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Pastor’s Desk: ‘Acts 7’

Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at 7:05 pm

By Reverend Tyler TeBrink, Cornerstone Baptist Church

How do you share the Gospel? This is a question that many Christians ask. What do you say? How do you say it? Do you talk to strangers or people you know? Is there any kind of lead up or do you come right out and say it? How you answer this question will vary from person to person but one thing we should alway do when considering how to answer such a question is to look to Scripture and see how the Gospel was shared. Cornerstone recently finished up studying through Acts 7 where Stephen, the first Christian martyr preaches a sermon to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. By the end of the sermon, Stephen makes some strong accusations against his accusers and upon first reading what he says in Acts 7:51-53, you might think that Stephen is quite cruel and mean spirited. He calls them “stiff-necked” and calls them murders, accusing them of killing an innocent man (remember, they had Jesus crucified). While these things are true, it may appear that Stephen is being cruel or mean spirited by today’s standards but I want to make sure we understand why Stephen said what he said.

Stephen calls out the Jewish leaders in this way because he wants them to see their sin. If there is no understanding of sin, there is no perceived need for the forgiveness found in Jesus. Since there was a need to understand their sin, Stephen called it out. He pulled no punches and told it like it was. This was not done to hurt their feelings or make them feel bad but instead was done with the heart of redeeming his audience. In hopes that they would see their sin and flee from it. Now, unfortunately they would not see their sin. In fact, they would grow so angry with Stephen that they would drag them out of the city and stone him.

Here’s the point. We cannot tiptoe around sin. We must call out sin when sharing the Gospel. Consider the following example. If a neighbor is asleep in their house and the house is on fire, would you not scream from the outside for them to get out? Would you do all that you could to wake them up, see the danger, and get out? Of course you would. Yet for some reason, not everyone sees sin in such a manner. It’s minimized so that we might not hurt people’s feelings or so they don’t get pushed away. We cannot afford to do such things. As any mature Chrsitian will tell you, the greater you understand your sin, the greater you will love God and the grace you’ve been shown.

So when we share the Gospel, we should give them the whole Gospel. It is insufficient to say “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” This may be true but it isn’t the gospel. God loved Stephen and had a wonderful plan for his life and Stephen was stoned to death, leading to the expansion of the church beyond Jerusalem. When sharing the Gospel, tell them of their sin, tell them of their need for a Savior, and then tell them about that Savior. Tell them about His love and mercy and compassion. How Jesus was without sin, how He took God’s wrath in our place so that we might not bear the punishment we deserve for our sin. Call them to repent, that when they understand who they are before a holy and righteous God, tell them to repent and believe in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. We do all of this, sharing the Gospel, risking offending people, and winning souls for Christ because we first and foremost love God and secondly, we love our neighbor.

To God be the glory.