Stephen Put to Death
54Now when they heard this, they were infuriated, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. 55But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57But they shouted with loud voices, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one mind. 58When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.
54¶ When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. 59And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Ever wonder what makes a Christian different from everyone else in the world? Preaching on Acts 7:54–60, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that it is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It is He who empowers the lives and ministries of all believers. This is what made the early church in the time of the apostles so transformative and powerful. The apostles were bold in the face of persecution and even death. They did not fear what anyone could do to them because the Spirit-wrought faith in the person of Jesus Christ. One of the clearest examples of this is Stephen, the first martyr of the church. He was brought before the Sanhedrin for preaching the message of Jesus Christ. As Stephen preached in Acts, he boldly told who Jesus is and how Jesus fulfills the whole of the Old Testament. Because of this boldness, he was stoned to death but as he was dying, he asked God to forgive the very people who were killing him. This is the life lived in the Spirit, unlike the Jewish leaders who represented the unregenerate who reject the Holy Spirit and fight its influence. This is the greatest tragedy: those who are dead in sin fight against the only power that can save them and give them eternal life.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.