【Bible Study】Acts 07: Telling The Truth Brings Persecution


After Stephen gave his speech, he was killed. We must look at this story from different angles, we cannot simply accept that this story is taken at face value. The author of Acts wanted to make a point. We are not even sure that Luke was even there for Stephen's testimony, but this section needed to prove a point. His point was this: those who speak the truth are persecuted. We see it in the truth, in government, in many of our careers. This thing is universal.

Many things are beyond our understanding. Last chapter we talked about management and understanding God. But we must not only focus on understanding God, but on human nature. Human nature is flawed. I have an inherently negative perception of human nature. Because of this understanding, I look at people from a realistic viewpoint, not a pessimistic one. Don't be self-righteous, thinking humans are something when they are not.

To manage, you must understand the real human nature

If people don't go the right way, or think that they are always right, how terrible would that be? Paul, when he was Saul, wasn't good either. In fact, he approved of the stoning of Stephen, a person who spoke the truth. How sinister, people who believed in God and killed his son. I have a deep understanding of human nature, but I give them enough grace. However, in the end, I am disappointed.

The High Priest who killed Stephen was the one who also killed Jesus. Luke's writing of Stephen's speech was to convey the idea that humans aren't much.

Stephen said that the Israelite's forefathers sold Joseph into slavery because Joseph spoke the truth. It doesn't matter if you are part of the twelve tribes, or the twelve apostles, human nature is the same. Joseph told them the truth; saying that he had various dreams and telling his brothers to his father. People don't think that snitching is good, but there is no inherent problem with telling the truth.

The problem is that Joseph himself was a very spiritual person. A person who can speak the truth will speak it. The forefathers were jealous of Joseph and sold him into slavery. But God was with him. Although those in Egypt wanted to harm Joseph, they could not.

Moses was also born to slaves in Egypt but became the son of an Egyptian princess. Moses saw an Egyptian kill an Israelite, and he killed the Egyptian. But the next day, he saw two Israelites fighting amongst themselves. Moses wanted to control them, but the Israelites were not very happy with Moses. How was Moses supposed to manage these people? He was forced to flee.

When Moses was eighty years old, God sent him to Egypt to save the Israelites. But they reacted with mocking and rejection of Moses. This job is not easy to do. Moses, with the power of God, saved the Israelites, who in their hearts were still loyal to Egypt. Stephen talked about the truth of the human nature. People are just like this! Building a church today is the same. The people are still the same.

I also questioned the purpose of starting a church myself. I decided that this church would bring in people who loved God. If you don't, what are you doing here? Leave! Human nature is already difficult to deal with.

After the Israelites made the golden calf, God turned his face away from them.

42 But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon, and stars. This agrees with what is written in the oook of the prophets: “‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel? 43 You have taken up the tabernacle of Molek and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Babylon. (Acts 7:42-43)

In the end, Stephen summarized his point in this truth:

51 You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it. (Acts 7:51-53)

Those who heard him were furious because the truth is hard to hear. How can the truth be easy and pleasing? Does the church speak in this way today?

People must know that starting a church, you must understand human nature. If you don't put human energy into good things, then they will find other, worse, channels to put their time into.

People don't think they have problems

If people knew they had issues, they would change themselves. Even after all the grace and help I give to people, if I give them an ounce of truth, they will quickly disappear. Human nature is inherently wicked.

If you think you have problems, then you don't. This job is very tiring, but I must tell everyone for their benefit. Any problem is hard to solve. If you don't think you have any, I must tell you that you do.

Can we change our view? If your problems weren't solved by stripping yourself to the bone, in the right circumstances, it will show its ugly head again! The forefathers of Israel did the same thing. If I see you doing the wrong thing, I will tell you the truth, not mislead you.

People like to complain about their problems even before they try to solve them. There is no work done, but only complaining. If your floors and washrooms aren't clean, do those first. Today, the church has attracted a lot of terrible people through Peter. The people we have now are the same as the Israelites who came out of Egypt, like those who helped Nehemiah build the temple. If you are waiting for change, you will have to wait forever.

Introspection is like refining gold. Search yourselves and find the problems and solutions. If you didn't do it right, learn how to do it right! How hard is it to find this result? People are stupid in this way. They believe in a set of lies.

It is hard to change a person's rooted beliefs

If you want to buy a horse, you look at its mother. If you buy a pig, you look at its mother. So, look at the person's mother. If they have problems, how can you not have problems? I think you must be very similar.

A person's deep-rooted character comes from their upbringing. They always think that the way they are raised must always be the only right way. I am saying that it is very hard to change a person's fundamental beliefs. I must remind people of this. Don't think that the way you grew up is the right way. A person's inherent beliefs are always created by a person's geographical limitations. There is no inherent human nature that is predetermined.

From birth, always change your understanding of human nature, of the world, of God. The Israelites never changed their ways. How stiff-necked are you?

How wicked are people? Some people think that they are inherently people who can only study the humanities, or science and math. If you are bad at humanities, you will be in a lot of trouble because that's the only thing you believe you can do.

If we are not careful, we might murder Jesus again. This is from Hebrews. So what can we do? We must change ourselves from the bone, and must always update ourselves. We cannot live in our preset beliefs. Everything we know and understand we must question and challenge. There is so much stupidity in people. From constant change, adjustments, and management, we must come out of ignorance and understand the will of God for our lives. Without a destiny and a purpose, how can we be blessed?

Come out of your set beliefs and come into God's purpose. Get rid of the desires of the flesh.

Saul also rejoiced in killing those who spoke the truth

Saul was trained under Gamaliel and studied theology. But everything Stephen said, he did not understand. Who does not know the history of Israel? But Saul already had a predetermined conception of these people; they disobeyed and challenged the law of Moses. How wicked? It is because they preach a Jesus that is not Moses.

Could they not investigate the truth for themselves without blindly stoning the bearer of the truth?

Has the church fallen into the same trap?

They have fooled themselves. Even Saul, trained under Gamaliel, fell into the same trap. It is because they are always right, and faultless.

I am very worried that the church has fallen into the same trap. If we have, it will be very hard to change. We must always speak the truth. Later, Saul changed his name to Paul, saying this:

You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. (Acts 20:20)

He completely changed, from the bone. God blinded him with a bright light, and after prayer, scales fell from his eyes. People's eyes are always blinded to the truth. As ministers, we cannot live under falsehood.

Will the church fall into the same trap? Of course, there is no question. People hate to hear the truth. People are very interesting. They cannot hear simply the facts without applying their own beliefs to them.

They are also very shallow, saying that they love each other, but when it comes to actions, they quickly fall away. Understand that the church has fallen into the same pit. A person who is a shepherd must be a good one. Those who are being ministered must build themselves up, not build walls around themselves.

Brothers and sisters, you must be very careful. We must walk this path of changing ourselves from the bone. If your mother is a picky person, you might not be far off. Understand that our fundamentals must come from the word of God.

Don't be stiff-necked people

We must not take the road of being stiff-necked. What we grew up believing is false. The only thing that we can keep is what remains after being quenched by the fire of the Holy Spirit.

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