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The ABC's of Martyrdom (3 of 19)
We have been in a series called, ''All In'' it is a part of our larger study of the book of Acts.
We began 3 weeks ago with the promise of the Holy Spirit poured out on the infant church in Jerusalem, empowering them for witness.
Then we saw the powerful act of discipline of Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit.
Last week in small group you guys focused on the first controversy to erupt between members of the church, which was cultural in nature. The church being made up a combination of the more traditional native Hebrews and the Greek speaking Hellenists. The Hellenists raised a concern that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. It is very easy to downplay this controversy but the fact is, if the church didn't get this right they could have sidelined the great commission and for all practical purposes been dead on the launch pad. But they got it right and they identified seven men full of the Spirit and Wisdom, all of whom happened to be Hellenists to oversee the Widow's ministry.
NOW - with that controversy dealt with, the church is positioned well to take the first step in obedience toward the Great Commission. Which will be the calling of a young man named SAUL of TARSUS, who will carry the Gospel light far beyond the area of Jerusalem.
It all begins with the martyrdom of Stephen.
Three times in the book of acts the death of Stephen is identified as the Catalyst that propelled the saints into the mission field with the Gospel (8:1-4; 11:19; 22:20).
At this point in Church History. Jerusalem was the only city on the planet being evangelized. It was as if the great commission had been, ''tarry ye in Jerusalem… rather than, ''Go into all the world in order to make disciples''. The Church wasn't moving. It wasn't because it lacked people, gifts, resources.
The main reason the Church was remaining in Jerusalem was because of an i ...
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