Stephen The Martyr

Acts 9:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 

Acts 9:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 

Acts 9:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Acts 9:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 

Acts 9:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. 

Acts 9:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

Acts 9:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

What a demonstration of contrast between the way of the wicked flesh and the way of sovereign grace when God’s servant, Stephen was being stoned to death for the gospel’s sake. 

The enemies of the gospel were filled with rage; Stephen was filled with joy in the Lord (Acts 7:56; Philippians 3:3). 

They were occupied with hatred; Stephen was bursting with the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). 

They were packed with fear; Stephen was occupied with faith (Hebrews 12:2).

They were chock-full of persecution; Stephen was jam-packed with prayer (Acts 7:60). 

Oh, what a difference the sovereign grace of God makes in the believer (Romans 9:15-16; 1st Corinthians 4:7; 2nd Timothy 1:9). Oh, how dreadfully wicked is the way of the sinful flesh (Romans 3:9-18).

T. Harding

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