Chapter Seven — Part Two: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 07/18/2021
1. Redemption Story.
a. Stephen is preaching a powerful sermon of God’s love for Israel, His faithfulness toward them, His covenant with them, and His plan of salvation for all men—through Jesus, Who was One of them.
b. Even though they fought Him, and resisted His will, almost every step along the way.
c. Acts 7:6 AMPC — And this is [in effect] what God told him: That his descendants would be aliens (strangers) in a land belonging to other people, who would bring them into bondage and ill-treat them 400 years.
d. God prophesied to Abraham Israel’s enslavement and oppression in Egypt (Genesis 15:13-14; Exodus 3:12).
e. Acts 7:7 AMPC — But I will judge the nation to whom they will be slaves, said God, and after that they will escape and come forth and worship Me in this [very] place.
f. Exodus 1:1 — Exodus 14:31
g. The nation of Israel sojourned, without a place to call their own, for 430 years—from the time Abraham left Haran in obedience to God, to their exodus from Egypt (Ex. 12:40; Gal. 3:14-17).
h. Acts 7:8 AMPC — And [God] made with Abraham a covenant (an agreement to be religiously observed) of which circumcision was the seal. And under these circumstances [Abraham] became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac [did so] when he became the father of Jacob, and Jacob [when each of his sons was born], the twelve patriarchs.
i. Genesis 17:10-14; 21:2-4; 25:26; 29:31-35; 30:1-24; 35:16-26.
j. The seal of the covenant was circumcision, which began with Abraham and continued from there through the generations (Gen. 12:1-3; 17:9-27).
k. The Jews were very prideful concerning their lineage and heritage, but Stephen reminds them that their ancestors were far from perfect.
l. God’s faithfulness is the important theme, not their righteousness—or lack thereof.
a. Acts 7:9 AMPC — And the patriarchs [Jacob’s sons], boiling with envy and hatred and anger, sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt; but God was with him.
b. The patriarchs—Joseph’s brothers (the ancestors of these who were now persecuting Stephen)—because of envy, sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:17-38; 45:4).
c. The same spirit that drove Joseph’s brothers, was displayed in the Jews who persecuted and crucified Jesus.
d. But—God was with Joseph (Gen. 39:2, 21,23).
e. Acts 7:10 AMPC — And delivered him from all his distressing afflictions and won him goodwill and favor and wisdom and understanding in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
f. Joseph suffered many afflictions, but God delivered him and gave him wisdom, favor, and promotion to the highest office in the land, under the Pharoah (Gen. 41:16-45; Ps. 105:21).
g. Acts 7:11 AMPC — Then there came a famine over all of Egypt and Canaan, with great distress, and our forefathers could find no fodder [for the cattle] or vegetable sustenance [for their households].
h. Genesis 41:14-57; 42:5
i. Acts 7:12 AMPC — But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent forth our forefathers [to go there on their] first trip.
j. Genesis 42:2
k. Acts 7:13 AMPC — And on their second visit Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and the family of Joseph became known to Pharaoh and his origin and race.
l. Genesis 45:1-28
m. The devil, and men with evil motives, will never be able to thwart God’s plans.
n. What Joseph’s brothers meant for evil—God turned around for their good.
o. Genesis 50:20 AMPC — As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.
p. Acts 7:14 AMPC — And Joseph sent an invitation calling to himself Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all.
q. Genesis 45:9-10
r. There are 70 without the 5 sons of Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen. 46:27; Dt. 10:22).
s. Acts 7:15 AMPC — And Jacob went down into Egypt, where he himself died, as did [also] our forefathers.
t. Acts 7:16 AMPC — And their bodies [Jacob’s and Joseph’s] were taken back to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of [silver] money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
u. Genesis 23:6-20; 33:19; 47:30; 49:29; 50:5, 24,25; Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32
v. Joseph believed God’s Word to Abraham about their deliverance from Egypt.
w. Hebrews 11:22 AMPC — [Actuated] by faith Joseph, when nearing the end of his life, referred to [the promise of God for] the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his own bones.
3. Enslavement and Bondage.
a. Acts 7:17 AMPC — But as the time for the fulfillment of the promise drew near which God had made to Abraham, the [Hebrew] people increased and multiplied in Egypt.
b. Whilst they were in Egypt, God blessed them, and they grew from a family into a nation!
c. Acts 7:18 AMPC — Until [the time when] there arose over Egypt another and a different king who did not know Joseph [neither knowing his history and services nor recognizing his merits].
d. Exodus 1:7-22; Psalm 105:25
e. This Pharoah was an Assyrian (Isa. 52:4).
f. The Egyptians were ungrateful, forgetting how Joseph saved their whole nation.
g. They were treacherous and deceitful toward Israel—abusing them mercilessly.
h. Exodus 1:12-14 AMPC — But the more [the Egyptians] oppressed them, the more they multiplied and expanded, so that [the Egyptians] were vexed and alarmed because of the Israelites. 13 And the Egyptians reduced the Israelites to severe slavery. 14 They made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar, brick, and all kinds of work in the field. All their service was with harshness and severity.
i. The more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more God blessed and increased them.
j. God is always faithful to keep His covenant promises to His children.