Acts 6 & 7 Sitting and Standing

Acts 6-7     Sitting and Standing

ILLUS: History of pews….


      First 1400 yrs


Acts 6

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews[a] among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, 

              [Stephen’s name mean “victor’s crown”]

a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.


So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.


The court could not meet at night, nor could it meet at any of the great feasts. When evidence was taken, witnesses were examined separately and their evidence to be valid must agree in every detail. Each individual member of the Sanhedrin must give his verdict separately, beginning from the youngest and going on to the eldest. If the verdict was a verdict of death, a night must elapse before it was carried out, so that the court might have a chance to change its mind and its decision towards mercy.


Acts 6 

12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. 

They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 

13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”

15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and 

they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.


stand and deliver

1. obsolete A threat made by highwaymen (muggers operating along the King’s highway) in 18th-century England, demanding the traveler halt and surrender their money or goods.

        Acts 7:1

 Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”

To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! 

STEPHEN’S SERMON delivered   – (Old Testament FOUNDATION )





‘Some people would say, “Well, Abraham and Moses have very little to do with us. All we need to do is stick to the things that are revealed at the coming of Christ and afterwards.”And some people would cut off the New Testament from the Old, Christ from Israel. Martin Luther faced it in his own day, and he made this statement: “The Old Testament is the cradle in which the Christ child is laid.” ‘

The answer is that Stephen emphasizes two aspects of Israel’s history that were relevant to the problem at hand. 1) The Israelite people had “a habit” of rejecting God’s chosen leaders. 2) The temple or any other “place” could not contain God’s glory. 

Acts 7 – ( note- change from THEY to YOU )

passionate climax of his message by directly addressing the Sanhedrin. There is a sudden shift of tenses, from dispassionate third person (“THEY” – Acts 7:41, cf Acts 7:52) to fervent second person (cf “YOU” – Acts 7:53)


Acts 7:51 – stiff-necked

These Jews were unable to turn their heads to see a different point of view. 

Sklerotrachelos portrays the idea of a stubborn ox that cannot be broken; and a neck so strong the animal is useless, because it cannot be turned right or left.

Acts 7 


54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 



55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 

56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

John MacDuff – ACTS 7:56.  I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
There is a volume of tender meaning here. Thirteen times is Christ spoken of in Scripture as “seated at the right hand of God”; only once is He spoken of as “standing” and that once is here. 

Isaiah 3:13


The Lord takes his place in court;
    he rises to judge the people.

Psalm 68:1-3

May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;
    may his foes flee before him.

May you blow them away like smoke—
    as wax melts before the fire,
    may the wicked perish before God.

But may the righteous be glad
    and rejoice before God;
    may they be happy and joyful.


57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. 


Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.


Hebrews 12

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, 

so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.