3/7/2022 [Book of Acts 26] www.lifechurchmissions.com
The Defense of Stephen (1) – From Abraham to Joseph
* Jewish leaders falsely accused Stephen of speaking against the holy temple and the law.
* Two groups of people in the Sanhedrin:
* These two groups had their conflicts, but they were united in the persecution of Jesus.
* These two groups of people could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave Stephen as he spoke.
* Stephen cited Old Testament characters to speak about God’s redemption plan from beginning to the end.
Read <Ac 7:1-16>.
1. <v1> Interrogation by the high priest Caiaphas.
2. <v2-3> Example of Abraham.
（1）Abraham was justified by faith, not by keeping the law.
（2）God’s glory appeared to Abraham not in the holy temple, but at where Abraham was.
3. <v4-5> The relationship between Abraham and God was built on “faith”, instead of on the visible holy temple or law.
4. <v6-8> Abraham’s descendants (Israel) were also saved from the gentiles (Egypt).
* After 400 years, when the sins of the gentiles were full, the Lord rescued His people.
* Before this, God gave Abraham’s descendants the covenant of circumcision.
5. <v9-10> God’s faithfulness to Joseph.
* Read <Gen 39:2>.
* God was with Joseph in Egypt, not in Canaan.
* Joseph was tempted, but did he have commandments and the law as warnings?
* Yet God’s presence and holiness were in the heart of Joseph.
* People who were beside Joseph (including Pharaoh) all saw that God was with Joseph.
* What Sadducees and Pharisees depended upon was different from what the forefathers of Israel relied on.
* But this was certainly not to tell us Christians today that we do not need to read the Bible or lead a church living.
* Christ did not abolish the law, but fulfilled it (new way of the Spirit).
* Christ abolished the visible holy temple, but brought about the invisible holy temple (Church).
* Christ ceased the offering of sacrifices, but made us living sacrifices (imitating the life of Christ).
6. <v11-16> Joseph is the prefiguration of Christ.
* Joseph was abandoned and harmed by brothers, just as Christ was abandoned and harmed by His own people.
* Joseph saved the whole house of Israel, just as Christ saved His people.
* The Jews now arrested Stephen, because they rejected the Christ preached by Stephen.
* Read <Zec 12:10>.
* Because the Jews did not repent, the gospel came to the gentiles, but one day the Jews will have a great repentance.
* The Jews could not accept:
（1）Jesus is the Christ.
（2）Justification by faith alone.
* Read <Heb 11:39>.
* Since we are blessed before God by faith, then it does not come from human rituals and merits.