Thursday, September 13, 2018

Expressions of Faith. Acts Ch 6. Living A Parallel Life – Part 1

11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.
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. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
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 6:11-15

Ever felt like your life was paralleling someone else’s?

It might have been intentional.
Musicians and athletes often comment on the choices they make based on a role model they chose.

It might not have been intentional.
You overhear a description of someone’s life and think, “Wow! That sounds like me.”

Stephen’s began to parallel the life of Jesus when the apostles laid hands on the group of Greek Christians chosen to serve the widows.
The Holy Spirit filled them all.

The parallelism begins.
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts 6:8

Some Greek Jews in Jerusalem begin to vigorously oppose Stephen and his ministry.
     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—who began to argue with Stephen.
                                                                                                                                                     Acts 6:9
Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees opposed Jesus.
But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
Matthew 12:14 There are others!

The opposition to Stephen’s ministry is unsuccessful.
But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
Acts 6:10
The opposition to Jesus ministry is unsuccessful.
and he [Jesus] asked them [Pharisees], “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Matthew 22:20-22

The Greeks attacking Stephen recruit men to lie about him.
Jews recruited men to lie about Jesus.
Many testified falsely against him [Jesus], but their statements did not agree.
Mark 14:56
Jews are riled up by the false testimony both times.

They drag Stephen before the Sanhedrin.
More lies are told about him at that time.
Jesus was already before the Sanhedrin before much of the false testimony was given.

The parallel life stalls here.
Jesus was silent before His accusers.
Stephen delivers a lengthy speech.

That’s where Part 2 begins.
If someone watched your life for a time,
how much of what they saw
would remind them of the life of Jesus?

The next Expressions of Faith is Living a Parallel Life - Part 2 

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