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Stephen: The First Christian Martyr (13 of 18)
Series: Getting Acquainted With People of the New Testament
1. The Ministry of Stephen
a) A Chosen Servant
b) A Committed Servant
2. The Message of Stephen
a) A God Approved Message
b) A God Anointed Message
3. The Martyrdom of Stephen
a) The Grace He Expressed in Death
b) The Glory He Experienced in Death
Tertullian, an early church father, made the enduring statement that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." The foundational years of the Church were stained with the blood of countless faithful souls who paid the ultimate price to be a Christian. Then when we add the unknown number that has given their life for the cause of Christ throughout history the blood of the martyrs is not only the seed of the Church, but also its story.
I have had the opportunity of visiting several sites where believers laid down their life for the cause of Christ. There is no place as moving to the soul as standing on the very ground where Christians were martyred for their faith. It is like standing on holy ground. It is a very humbling experience.
I once visited the town of St. Andrews in Scotland. It is famous for "The Old Course," the oldest golf course in the world. In my opinion, it is not the golf course that makes St. Andrews a special place. It is special because it is the place where faithful saints and servants of God gave their life for their Savior. There are two markers in the town that mark the spot of where two famous Scottish saints were martyred, Patrick Hamilton and George Wishart.
In 1527, the archbishop of St. Andrews, a rigid papist, had Patrick Hamilton arrested. The next day he was put on trial for heresy and sentenced to be put to death that very afternoon. He was carried out and tied to the stake. He burned from noon till 6:00 P.M. His last words were, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." There is a monogram of the letters PH in the cobbleston ...
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