God uses some really average people to spread the news of His saving grace! This week we learn about the first martyr, Stephen, and some other wild ways God works to make sure His name is known to the ends of the earth!
Monday, January 25: Acts 6:8-15
- The people accusing Stephen did so by making up lies and stirring up a group against him.
- He was teaching on subjects that would be considered blasphemous to Jews. Like Jesus is greater than Moses and that Jesus and God are equals.
- Stephen was not better or smarter than anyone he was teaching to, but he had the Holy Spirit in him (vs 1). We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us too!
Tuesday, January 26: Acts 7:1-53
- This speech was not Stephen’s attempt to defend himself or make excuses. He was trying to use the Old Testament to explain what he was teaching in a way the people could understand. They were familiar with these stories.
- He explained God’s covenant to Abraham as a way to show that God doesn’t just exist inside the temple. God revealed himself to Abraham before he even went to the Promised Land. Stephen is slowly unraveling what these Jews had believed about God. Like He only exists in a physical temple.
- Stephen uses these stories of the Old Testament to show us that God always fulfills His promises even when His people are unfaithful. What promise do you need to trust God for today? You can start by reading Isaiah 41!
Wednesday, January 27: Acts 7:54-60
- After recounting the times God has been faithful in the Old Testament, Stephen died as the first martyr – someone who dies for something they believe in .
- The Sanhendrin council knew what Stephen was saying was true which is why they reacted the way that they did.
- Stephen faced a hard death but he walked so closely with Jesus that he had nothing to fear(1 Corinthians 15:55).
- He showed the same forgiveness to his persecutors that Jesus showed on the cross.
Thursday, January 28: Acts 8:1-25
- Saul went house to house “ravaging” – essentially displacing people from their homes. God still used this for His glory and good. Saul kicking these people out of their homes created sort of accidental missionaries and forced people to “scatter” everywhere.
- We also see the message of Jesus spread through Phillip and Simon. Simon had sort of a fame and following in the community already and he latched onto Phillip – leading his group of magic followers to Christ as well.
- I love how improbable God’s plan to spread his message is. He leaves it in the hands of 12 disciples and charges them to GO and tell all nations!
Friday, January 29: Acts 8:26-40
- Phillip had just achieved all of this ministry success in Samaria and now God is calling him to another place. He goes without hesitation.
- On the road, Phillip comes across an Ethopian man reading the book of Isaiah – not a coincidence!
- Just like the Ethiopian man, we need people to help teach us God’s word! Who are the people or resources that help you learn more about God?