Showing posts from January 7, 2017

15. Total surrender makes a total impact on others

I speculated in the last couple of articles that Peter influenced Stephen in his sermons. However, it is without a doubt that Stephen in his final and fatal sermon to the Sanhedrin as recorded in Acts 7 influenced a Pharisee named Saul who later became Paul.
     Compare Stephen’s sermon to one of Paul’s first recorded sermons found in Acts 13:10 and following, and you will find numerous similarities. Even though the young Saul was heartily in agreement with the stoning (“Here, let me watch your coat to help you hurl stones at this blasphemer”), Stephen’s sermon, his countenance and his vision of Jesus standing at the right hand of God surely haunted the converted Paul.
Tertullian said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, meaning that the killing of Christians in an attempt to stamp them out actually emboldens the church to grow stronger. But it you and I do not have to die for our faith in order to embolden its growth (at least I sure hope not!). A sacrificial …