Acts 7 Outline
– Stephen questioned by the high priest whether the charges brought against him are true (Acts 7:1)
– Stephen gave an historical account of the Israelites (Acts 7:2-53)
– Stephen saw the heaven open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:54-56)
– Stephen was dragged out of the city (Acts 7:57-58)
– Stephen stoned to death (Acts 7:59)
Acts 7 Summary
The high priest asked Stephen if the accusations brought against him regarding blasphemy on the holy place and Moses Law is true. Then, Stephen gave a brief account of the history of the Israelites to point out their stubbornness in accepting Jesus Christ as Messiah, although Moses already told the Israelites that God will raise up a prophet like him from among his people and they are to listen to him but they rejected him.
A long time ago, God called Abraham’s father, Terah to come out of the land of Mesopotamia and go to Canaan. Half way to Canaan, Terah stopped at Haran and he died there. Then, God called Abraham to leave Haran and go to Canaan. Abraham traveled to Haran with his wife, Sarah and nephew Lot. God promised Abraham that he will give his descendants the land of Canaan although he don’t own any land there yet at that time.
Later, Abraham and Sarah had a son called Isaac. Isaac became the father of the 12 patriarchs including Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into Egypt. God was with Joseph and he made him the governor of Egypt.
There was famine and the brothers had to come down to Egypt to buy grain. It was on the second visit of the brothers to Egypt that Joseph revealed to them his identity. Joseph provided carts for them to transport Jacob and the other family members to Egypt. There was a total of 75 people from Jacob’s household that relocated to Egypt.
The Israelites thrived and became numerous when living in Egypt. Then, another Pharaoh took over the throne. This Pharaoh did not know anything Joseph had done for Egypt and he was harsh towards the Israelites. The Pharaoh commanded every Hebrew baby boy to be thrown into the Nile River one day because he was afraid that the Hebrews will become too numerous and side with the enemy. A mother just gave birth to a baby boy named Moses. When the mother saw that he was a fine boy, she decided to keep him for 3 months. After that, she float him away on the Nile river in a basket coated with tar. The Egyptian princess found Moses in the basket when bathing in the Nile river and adopted him as his son.
Moses was raised up first at his father’s house. After that, he was admitted into the palace and live there for the rest of his life. One day, he saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite and he killed him and hid him in the sand. Moses thought he can make the people realize that God will use him to rescue them from the slavery. The next day, he saw two Israelites fighting and he tried to reconcile them but the man who is bullying the other man said who made him ruler and judge over them.
Moses ran away to Midian where she married the daughter of Jethro, called Zipporah and had two sons including Gershom and Eliezer (1 Chronicles 23:15). One day, Moses was shepherding on the mountain of Horeb when he saw a burning bush. He was curious about that bush because it looks like it was on fire but it was not burning.
When he went closer to it, he heard a voice telling him to take off his sandal. God told Moses that he had chosen him to go back to Egypt to lead the Israelites out from their slavery. Moses did led the Israelites out of Egypt after performing 10 tragic miracles due to the stubbornness of Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. When they reached the Sinai mountain, Moses went up the mountain to receive the commandments from God. The people grew impatient and pressured Aaron to make a golden calf idol. The entire account about Moses leading the Israelites to Canaan can be found in the book of Exodus in the bible.
In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses said God will raise a prophet like him and the Israelites are to listen to him. While in the desert, Moses instructed the people to make a tabernacle and sacred chest that is according to the pattern of the original one in heaven. Solomon built a temple for God.
Stephen rebuked the people for being stubborn and resisting the Holy Spirit by rejecting the gospel. Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to the heaven and tell the people he saw Jesus standing at the right hand side of God . The people covered their ears, screamed an rushed at him. They dragged him out of the city. Many witnesses laid their clothes at a feet of a young man named Saul. As the people stone Stephen, he prayed that God will forgive them. Then, Stephen died.
Acts 7 Bible Study
1. God is everywhere
In Acts 7:44-50, Stephen pointed out that God does not live in the temple made by men. Heaven is God’s throne and the earth is God’s footstool. Although the temple if the house of God, God’s presence is not restricted there. He is everywhere. Whenever you call God, God hears you and he can help you right at that moment. In Jeremiah 23:24, no man can hide in secret places that prevent God from seeing him. In Proverbs 15:3, God’s eyes is in every place on the earth, watching over every good and evil. In Psalm 139:7-12, David said he cannot hide from God’s presence no matter where he go. In Matthew 18:20, where 2 or 3 persons gathered together to pray, God will be with them. In Romans 10:13, everyone who calls on God’s name will be saved.
2. The new covenant
The Israelites rejected the gospel because they did not believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah. They are still expecting the Messiah. They still hold on to the old covenant laws. In the new covenant, anyone that has faith in Jesus is righteous. In the old covenant, anyone who carry out the works of the laws of the Moses is righteous. You can’t get saved by observing Moses Law but you can get saved by believing and following Jesus with a pure and obedient faith (Romans 10:5-13).
3. Don’t resist the Holy Spirit
In Acts 7:51, Stephen rebuked the Israelites for resisting the Holy Spirit and refusing to acknowledge the gospel. In Ephesians 4:30, we should not grieve the Holy Spirit, whom we are sealed for the day of redemption. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, we should not put out the fire of the Holy Spirit. In Hebrews 10:29, how much more severely a man will be punished for trampling Jesus, the son of God under foot and treat it as an unholy thing and insult the spirit of grace.
4. Treat your enemies with kindness
Stephen did not hate the people who stoned him to death. Instead, he prayed that God will forgive them for stoning him. We must always love our enemies and treat them with kindness and pray for them. In Luke 6:27, we must love our enemies and do good to them. In Matthew 5:44, we must love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us. In Luke 6:35, we should love our enemies, do good, lend, and hope for nothing and our reward shall be great in heaven and we shall be the children of the Most High God for God is kind to the unthankful and evil.