Acts 5:17-6:15 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Apostles' Priorities
Comments for Study 8

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Memory Verse: 6:3-4

I. The Second Persecution (5:17-42)

>1. Why were the apostles put in prison? (17-18)

"Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail." -Acts 5:17-18

* "Sadducees" -Jewish religious group arising to power after the exile who only believed he first five books of the Old Testament (aka the Law) and did not believe in the resurrection or other spiritual things. These were the same people who determined that Jesus should be crucified. See earlier studies for more information.

* "filled with jealousy" -Often when the sinful nature see God work through someone else and blesses them they envy. The sinful nature wants to receive for self and give glory to self. The sinful nature seeks satisfaction not in what God has in store, but what others have. when a person is made anew by and filled with God's Spirit they seek God's will for their life no matter where they are and what they do or do not have.

* "arrested the apostles" -The apostles were the first believers in Jesus to suffer. They were the leaders and at the forefront of preaching the gospel.

* "put in public jail" -Jails in those days were not nice at all. People often died in the public jail.

>What did God do for them? (19-20)

"But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. "Go, stand in the temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the full message of this new life." -Acts 5:19-20

* "angel of the Lord" -The Lord's angels are his servants engaged in many different roles including ministering to God's people. Hebrews 1:14 states the rhetorical question, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?"

* "opened... brought... said" -Angels are spirit (Hebrews 1:14) and yet can be manifested in human form if the service requires it.

* "Go" -Angels can relay commands from God to us. In this case God could have opened the door and the Holy Spirit could have told them this as he did at other times. This time God sent an angel perhaps to keep others from escaping which could hinder the gospel work.

* "tell the people" -Jesus said that eventually they would be killed by people thinking they are offering a service to God. (16:2) This was not the time for that to happen to them. They were still to preach the gospel. At the time that I am writing this there are many believers in Jesus dying for his name sake. In fact, right now Christians in Egypt and other middle eastern countries are being beheaded every day by people who believe they are offering a service to God. The trend will only escalate as I see even in my country people openly displaying hate and rage against those who make a stand and confess Jesus' name..

* "the full message" -The cross, the resurrection, the ascension, the sending of the Spirit, living by the Spirit, living by faith, having hope of the second coming of Jesus, and loving each other as we would have them love us.

* "this new life" -Jesus introduced through his teachings and his apostles a new way of living, not a new idea. The new life was dynamic and vibrant. Later, Paul would call it living by the Spirit. (Rom. 8:13, Gal. 5:25) Others would call it The Way. (9:2) The life they were not living wasn't a commune; rather it was in communion with Jesus and his people through the Holy Spirit.

>How did they obey God? (21)

"At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin--the full assembly of the elders of Israel--and sent to the jail for the apostles." -Acts 5:21

* "At daybreak" -right away. They did not wait for the leaders to calm down.

* "they entered the temple courts" -As they had been doing since Pentecost. The temple was controlled by the very people who had just arrested them. Still, the temple was built for God's purpose, as a dwelling place for him amongst God's people. Now God was indwelling his people by the Holy Spirit. Yet, the temple was still used by God as a place for his people to gather and be taught the words of Jesus. In the future a new temple we be again used by God as stated in Revelation and the prophet Ezekiel. (Ez. 40-44)

* "as they had been told" -They obeyed God's message given by the angle.

* "began to teach the people" -They did not have prepared speeches since they had studied with Jesus for three years. They repeated what he had taught as the Holy Spirit reminded them.

* "high priest and his associates arrived" -To perform their duties. The disciples went to work for God before the high priest.

* "Sanhedrin" -The Sanhedrin was broken down into two courts of law; religious and political (civil). They were the Jewish ruling council especially anything concerning the Mosaic law. The civil branch is similar to America's Supreme Court in that it is the highest judicial branch. The Jewish Sanhedrin had their own civil police.
    The religious branch of the Sanhedrin had 71 members. It was the highest court of law. (Peter stood up before them in Acts). They judged only religious violations. They seldom imposed capital punishment. If anyone could prove his innocence they would let him go. Most of the time they meet in a religious place.
    The political branch of the Sanhedrin was a counsel with permit statues. The High Priest could summon the meeting anytime he wanted to at his house. They could try anyone with a rebellion. They could sentence him, but no authority to evoke that sentence.
    They knew all the Old Testament and Roman law. Most were the best Bible teachers in their day.

* "sent to jail for the apostles" -to try them. They had not recognized that the apostles were out of jail and teaching in the temple courts. Or if they did notice the teaching they naturally would not think it was the apostles who they had jailed the previous day.

>When the officers did not find the apostles in the prison, what did they report? (22-23)

"But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, "We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside." -Acts 5:22-23

* They dare not call it a miracle unless they wanted to be fired.

>2. What was the response of the chief priests? (24)

"On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this." -Acts 5:24

* "captain of the temple guards" -A Levite, probably of some relation to one of the chief priests.

* "puzzled" -Here a miracle happened right in front of them and they would not believe it.

* "what would become of this" -Not how it happened, but what would be the impact once the news got out.

* In Jesus there are no accidents. Jesus is never surprised at what happens. Everything happens for a reason. We may not always know the reasons, but we can be sure that it is for God's good purpose. Often I hear people saying, "Satan made me do it," or "Satan did this and that." God may use Satan according to God's good will. We should not give credit to Satan, but seek why God does what he does understanding that we may never know in this life why things happened.

>Why were they not able to arrest the apostles? (25-26)

"Then someone came and said, "Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people." At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them." -Acts 5:25-26

* "teaching the people" -The chief priests are never recorded in the New Testament as teaching people in the temple courts. Jesus and the apostles always did.

* "brought the apostles" -The chief priests only addressed Jesus a few times in the open in the temple open areas. They were greatly embarrassed. Since then they are not recorded as addressing Jesus and his apostles in open areas again. Instead, they had them brought to them behind closed doors.

* "did not use force" -This means that the disciples came willingly. It also means the guards wanted to use force.

* "feared the people" -Love of self leads to fear of people. Love of God leads to bold faith.

>What was their charge? (27-28)

"Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood." -Acts 5:27-28

* "to be questioned by the high priest" -The high priest's job was to listen to other people's testimony. He was to act as a presider of the case, not as prosecutor.

* "not to teach in this name" -Again they would not speak Jesus' name.

* "filled Jerusalem with your teaching" -The apostles continual teaching eventually got to everyone in Jerusalem. Have we heard in today's time of any "church" teaching in public areas until the whole town was filled with teachings of Jesus?

* "determined to make us guilty of this man's blood" -This was true, but they did not live in truth. They lived in love of self. The only part of the message that they addressed concerned people's opinion of them.

>3. How did Peter answer? (29)

"Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!" -Acts 5:29

* Peter and the other apostles" -It seems that all of the apostles were arrested at one time. They were working together as a unified group.

* "We must obey God" -Once we know God's will for our life we must obey it no matter what others say and do to us. Have I always done this? God will be the judge. We all will appear before Jesus and give an account of the life we live. If we are ashamed of Jesus' name he said he will be ashamed of us before his father. (Mark 8:38)

* "rather than men" -There are times that we should obey men. However, if what they says goes against God's word we must obey God rather than obey men.

>What was their preaching? (30-32)

"The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead--whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." -Acts 5:30-32

* "God" -"Theos" in Greek

* "our fathers" -Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, etc.

* "raised Jesus from the dead" -The chief priests was a Sadducee. They did not believe in a physical resurrection nor any resurrection. They thought that this life was the only live we have to live. Jesus corrected their thinking by teaching about the resurrection from the first five books of the Bible, the only ones they believed in.

* "whom you had killed" -The Roman's did not give the Jews authority to kill anyone. The Roman's would not kill just because someone claimed to be the Son of God. So the Sanhedrin convinced Pilate to have him killed for claiming to be the king of the Jews, something Jesus never did.

* "by hanging on a tree" -not a life tree, a dead one as Peter saw himself.

* "God exalted him..." -After Jesus ascended he was exulted, meaning given the highest position in the heavens and the earth and under the earth.

* "to his own right hand" -Most human being prefer the right hand over the left hand when doing things. Thus, when a person sat at the right hand of a king it meant that the king preferred this person over anyone else even if they sat on his left hand. Jesus being on the right hand of God is used to show that God prefers Jesus over all.

* "Prince and Savior" -these two titles are very common to Jesus. The prince waits to rule all his father's kingdom. Jesus is awaiting to rule all the earth. Right now most of the people on earth follow Satan, making him temporary ruler as bad as he is. Jesus, as Savior of the people in his kingdom rescues them from the evil and unjust rule of Satan.

* "he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel" -We are not without blame, though we are helpless. Jesus comes to us and give us the ability to repent.

* "to Israel" -Jesus' work is for all twelve tribes, not just Judah. Gentiles are grafted in by the faith of Abraham. (Rom. 9-11)

* "who obey him" -The Holy Spirit is not given out willy-nilly. The Holy Spirit is only with those who obey Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a gift, not a reward. However, if we do not obey Jesus we are not in Jesus and therefore not given the Holy Spirit.

>Why did Gamaliel stop them from putting the apostles to death? (33-38)

"When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail." -Acts 5:33-38

* "furious" -I have been with religious leaders who claim to be of God. Yet when someone they didn't like gives them the word of God or does the word of God they lose control of their anger and hate to the point of being furious.

* "wanted to put them to death" -Jesus taught that the thought of a sin is a sin even if it is not carried out.

* "a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law" -He was Apostle Paul's teacher. (22:3) Thus it is likely that Apostle Paul was with Gamaliel during Peter's speech for a disciple in those days were always with their teacher. If Paul wasn't it is still possible that Gamaliel told his students about this event.

* "who was honored by all the people" -Something that Paul must have told Luke later.

* "stood up in the Sanhedrin" -Further indicating that Gamaliel was well respected and highly honored amongst the religious leaders.

* "ordered that the men be put outside for a little while" -Perhaps for them not to hear and for their protection.

* "Leave the men alone" -Gamaliel did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. He equated Jesus with all the other false messiahs before him. He believed that Jesus' small band of followers would amount to nothing. He believed that they would soon scatter to their own homes.

* "killed" -Just who killed all those mentioned is not stated. Yet it can be assumed that it was either them, Herod, or Rome.

* "if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail" -A partial truth for God uses anything and everything. Yet, all Israel should know that what Jesus began is of God and for God's good purpose since even under great persecution it has spread to the whole world. Can we say the same of Buddha and other religious figures? Time will show that they are not of God. The time that they are followed is almost over.

>How did his argument prevail? (39)

"But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." -Acts 5:39

* The argument saved the religious leaders pride and honor. It gave them a chance to be benevolent.

* "fighting against God" -God's will can not be stopped.

>4. What punishment did the apostles receive? (40)

"His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go." -Acts 5:40

* "had them flogged" -to show they had power over them.

* "ordered them not to speak" -Even though Peter had just told them that he and the rest of the apostles were going to continue to preach Jesus' name.

* "let them go" -God used Gamaliel even though he did not believe in Jesus. God works in many ways to bring about his will. Satan has been telling mankind that they can eventually prevail in their rebellion against God. He has made them fools.

>What was their attitude toward sufferings? (42)

"The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ." -Acts 5:41-42

* "rejoicing" -Jesus taught, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12)

* "Day after day... they never stopped" -They worked hard doing Jesus' work. Did they take a day off to go golfing?

* "in the temple courts" -The center of Jerusalem life.

* "from house to house" -They visited people were they lived to share the gospel.

* "teaching and proclaiming" -Proclaiming is witnessing to people they meet. Teaching is building upon the acceptance that Jesus is the Christ.

* "good news" -Gospel in Greek.

* "that Jesus is the Christ" -Christ is Greek for the Hebrew "Messiah". The good news is that Jesus is the promised Messiah. The heart of witnessing to others is the ministry of the Christ.

II. The Apostles' Priorities (6:1-7)

>5. What was the problem within the church? (1)

"In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food." -Acts 6:1

* "In those days" -No specific time other than the time that the disciples were increasing in number. A time would soon come that the rate of growth in Jerusalem would slow down. Eventually, during the time of the writing of the Letter to the Hebrews, believers in Jesus had to leave Jerusalem. Shortly after all Christians left, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans (70 A.D).

* "Grecian Jews" -Probably remained in Jerusalem after Pentecost.

* "Hebraic Jews" -Jews who were from Palestine. It seems that they were distributing the food. If so either it was because their homes and buildings were storing to food and/or the apostles has giving them a type of responsibilities to them only before this time. Human nature is to prefer those like us, from the same area, over those who are not from our area.

* "complained against" -This is the first note of disharmony amongst believers. They did not blame the apostles. Instead they went to the apostles for guidance.

* "their widows were being overlooked" -Was this valid? We don't know, but can assume it was. This would mean that some amongst the believers

* Those who today say that the "church" needs to go back to the first church don't know what they are talking about. This is the second problem that the first church had. Even though they had the great power of the Holy Spirit, manifestations of God, miracles, the Apostles, and all of one race they still had carnal nature problems. We don't need to go back to the time of the first church. Rather, we need to go forward to the Millennium age.

>Why do you think the apostles were involved in the matter of the distribution of food?

* "So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables." -Acts 6:2

* "so the twelve gathered all the disciples together" -The leaders did not try to hush the issue. They did not meet in closed doors as I have seen some church leaders do. Rather, since it dealt with the whole church the whole church meet together.

* "gathered all" -This could have caused division and let room for Satan to work so they dealt with it right away.

* During the feeding of the four thousand and five thousand Jesus taught the disciples that they should take responsibility for those who came to hear Jesus' word, even in their food needs.

* "neglect the ministry of the word of God" -They time had come when it was their turn to teach, as Jesus did, and for others to distribute the food, as they did during the mass feeding.

* "wait on tables" -They did not address the issue of nationality at this time. However, as can be seen by their letters, the apostles continually taught love for God and each other.

* Many times when a congregation sets up a committee to look for a new pastor, the committee often makes a vital error. They look for a lead pastor that is a organizer and a promoter, a vice president to run the church and pastoral staff. They need to find and support the direction of a pastor who is dedicated to the study, preaching, and teaching of the word of God. How can a modern church know that their direction for their pastor is wrong. Do they call the room they give him to work in an "office" or a "study"?

>6. How did they resolve this matter? (2)

Acts 6:2 "So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables."

* The disciples delegated the authority. They did not try to do it all by themselves.

* They set a basic direction and let those appointed to do the job set the details.

>What was their solution to this problem? (3-4)

"Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word." -Acts 6:3-4

* Qualifications given:
    1) men
    2) from among you
    3) who are known to be full of the Spirit
    4) who are known to be full of wisdom.

* "full of the Spirit" -This is not the first time this statement is used. Since all receive the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Jesus as Savior this must indicate something else. J. Vernon McGee wrote, "The filling of the Holy Spirit is for service. The experience of the Day of Pentecost (and after) came from the filling of the Holy Spirit (not the baptism of the Holy Spirit). It is still the same today. The filling of the Holy Spirit is for service. This is the only work of the Holy Spirit that we are to do anything about-we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." (Eph. 5:18). Notice that before Pentecost the believers wanted this filling of the Spirit. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication..." (1:14) What would their supplication be about? About the promise of the Lord Jesus that He would send His Holy Spirit to them. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a command given to us. It is not an experience. It is an act of God whereby the believer in Jesus Christ is indwelt by the Spirit of God, sealed unto the day of redemption, and placed into the church, the body of Christ, by the baptism of the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit of God is the ennoblement for service. We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit.

* "Brothers, choose" -The apostles did not appoint the seven or even propose candidates for the seven. They left the full congregation decide. This is the first time I know of voting taking place amongst believers. The Greeks are said to haven given birth to democracy. Breaking with standard practices of religions, the apostles "put it to the people" to decide matters that affected them.

* Organization and division of labor is good in a congregation.

* What did this congregation's organization look like now? Was there a "pastor"? Perhaps it can be said that Peter was because he is the apostle mentioned the most and seems to be the one always speaking in critical times. He is one of the tree who is elsewhere called "the pillars of the Jerusalem church" (Gal. 2:9). The three are part of the twelve that can be considered "elders" though in reality they are given the special title of "apostle" who speak, teach, pray, and give general direction. Next is the newly appointed seven who could be considered "deacons" who are responsible for the day to day practical responsibilities.

>Who were appointed for the job? (5)

"This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. -Acts 6:5

* "proposal" -They did not have absolute authority. They did not dictate. They did not demand. They did not fear retribution and alienation if they had another idea.

* "They chose" -The second generation of leaders was chosen by the congregation.

* "Stephen..." -All were Greek names though they were Jewish believers (all believers in Jesus were Jews at this point).

* Only Philip and Stephen are mentioned again.

* "Antioch" -Soon to be the next city where the gospel is said to take root.

* "a convert to Judaism" -He was not born a Jew. His ancestor was not Judah. He was a gentle who first became a Jew and then became a Christian. He is most likely not the only one. The tread would continue, especially in Antioch, which is where he was from.

>What were involved in the matter of the distribution of food? (6)

"They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them." -Acts 6:6

* "presented these men to the apostles" -The apostles were not involved in the chosen.

* "prayed and laid their hands on them" -These acts are not so could be full of the Spirit for that was a criteria given already, and it was not to transfer power to them for that could only be done with the Holy Spirit which, again they were to be full of. The laying on of hands means that they accepted them in common service to the body of Christ. The apostles prayed that God would help the seven in their ministry.

>What was the effect of their decision? (7)

"So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith." -Acts 6:7

* "word of God spread" -mentioned first to illustrate what happens when leaders concentrate on the word of God and the great need for it. Why do I put freely the word of God and Bible study help materials on the internet? So the word of God can spread and people can be equipped for service to spread the word.

* "number of disciples" -This means the same as "believers in Jesus" and "Christians".

* "in Jerusalem" -The message had not gone beyond the city since Jesus was crucified and rose.

* "of priests" -Levites. Apparently some of the Sadducees accepted Peter's message given in the Sanhedrin. However, the main leaders rejected to the end.

III. Stephen, a Man Full of the Spirit (6:8-15)

>7. Who was Stephen? (8)

"Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people." -Acts 6:8

* one of the seven men chosen (3)

* "full of Spirit" (3,5) not just baptized in the Spirit

* "full of wisdom" (3) not just knowledge

* "responsible" (3) and could be trusted by all

* "full of faith" (8) meaning he lived by faith practically

* "full of God's grace" (8) meaning he was kind to others

* "full of God's...power" (8) meaning we was not timid

* "did great wonders" (8) meaning God worked through him to do what ordinarily would be considered impossible

* "did miraculous signs" (8) that pointed to Jesus

* "among the people" (8) meaning not in secret

* His relationship with God through Jesus was how he was given power, not by his knowledge, zeal, nor physical strength.

* Not only was he and the seven trained in practical service, but they were also taught the word of God by the apostles and then taught others themselves.

>Why did opposition arise? (9)

* "Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen," -Acts 6:9

* "synagogue" -the word for church, congregation and synagogue is the same Greek word in the Bible. The distinction is made in English due to tradition. One could even say that if you were to live in Jerusalem at this time people would refer to the believers in Jesus as a Jewish synagogue who "preached and believed in that name".

* "members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen" -There was many synagogues in Jerusalem; people didn't just have the temple to worship and teach in. These synagogues were arranged according to race and country.

* "these men began to argue with Stephen" -Stephen went out of the body of believers and witnessed and taught in the synagogue that he originally attended. He spoke to them all he had learned from the Apostles about Jesus. Some opposed him perhaps because they were jealous of all that God was doing through him..

* Antioch was in the region on "Cyrene and Alexandria, Cilicia, and Asia.

>How did Stephen handle it? (10)

"but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke." -Acts 6:10

* He did not back down.

>What was their plot against Stephen? (11)

"Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God." -Acts 6:11

* They lied about him in the same way that people lied about Jesus before the Sanhedrin.

>8. How did they stir up the people? (12)

* "So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin." -Acts 6:12

* When we do the work of God and full of the Spirit we can expect anyone to try to hate and try to stop it.

>What was their charge against Stephen? (13-14)

"They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us." -Acts 6:13-14

* They made out that Stephen was a rebel.

* It was the same reason that Jesus was arrested.

* Stephen taught as he learned from Jesus and the apostles that real worship isn't in the temple, but in the heart.

* "destroy this place" -It did happen.

* "change the customs Moses handed down to us" -Jesus did change the Passover meal. However, it was not the first time that it was changed. Moses wrote about two Passovers, the one could only be practiced by those who were in slavery in Egypt and brought out and the other was practiced in the tabernacle and temple.

>How did Stephen show God's grace? (15)

"All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. -Acts 6:15

* "like the face of an angel" -He looked very holy and pure.

* The Holy Spirit overflowed to others.

* His face shows that God was with him in the Spirit.

* Moses' face appeared this way when God was with him. (Ex. 34:29)

* It showed that Stephen wasn't moved or acted on his own power.

* Stephen had just taught the Bible. He didn't say, "Why do you guys give me a hard time."

* Satan worked not through a great problem but through pride and jealousy.

* When we do the work of God Satan attacks.

* Stephen didn't respond in the same way they attacked him.

* We need to build up our character and faith in the grace of God.