Stephen’s Speech (Acts 7:1-53) SERMON OUTLINE

Here’s the sermon outline for my sermon on Acts 7:1-53 “Stephen’s Speech” preach in Naperville, IL at Cross of Christ Fellowship. Audio here.

“Stephen’s SPEECH” Acts 7:1-53
The church has a mission: PREACH THE GOSPEL and make disciples for the glory of God.
        -As the Gospel is preached, those called by God respond in saving faith and the kingdom of God on Earth expands
                    -Yet is not always easy, there are times when Christian face fierce, hostile opposition to Christ and the gospel.                                -Christians suffer, Christians die for their faith, churches are shut down
                                            -But the gospel continues to advance and the kingdom of God continues to expand on Earth
        –M.I. In the face of hostile opposition to the gospel, God helps His people speak His Word!
But I don’t experience any hostile opposition! Why does this matter to me?
1. Could be because you are silent about the gospel, not sharing it, or not sharing all of it (reality of sin or cost of discipleship).
2. Could be because of our context: where we live we face more apathy than hostile opposition (but that is not true everywhere)
        -And this could change.
                    And in personal context: its like you will face some kind of hostile opposition to message of gospel.
                                -As we speak the gospel, we need to remember that God will with us and seek his Help to speak his Word
                                            -Christ is better than comfort—it is good and right to proclaim Christ, even if that means suffering.
        -Stephen’s gospel ministry (Acts 6): godly man, filled with the Holy, grace and wisdom.
                    -Persecution of Stephen, but the ‘wisdom and Spirit’ that cannot be withstood
                                -Opponents play dirty: he is arrested and faced with false accusation (blasphemous words Law/Moses)
                                            -Stephen on trial, and now has chance to speak 7:1
        MI: In the face of hostile opposition to the gospel, God helps His people speak His Word!

                                                       STEPHEN’S SPEECH (7:2-53):
2 basic parts: 1. Main Body: story of Israel (2-50); 2. Application: challenging hearers (51-53)


1. Abraham (2-8) Israel’s Story begins with Abraham
        -God “appeared…to Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia” (2)
                    –IMPORTANT: Commentators note this theme in Stephen’s speech: God with his people in foreign lands
                                -Our God is relational, He desires to reveal Himself to us and be close to His people.
        -God called Abraham to Israel and made a promise to him (5)
                    -God also foretold of 400 years of slavery in Egypt, and then delivery (6-7)
                                -God knows the future, and He knows your future too.
        -God gave Abraham the ‘covenant of circumcision’=sign to Abraham that God would be faithful to his promises (8)
                    -Abraham had Isaac…Isaac has Jacob…Jacob had the 12 sons (8b)
                                -We have the beginnings of the family of Israel!
2. Joseph (9-16)
Now the focus is on Jacob’s son Joseph, and all the keys events that surround him.
        -Joseph unjustly treated: sold into Egypt (because of brothers’ jealousy) (9a)
                    –KEY: “but God was with him” (9b)
                                -Where was Joseph at this point? EGYPT!
                                            -God is not limited to his temple, but with his people wherever they are.
                                –ALSO: God is with YOU as you seek to follow Him and especially as you face unjust suffering!
        -God helped Joseph and raised him up in Egypt (10)
                    -Joseph graciously delivered his brothers and family from famine (11-16)
3. Moses (17-43)
The next part of the main body is the largest and the focus is on Moses
        -This makes sense, as Stephen was accused of blaspheming Moses.
                    -In 3 parts: Young Moses, Middle Age Moses, Old Moses.
i. YOUNG MOSES (17-22): First 40 years of life
-Context: Israel was in slavery in Egypt, but waiting on promise made to Abraham (17)
        -Israel experienced unjust treatment in Egypt (18-19)
-Moses was born, adopted by Pharoah’s daughter, and instructed in wisdom of Egypt (20-21)
        -Moses was “instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians…mighty in words and deeds” (22)

ii. MIDDLE-AGE MOSES (23-29): Ages 40-80
        -An event happened at age 40 that was pivotal (23a)
                    -Moses killed an Egyptian, and thought “brothers would understand God was giving salvation” (23-25)
                                -Next day, Moses tries to reconcile brothers, but experiencing a “retort”, which left him afraid (26-28)
        -Moses flees Egypt and goes to the land of Midian, where he became the father of two and lived next 40 years! (29)

iii. OLDER MOSES (30-43) Ages 80-120
        -An angel (angel of the LORD, who is Jesus) appeared to him in wildness of Mount Sinai, in flame in bush (30)
                    -AGAIN: God is appearing to his people outside of Jerusalem
        -God reveals himself to Moses (31-32)
                    -Where God is that place now become holy! (33)
        -God is determined to rescue Israel (34)
                    -Moses leads Israel out as “ruler and redeemer” for 40 years in desert (35-36)
                                –GOSPEL: Jesus is the promised ruler and redeemer, who died on cross for our sins.
        -God made promise through Moses, to ‘raise up a prophet like me from your brothers’ (37)
                    -Muslims claim this is Muhammad, but Bible teaches it is Jesus!
                                –LAW: A right understanding of the God’s Law sees it points to Jesus, law’s fulfillment.
        -Moses was resisted by Israelites, who turned to idols (38-41)
                    -God judged them by giving them over to sin and exile (42-43)

Stephen takes us now past Moses from Joshua to David to Solomon
JOSHUA (44-45A)
-Carried the “tent of witness” with them into Israel
                    –NOTE: Temple, moving, God with his people as they move around and come into land!
                                -God is with his people today, wherever they go!
DAVID (45B-46)
-King David pleaded with God that he might build a permanent temple for Him.
SOLOMON (47-50)
        -Solomon built the temple (47)
                    -But Remember this about God and temple! (48-50)
                                -God Creator is not confined to temple, but Lord of all Creation.
                                            -A right view of temple views God in this way.
        -TEMPLE: Jesus is the true temple of God, and his people are part of that temple now.
SOME TAKEAWAYS from 7:2-50:
1. Stephen’s speech shows accusations of blasphemy of Moses, temple and Law are FALSE.
2. Stephen’s speech reminds us of relational nature of God: appearing to and being with his people wherever they go.
3. Stephen’s speech shows the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, helping his people speak clear, rational, persuasive words. 
4. Stephen knew his Bible well! (Are we faithful students of the Bible?)
5. Stephen’s courage challenges us to value Christ above comfort and speak gospel even in hostile settings.
6. Stephen was missional: he took this opportunity to point his hearers to Jesus.
        *In the face of hostile opposition to the gospel, God helps His people speak His Word!

Now, Stephen applies these truths to His audience, and the temperature is about going sky high.
        -This is an indictment: Stephen is exposing the sin of his audience, that they might repent and believe the gospel.
1. Stiff-Necked People (51a)
2. Uncircumcised in heart and ears (51b)
3. Always resist the Holy Spirit (51c)
4. Like their fathers, persecutors of God’s prophets (51d-52a)
5. Betrayers and Murderers of Jesus, the “Righteous One” (52b)
6. Not keepers of the law (53)

-Stephen was courageous and called out sin of his hearers, will we?
-Face of LGBTQ? Face of Challenges to Exclusivity of Christ?
GOSPEL: The only hope for us in the face of sin is Jesus.
        -Have you trusted in Christ as your lord and Savior?

CONCLUSION: In the face of hostile opposition to the gospel, God helps His people speak His Word!

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