Why, brothers, look you out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom…
I. STEPHEN'S FAITH. From the speech he made in defence we may gather some of the leading features of his faith.
1. Stephen believed that God's hand was discernible in history. He gives a rapid survey of the Scripture story from the call of Abraham to the death of Jesus, and shows how all had been overruled by God. The common notion is that kings and statesmen make history. Stephen believed that God made it. To him the value of history was not merely that it told succeeding generations the things that had happened to their fathers, and the deeds their fathers had done, but that it revealed God, made known His character, principles, and relationship to man. The life and soul of history is God. It is noticeable that Stephen's speech is far from exact in its statements. Dean Stanley points out no less than twelve differences from the Mosaic history. But mere precision of record was not his aim. He desired to show the purposes of God. There may be the most minute exactitude of delineation, and yet no life. The true artist will sacrifice the rectitude of a line that he may express the soul of his subject.
2. Stephen believed that the most noticeable way-mark of the universal march had just been passed. It was the Cross of Jesus. So far the race had been journeying on and on to Calvary.
3. Stephen believed that Jesus, after His Cross and passion, had risen from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of the Father.
4. Stephen believed that the exalted Jesus still cared for, and could help His servants in all their labour and suffering upon earth. He beheld Jesus "standing on the right hand of God," as if ready to assist him, and he prayed to Jesus.
II. STEPHEN'S POSSESSION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
1. It was this that gave life to his faith. It is not the correctness of the creed that makes a man a Christian, in the highest sense, but the quickening power of the Holy Spirit.
2. If we would be useful as servants of God among men we must be baptized in the Holy Ghost.
3. Nay, we cannot live aright without this.
4. The most important question we can be asked is, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost?"
(J. Kirk Pike.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.