The Bible says: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes.” (Proverbs 26:4-5 NASB) So which is it? Should we talk with foolish people or leave them alone? Though these two verses seem like a contradiction, they are actually telling us two entirely different things:
* Don’t answer a fool like a fool. In other words, don’t let yourself be drug down to their level.
* Correct a fool in his folly lest he begin to think that his foolishness is right.
Acts 6:12 And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. NASB
The verses that speak of Stephen’s arrest seem to indicate that tempers were flaring. No doubt some were shouting while others were renting their garments and throwing dust in the air. Yet Stephen remained as calm as an angel and with this calmness he presented what many have called the greatest summarization of the Old Testament that has ever been spoken. Stephen explained not only what had happened in their past, but why it had happened.
Time will not allow us to examine his message in detail and therefore I encourage you to carefully read Acts 7:1-53. As I have carefully examined his sermon I sense him trying to make three main points:
1) Everyone is Guilty of Breaking the Law
Acts 7:39 “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40 SAYING TO AARON, ‘MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT—WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.’ 41 “At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. NASB
Even while Moses was receiving the Law, the people were rebelling.
2) God Cannot Be Confined to Rituals or Buildings
Acts 7:47 “But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48 “However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: 49‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord, ‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE? 50 ‘WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?’ NASB
3) It’s All of Grace
The biggest difference between Stephen and his accusers was that they were trying to earn their way to heaven while Stephen was trusting in the grace of God. How did Stephen demonstrate the grace of God in his message?
It was grace that caused God to choose them Acts 7:1-8
It was grace that caused God to deliver them Acts 7:9-43
It would be grace that would save them Acts 7:37