Intro. In our last lesson, Stephen had shown them that at the first, Joseph was rejected by his brothers, but when they thought they had gotten rid of him, the next time they saw him, he was governor over all of Egypt and they bowed down to him. Stephen then took them up in their history to the burial of Jacob.
I. STEPHEN NOW CONTINUES HIS ACCOUNT OF THEIR HISTORY. VERSE 17: BUT WHEN THE TIME OF THE PROMISE DREW NEAR, WHICH GOD HAD SWORN TO ABRAHAM, THE PEOPLE GREW AND MULTIPLIED IN EGYPT,
A. God has said to Abraham, GEN 15:13
: Know of a certainty that your descendants shall be strangers in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
1. Stephen is speaking of that time some 400 years after Joseph had gone down to Egypt and there arose a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph.
B. Stephen is now going to remind them of the second time their fathers had missed the plan of God.
II. THE CASE OF MOSES.
A. This Pharaoh who knew not Joseph had made slaves of all the people and was treating them mercilessly.
1. When he saw that the population of the Israelites was growing faster than the Egyptians, he ordered that all of the Hebrew male babies be killed at birth.
2. When a baby was born, if it was a boy it was to be thrown into the Nile river.
3. At this time Jochebed the wife of Amram gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, whom she hid for three months.
4. When he was getting too old to hide him any longer, she obeyed the edict of the Pharaoh and placed him in the Nile river.
a. However she made a basket from the reeds of the bull rushes and waterproofed it and put Moses in the basket.
b. The Pharaoh's daughter had come to bathe in the river and heard the cry of a baby, and seeing the basket ordered one of her maidens to fetch it from the river.
c. She saw this beautiful baby boy and decided to keep him as her own,
d. So Moses was raised in the Pharaoh's court and had all the privileges and finest schooling possible.
e. Moses somehow always knew who he was, and God's destiny for his life.
B. When he came of age, that is, he was forty-years old, he made an important choice. He thought the time had come for him to deliver the Israelites from the cruel slavery of the Egyptians.
1. The book of Hebrews gives us insight on this choice.
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
2. He went to the Hebrew camp and saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite and looking around and not seeing anyone, he killed the Egyptian and buried his body in the sand.
3. The next day as he was once again visiting the camp he saw two Hebrews fighting with each other and he sought to break up the fight, but the one cast him away and said, "Who made you a judge over us, are you going to kill me like you killed the Egyptian yesterday?
4. Stephen said that this rejection was a shock to Moses for he thought that they would have understood that God had called him to deliver them from this slavery.
5. The first time he appeared to deliver them, he was rejected.
6. Forty years later he appears again, this time to be recognized as God's deliverer.
7. Moses' life was divided into three forty-year periods. Forty years becoming somebody, forty years realizing that he was nobody, forty years discovering that God can take a nobody and make somebody out of him.
8. Moses is a classic example of missing God's timing. He started out on his God-given mission in his own time and in the power of his own flesh.
9. He knew his destiny and God-given calling was to deliver the nation from their slavery, and thought every Jew would also know that.
10. He attempted to accomplish the work of God in the power of his own flesh, and failed to successfully bury one Egyptian.
11. Forty years later, guided by God, he successfully buried the whole Egyptian army.
C. Forty years after becoming a nobody, the Lord appeared to him again in the desert.
1. He saw a bush that continued to burn, yet it was not consumed, he went over to observe this phenomenon and as he approached the bush, the voice of God spoke to him telling him to remove his shoes for he was standing on holy ground.
2. There God's call was renewed and now God will guide him to success in his mission to free God's people.
3. Thus the second time that Moses appears to the nation, he is recognized as their deliverer.
4. The nation just does not seem to get it the first time around. There is a pattern here.
D. Stephen declared:
This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
1. Moses had prophesied:
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
2. God told Moses:
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
a. We read that the people were offended at Jesus because He was from the midst of them and of their brethren.
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
b. When Philip said show us the Father and we will be satisfied:
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
E. At this point, I think that the council is beginning to get the point. Their fathers had missed God's man the first time around, but recognized the second time.
1. The Jews missed their Messiah the first time He came, but He is coming again and they will then recognize him.
a. Their own prophet said:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
b. King David prophesied of Him saying:
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
c. Again their prophet said:
And they shall say unto him, What [are] these wounds in your hands? Then he shall answer, These wounds I received in the house of my friends.
2. Stephen declared to them:
This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made you a ruler and a judge? the same did God send [to be] a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.
3. They missed again the will of God by rejecting God's man.
F. This is the Moses who prophesied of the Messiah.
1. He was with the church in the wilderness. Ekkelesia, called out.
2. He was on Mount Sinai.
3. He was given the oracles of God.
4. He is the Moses of whom you boast. Yet your fathers rejected him the first time he came to deliver them.
Our fathers would not obey him, but thrust [him] from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
G. Your fathers then worshipped the golden calf, and offered sacrifices to an idol, and rejoiced the work of their own hands.
H. Your fathers worshipped the host of heaven.
I. The prophets rebuked your fathers, Stephen then quotes from Amos:
Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?
But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name [is] The God of hosts.
Thus saith the LORD, heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest?
III. STEPHEN'S CHARGES AGAINST THEM.
A. You are stiffnecked and uncircumcised in your heart and ears.
B. You always resist the Holy Spirit.
C. You are following in the footsteps of your fathers.
D. Name one prophet that your fathers did not persecute.
E. Your fathers killed the ones who prophesied of the coming of the Just One, or the Messiah.
F. You betrayed and murdered the Messiah.
IV. THE EFFECT OF STEPHEN'S MESSAGE, "THEY WERE CUT TO THE HEART."