The First Martyr ~ Acts 6-7 Bible Lesson

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Scripture Focus: Acts 6-7

Materials: White or chalk board

Geography: Israel; Jerusalem

Background: The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in the upper room and more and more people joined the new church. Miracles and preaching caused an uproar in Jerusalem. The apostles were persecuted, but they responded with thanksgiving. And more and more people were joining the early church each day.

Activity and Bible Lesson for Acts 6-7:

{This is a great story event with which to create a comparison and contrast list. Keep it simple for young children.}

{Read Acts 6:1-7.}

After the apostles were persecuted, the church continued to grow and grow and grow! And because there were so many people, a complaint was made by a group of Greek Jews. They claimed that their widows were being neglected by the apostles. The twelve men did not want anyone overlooked, so they gathered everyone together and said, “Choose seven men among you so that they might do this business.” The apostles needed to teach and pray, not serve every need. Others could do that.

{Ask:}

  • What type of men were to be chosen? [They were to have a good reputation, be full of the Holy Spirit, and wise.]
  • What does having a good reputation mean? [Allow for answers; guide children to describe a person of good reputation as well thought of by other people.]
  • What does it mean to be full of the Holy Spirit? [Allow for answers; once a person is saved, the Holy Spirit dwells inside of him or her; can also mean being sensitive to the Spirit and having a desire to follow the Spirit.]
  • How do you know if a person is wise? [Allow for answers; explain to children that a person can know a lot of information and not be wise. On the other hand, a person can be less intelligent and be very wise. A wise person is someone who, through life experiences, knows how to use knowledge well.]

Seven men, or deacons, were chosen and one was Stephen. The scriptures say he was full of faith, the Holy Spirit, and power. He also did wonders and signs among the people.

Then a group of people started to argue with Stephen.

{On the board write: “Enemies” and “Stephen”. This story is filled with action! As you tell the story, or read the scripture, write down the verbs describing the actions of each.}

BEFORE STEPHEN’S SERMON 
ENEMIESSTEPHEN
Argued with him
Persuaded others
Stirred up people
Seized him
Brought him
Set up false witnesses
Spoke with wisdom
Full of the Holy Spirit
AFTER STEPHEN’S SERMON
Cut to the heart
Gnashed teeth
Cried out
Stopped their ears
Cast him out
Put cloaks
Stoned him
Gazed into heaven
Saw the glory of God and Jesus
Called on God
Forgave his enemies

These enemies of Stephen were so angry! And they couldn’t seem to “beat” Stephen.

{Ask:}

  • Why could they not “beat” Stephen? [He was filled with the Holy Spirit.) Stephen preached in such a way that the Council could not “beat” him.]
  • What do you notice about the enemies? [Allow for answers]
  • What do you notice about Stephen? [Allow for answers]

Picture this: The mob grabbed Stephen and dragged him outside the city. He was thrown down and the people surrounded him. They picked up rocks and threw them at Stephen. Stephen lifted his head up to heaven and saw Jesus standing beside the Father.

This is significant! No where else in scripture do we see a picture of Jesus standing beside the Father. Usually He is sitting beside the Father.

{Ask:}

  • Why is it that when Stephen saw Jesus, He was standing? [Allow for answers]

Life Application of Acts 6-7:

{Ask:}

  • Have you ever been to a race, or watched one on TV? What are the spectators doing? [Standing and jumping and yelling for the racers.]

The Bible tells us that every Christian is running a race, a race of life. And we want to run our race in such a way that it pleases Jesus.

I think Jesus was standing for Stephen. I think Jesus was pleased with Stephen and the way he ran his race. The stoning continued and Stephen forgave his enemies. He closed his eyes…and then he was with Jesus. And I think he heard, “Well done good and faithful servant!”

Stephen was the first martyr, or person to die for his faith in Jesus. There have been many, many more martyrs through the years, including people today who are killed because they believe in Jesus.

what god is doing

Yours Free!

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