Johnny Ellison: Stephen’s sacrifice

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Once upon a time there was a church in its infancy all gathering in a city called Jerusalem. God’s power was evident, and thousands of people were joining.

The church grew and additional administrators had to be chosen in order to handle ministry tasks and funds. Seven men were chosen, and one of those men was named Stephen. He was a powerful preacher, and leader in the church. Some of the religious leaders of the time hated Stephen so much that they decided to stone him to death. It was an awful sight as Stephen – being pelted with large rocks and stones – called upon God and died.  

As Stephen died, the Bible makes a footnote about a young man named Saul, and he held the coats of the stone throwers. Saul also launched a persecution against Christians that was concentrated in Jerusalem.  Up to that point, the Christians had been primarily positioned in Jerusalem.  In Jerusalem the church gathered regularly.  Christians having trouble eating were assisted by the other church members.  Fellowship was so sweet in this new church that most of these Christians had no intent of going outside of Jerusalem.  After all, why would they when things were so good in Jerusalem?

There was only one, small problem with this situation.  Jesus had guaranteed that the Gospel would be carried into the world.  If Christians stayed in Jerusalem, how would the message of Christ be spread?  This is where Stephen’s death, and the persecution came in.  Because persecution was so heavy, many Christians ran out of Jerusalem and scattered like seed.  In part, the persecution was how God began carrying the message of salvation into the world beyond Jerusalem.

So…as it was then…it is now.  God may bring what seems to be destruction in order to construct someone for His will.  What destruction is happening in your life right now that God may be using to bring you to Himself?  

One day, will you be able to stand before God and hear those words?  If you are not sure, and would like to know more, call 334-298-3381 or go to .