Pastor Barry's "Chapter & Verse" Day 356
December 22, 2017; Acts 7:60; 96/260(II); ‘Falling Asleep’
Acts 7:60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen, who this verse is referring to was a very godly man. The Word says about Stephen that he was full of faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:4). He did great wonders and signs among the people (Acts 6:8). The religious leaders confronted Stephen and disputed with him. His knowledge of the Word was greater than theirs (Acts 6:10). The religious leaders arrested Stephen and when their council looked at him, Stephen had the face of an angel (Acts 6:15). Stephen then gave a very scholarly history of the Jews. Finally Stephen launches into a scathing denunciation of the religious leaders, He told the council that they were just like the religious leaders in the past, accusing them of killing the prophets that foretold of Jesus. and resisting the Holy Spirit. At this point, the furious religious leaders took Stephen outside of the city and stoned him. Saul, soon to become the Apostle Paul, was in charge of the stoning. Stephen, very close to death, responded in a very similar fashion to Jesus on the cross, saying, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59). Then, again just like Jesus, Stephen asked the Lord to forgive those who murdered him. This is the part of the verse I want to major on, Stephen fell asleep. I believe with all of my heart that if you walk close to the Lord, as Stephen did, even in death the power of the Holy Spirit will be so strong that the physical pain will be minimal and physical death will be just like falling asleep. Stephen, was not a minister but he had an incredible walk with the Lord. You choose how close to Jesus you want to be, just like Stephen did.