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Family Group Night | May 26, 2024

COMPANIONS IN GRIEF

 

Read it


Acts 7:59-8:2


(Acts 7) 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.  (Acts 8) 1 And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. (Acts 7:59—8:2)

 

Discover It


Stephen is known as the first martyr of the church, murdered for his faith in Jesus. He was a member of the first group of deacons ever chosen by the church. One day while he was performing great wonders and signs among the people, the religious leaders became jealous of him. They verbally attacked him but were unable to counter his arguments and wisdom. So, then they begin to lie about Stephen, secretly persuading some men to accuse him of speaking blasphemy against the law of Moses. During his trial, these false witnesses testified against him. Then, as Stephen began to speak, he went through the history of Israel mentioning time after time that Israel had turned from God and rejected the godly men of the past, ending his speech with the accusation that even now they had rejected and killed the Messiah, Jesus Christ. When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious. Dragging him out of the city, the crowd began to stone him. As Stephen died, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” falling to his knees and dying as he prayed for Jesus to forgive those who were stoning him. Empowered by this attack, the enemies of Christ began a campaign of persecution in Jerusalem, scattering believers throughout Judea and Samaria. But some godly men, risked their lives to give Stephen a respectful burial, and grieved him greatly.

 


Ask It


1. Why do you think Stephen prayed, “Lord, receive my Spirit,” in verse 59?

 

2. How do you think Stephen was able to pray for the Lord to forgive his tormentors in verse 60?

 

3. Why do you think the Bible records that godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him?

 

Live It


1. Follow the Example of Stephen. He did not shy away from boldly identifying with Jesus Christ and proclaiming his word to others, even at the risk of his life.

 

2. Follow the Example of the Godly Men who took Stephen’s body, possibly risking their own lives to honor this man of God and to give him the dignity of a burial and the honor of mourning for him.

 

3. Follow the Example of Jesus Christ and never fear because he will save and keep you through popularity and persecution; through pleasure and pain; and even through life and death.

 

Pray It


Lord, as I face the trials and challenges of this world, please give me boldness to stand firm in my faith, to be brave in the face of opposition, and to proclaim your truth confidence and love. And help me to always remember your promise in Isaiah 41:10: "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." In the name of Jesus who endured the Cross for my sake I pray, AMEN.

 

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