A Sermon on Acts 7:1-8
And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” 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, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 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. 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. 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. ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 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. (ESV)
Are we following Christ? The Christian life is one of constant movement away from sin and toward holiness. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains in his sermon from Acts 7:1-8, the Christian life is fundamentally God-centered. It requires us to abandon all other things for the sake of the Gospel and Christ. Abraham exemplifies this God-centered life when he leaves kindred and country to go to a foreign land to serve and worship God. In this way Abraham is the great example that we are given in the New Testament, and he is appealed to by the writers of the New Testament to show that service to God is not something that comes with the advent of Christ. But Abraham and all those that believed in the Old Testament were trusting in the promises of Christ. It is by trusting in Christ that they were counted righteous before God. Furthermore, many of them were persecuted and suffered for their faith as martyrs, as did many suffer in the New Testament and even in modern times. This should serve as an encouragement to Christians in all times because we stand in a long line of faithful and Godly believers who were willing to forsake this world and to suffer as Christians for Christ. We should see and rejoice in the God who calls us and loves us, and who has sent His Son to die in our place so that we may live.