biblestudy: Acts (Part Nine)
Acts 7-8 Martyrdom of Stephen; Peter's Encounter with Simon Magus
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 08-Nov-88; Sermon #BS-AC09; 80 minutes
Stephen's incendiary message to fellow Hellenistic Jews (ostensibly given in hopes of their repentance) chastened them for their perennial rejection of prophets and deliverers, including the greatest Deliverer ever sent (namely Jesus Christ). The Jews clung to the land, the law, and the temple. Stephen's martyrdom and his compassion on his persecutors, followed by the protest reaction against his brutal murder (all part of God's divine plan), resulted in a rapid spreading of the Gospel. Simon Magus was a noted practitioner of sorcery or magic who became impressed with the power of God's Holy Spirit, presumptuously offering Peter money to purchase this power for selfish purposes to control others rather than to serve them. Peter recognized the hypocritical, deceitful, impure motives of this request and responded appropriately.
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