoicing built up to a fever pitch that is just building up momentum and momentum is going to just can't steamroll whole world. That’s the teaching here, When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God they said I don’t believe it. I would have to send down someone and I would have to see it with my own eyes So they sent Peter and John down and they two went down and they prayed the people may receive the Holy Spirit. It had not yet fallen down upon them
Simon is providing a context to see the awesome power of a disciple spreading the news of the Lord. Notice that this occasion is as everything else another occasion to spread the good news even further after giving their testimony and claiming the word of the Lord they went back to Jerusalem and on the way bringing the good news to many villages of Samaria on the way.Every occasion is an occasion, which leads to another occasion to spread the good news.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God they said I don’t believe it. I would have to send down someone and I would have to see it with my own eyes So they sent Peter and John down and they two went down and they prayed the people may receive the Holy Spirit. It had not yet fallen down upon themThere’s no question about whether persons receives the Holy Spirit It was verifiable it was recognizable it was so recognizable. It was so concrete.
Then the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, "Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.“In verse thirty fivet his is a call to Phillip to be launched out we just had Stevens launching out before, and we've had Peter launching out of what I have all launching out at almost any believer launches with a Scripture passage as his starting point telling him the good news of Jesus. So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, 8 that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worshipand was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.In verse 29The Spirit said to Philip, "Go and join up with that chariot.“ so Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"He replied, "How can I, unless someone instructs me?" So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. This was the scripture passage he was reading: "Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In (his) humiliation justice was denied him. Who will tell of his posterity? For his life is taken from the earth."In verse 34 -35it says Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, "I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else?"Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him.
they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?“ Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him.When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing.Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.This man is going to Ethiopia to the ends the earth. This is a bridge in the next verse 40 is just a fantastic verse that is extreme flourishing, dramatic statement about God's disciples just are always speaking his name are always witnessing.
the killing of Stephen not only backfired it spiraled so that Saul became a great missionary and also promoted the evangelization of Samaria, and in further in Judea, and even more than that, if you look at acts 11:19 where we talk about Antioch, Those in the community who had been disbursed by the persecution that arose because of Steven. Antioch was the premier church of the of the early Christians and they linked Stephen's death with Antioch, they link Stephen’s death with Samaria, and they link Stephen’s death with Saul. In plain words if you try to stop this man, God’s kingdom was further immeasurably. It backfired and it promoted the kingdom in the degree that that you could not stand. We pray that we would be like Stephen's so we could live our lives and out of that game grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies. It would bear much fruit, as was Stephen's deathSo Lord. We just pray that we will be true disciples witness to you and the power of the Holy Spirit and fill every person place situation neighborhood context of our lives with her precious name of Jesus Christ. . As always, Amen.
Acts 6 8
Acts 6:1-8:40In accordance to the teachings of Fr. Al Lauer of Presentation Ministries By Jean Smith
The “Deacons” St. StephenTHE FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYR
Connections between Stephens death and Jesuss death. • Both accounts speak of the Son of Man at the right had of God (Luke 22:69; Act 7:56) • Both have a prayer for forgiveness of those who are effecting their execution (Luke 23;34a; Act 7:60 • Both have the dying figure commend his spirit upward (Luke 23;36; Act 7:59) • Stephen’s declaration like that of Jesus, is a scandal to the court, which regards it as blasphemy • The Twelve took no public stand regarding Jesus’ or Stephen’s position.