Monday, June 29, 2015

Acts 7

(June 22, 2015)
                There is a place, in defense of the Gospel, for a well-reasoned argument.  What we have in this chapter is perhaps the perfect argument for perhaps the perfect audience.  It focuses on the accusation (Moses) and transitions from that accusation to a powerful testimony of the risen Savior.  Given a year, I don’t think I could have come up with anything better.

                Of course, the result was being stoned to death.  Which shows the limits of argument when facing individuals who have willfully rejected the Gospel.

                So why then was Stephen inspired to such a perfect argument?  Was it for us, who would read it in the future?  I honestly don’t think so – so many aspects of it were culturally perfect as well as theologically perfect.  It makes far more sense (and is far better) as an argument to those who were listening at the time.  Was it for the condemnation of the Jews?  I don’t think that, either.

                Honestly, I think the target of this sermon (though he would not be ready for his conversion for some time) was Saul.  I think that Saul and Stephen were in a similar position to Alma and Abinidi.  But the lesson that each of us can learn, of course, is that even when we do what we are supposed to do (and even when we follow the Spirit) we have no promise of temporal success.  Still, being welcomed into the Kingdom of God is a reward worth any sacrifice.

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