Chapter Seven — Part One: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 07/11/2021Foundation Scriptures:
1. Accused of Preaching the Gospel.
a. Acts 7:1 KJV — Then said the high priest, Are these things so?
b. Stephen was “arrested” and accused of blasphemy by a self-righteous mob.
c. He was accused of blaspheming God, Moses, the Law, and the temple.
d. Simply because he preached the Gospel—the Good News—that there is salvation through Christ and a New Covenant available to all, by faith.
e. This offended the religious crowd, but it was the Truth.
f. Jesus Himself, proclaimed in Matthew 5:17-18 NKJV: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
g. Any new customs accompanying this New Covenant were for their benefit, but they would not even listen or consider what was preached.
h. They had a long history of defying God by persecuting and killing the prophets and messengers He sent their way—including the Son.
i. Matthew 21:33-41
2. Religious Tradition.
a. The Jews knew about the people and customs connected with their history but did not understand the full spiritual significance of these types and shadows.
b. They performed the rituals without a full understanding of them.
c. Plus, they added many layers of man’s tradition, that were useless, fruitless, and not pleasing to the Lord.
d. Mark 7:6-9 NKJV — He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” 9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
e. Because they were proud, self-righteous, and set tradition ahead of the commandments, no wonder they were offended at everyone who preached Truth to them.
f. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God convicted them of their sin, yet they were unrepentant.
3. Stephen’s Sermon.
a. Stephen preaches a powerful message, showing God’s ultimate plan of salvation through His covenants with their forefathers.
b. The essence of the message is God’s love for them, and His grace extended toward them, even though they were undeserving and unworthy—as are all men, without God.
c. Acts 7:2a KJV — And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken…
d. He addresses them as brothers and fathers—he is a son of Abraham—he both identifies himself as being one of them and caring for them as family.
e. Not only did Stephen have a great knowledge of the Word he also had great revelation of it.
4. The Abrahamic Covenant.
a. The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1).
b. Acts 7:2b KJV — …The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran.
c. The God of Glory—the Glorious, Majestic, and Holy God—Who appeared to Abraham and whose presence lit up the faces of Moses and Stephen!
d. Romans 4:3 KJV — For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
e. God’s covenant with Israel is a covenant based on faith and obedience, instituted apart from the Law and long before it was given.
f. Acts 7:3 KJV — And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.
g. Those who are in covenant with God, are called out of their previous state—out of the world—and are set apart to Him.
h. Following God requires faith and obedience and leaving your old life behind, for a heavenly Kingdom and inheritance.
i. Acts 7:4 KJV — Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
j. Genesis 11:31-32; 12:1,4-5
k. Acts 7:5 KJV - And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.
l. Genesis 12:7; 13:15-16; 17:7-9
m. Abraham fully believed in the promise of God, while there was yet no land and no child or heir.
n. Hebrews 11:8-10 KJV — By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
o. We are the spiritual seed of Abraham!
p. Together with Abraham and all his believing descendants, we look forward to fully inheriting our heavenly home, heavenly city, heavenly
Kingdom, and heavenly reward!
q. Hebrews 11:13-16 KJV — These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
r. 2 Timothy 4:18 KJV — And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.