The Death Of Stephen
Acts 7:55: But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man*s feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God BEFORE he was stoned and before he knew he was about to die. When he did know that he was going to die he prayed similar prayers to Jesus* prayers when He died on the cross.
Luke 23:34: Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
After Stephen seen the glory of God and prayed I notice that he had no concern for himself. He kneeled down and prayed for those who stoned him. When we are fretting about ourselves and doubt our own salvation we have little concern for others. When we have received Jesus, are studying the Bible and serving God we will have great assurance of our own salvation and will be concerned about the salvation of others and will pray for them. It is very important that we are certain of our own eternal destiny.
There is a progression in salvation we should desire. We receive Jesus, He makes us children of God, gives us the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit communicates with us that we are children of God, we are given a desire for the Bible, we serve the Lord, we know we are on our way to Heaven and we are given a concern for the eternal destiny of others.
John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Galatians 4:6: And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Romans 8:16: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Isaiah 32:17: And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
1 John 5:13: These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Stephen had preached to those who stoned him and the apostle Paul had a burden for others long before he was martyred and we should.
Romans 9:3: For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
When King David had assurance of his salvation he also had great concern for the eternal destiny of others.
Psalms 51:12: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
If we do not have a concern for the souls of others, we are not right with God and we are not like David, Stephen, Paul or Jesus.