Wednesday, March 26, hostess Mary Creighton opened the meeting with prayer:
“Heavenly Father, thank you for all your blessings. Thank you for our freedom to study your Word today. Thank you for all those who are here and touch those who are ill or not able to attend today. Bless Bata in her lesson today about Stephen, one of your brave followers. Help me to be stronger in my faith. Give me the courage, the confidence to speak your name, Lord God. Help me to be faithful in my service to you, wherever I am, whatever I do. Give me the wisdom to know when to remain silent, and help me overcome my fears of rejection. Use me, a broken vessel, just as you have used your servants throughout history to glorify and honor your name. Amen.”
Bata Boyd served as lesson leader in the study of the seventh chapter of Acts. She reminded us of how chapter six ended with Stephen before the Sanhedrin council facing accusations that he spoke blasphemy against the temple and the law. The objectives of this chapter are: 1) to review Stephen’s defense to the charge of blasphemy against the temple and the law; and 2) to note the remarkable manner in which the first martyr for Christ died.
Interesting observations concerning this chapter are that the speeches usually lasted several hours. Studies show that the speeches (speakers, audiences, circumstances, language and style of writing) give us reason to believe they are accurate accounts of what happened. In his defense to the council’s charges, Stephen reviews a complete history beginning with the call of Abraham and God’s promise. Stephen described how God used Moses to deliver Israel from bondage and led them for 40 years in the wilderness. They rebelled against Moses and Israel worshipped the golden calf and other false gods.