Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 7:9-53
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 7:9-29
vs9-16: Verse nine makes a very significant point. Here is another example of Israel’s persistent blindness. Instead of recognizing God’s hand on Joseph, or accepting the prophetic dreams given to him, his brothers became jealous and sold him into slavery. Yet, Joseph was the one God had appointed to be their deliverer. Through him their family would be preserved from starvation. vs17-29: Stephen steps forward to the time of Moses, reminding his listeners of Abraham’s prophetic revelation in which God told him precisely how long Israel would remain in Egypt (Ge 15:13-16; Ac 7:6, 7). As he recounts the story of Moses it quickly becomes obvious the nation completely forgot that promise. Had they remembered and trusted God’s faithfulness they would have been watching expectantly for a deliverer to arise. Instead, they rejected him. Verse 25 is a key verse in this section. Stephen says of Moses, “…he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting deliverance through him, but they did not understand” (Ac 7:25).

Monday: Acts 7:30-36
vs30-36: After 40 years in the wilderness of Midian, the Lord called Moses to return to Egypt to deliver his people from slavery and lead them to the land which had been promised to Abraham. The charges the Council made against Stephen claimed he had blasphemed Moses, but in reply he reminds the Sanhedrin how their ancestors treated Moses. He says, “This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush” (v35).

Tuesday: Acts 7:37
v37: Their fathers forgot the promise that after 400 years God would deliver them from Egypt, and as a result weren’t watching for a deliverer and rejected him when he arrived. And the Sanhedrin, along with most of Israel had forgotten an even more important promise. Moses had told them to watch for “a prophet like me.” In effect, he was saying that someday God would send another Moses, someone who would perform signs and wonders (v36) and speak directly with God just as he had (v38), someone sent to deliver and rule Israel (v35). But like their fathers, they had forgotten God’s promise. They weren’t expecting a second-Moses and rejected Him when He arrived.

Wednesday: Acts 7:38-43
vs38-43: Stephen describes Moses as a man who spoke directly with God and received “living oracles” which were passed on to us in the Law. So, if a person really honors Moses and believes that the Law came from God, then that person will obey what is written in it and, above all else, obedience to the Law will produce single-hearted worship to God. Yet in the wilderness, the fathers continued worshiping idols. Stephen says they worshiped “the works of their hands” (v41), and then it’s no accident that the next subject he will discuss is the tabernacle and the temple.

Thursday: Acts 7:44-50
vs44-50: He basically says the tabernacle was something God ordained, but the temple was something which was conceived in the human mind and built by “human hands.” He’s telling them that their reverence for the temple had crossed over a line and they were worshiping it as an idol. They were no longer focused on the God for whom they had built it (vs 48-50). There had been two charges presented against Stephen. One was that he disrespected Moses, and the other that he disrespected the temple. He answers the second charge by reminding them that God never asked the nation to build a temple. His divine directive was only to construct a tabernacle. It was David, not God, who wanted a temple, and it was Solomon, not God, who built it. Then, using a passage from Isaiah to support his argument (Isa 66:1, 2), he makes the point that God is too big to live in the little buildings we build. He’s confronting an attitude in them which nearly deified the temple. He’s telling them to get their eyes off the building and look at the greatness of God.

Friday: Acts 7:51
v51: Now Stephen comes to the end of his sermon. He began with a warm tone, calling the Sanhedrin, “Men, brothers and fathers…” (v2), but ends it with blunt confrontation. Revisiting the sad realities of Israel’s history, combined with the realization that many of those sitting in front of him had been personally responsible for condemning Jesus (Mt 26:57, 59; 27:1, 2), may have produced this righteous outburst. He announces God’s verdict. They are “stiff-necked” (stubborn, uncorrectable; Ex 32:9), “uncircumcised in heart and ears” (they don’t love or obey God any more than unbelieving Gentiles do; Dt 10:16; 30:6; Jer 4:4; 9:25), and they consistently oppose the Holy Spirit, which probably means they refuse to listen to His voice speaking within their conscience. In these things they are just like their rebellious ancestors.

Saturday: Acts 7:52-53
v52: But in one very important matter they are far worse than their fathers. Their fathers grievously sinned by murdering the prophets who spoke of the coming Messiah, but they are the generation who actually killed the Messiah. It is surely no accident Stephen calls the Messiah “the Righteous One.” The title exposes their hypocrisy even further. They, who claimed to be so loyal to the Law of Moses, had condemned the most righteous person in human history. Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord said concerning the Messiah, “…I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land… And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness’” (Jer 23:5, 6). This is the Person they handed over to the Romans to be murdered. v53: Stephen ends with a statement which essentially asks this question, “If you really believed God gave us the Law of Moses, why didn’t you obey it?” And he has just pointed out their disobedience in two areas. First, they had rejected the Deliverer promised in the Law, and second they had turned the temple into an idol.

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