Sunday School Lesson on Stephen
by Josh Hunt www.joshhunt.com

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Today's goal is to turn jellyfish into lions. There is a reason why the Bible says not many of us should be teachers. Only God can turn jellyfish into lions. But, we can do all things through Christ. Pray that God would empower you to lead your class to being a room full of courageous Christians who are ready to take this world for God. God has told us the gates of hell will not withstand our attack. "God, make us into attackers."

Accountability

Last week we talked about Barnabas-- Mr. Encouragement. Anyone have a chance to write a note, say a word, or make a call of encouragement this week? Did anyone encourage you?

 

Acts 6:8 - 15; 7:54 - 60


OPEN

DIG

  1. As you read the text, look for adjectives that describe Stephen. These can be actual words that come out of the text, or, words that you deduce from reading the text.
  2. Verse 8 says Stephen was full of grace and power. What was involved in this? What does it mean to be full of God's grace and power?
  3. What did Stephen do that seemed to make some people mad at him?
  4. Does serving God always make people mad at you?(1)
  5. If people are mad at me, can I assume I am serving God effectively?(2)
  6. This is a little off the subject, but I just have to ask. As a general rule, are people more effective or less effective in serving God if they have really strong people skills and people tend to like them?(3)
  7. Look at verse 10. How would you evaluate Stephen as an effective arguer?
  8. Is it good to be good at arguing? That is, is it good from God's viewpoint.
  9. What tactic did Stephen's enemies use to defeat him?
  10. Has this ever happened to you. . . you try to make your case and someone just starts lying?
  11. Verse 15 says Stephen's face was like an angel's. How to you imagine this looking?
  12. Acts chapter 7 contains the longest sermon in the book of Acts. Skim over this chapter. What is the general theme of this sermon?(4)
  13. By the way, how long did Stephen have to prepare this message?(5)
  14. Did he just spout off all this detailed Old Testament history off the top of his head?(6)
  15. How well would you do, off the top of your head, in telling the story of the Old Testament?(7)
  16. Verse 51 contains the closing of this sermon. How would you describe "Stephen the man" based on the conclusion of this sermon? What adjectives would you use to describe him?(8)
  17. One mark of Stephen's life that I want us to talk about is that Stephen was courageous. Let's talk about how this relates to you and me. On a scale of one to ten, how courageous are we?
  18. What does it mean to be courageous? What difference would it make in everyday life? Give an example of a situation where courageousness would show up.
  19. Why are Christians not more courageous than they are?
  20. True or False: Courageous people have more fun. They enjoy life more. Life is more exciting for courageous people.
  21. What benefit is it to God that we are courageous. Why does God want us to be courageous?
  22. I want to challenge you to pray a prayer similar to this to God:

God, I want to be more courageous for you. I want to stand up, speak out and be bold you. Show me how. Give me wisdom as you gave Stephen wisdom. Allow me to serve you boldly, while never being needlessly offensive. Empower me to speak the truth in love. Give me an opportunity this week to express boldness for you.


1. Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

John 15:20 Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

2. People sometimes wrongly make this conclusion. I have known many-a person who was "rude for God." The more they offended people, the more righteous they thought they were. This is not God's way. There will be some persecution that comes the way of the righteous. However, we don't need to create our own. What some people call being persecuted for righteousness sake is really just the natural result of being obnoxious.

3. Absolutely, positively we can serve God better if we have better people skills. The number one problem in most churches is that people do not know how to get along with one another.

4. It is a history lesson on Israel. The them is, "God's people often missed God's man." They missed Moses. They missed Joseph. Now, God's people are missing Jesus.

5. Some questions are intended to create conversations. Others are intended to be asked one after another, very quickly. There should not be a lot of pause between these next three questions.

6. Apparently so.

7. One of my goals is that any group I teach for a couple of years would be able to tell the story of the Old Testament from memory. Many of our adults know the stories of the Old Testament, but they do not know the story of the Old Testament.

8. Gutsy is the word that comes to my mind. Courageous. Brave.