Bowie Apostolic Church
Acts 7: The Blood of Martyrs....
by From the Pastor's Desk on February 7th, 2013

The Seed of the Church

Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people, 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 announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” 54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 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. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 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. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 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. 
Tertullian once wrote about the persecution of Christianity saying “That's why you can't just exterminate us; the more you kill the more we are. “ He goes on to say something that will be quoted for centuries: “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church." What a divine paradox! No one else can say the more you kill us, the more we are. It works against reason. Uprisings are usually quenched by the threat of violence, but the Christianity as defined and demonstrated by the Apostles and the early Church was not a simple uprising that can be scared by the threat of violence. After all, their King, their Savior, their Pioneer and Leader was crucified and conquered death.

The reason why Christians multiply from martyrdom is because when we embrace the power of  the Cross in the suffering for Christ, we release the power of the resurrection for others to believe. This is not popular, but it is biblical truth. There have been testimonies throughout antiquity of people who have given their lives to Christ after seeing the execution of other Christians. There was something about persecution that lends credibility to the validity of the martyr’s conviction.

As we see from the text, the wise and submitted Stephen was full of knowledge.  His message was not planned. He didn't get a chance to take any notes. And from what happened after this sermon, it is proven that it was completely inspired. But before things can be inspired there must be something in a person that God can enliven with His Spirit. He was full of knowledge. He was also full of fire.

His message recounted the history of Israel as a people. It also recounted the history of their attitude. Stephen reminded them that they were a people of lost vision. He outlined the failures of their forefathers and confronts them with the harsh reality that they were just like their fathers. This enraged them. From the beginning, they could not win an argument with Stephen. They could not stand against him in public. They lied to get him arrested. Now he has the boldness to speak against them and their ancestors. They’d had enough.

On February 1st, we started in Acts 1 with the promise given by Christ. The promise of the Holy Spirit and the power that would come upon them was accompanied by a commission. “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8).” We will see tomorrow how this factors into Stephen’s death.


Posted in Acts, Bible 2013    Tagged with martyr, power, stephen, preach


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