What Are You Willing To Die For?
Every day 13 Christians are martyred worldwide.
12 churches are seized.
12 Christians are unjustly arrested.
5 are abducted every day.
1 in 8 Christians is facing persecution around the globe.
If the modern-day church has a chance to survive then we must break away from the man-centered gospel that idolizes popularity, political correctness, and denies the power of the cross and resurrection.
Acts 7: The story of Stephen, the newly appointed servant to widows
Stephen consciously decides to abandon all forms of self-protection and turn his day in court into an opportunity to confront the most wicked politicians and religious leaders of his day.
We might say he decided to drain the swamp. Stephen decided to turn the tables on the entire Sanhedrin court. He ain't worried about his reputation. He's focused on exalting the truth - no matter the cost.
The Sanhedrin was made up of a men's-only self-righteous religious police. They were like our "Washington Elite", a superior-minded group of people who are dedicated to imposing their way of life on others. The elected religious leaders of that day were proud of how they crushed people and canceled the voice of radicals. They saw themselves as protecting the nation, but in reality, they were strangling the life out of the people.
What was the charge against Stephen?
They claimed he blasphemed both God and Moses.
But, they had no eyewitnesses, only false testimony, and hear-say about Stephen.
It is like the cancel culture today.
They can say that you are doing something illegal or wrong, but they do not need evidence.
They just need a fake testimony against you. They smear you with lies, accusations, and distorted media coverage before you can give a defense.
The reality was Stephen was doomed from the beginning.
Stephen had several strikes against him.
First, he was an outspoken, bold, and fearless man who today we would probably label as a fanatic; a rebel.
Second, he was from the wrong side of the tracks, a Hellenist Jew which meant that his first language was Greek. While this was the norm outside of Judea, in Jerusalem it was frowned upon by the Holy Land Jews. It seems all but certain that he was also a Samaritan - a people group that was despised and rejected by the mainstream Jewish community.
Third, he was a believer in Yeshua as Messiah.
Think about it Stephen was undesirable to the elite ruling class of the Jews because: