This is the eighth in a series of nine short posts on the martyrdom of Stephen, described in Acts 6-7, exploring if this was a foreshadow of the end-time tribulations that are coming.
To start at the beginning of the series, at the first post, then please click here.
Please either listen to the short audio clip above or read the notes below or both at the same time!
Acts 6:15 ‘All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.’
The death of Stephen may have seemed like a defeat but yet it was a victory. The blood of the martyrs upon the earth always brings a victorious harvest. The Church went on to grow from strength to strength.
As I write, the Taliban are continuing their dreadful persecution of the Church in Afghanistan and we continue to pray for our dear brothers and sisters over there. But yet we know that these persecutions, horrific though they may be, will produce a glorious harvest of righteousness in this whole area.
Acts 8:1 ‘And Saul was there, giving approval to Stephen’s death.‘
Saul, who watched by the side, went on to persecute the church even further.
Acts 8:2 ‘Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.’
But yet God had profound plans for Saul, who was to use his Roman name of Paul, and he would be miraculously saved and go on to become a powerhouse of preaching and teaching to the Gentile world.
Acts 9:15 ‘But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man (Paul) is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’
We pray that many ‘Pauls’ will be raised up in Afghanistan!
The Church is called to walk in perfect love and forgiveness. Even though it may seem that the Church is being brought to nothing, nevertheless our faith, the faith of Jesus upon the cross, will ensure the victory of King Jesus who will return in power and glory and destroy the enemy with just one breath!
At times it may appear that the Church will have lost the battle and will be done away with.
Isaiah 60:2 ‘See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.’
We have already seen this principle at work, in China and Iran. Whenever the enemy seeks to bring darkness, the bright light of the gospel of salvation shines ever more brightly!
Jesus knows the troubles that we face but he also knows the victory that is coming.
Tomorrow we explore this victory further. To get there now please click Here.
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