And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. ~Acts 6:8
One of the great Christians in the New Testament is Stephen. Acts 6-7 places a holy spotlight on Stephen and the impact he had on many lives. Stephen’s name in the Greek is “stephanos,” which refers to a crown. It was a wreath woven together in the shape of a crown and was awarded to the winner of an Olympic Race. This morning, let us be inspired by Stephen’s life and the making of a winner.
We see the essence of a winner.
“Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business…And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.” Stephen was a man who met God’s qualifications as a spiritual leader. He was proven in his testimony among the brethren and the unsaved. He was prudent in handling responsibilities given to him. Prudent men are wise problem-solvers. He was a man of spiritual power as evidenced by the continuing emphasis that he was full of faith and power. Faith and the filling of the Holy Spirit are inseparable. The content of a winner is one that focuses on being a man filled up with the Holy Spirit.
We see the effectiveness of a winner.
“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Stephen received the unanimous approval of the church congregation to serve alongside of the Apostles. As soon as he received this approval, we see an increase in the ministry of God’s word, more disciples being made, and more are being saved. Winners are winners because they set out to win! Stephen was an added-value Christian and servant of God. His acknowledgement led to spiritual growth and greater maturity. Remember, managers do things right: leaders do the right things! He kept his focus on the main business of the church, and that was winning souls and making disciples.
We see the edge of a winner.
“Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” Winners always face stiff competition. Winners always face pushback. There were intellectuals who argued, disputed, and contended with Stephen about the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we are told that they were not able to resist the wisdom and spirit by which he spake. Spiritual winners have an edge over the adversary. These rebellious and hardened Jews could not resist the power by which he preached Jesus.
We see the ending of a winner.
“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” The adversaries of the faith were Satanically inflamed against Stephen’s message and love for Jesus. They set out a mob to stone him and end his life. What looked to be the end of Stephen’s life became the catalyst for the spread of the gospel. He did not give his life in vain. Before they took his life, he looked up into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God ready to receive him. His ending was golden, glorious, and grand.
Stephen models for us a winner. Don’t settle for anything less than a winner’s spirit and life!
Have a winning God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Numbers 8-10