Acts 7:44-60

This whole chapter is the message of God through His servant Stephen.  The beginning of our verses tells us of Moses building the tabernacle in the wilderness and later it is replaced with the temple.  We are reminded in verse 49 that it is not the physical house (temple) that is beautiful to God but rather the believers. Christians are also called the temple of God because His Spirit lives within every believer.  People may be offended at a preacher who said that a farmer could buy a church building and use it to keep his cows in it.  We forget that it’s not the physical building that is sacred to God.  We also tend to use other names for temple, like the word sanctuary. Since we are the temple of God, that also makes us the sanctuary.

Stephen calls the religious leaders of his day stiff-necked and uncircumcised because their hearts resist the Holy Spirit.  In his boldness, he accuses their fathers of persecuting the prophets and now killing Jesus who is known as the Just One.  To top it all off, they requested the release of a murderer and the blood of Christ is on their hands, which also makes them murderers! 

When someone preaches with that kind of boldness and hits a nerve, there can only be two choices in how to react to it.  We either accept our part and bow our hearts in repentance, or our hearts are filled with rebellion and resistance.  “
When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.”  This is what a lack of repentance can do to a person.  We see this kind of resistance all over the world. 

To top it all off, Stephen is given a wonderful vision of an open Heaven and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  When he relates what he saw.  This declaration is what brought about the stoning death of Stephen.  It is at his death that we are introduced to the young man Saul who will later become the Apostle Paul.  It is no secret what God can do.  But it takes a broken will and a humble spirit to allow Him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  
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