Chapter Six — Part Four: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 07/04/2021
a. Acts 6:8 KJV — And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
b. Stephen had strong faith and proved the Gospel to be the Truth by working miracles in Jesus’ Name.
c. Verse 5 says that Stephen was full of faith and the Holy Ghost, and verse 8 says that he was full of faith and power.
d. When you are full of the Holy Ghost, you should be full of Holy Ghost power!
e. This is promised—and available—to every believer.
a. Acts 6:9 AMPC — However, some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (freed Jewish slaves), as it was called, and [of the synagogues] of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of those from Cilicia and [the province of] Asia, arose [and undertook] to debate and dispute with Stephen.
b. They were Hellenist Jews.
c. Some of these were Jews who were enslaved, and then later released, by the Romans.
d. They had built their own synagogues in Jerusalem.
e. Sometimes when people have a chip on their shoulder, they tend to be more defensive and more easily offended.
f. They overreact when they feel attacked or slighted—or when they cannot win an argument.
g. They refuse to listen to reason—even when they are obviously proven wrong.
h. Their spiritual eyes were blinded by the devil and their own sin (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 2:11).
i. They could not support their own arguments, nor could they answer Stephen.
j. Acts 6:10 AMPC — But they were not able to resist the intelligence and the wisdom and [the inspiration of] the Spirit with which and by Whom he spoke.
k. Jesus promised (in Luke 21:15): “I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.”
l. They could not resist or withstand the anointing on Stephen, or God’s wisdom in his mouth, so they chose to use physical force to get rid of him.
3. Liars and Murderers.
a. Acts 6:11 KJV — Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
b. Suborned (Greek: hupoballo) means: To throw or put under; to suggest to the mind; to instruct privately, instigate, to bribe or induce (someone) unlawfully or secretly to perform some misdeed or commit a crime; to induce (a person esp. a witness) to give false testimony.
c. Acts 6:11 AMPC — So they [secretly] instigated and instructed men to say, We have heard this man speak, using slanderous and abusive and blasphemous language against Moses and God.
d. They bribed unscrupulous men to give false witness concerning Stephen.
e. They had no excuse for this behavior—proving themselves to be liars, murderers, and children of the devil, as Jesus proclaimed (John 8:44).
a. When you preach the Word, flow in the Holy Spirit, and contend for the supernatural, you can expect persecution—but great is your reward.
b. Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV — Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
c. John 15:20-23 NKJV — Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also.
a. Acts 6:12-14 NKJV — And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. 13 They also set up false witnesses who said, “This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.”
b. These men stirred up all the troublemakers they could find, as well as the Jewish leadership, who were perfectly willing to believe their lies.
c. They violated every one of their own laws, when they arrested Stephen and bribed false witnesses; just as they had with Jesus.
d. They broke the very Law they accused Stephen of slandering and blaspheming.
6. The Glory of God.
a. Acts 6:15 AMPC — Then all who sat in the council (Sanhedrin), as they gazed intently at Stephen, saw that his face had the appearance of the face of an angel.
b. As they gazed intently at Stephen, they saw the glory of the Lord shining on his face.
c. Just like Moses’ face shone, when he returned from the presence of God after receiving the Law and Commandments (Ex. 34:29-35; 2 Cor. 3:7).
d. Everyone witnessed Stephen’s face shining like an angel—proof that God’s hand was upon him, and that he spoke the Truth.
e. You would have thought that this would have caused them to pull back and reconsider; but instead, they proceeded in their attack against Stephen.
f. As the saying goes: There are none so blind as those who will not see.
g. These are the same types of people who keep asking for another miracle before they will believe.
h. Yet they will never be able to receive anything God has for them because of their hard hearts and unbelief (Heb. 3:19; 4:6).