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Stephen: The First Martyr

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
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August 13, 2020 8:00 am

Stephen: The First Martyr

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 13, 2020 8:00 am

Too frequently we hear news stories about the persecution of our brothers and sisters. We are thankful for our safety while were both saddened and horrified by such news. Yet we must remember that Christianity began in unjust persecution. Listen as Dr. Boice challenges us with the story of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, and encourages us to fight the good fight in our own trials.

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Far too frequently we hear new stories about the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ were thankful for our safety while were both saddened and horrified by such news. Yet we must remember that Christianity began in unjust persecution. Let's listen now is Dr. James Boyce challenges us with the story of Stephen the first Christian martyr and encourages us to fight the good fight in our own trials. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Everyone wants justice and fairness. However, were often confronted with discrimination all sorts of injustice. Some people are falsely accused because of fear work playing wicked hatred. We do what we can to treat people justly, but we soon learn life isn't fair. This week we see a grim example of injustice in acts chapter 7 the account of the first Christian martyr Stephen a follower of Christ who was falsely accused and put to death unjustly. Let's listen now is Dr. Boyce teaches about Stephen, the first Christian martyr turn with eight of the seventh chapter of acts. This great chapter from the early portion of the book of acts contains the sermon or oration of Stephen before the Sanhedrin is the longest chapter. Certainly the longest sermon in the book and it's a great one. I was thinking about teaching at denied.

I was wondering if it could be considered and parts would be nice to be able to break up yet.

It didn't seem quite proper to do that.

It's a whole survey of the history of Israel making certain points that are particular to the case and so it's appropriate to treat it all together and that's what I'd like to do now. Stephen as you know is the first martyr first Christian martyr martyr is not merely a Christian who dies. Of course one of dies for the sake of his witness, which is what the word martyr means a gun from the Greek word marchers which means to witness or to bear testimony. So Stephen Moore testimony to his Lord and his because of his testimony that he was put to death. We saw when we were looking at the six chapter of action which is introduced for the first time that he is presented both there and in this chapter as a model disciple of the Lord Jesus just essays like you in all important respects. He was like Jesus Christ and his character resolve that because involved in the very essence of what it means to be a deacon. Is this idea of service. Jesus Christ was the great conservatee was the pattern for all our service.

Jesus, we may put it in these terms, was the first deacon. He said you seen how I Sergio that's the way you want to serve one another and so in this first order of service in the church after the apostles was created. It was as order of the diaconate. Stephen excelled in this and so the character of Jesus Christ was seen in and that's one reason why he was chosen and then secondly, not only was he, like Jesus Christ in his character. He was also like Lord Jesus Christ his master and his ministry. I showed you that there is an interesting comparison. At that point between what is said of Stephen in chapter 6, verse eight man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people and what a set of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Luke 24 verse 19.

Eric said of Jesus.

He was a prophet powerful in word and deed before God and all the people so that's very likely a deliberate reference, especially since Luke is the author of both books so there we have a clear teaching that he was like Jesus Christ, not only in his character, but also in his ministry. And then thirdly, and most significantly from the point of view of the chapter were going to study was like the Lord Jesus and his death. His trial was very similar to that of Christ. The accusations are virtually identical except on the point of Christ, having claimed to be God and all of the other particulars with the same and when he finally was let out to be executed. The comments came from his lips were direct imitation of the standard that is supported by Lord. He said forgive them on hold to their charge.

I don't know what they're doing and he said or Jesus Christ, receive my spirit. The Lord said, father, into thy hands I commend my spirit so that all these respects. This is the way in which were to look at Stephen you want to know what it is to be a good Christian want to know what it is to live in a way that honors God and is pleasing to him.

Here's a model, as Stephen shows us what that really means being faithful even unto death. Now he saw that part about him. This is the chapter in which he gives his defense before the Sanhedrin before we look at it in its particulars. Let's look at it in general just thinking about some of the characteristics of this defense first place. It's not actually a defense. Stephen, as we read this is not dealing immediately, at least not point by point with the accusations that had been made against me doesn't even answer them. Peter earlier when he was called before the Sanhedrin did answer them directly into the point Stephen doesn't do that I'm going to show you that he actually doesn't like imprints. As he goes along seem to be doing that in studies getting a history of the people of Israel, something which Jewish people are always anxious to hear the Sanhedrin, at least at the beginning was certainly willing to hear it in his hands is rehearsal of the history of his people.

Parents not so much to do a defense of himself when accusation of the Sanhedrin. So in a very skillful way as he rehearses the people he turns the whole situation around your seat.

By the time he gets through with his speech is not Stephen that's on trial at the Sanhedrin and they show themselves to be guilty by moving against Stephen to kill him in exactly the same way they earlier and moved against the Lord Jesus Christ. Let's first thing we notice.

Secondly, in general, we notice of the speech is not all like the speech of Peter Peter when he stood up on Pentecost. Later we had an opportunity to preach before the Sanhedrin had a simple way of proceeding he would quote a verse of Scripture and the need explain what it meant to quote another verse of Scripture and I need explain what that meant, and so on.

And he did it with such balance when you add up all the verses almost half-and-half have Scripture half explanation and application. Stephen doesn't seem to do that at all. Although this is very biblical in a sense, it's entirely biblical. It's the Old Testament story, but really quoting verses as he goes along. The certainly not explaining the verses as he goes along. Just telling the story is only toward the end that T begins to bring in some texts quoting. First of all, from Amos five verses 25, 27, and then the 66 chapter of Isaiah.

Something else is noticeable about that when you contrasted with Peter's sermons to remember what Peter was concerned to do is preach Jesus throughout and in his resurrection, crucified and raised from the dead, you don't find that in Stephen speech Novi Jesus mentioned all until you get to the very end of the event is not mentioned by name is only called that righteous one. And Stephen doesn't even mention the resurrection that thing that had been so prominent early on I said he doesn't set out to answer the accusations that are made against them. Yet, as I said when you look at it closely, by inference, he does do that along the way.

The sermon is a number of parts easy to identify either number versus the deal. Abraham and versus a deal with Joseph that a large major section that deals with Moses and then a section that contrasts the wilderness tabernacle with the temple in Jerusalem, and finally a summation which he makes his accusation. Now the section that deals with Moses really answers the first of the charges were made against it accused him of blasphemy against Moses against God when he talks about Moses always not countering it directly.

What he really is doing is answering that charge, and when he gets to the discussion of the tabernacle and the temple.

He's really answering the charge of blasphemy against God, which had to do with the destruction of the temple. He does that in a very brilliant way. One more thing in an introductory fashion. You have to remember here that Stephen was among those Greek speaking Christians that were chosen to be the deacons say was a Hellenist has a Greek name. He represented that faction in the church and that is perhaps why things are treated this way. Stephen seems to a perceived with a brilliance that surpasses that of the apostles anticipates the keen insight that was later given to the apostle Paul, is that the old order of things that the Jews, including the apostles so highly cherished was passing away. This becomes particularly clear when he talks about the temple although it was cherished by the Jews. They love that temple when it was destined to pass away, and he saw that and so in that sense you see this speech. Chapter 7 by the Hellenistic, Christian, Jewish, Christian, Stephen is a transition speech that paves the way for the opening of the door to the Gentiles as the gospel moves beyond Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and eventually to the whole Roman world is no accident, not respected in the eighth chapter, we find immediately after this that churches scattered in the gospel begins to spread into Samaria so those of the introductory remarks. Now let's look at it and because we can look at every single verse.

Let's look at what it is.

Stephen emphasizes this first section of the section that deals with Abraham versus one through eight. All sorts of things that Stephen could've said about Abraham's long long section of the book of Genesis that gives Abraham story and was known to every Jew.

We could certainly have referred anything in that and he does refer in passing through a great deal.

What is at the emphasizes one way of answering that question is to contrast what he says here the details of what he says here with what we know from Genesis is what is a bring in that we don't know any other way. One thing we know, we find right at the beginning when he says, brothers and fathers listen to. May the God of glory appear to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia before the live inherent very explicit that is something quite different than the impression that we would get merely by reading your early chapters of Genesis, we seem to be told in Genesis is that God appeared to Abraham when he was inherent what Stephen is saying here is that God appeared Abraham even before he got a haircut is what he was in Mesopotamia I use a bullet in the world is that matter just doesn't seem to be important it does in the context of this address, because love are going to find not only here but elsewhere, particularly in the case of Moses is an emphasis upon the fact that God is the God of lawn limited geographical locality. One place but he is gone all the world and he reveals himself in other places besides Palestine is very important in that context for Steve and will be gone by saying that God revealed his glory to Abraham's. First of all, when Abraham was in Mesopotamia back that he mentions the God of glory, appearing to Abraham was also new in Genesis were told that God spoke to Abraham and said certain things are Stephen Nance. This additional information. God appeared to him.

It's not just as if Stephen was there and God perhaps for Mount Zion. Many hundreds and hundreds of miles away were shouting to him still come over here. I want you to come to Palestine. It was not all gone doing right there in Mesopotamia in all his glory and revelation of the God was a God of all races Gentiles as well is the Jews as a God.

Abraham began to follow so that significant when he can start about his time in Canaan. He emphasizes it seems today that Abraham remade the Pilgrim even there is even though this was a land that God was giving him an landing eventually did get them, and in which the temple was built. The people did settle mentions that later on very rapidly as the father of the nation. This was just land through which he was passing didn't even own any of the ground and the land says Stephen. He was a Pilgrim even in the holy land meant as a rebuke to these subtle religious leaders say they were in the land. The God given all that was important was a blessing to be had they just weren't home in the lab. They were just enjoying that for themselves and they have forgotten that spiritual dimension. The characterized Abraham. Abraham O as we are told in Hebrews didn't look for an abiding earthly city heavenly city that would last forever. It was a true Pilgrim a Pilgrim and heart and that's with these rulers that ceased to be taken as so many religious people do the things of the world and the blessings of the world and they have said all these are from God, and of course they are all things are from God, but they allow this to eclipse the expectation of God himself. So even at the beginning and what really is introductory section. What is going to say he's beginning to deal with the situation of the Sanhedrin talks about Joseph. You have that in verses nine through 16 history point here is that Joseph was mistreated and mistreated by his brothers.

I noted when we were studying Genesis some years ago and became like great last section of the book that deals with Joseph that although Joseph is a remarkable illustration of the Lord Jesus Christ and the ways mistreated and he went into a foreign land and it was the means of delivering his people and all that. Nowhere in the Bible is Joseph ever made direct parallel illustration of that it never says as it does of Moses. For example, that Jesus is the second Moses the new lawgiver something like that ever find that a relationship Joseph but there is a place where that is in the back of things weren't suggested, even those not set openly and certainly here because point Stephen is making is that he makes at the end very clearly is that all down through their history. The Jewish people had persecuted and killed the prophets, God sent to them just as Joseph's brothers and mistreated Joseph eat was the recipient of God's revelation from dreams for example they rejected them and they eventually rejected him and try to have them killed at a course that's what they did with Jesus Christ. That's the point he's making.

When he begins to talk about Moses it's much the same thing only does it a greater length because Moses was the one the Sanhedrin really focused on Moses was the one through whom God given the law and they built their whole lives around the law keeping the law of Moses. So in this long long section of this middle portion of the sermon from verses 17 to verse 43 Stephen talks about Moses, what is he say about it. Well the first thing he has to say about Moses is that Moses also was rejected by his people and many things he could've said, but what he really emphasizes here is that when Moses received that his heart really lay with his people is dead. I wanted to be identified with them rather than with the Egyptians. He took sides with one of his people against an Egyptian and killed him.

He thought in the ignorance of his own fleshly understanding that it might be something like signal a rallying cry for revolution. He thought here.

I Moses the leader the one who, by the grace of God is that all this wonderful education not only Christian education biblical education for my mother but I've had his education at all of the wisdom of the Egyptians are uniquely qualified to lead the people. Now here's an injustice. I take my said with my people on the side of righteousness. I killed Egyptian why there's going to be an uprising and I'll be able to leave them out. Perhaps, I think it indicates that Moses himself knew that the prophecies concerning the deliverer had come the time frame had been given. It was 400 years before integers were up he said, now's the time. I must be the one and so unexpected that the happen but wasn't God's way.

God doesn't deliver by leading us to be murderers and so were got around in his people rejected him and he had to flee had to go away to Midian, where he spent the next four years of his life, Stevens Point.

You see, is that the people rejected Moses Joseph's brothers had rejected Joseph people of Israel now grown to be a great host had rejected Moses and later in the story we find that they rejected him again when he said Midian, God appears to him and in bringing in this incident, Stephen makes the same point he made earlier in the case of Abraham. God appeared Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia that is in Gentile territory is the same thing with Moses was 29 when Moses heard this, he fled to Midian as a Gentile area where he settled his a foreigner and had two sons men it says this next verse, after 40 years had passed an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of the burning bush near Mount Sinai, and God said to him, verse 33 take off your sandals. The place where you were standing is holy ground was in Jerusalem. You say Judea you say was a mountain Midian Gentile territory. Yet God was there because God was there. The ground was holy. Certainly by this point we are beginning to get Stephen's drift. I suspect the Sanhedrin was beginning to get it as well.

He was saying this neat little hole you think you have on God's little hole that makes God Jewish and not the God of the Gentiles as well as a corrupt thing and it's corrupting you and if you were faithful to your own tradition if you just look back at the details to see what your own Scriptures tell you could know that that is true God is the God of all people, and although you been given special privileges. Those privileges carry with them enormous responsibility and you are to be the witnesses of this God the entire world. Which of course they were refusing to do.

I wonder if we realize that we have a him, which goes Jesus where if I people meet there. They behold thy mercy seat where'er they seek the thou art found in every place is hallowed ground. That's what this is teaching God can be found everywhere and in every nation he has those who seek him and find his face. The story of Moses goes on and tells us that the initial rejection the Moses experience when he tried to deliver them when he was 40 years old in Egypt was followed by a more substantial rejection. During those years in the desert, as was much later. Moses was much wiser at this point watch more reluctance to leave didn't really want to be the leader of the people here God called him anyway and he was leading them and it's while he was up on the mountain receiving a very long God, the law of God on which the Sanhedrin prided itself. I wish they accuse Stephen a breaking while Moses was on the mountain receiving that law. The people were not on the ballot breaking those very laws of God. God brought them out of Egypt, he revealed himself to be the true God. The first of the 10 Commandments that thou shall have no other gods before me is exactly what the people were doing the very time the law was being given that were down there making idols themselves, idols like the gods of Egypt, the Bulldogs turned out to be only little calf is a dilemma of gold and silver to make a big one, but they were dry and so they were committing idolatry even when the law was being given as a marvelous story from Exodus 32 story almost humorous appliances.

God points to what's going on down in the valley and says to Moses, what your people are doing and Moses does one identify himself with them than any more than God does said what you mean by people look at your people are going to have a little exchange. And although it's funny, there is a great moment there. When Moses really a great man offers to be sent to hell might mean the salvation of the people God says to Moses at one point stepped aside, I bought them out. I'll start all over again with you will become a new Abraham out make a new people through you and all that might've been a temptation for lesser man was no temptation for Moses, and he came back to God and said no don't do that instead of blotting them out and saving me let me out and say that.

Let me die in their place. I wasn't able to do that, there's only one who could is no other good enough to pay the price of sin, except Jesus.

But Moses did know that he made the offer God -related side. God did send Jesus in time for the speech is all about ultimately but you see all that happened. There is a people rejecting this marvelous leader but God had sent this point Stephen brings in the first of his direct quotations or few places where you notice the notes in your Bible. There are references he's referring to specific passages, but here the first time. He is a quotation at some length in the from the book of Amos, one of the minor prophets is quoting from the fifth chapter, verses 25 through 27 and he does a pretty direct quotation. But there is one interesting variation. Look at the last line for looking in the new international version. You'll see that there's a little letter stuck into it a G which is a reference to the text and the text is given at the bottom of the page, but it's interesting that it comes after the word exile before the words beyond Bible is a very good reason for that. You look up the texts and Amos you'll find that Amos didn't say beyond Bible and he said beyond Damascus and is good reason why he said beyond Damascus. That's because he was a prophet to the northern kingdom and he was prophesying there exile and they were taken beyond Damascus by the Syrians. Now Stephen, who quotes the text Alderson at this point and with reason. Because there is not talking to the northern kingdom is talking to the leaders of Israel in the South as their history has in mind. And when they were carried away into captivity. It wasn't by Syrians and exile in Syria, scattering of the people that happened in 721 BC. The exile by the Babylonians at the place in 586 BC. So, he substitutes the words beyond Damascus and puts them beyond Babylon because that's as we say where the rubber really met the road for these members of the Sanhedrin. The point is making he's saying this rebellious attitude that was seen in the lives of Joseph's brothers and the people in Egypt and their rejections of Moses, has been characteristic of you all for your history years after Moses Amos Michelle writing about it and you yourselves for the heirs of that history, you are those who have returned years. Years later, from those were carried away into that Babylonian captivity. What is there that Moore characterizes you in a rejection of the very one from whom the law was given say they said to Stephen you're blaspheming against the law of Moses and what Stephen really says to them as you have been breaking the law of Moses by rejecting Moses and through him the truth of God all down for your history and through your lives. Now in verse 44 we have another section and it's interesting up to this point is been talking about individuals, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, now he doesn't talk about individuals. He starts with this matter of the tabernacle of testimony, which is where the Jews worship where God met with them during the days of their wilderness wanderings. They had up to and including the years of David's was only in the reign of Solomon that the temple was built. He starts dealing with this tabernacle and he contrasted with the temple that they had in their days as great big magnificent temple. First of all, was built by Solomon and then was rebuilt after the fall and the destruction by the Babylonians.

The time of Ezra Nehemiah then was Bill again in a marvelous way by King Herod and was the glory of Jerusalem at this particular time of its history as you grew to Jerusalem. This is what you saw this great Gilded temple and never been so glorious as it was in that day and so Stephen begins to make this contrast. Contrast between the tabernacle was in the glorious thing was a movable that you just broke down you took it with you, but God was there in the temple was so glorious from a human point of view, but he's implying is he not, that's the place from which God has taken his leave. Commentators speculate about this lycée is Stephen really criticizing the building of the temple is he saying that the building of the temple was a mistake. Christians at least. Certainly the Jewish people shouldn't be worshiping there seems to imply that because he says, quoting the Lord of heaven is my throne of the earth is my puts what kind of house will you build for me seems to be saying that, and yet this commentators point out Christians, even in this day worship in the temple and God had appeared in the temple of Jesus Christ honored the worship of the temple target think that although this is where you dress seems to be having.

The suggestion is given and it's hard to think that Stephen is really saying that the building of the temple was a mistake. Christians should have nothing to do with it. Perhaps he was saying that the temple would been mis-used. Others suggest that it certainly that was true was being misused by what he is saying here, especially because of the way he says it in the place which the speech is included in the book of acts is simply what has become perfectly obvious for the outflow of history the day of the temple was passing all it had been built by Solomon and God given instructions for it and all of that was good. But all that was passing away because now the Lord Jesus Christ, he was the temple. Those who came to him would become temples themselves as his spirit, the spirit of the living God come to dwell in them one at a real exposition of this you have to read the book of Hebrews in which this author. Many people think it's Paul some suggests the same kind of person Stephen was whoever it was, points out that all of this was merely a type of foreshadowing of what would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ and was fulfilled in him and is now fulfilled in the church. Well, you see were two accusations against Stephen one that you blaspheme against law of Moses and the answer that by turning it back against his accusers.

He said you're the one that is breaking the law of Moses and then this accusation that he had blasphemed against God by saying that Jesus Christ would destroy the temple and it would seem as if he's acknowledging that that's true indeed that is what Jesus Christ is in the process of doing because you see you've destroyed true religion by what you have made in this temple. Actually, the true God is the God reveals himself in every place he gets to that point and now he begins to apply proof prophetic fashion directly cunningly emphatically yes three accusations against them. First of all, that they resist the Holy Spirit as they always have, secondly, that they reject the prophets until some as they always have. And thirdly that they themselves break the law of Moses as I always have all that point all at that point, the anger against Stephen reach such a fervent peak that they wouldn't even hear him anymore. You know how it is you hear something you just can't stand it anymore. You reword this being said, that's what happened.

The angry been building over the speed the beginning perhaps they were missing courteously. After all, he was telling their history as he began to make his points again to see where he was going and they were getting angrier and angrier. And finally, he makes the application saying God is going to reveal himself elsewhere, is not tied to this temple and you are the ones others will be responsible before and by rejecting the only spirit and killing his prophets, including Jesus Christ the righteous one and breaking his lawn. At that point they were just so angry as rushed as it would seem as a mob in one voice like outside and they stoned was only one person and that will mob it was really cold about it and that was Stephen told at the beginning of the address when they turned to look at him. His face glowed like that of an angel near the end as he finished knowing what was going to happen.

He looked up by his own testimony, he said he saw the Lord Jesus Christ, that righteous one that they had killed. I said he doesn't mention the resurrection, but receives imply because he sees Jesus resurrected Jesus and he called her attention to is that look, look, he said I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God, people wondered why Jesus Christ was standing in this particular vision.

You know, in the 10th chapter of Hebrews verse 12 words describing Christ and his work is after he completed his work. He said that making contrast between the priest of the temple always stood as were no chairs in the temple, the Jewish temple always stood because work was never finished. I had to make sacrifice upon sacrifice been sacrificed because people send up on sin upon sin.

So the work was never done but it says in Hebrews that when Jesus Christ made a sacrifice. The work was done with the perfect sacrifice. It didn't have to be repeated in Sony finished the sacrifice he sat down and so that's what we refer to in the creed rightly we say seated at the right hand of God the father Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead, and so forth. That's correct.

Now here is Jesus standing in people's and a wise Jesus standing into suggestions that I think both of them are valid. One is the Jesus stood up, as it were to receive his martyr. Sometimes we hear stories like that. I have every reason to believe that Christians dying in the faith that was they die like in their beds raise their arms and leaned forward as it were, and say oh I see Jesus and they fall back, they got my own grandfather died that way.

I think there may be something to that.

Who's to say that when those people die they don't actually see the Lord Jesus Christ coming for them opening up his arms to receive a branch that's the explanation of Jesus standing when Stephen died. There's also another suggestion that I think is I also believe the first of this was true as well know Jesus said in Matthew 10 verse 32. If you confess me before men, I will confess you before my father which is in heaven.

And if that's the explanation of what's going on here than what we have is Jesus, as it were standing as an advocate to plead the cause of Stephen the martyr before his father in heaven and on the words what Stephen caught a glimpse of in that moment of his death was that second. The greatest trial that was taking place in heaven was a trial on earth, in which Stephen was condemned. There was a greater trial in heaven, the one that really matters in which Stephen was exonerated or Jesus Christ taking his side and pleading his case in saying that the father he's one of mine. He's confessing the he's dying in the faith, and he is what I'm going to take with me into heaven as my child. My brother forever more.

I dunno about you but I find that very encouraging and those we go through life in a variety of situations were on trial trial with our friends when trial at work by lowering trial spiritually and we try to say things or do things often is misunderstood quite often were criticized unjustly. Quite often justly as well, but sometimes unjustly know we tend to get discouraged by that.

We have to remember that the trials so that we go through here are not the final trials of history all their meaningful trials want to do as well as we can. That's why we have to be strong, embarrassed, faithful testimony in those occasions the trials it really matter above all the verdict accounts as the verdict is given in heaven.

I don't know what the Lord Jesus Christ says when he looks down and sees us and pleads our cause before the father, though I'm sure it varies in every case, you might say, in one case, look at that you did to Satan. But there's a righteous woman there's a righteous man doing the right thing is costly going to hurt them in person to lose the job eventually because of that stand because they won't cheat because they won't lie in the business look at that errors great that's great. Maybe saying that he may be looking down and seeing us. We don't do quite so well, but when we are trying and he might cite Outlook normal to get some you know what he's like you know what she's like a dismay to Doster, the one that made them Expect too much. Anything is good in them is what you put Barrett's my spirit at work where the heart is right to say they have a new nature within them there trying to do the right thing and that's what counts is not the words come out it's not the slips that are made along the way. It's where their heart is what you can see those people around Christians looking at them can see the heart but that's what counselor Jesus Christ is look at them that were there. The sins when the sins take place when we sin and the devil said that the sin they send or Jesus Christ says yes, but their mind. I died for them my death covered that sin and they now stand close in my righteousness, and one day they're going to be here in heaven and they're going to be as perfect as I am. I find that encouraging you find it encouraging. You should be encouraged as I trust I am as well do it were sitting in one of our hymns and that is to fight the good fight of faith to stand firm for Leanne to bear a strong testimony, knowing as Paul said as he looked back over his own life. Toward the end when he wrote to Timothy, knowing there is now a crown of righteousness laid up for me not for me only, but for all who love his appearing. Stephen first martyr is wearing a crown and since that time many others have put it on, but we do likewise.

The Braves of the glory of Jesus Christ) father who bless this great sermon of this great man to our hearts knowing from whence he got his greatness and from whom those words came in Jesus name. You are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce Lister supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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