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                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                             Chapter Seven


1) To review Stephen's defense to the charge of blasphemy against the
   temple and the Law

2) To note the remarkable manner in which the first martyr for Christ


The previous chapter ended with Stephen before the Sanhedrin council
facing accusations that he spoke blasphemy against the temple and the
Law (cf. 6:13-14).  Chapter seven contains Stephen's defense to these
charges, and the account of his martyrdom.

Stephen responded by reviewing the call of Abraham and God's promise to
him and the nation of Israel.  He then described how God used Moses to
deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage and led them for forty years
through the wilderness.  Yet Israel rebelled against Moses, through whom
God gave the Law.  Not only in the incident involving the golden calf,
but throughout their wilderness wanderings Israel continued to worship
false gods (cf. Am 5:25-27).  Turning to the matter of God's dwelling
place, Stephen acknowledged the role of the tabernacle of Moses and the
temple of Solomon, but contended that God does not dwell in temples made
with hands (cf. Isa 66:1-2).  He concluded by charging the council of
resisting the Holy Spirit just like their ancestors, for as their
fathers persecuted and killed the prophets who foretold the coming of
the Just One (Christ), so they became His betrayers and murderers.
Indeed, they were the ones who have not kept the Law (1-53).

Cut to the heart, those in the council gnashed at Stephen with their
teeth.  Full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory
of God with Jesus standing at His right hand.  Upon telling the council
what he saw, in rage they cast him out of city and began stoning him.
The witnesses who brought the false charges laid their clothes at the
feet of a young man named Saul (later known as Paul, the apostle).  As
Stephen was stoned, he called upon Jesus to receive his spirit, and to
not charge his murderers with his death.   In this way Stephen became
the first martyr for Christ (54-60).



      1. The call to leave Mesopotamia
      2. The sojourn in Canaan
      3. The promise of possession to his descendants
      4. The covenant of circumcision
      5. His descendants:  Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs

      1. Joseph sold into Egypt, becomes governor
      2. Jacob and his sons move to Egypt during the famine
      3. The patriarchs buried in Canaan

      1. The children Israel in Egypt become slaves
      2. The work of Moses, deliverer of Israel
         a. Raised by Pharaoh's daughter
         b. Kills an Egyptian, but despised by his brethren
         c. Flees to Midian where he lives for forty years
         d. The Lord appears to Moses in a burning bush at Mount Sinai
         e. Returns to Egypt, delivers Israel and brings them into the

      1. Moses is the person:
         a. Who said God would raise up another prophet like him
         b. Who spoke to the Angel on Mount Sinai
         c. Who received living oracles to give to Israel
         d. Whom the fathers would not obey but rejected
      2. Israel is the nation:
         a. Who turned back into Egypt in their hearts
         b. Who pressured Aaron to make a golden calf
         c. Whom God gave up to worship the host of heaven for forty
            years in the wilderness
            1) They may have offered sacrifices to the Lord
            2) They also worshiped Moloch and Remphan - cf. Am 5:25-27

      1. The fathers of Israel had the tabernacle of witness
         a. In the wilderness, built according to the pattern shown
         b. Brought into the promised land by Joshua
      2. They also had the temple
         a. Asked for by David, who found favor before God
         b. Built by his son Solomon
      3. Yet the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands
         a. For heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool
         b. His hand has made all these things - cf. Isa 66:1-2

      1. Stephen charges the council of resisting the Holy Spirit, just
         as their fathers did
      2. Their fathers persecuted and killed the prophets, so they have
         killed the Just One
      3. They received the law, but did not keep it


      1. Cut to the heart, they gnashed at Stephen with their teeth
      2. Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven
         a. He saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right
            hand of God
         b. He tells the council what he saw
      3. In response, the council:
         a. Cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears
         c. Ran at him with one accord, and cast him out of the city

      1. The witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of Saul
      2. They stoned Stephen as he was calling on God
         a. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit"
         b. "Lord, do not charge them with this sin"
      3. Having said this, he fell asleep (i.e., died)


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Stephen's defense (1-53)
   - Stephen's death (54-60)

2) When did God first appear to Abraham? (2)
   - In Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran

3) What did God tell Abraham to do? (3)
   - Leave his country and relatives, and go to a land that He would
     show him

4) Where did Abraham finally settle? (4)
   - Canaan (New Testament Palestine)

5) Who did God promise to give the land to?  When?  (5-7)
   - The descendants of Abraham
   - After they lived in a foreign land 400 years, following which God
     would judge that nation

6) What covenant did God give Abraham? (8)
   - The covenant of circumcision

7) What was the lineage of Abraham leading to the formation of the
   nation of Israel? (8)
   - Abraham begot Isaac
   - Isaac begot Jacob
   - Jacob begot twelve sons, who became the twelve patriarchs of Israel

8) What bad and good thing happened to Joseph? (9-10)
   - He was sold into Egypt by his brothers
   - Pharaoh made him governor over Egypt
9) What resulted in the rest of Jacob's family moving to Egypt?   How
   many? (11-15)
   - A famine; 75 people

10) Where was Jacob and his sons eventually buried? (16)
   - Back in Canaan

11) Who eventually led Israel out of Egyptian bondage? (17-36)
   - Moses

12) Who did Moses tell the children of Israel would eventually come?
   - A prophet like himself (cf. Deut 18:15)

13) What two examples does Stephen provide of Israel's disobedience?
   - Their worship of the golden calf at Mount Sinai
   - Their worship of Moloch and Remphan throughout their forty years in
     the wilderness

14) What two dwelling places did Israel have for God? (44-47)
   - The tabernacle built by Moses; the temple built by Solomon

15) Yet what did God say through the prophet Isaiah? (48-50)
   - The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands

16) How did Stephen describe the religious leaders of the council? (51)
   - Stiff-necked and uncircumcised in hearts and ears

17) What did he accuse them of doing?  In what way?  (51-52)
   - Always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as their fathers did
   - By murdering the Just One (Jesus), as their fathers killed the
     prophets who foretold His coming

18) What final charge did Stephen accuse them of?  (53)
   - Receiving the law by the direction of angels, but not keeping it

19) How did those who heard this react? (54)
   - Cut to the heart, they gnashed at Stephen with their teeth

20) Filled with the Holy Spirit, what did Stephen see? (55-56)
   - The glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God

21) How did the council then act? (57-58)
   - Cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and cast Stephen
     out of the city

22) What did they then do?  At whose feet did the witnesses lay their
    garments? (58)
   -  They stoned Stephen; a young man named Saul

23) As Stephen was stoned to death, what two things did he pray? (59-60)
   - "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."; "Lord, do not charge them with
     this sin."
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