YEAH! Church - Sunday, August 7, 2022
"Doing Life with Jesus”
Today’s Lesson - “Bad Things Happen to Good People”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u9eN72iFjo (Crossroads Kids’ Club – The Life of Stephen)
The First Christian Martyr
Acts 6:8-7:1, 54-60, NLT
8 Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. 9 But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. 10 None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.
11 So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, “We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.” 12 This roused the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law. So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council.
13 The lying witnesses said, “This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses. 14 We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
15 At this point everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s.
Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these accusations true?” [When Stephen began his explanation he started with their history. But when he accused the religious leaders of killing Jesus, who was the Messiah they had been waiting for, they stopped listening.]…
54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”
57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him 58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.”
Stephen is best known as the first Christian martyr—this means he was the first of Jesus’ followers who was murdered for his faith. The early believers knew that it could be dangerous to follow Jesus, but they were convinced that Jesus was God’s promised rescuer and the Holy Spirit gave them courage. Jesus had warned his followers that people would hate them and even kill some of them, but they were so convinced that Jesus was God that they were even willing to die for him.
• Stephen was a good and wise man. So, why did some of the Jews not like him?
• They made up lies about Stephen to get him in trouble. Where did they take him?
• When Stephen first began his defense, the members of the high council listened. What changed their mind?
• They stoned Stephen to death. How do we know that he forgave them? Who did Stephen see just before he died?
Matthew 24:9, NLT – “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.”
Prayer – Dear God, help us to be courageous like Stephen. Help us always to speak the truth about you and be willing to stand up for you.
~ Pastor Jane
In addition to being a church minister, Pastor Jane is also a trained teacher and has many years of experience working with children in churches, camps, daycares and schools. Parents' Corner is provided to give parents and caregivers support especially as pertains to mental health and related topics.
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