Can you imagine teaching a bunch of 7-year-olds how to use a pocket knife? When I was a cub scout, I remember my grandfather coming to teach pocket knife safety to our den. I still remember some of the vitals from that presentation. "Always cut away from you." "Never point the knife at anyone." "When passing a knife that doesn't close, pass the handle end towards the recipient." At the end, we even got to carve on a bar of soap and shape it into whatever we wanted. In Acts 7, there is a presentation...a speech really, and it is a history lesson for the audience. At the end of the speech, a man named Stephen says some really bold things about the audience and it would cost him his life. Take a look:
51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. 52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. 53 You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.” 54 When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. 55 But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58 Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.
Now I still remember some of the key components to my grandfather's presentation, and there was at least one person in the audience during Stephen's presentation that was captivated. His name was Saul. Saul's story will play out during the course of this study, but what if Stephen's speech had an incredible impact on him? What if when we plant the seeds of the Gospel message that it doesn't always take hold immediately? What if after the seed is planted, there is unseen growth taking place under the surface? Don't grow weary in working the Gospel into your conversations. You never know who may be listening.
With sincere love for each of you,