A Faithful Witness

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered.” (Acts 7:51-52)

Mountains Worth Dying On:

Some mountains are worth dying on, because they represent a standard that is bigger than ourselves. Although Stephen’s speech is powerful and bold, it speaks to the heart of what really matters. He reviews the history of Israel for these hostile Jewish leaders. He shows them that they are just like their fathers, who had opposed God’s prophets and rejected God’s word. His passion is not to be misunderstood as the ravings of a mad man, but the desperate cry to a drowning nation… “Stop acting like your fathers!”

Speak to the Heart! 

I understand, this is not the way to get people to like you, confronting them with their sin. But Stephen spoke what needed to be said. He needed to bear witness against these stiff-necked people who were rejecting the Holy Spirit again and again. A faithful witness is not always pleasant, but it must always speak to the heart of our human condition. What was the message?

Stop Resisting the Holy Spirit! 

So, that is what Stephen said and that is why Stephen died. The outraged enemies of God pick up stones and put God’s witness to death. Stephen becomes the first Christian to die for the faith, because nobody wants to hear that they are resisting the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual Circumcision:

Go ahead and try to tell the “seeker-sensitive” crowd that they need to allow the Holy Spirit to move more in the Sunday services. The only thing that will change their attitude is when they get “circumcised in their hearts and ears”. Today is no different than the days of Stephen’s bold statement. Spiritual circumcision is a cutting away of unnecessary flesh that gets in the way of true worship. We as believers must desire that the Holy Spirit “cut away” any of our flesh that would hinder what God desires to reproduce in and through us.

“For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil 3:3)

Three keys are evident in this verse that help us identify the spiritually circumcised believer:

  1. Worship God in the Spirit (Eph 5:18-19)
  2. Rejoice in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 14:15)
  3. Have no confidence in the flesh (1 Cor 14:1-2)

Today, if you will hear God’s voice and call out to Him, He will come and transform your heart. (Jn 4:24)(2 Cor 5:17)

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