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Acts 7; Fight Lies with Truth

Acts 7; Fight Lies with Truth

March 14, 2015
Changing of the Tides.

Before this event, The early church was growing without much public resistance. 
People are being healed, families are being healed, People are yielding to their Messiah (saved, born again).  God is being sincerely worshipped. 

Up and coming minister is Stephen. 
[Act 6:8 ESV] And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
[Act 6:9 ESV] Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen.
[Act 6:10 ESV] But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.

How are Christians attacked; lies & deceit 
[Act 6:11 ESV] Then they secretly instigated men who said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God."
[Act 6:12 ESV] And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council,
[Act 6:13 ESV] and they set up false witnesses who said, "This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law,
[Act 6:14 ESV] for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us."
[Act 6:15 ESV] And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Why can’t the enemies of God attack with Truth? 
Jesus explains this in John.
[Jhn 8:41 ESV] You are doing the works your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father--even God."
[Jhn 8:42 ESV] Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.

[Jhn 8:43 ESV] Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
[Jhn 8:44 ESV] You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
[Jhn 8:45 ESV] But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

Truth is the yellow brick road God. 

The nature of evil is lies and misinformation.  
That is why is so hard to listen to politicians.   
They general sweeping terms, and let you come up with the definition of the words, but don’t ask for details. 

Double Standard.   
How come evil is allowed to lie, cheat and steal to win, but good cannot?
If you call out evil on their evil behavior; response:  I am being sincere. 
However if you call out Good on behaving evil. You got them. 

Stephen’s Case
[Act 7:1 ESV] And the high priest said, "Are these things so?"

Accusations:
Speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.
1. This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law,
2. for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place 
3. and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.

Abraham
[Act 7:2 ESV] And Stephen said: "Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,
[Act 7:3 ESV] and said to him, 'Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.'
[Act 7:4 ESV] Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living.
[Act 7:5 ESV] Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot's length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child.
[Act 7:6 ESV] And God spoke to this effect--that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years.
[Act 7:7 ESV] 'But I will judge the nation that they serve,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.'
[Act 7:8 ESV] And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

Joseph, Israel rebelled
[Act 7:9 ESV] "And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him
[Act 7:10 ESV] and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.
[Act 7:11 ESV] Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food.
[Act 7:12 ESV] But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit.
[Act 7:13 ESV] And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to Pharaoh.
[Act 7:14 ESV] And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all.
[Act 7:15 ESV] And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers,
[Act 7:16 ESV] and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

Moses.  Israel rebelled
[Act 7:17 ESV] "But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt
[Act 7:18 ESV] until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph.
[Act 7:19 ESV] He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive.
[Act 7:20 ESV] At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God's sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father's house,
[Act 7:21 ESV] and when he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.
[Act 7:22 ESV] And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
[Act 7:23 ESV] "When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel.
[Act 7:24 ESV] And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian.

Moses offered help and it was rejected. 
[Act 7:25 ESV] He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.
[Act 7:26 ESV] And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, 'Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?'
[Act 7:27 ESV] But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?
[Act 7:28 ESV] Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?'

God sends Moses back after 40 years. 
[Act 7:30 ESV] "Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush.
[Act 7:31 ESV] When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord:
[Act 7:32 ESV] 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.' And Moses trembled and did not dare to look.
[Act 7:33 ESV] Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.
[Act 7:34 ESV] I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.'

God sent Moses as Ruler and Redeemer. 
[Act 7:35 ESV] "This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge?'--this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.
[Act 7:36 ESV] This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.

Moses said God is going to send another Prophet/Ruler/Redeemer
[Act 7:37 ESV] This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, 'God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.'

Moses spoke with God
[Act 7:38 ESV] This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us.

Israel Rejected Him
[Act 7:39 ESV] Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt,
[Act 7:40 ESV] saying to Aaron, 'Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'
[Act 7:41 ESV] And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands.


God judged Israel for their rejection, by giving them what they wanted. 
[Act 7:42 ESV] But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: "'Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices, during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
[Act 7:43 ESV] You took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.'

Joshua, David, Solomon 

[Act 7:44 ESV] "Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen.

Joshua led to victory, David was favored. 
 [Act 7:45 ESV] Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David,
[Act 7:46 ESV] who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.

Solomon builds a house for God
[Act 7:47 ESV] But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
[Act 7:48 ESV] Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
[Act 7:49 ESV] "'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?
[Act 7:50 ESV] Did not my hand make all these things?'

Present Day Israel. 
[Act 7:51 ESV] "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
[Act 7:52 ESV] Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered,
[Act 7:53 ESV] you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it."

Cut to the heart. 
[Act 7:54 ESV] Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.
 [Act 7:55 ESV] But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
[Act 7:56 ESV] And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

How do you respond to the Glory of Jesus Christ?
[Act 7:57 ESV] But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.
[Act 7:58 ESV] Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
[Act 7:59 ESV] And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
[Act 7:60 ESV] And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

A different response in Acts 2
[Act 2:31 ESV] he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
[Act 2:32 ESV] This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
[Act 2:36 ESV] Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
Cut to the heart
[Act 2:37 ESV] Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

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