Stephen, a Man Full of Faith & Power
The local church is a wonderful institution. Clearly ordained of the Lord, empowered of the Lord, used of the Lord and intended of the Lord for the edification of the saints, the local church is essential for the growth of any Christian. In this article I wish to discuss a character who had a profound impact on the early church, and consequently upon us as Christians today.
The man I want to talk about is Stephen. Stephen is a fascinating character. He is first mentioned in Acts 6:5 as a man full of faith and the Holy Ghost and by the end of Acts chapter 7 he is dead. It is true to say that if you read your Bible for 365 days of the year and missed this particular passage you would not know much about Stephen at all. Apart from two references to him later in Acts, nothing else is said about Stephen, yet Stephen is a person who had a profound effect upon the direction of the church.
When we are introduced to Stephen, he is mentioned in a list of seven men who had been chosen to help with some of the menial, administrative tasks of church life. He is a servant. In fact, we could even call him a Spirit-filled waiter as he and the other six mentioned in Acts 6:5 were called to be waiters in the local church. Yet their calling required Spirit-filled servants who were diligent in their task and careful to fulfil the Lords work.
So what we know about Stephen is that he was committed to the Lord and he was willing to do whatever was required of him. He was not seeking prestige or position, in fact he wasnt seeking promotion either. Rather he was a man who was prepared to do whatever God wanted him to do. He was the kind of church member every Pastor would love to have. He was committed, faithful and full of the Holy Ghost. He faithfully fulfilled what had been asked of him and maintained a good spirit in service.
However, what I want us to take particular notice of what takes place between verses 8-15 of Acts chapter 6, where we gain further insight into this man Stephen, and what he did that so dramatically changed the course of the local church. Hopefully, what we learn from Stephen will also help us change the course of the local church in our day.