Stephen

Scripture: Acts 6, Acts 7

Study Guide

Full of God’s grace and power, Stephen gives us an image of what it truly means to be like Jesus. In the face of conflict, opposition, and even death, Stephen is willing to sacrifice himself in order to further God’s kingdom. As we hear his story, may we contemplate how we also can live compelling lives of faith.
Application
  1. Every character in this series has been willing to lose something for the cause of Christ. Consider what you are willing to lose for God. How can you hold resources, relationships, and future plans with open hands?

  2. Stephen’s ministry is rooted in his fullness—he is full of God’s Spirit, grace, and power. What are you full of? What are you filling your life with?

  3. The religious leaders who opposed Stephen over-identified with good things (God’s land, law, and temple). What good things are you tempted to over-identify with? Why?

  4. Stephen’s secure identity in Christ gives him freedom to speak God’s truth without the need for man’s approval. How do you struggle with or get victory over fear of man?

  5. What is God calling you to lay down for his kingdom? What concrete steps can you take to move towards his calling?

Key Points
  • In the midst of conflict and dispute, Stephen effectively speaks God’s truth to others. God’s power prevails on the lives of those around Stephen because he is full of the Holy Spirit.

  • Stephen faces opposition with freedom and faith. Likewise, we can be free to take risks for God when we fill our lives with his truth and Spirit.

  • Stephen’s life is marked by a desire to make God’s mission succeed. God uses the sacrifices of his people to move his kingdom forward.

  • Although Stephen is “right” in this moment, he doesn’t cling to justice. Honoring Jesus is much more important than his personal vindication.

  • The ultimate image of God’s love, Jesus has already lived and died for us. Therefore, we are free to live sacrificially and die faithfully for God’s kingdom.

  • True faith will produce a willingness to sacrifice ourselves for God.