Scripture: Acts 7:1-8:2
Memory Verse: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…..” Romans 1:16
Lesson Focus: Even in death Stephen was full of the Spirit and spoke of Jesus! * We need to be bold in telling others about Jesus Activities and Crafts: Introduction: Stephen is the first Christian to be killed for his faith. Stephen is the first martyr. √Do you know what a martyr is? (some one who is killed for what they believe.) Stephen was known for living out his witness. That means that his life and his words matched up!
Illustration: Show the kids a puzzle. Tell them that our life is like these two puzzle pieces. When we say that we believe in Jesus then our life needs to match up to what Jesus was like. When it doesn’t it confuses people. Because we say we believe and then we act a different way. Stephen is the perfect picture of someone who lived the way he believed. He was a witness for Jesus. His life, his words lined perfectly up with Jesus.
* We need to be bold in telling others about Jesus
Bible Lesson: Review: Remind the kids of the lesson two weeks ago from Acts 6. Stephen was a man chosen by the apostles to help with the needs of the growing Christian community.
√ How did the Bible describe Stephen?
a man full of faith (Acts 6:5) (he trusted in God alone!)
a man full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5) (he was led by God)
full of power ( Acts 6:8)
did many miracles (Acts 6:8) (because Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit he was powerful. God did many wonders through Stephen. We are not told specifically
spoke in wisdom and the Spirit (Acts 6:10)
his countenance looked like an angel (Acts 6:15)
Now the “religious” leaders set up “false witnesses” against Stephen. In other words people who would tell lies. The lies they told where:
Stephen speaks “blasphemous” words against the holy place and the law
They said that Stephen said that Jesus would destroy the temple and change the law that Moses gave to them.
Stephen is asked if these things are true.
Stephen answers by giving a sermon:
Stephen knows his Bible history and the history of his people. Stephen will speak against the three things that the church leaders put their faith in.
He will let them know that they should put no confidence in any of these things. Their faith in God is not based on these three things. Their faith in God should be based on who God is.
√ Where does Stephen start? (With Abraham)
√ Why do you think that Stephen started there? (Because this is the place where all Jews trace back their heritage….it all begins with father Abraham.)
Acts 7:2-50 Stephen’s Defense – it all begins with Abraham!
Moses flees Egypt, and 40 years later God appears to Moses and calls him to return and to get the Jewish people out of Egypt.
God leads his people out of Egypt by doing many miracles.
Moses prophecies of the coming Messiah (Jesus) in Acts 7:37. Look at Matthew 17:5.
Moses received the law from God on Mount Sinai.
The Jewish people rejected God by asking for Aaron to make them gods.
Joshua followed Moses and took them into the promise land.
David found favor with God, but was not allowed to build the temple. His son Solomon built the temple.
√ Why does 7:48 stand out? God makes a point to say that God does not dwell in a building. The temple was so important to the Jewish people that many times they focused on the beautiful building and not on God.
Stephen then quotes 2 Old Testament passages to emphasize the fact that God does not dwell in a building.
2. You guys might be circumcised but your heart and your ears are not. You take care of stuff outwardly, but you don’t take care of your hearts. That means that their heart and mind are far from really living for God.
3. You resist the Holy Spirit. (They resist God speaking to them and calling them. They are not sensitive to hear from God.) They have too much pride.)
4. You are just like the Jewish “fathers” before you. They did not listen and killed the prophets that came to speak for God and to tell us of the coming of Jesus.
Stephen told them that they were guilty of the same thing that their Ancestors where guilty of. Their ancestors killed the prophets that came to tell them about God and now they killed Jesus who was the Messiah and who was greater than any of God’s prophets.
Stephen was bold and told the truth. He was not afraid to speak truth!
* We need to be bold in telling others about Jesus
Jesus standing at the right hand of God (this is the only place in Scripture that we are told that Jesus is standing at the right seat of God. Every where else the Bible says that Jesus sits at the right hand of God. Do you think that this is important?
Stephen describes what he sees out loud
Even in Stephens death there was beauty. The heavens where opened up and he saw Jesus.
Acts7:57-8:2The Death of Stephen!
√ What did they do to Stephen? (ran at him and took him out of town to stone him to death.)
√ What does 7:58 tell us? (That a young man named Saul was there and that they laid their coats at Saul’s feet)
√ Who else prayed this prayer? (Jesus)
Stephen is the first of many who would die for their faith. After Stephen die the Church as persecuted (that means that people where trying to hurt and kill them.) The Church scattered too many different areas.
Conclusion and Application:
We need to be bold in telling others about Jesus. We need to share Jesus and not be afraid of others and what they think of us. This does not mean that we do it in an unkind way, because that would not be showing the love of Jesus.
Our life needs to match up with Jesus. If we say we believe then we need to be studying the Bible, filled with the Holy Spirit and be connected to Jesus.