Gave His All
Going through Acts – last time deacons
Felt everyone wonderfully responded
Were mighty men of God. Going to highlight one today, at least how he died
His name means “Victor’s Crown” First martyr, something to it?
We are told he was a man full of God’s grace and did great wonders
Are you hungering to be that person?
We have been stressing God’s blessings lately, today the ultimate blessing on
To give Him everything!
As mentioned, Stephen was a mighty man of God
He was arrested in chapter 7 before Sanhedrin summarizes the whole OT (A
few chapters do this)
Before this in chapter 6, opposition to him, presented false witnesses
Just like Jesus
They lied about him, said he never stopped speaking against the Temple and
Not just a few, but a whole team of men who hated him
His face glowed like an angel
These men saw Stephen’s great courage, from the Holy Spirit
Chief characteristic of an angel’s countenance not beauty, but brightness
Like Moses and veil before God
Where did Stephen get this courage? In persecution, God gives extra grace,
Stephen has so much, so could see it in his face
He stood up to everything they said, as Jesus had promised
Don’t worry about what you’ll say, it will given to you. (LK 12:11-12
After long speech, he laces into them about idol worshippers!
A mob scene erupts. Had no right to kill him.
They gnashed their teeth at him.
A dog shows his teeth, back off
Show other picture of dog teeth
Description of stoning
I wasn’t there, but from readings, reported from Jewish historians
Dragged out of town, to elevated place
Thrown into a pit, twice a man’s height, where it might break his back
Witness (had to be a witness, dropped on his chest-heart
Other witnesses would finish them off
Other forms person in a pit up to thier chest where they couldn’t use thier
Isn’t that horrible, well, no- Stephen is granted this awesome vision of Jesus
standing in heaven
He said as the Son of Man- Daniel 7
Jesus’s favorite expression of Himself
Hardly every used by someone else
This will anger them more, since it’s a Messianic phrase they knew of
Much should be made of this
In every other verse the King Sits on His throne
He is standing to plead Stephen’s cause before God.
He welcomes into His glory, maybe with tears in His holy eyes!
Shows there is no in between time. Rock kills, boom instant with Jesus
His last words were a prayer for himself and he begged God to forgiven his
executioners just like jesus at His death
Today I want to highlight two other great martyrs of the church and call to give
your entire life to Jesus
in the year 155 a Bishop of the church named Polycarp, gave his life for Christ
His name means “Much Fruit” many fruits, fruitful
He was a disciple of the apostle John
He was an old man, at least 86, arrested by the proconsul of Smyrna for
Not against God
But Caesar had declared himself god and demanded people declare this
Polycarp naturally refused
Before we tell the story, he was given a vision of himself in flames
Jesus said to him, “Polycarp, Play the man”
Centuries later, two Reformed followers of Christ were burned alive in Oxford
England, one Latimer and the other Ridley
Latimer turned to Ridley, Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light
such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.
He was arrested and stood in packed stadium
Everyone there will be under judgment -careful what you watch!
Proconsul didn’t want to persecute old man, so Polycarp taunted him for the
privilege of being like Jesus
All he to say was to Greek word, Karios Kurios, (Caesar is Lord)
He would rather choke on his words
Proconsul had wild beasts to tear him piece, had been outlawed
Sometimes Lions would be afraid of the Crowds and the Christians wanting
to die for Him, would taunt the lions, Come on pussy cat!
They knew of Stephen’s crown and wanted it!
Polycarp, “Bring em on!”
He was told he’d been burned at the stake
He said, you threaten me with flames that only last an hour,
But you face the fires of God’s judgment that will never go out!
Once more the Proconsul, tried to made it easier, simply say, “Away with the
Polycarp, sense of humor, said, to the pagan crowds, “Away with the atheists!
He looked at the proconsul in all his pomp and said the famous words, “For 6
years and 80 I have served Christ and He has never forsaken me, so how Can I
He was led the stake on the fire pyre
Were going to nail him to stake
He said, No need, same God will help me to endure the flames
They instead tied him
History tells us, a fierce wind came and so the flames didn’t touch him
Executioner became so frustrated he dug his spear into Polycarp’s heart
He died and instantly stood before a Standing Jesus, Welcome, fruitful one
into My joy
Those two stories happened centuries ago
I wish I could say it never happens, but more have been killed from their faith
in past years than before
Pastors killed, families separated and people severely damaged
One brave High Schooler named Rachel Joy Scott tasted persecution (13)
April 20, 1999, Columbine Colorado a date that will live infamy , two students
killed 12 students, 1 teacher and wounded 23, before killing themselves
They spent months and month carefully planning this terrible day
Rachel was 16 years of age. A Christian who had previously struggled with her
In last days she gave a Christian backbone, though she was laughed at.
She was an artist and a writer, her works are still used in some HS’s
One that day, Eric Harris and Dale Klebod approached Rachel and another
student, whom she was witnessing to.
School was almost out, so they thought it was a prank
They two were shot, but not yet killed
The other student, pretended to die, she was in pain but alive
They came up to her and said, “Well, where is your God now? “
The other shooter mocked, “What would Jesus do?”
Eric asked her, “Do you believe in God now?”
She could have crossed her fingers and lied, asking God for forgiveness
Didn’t Peter deny the Lord?
Never! Matthew 10:33 (14)
Had she lied and been spared?
She be around 36 today
Probably happily married, with several godly kids
Someday she would die and enter into Jesus’s Presence, with Him sitting on
His glorious throne, “Well done, Rachel, enter into my joy.”
OR- Now you tell me which is better?
Watch Pureflix’s show- won’t see the final shot (15)
But here’s what really happened, she said, “You know I do.” she heard the
blast, in a millisecond she was in His presence, with Jesus Standing, with tears in
His eyes, “WELCOME My Beloved Rachel, come see your high reward!
The funeral was seen on TV by millions
Others will be stronger
One last thing
The movie, I am Not Ashamed, though very powerful, left me with something I
As I watched the movie, from time to time the actress who played Rachel,
looked older, 23!
Who cares? World of difference between a 16 year old and 23 year
She stood up for Jesus as a young teen, can’t you?
Do I think you will be killed for Christ?
Maybe, but start by dying to self
By getting a Christian Backbone
Seek the Spirit-Filled Life
Fill your with the Word, Daily
Give Him everything, Make Him your no.1 goal, desire and joy!
If you don’t know Him
If you have treated Him half-heartily, I urge you throw yourself on this altar
Say, God show me how to live this life for You.