NOTE: This Verse by Verse Commentary page is part of an ongoing project to add notes to each verse of the Bible. Therefore many verses do not yet have notes, but if the Lord tarries and gives me breath, additions will follow in the future. The goal is to edify and equip you for the work of service (Eph 4:12-13-note) that the Lord God might be glorified in your life and in His Church. Amen (Isa 61:3b, Mt 5:16-note)
- stiffnecked : Ex 32:9 33:3,5 34:9 De 9:6,13 31:27 2Ch 30:8 Ne 9:16 Ps 75:5 Ps 78:8 Isa 48:4 Jer 17:23 Eze 2:4 Zec 7:11,12
- uncircumcised : Lev 26:41 De 10:16 30:6 Jer 4:4 6:10 9:25,26 Eze 44:7,9 Ro 2:25,28,29 Php 3:3 Col 2:11
- resist : Ac 6:10 Ne 9:30 Isa 63:10 Eph 4:30
- as : Ac 7:9,27,35,39 Mt 23:31-33
Greek Sklerotracheloi kai aperitmetoi kardiais kai tois osin, humeis aei to pneumati to hagio antipiptete (2PPAI) os oi pateres humon kai humeis.
CSB Acts 7:51 "You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit; as your forefathers did, so do you.
ESV Acts 7:51 "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
GWN Acts 7:51 "How stubborn can you be? How can you be so heartless and disobedient? You're just like your ancestors. They always opposed the Holy Spirit, and so do you!
KJV Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
NET Acts 7:51 "You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did!
NAB Acts 7:51 "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors.
NIV Acts 7:51 "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!
NLT Acts 7:51 "You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you!
NJB Acts 7:51 'You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do.
YLT Acts 7:51 'Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and in ears! ye do always the Holy Spirit resist; as your fathers -- also ye;
YOU MEN WHO ARE STIFF-NECKED
HARD HEARTS ARE
HARD TO REACH
Stephen, the accused, is now the accuser, and the situation becomes intolerable to the Sanhedrin and will soon turn violent as they pick up stones to stone Stephen, the first Christian martyr of the Church Age.
Note that sklerotrachelos is first word in the Greek to emphasize problem. This is the climax of Stephen’s speech, the personal application that cut his hearers to the heart. Throughout the centuries, Israel had refused to submit to God and obey the truths He had revealed to them. Their ears did not hear the truth, their hearts did not receive the truth, and their necks did not bow to the truth. As a result, they killed their own Messiah!
Stiff-necked (4644)(sklerotrachelos from skleros = hard + + tráchelos = the neck) means literally hard or stiff–necked and is used figuratively of resistance against changing one's behavior = proud (Having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance), headstrong (habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition), stubborn (tenaciously unwilling or marked by tenacious unwillingness to yield). Obstinate describes someone who is fixed and unyielding in course or purpose implying usually an unreasonable persistence; perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion.
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.
Ex 33:3 "Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate (sklerotrachelos) people, lest I destroy you on the way."
Ex 33:5 For the LORD had said to Moses, "Say to the sons of Israel, You are an obstinate (sklerotrachelos) people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I will do with you. "
Ex 34:9 And he said, "If now I have found favor in Thy sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate (sklerotrachelos); and do Thou pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Thine own possession."
Deut 9:6 "Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn (sklerotrachelos) people.
Deut 9:13 "The LORD spoke further to me, saying, I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people.
Proverbs 29:1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof (English of LXX = "A reprover is better than a stiff-necked man) Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
UNCIRCUMCISED IN HEART AND EARS:
ANOTHER HEART PROBLEM
NOT SPIRITUALLY CIRCUMCISED!
They had physical circumcision which was useless in attaining righteousness with God. The Jews placed great stress on their physical ritual of circumcision, forgetting that it was a sign which was meant to point to their complete dedication to the will and purposes of God. Their hearts were still cold toward God and their ears inattentive to His Word, so that God could not reach them. Do you have any teenagers that model this behavior?
Uncircumcised in heart means they do not have a covenant relationship of the heart with God and this is the only thing He will accept.
Wenham - The phrase “uncircumcised in heart and ears” refers to the fact that they were unregenerate or in other words, not born-again and saved. The born again believer is circumcised in Christ, Paul states this to the church at Colossae in: Colossians 2:11, “and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” The Jew was driven from the land because of his uncircumcised heart as God declares through Moses in Leviticus 26:40-42, “If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me-I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies-or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.” God is concerned about the condition of your heart. To reject the Spirit’s witness concerning Christ upon hearing the Gospel is to have an uncircumcised heart before God.
Uncircumcised (564)(aperitmetos from a = negates + peritemno = to cut around, to circumcise) is an adjective which literally describes that which is not cut around. In context it is used figuratively of those uncircumcised in heart and ears a spiritual condition which resulted in their stubbornness toward God and His Messiah. In Jeremiah 9:25 the Lxx uses aperitmetos figuratively to refer to gentiles with uncircumcised foreskin.
HEART AND EARS - "The phrase “uncircumcised hearts and ears” is another figure for stubbornness." (NET Note)
For an in depth discussion of this important topic see the following article:
Circumcision of the heart. - Below is an index to discussion of specific passages dealing with circumcision of the heart
ARE ALWAYS RESISTING THE HOLY SPIRIT:
Continually rushing against the Spirit (so to speak) in a hostile manner,
We see the picture of Israel resisting the Spirit is in this passage...
Neh 9:30 "However, Thou didst bear with them for many years, And admonished them by Thy Spirit through Thy prophets, Yet they would not give ear. (Ed: They heard -- they just would not obey!) Therefore Thou didst give them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
John Phillips explains that "There are three ways in which the Holy Spirit can be opposed. He can be grieved, He can be quenched, and He can be resisted. Only a Spirit-indwelt believer can grieve the Holy Spirit. The word grieve is a love-word. We can grieve only someone who loves us and who stands in a special relationship to us. A church can quench the Holy Spirit by allowing men to usurp His authority, by refusing to follow His leading, or by permitting false doctrine or moral evil to take root. Sinners resist the Holy Spirit. Stephen now dropped his defense and went boldly to the attack, vilifying his listeners for their persistent and continuing opposition to God. Their chief sin was that of resisting the Holy Spirit. Their treatment of the saviors, the Scriptures, and the sanctuaries God had given them, and, above all, their treatment of the Son of God, constituted a persistent sin against the Holy Ghost." (Explore Acts)
James Smith - Resisted by the unbelief of men. "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as your fathers did" (Acts 7:51). "They could not enter in because of unbelief" (Heb. 3:19). In doubting the Word of God, the Spirit of God is resisted, for the Word is His sword. If the Holy Ghost is to have full possession of the Canaan land of the heart, to make a clear riddance of every evil beast (lust), and all that would pollute the holy mount, then the promises of God must be believed or the Spirit will be resisted. (Handfuls of Purpose)
Resisting (496)(antipipto from antí = against + pípto = fall) strictly, fall against, rush against; hence, strive against, oppose: resist by actively opposing pressure or power. To resist by force and violence. The picture is of men who were continually (present tense) rejecting the Holy Spirit’s appointed messengers and their Gospel proclamation. (Compare Jesus’ sermon in Mt 23:13–39).
Griffis writes that "The Greek word here is antipipto, which means "to pull against," like a heifer that pulls backward." (Characters with Character)
Wenham on resisting the Holy Spirit - It expresses determined and active resistance to the Holy Spirit’s work in common grace.
Note that antipipto is in the present tense which indicates this was not a momentary resistance (all of us have those) but a description of a habitual practice, their "lifestyle" if you will. And the active voice indicates this was a volitional choice, a choice of their will! It was not accidental but intentional! Woe!
Antipipto 3v in Lxx: The first two uses below are literal
Exodus 26:5 "You shall make fifty loops in the one curtain, and you shall make fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is in the second set; the loops shall be opposite each other (Brenton's English of the LXX = "corresponding to each other at each point.").... Ex 26:17 "There shall be two tenons for each board, fitted (Antipipto - conveys idea opposite one to the other) to one another; thus you shall do for all the boards of the tabernacle.
Numbers 27:14 for (What is "for" explaining? See context - Nu 27:12-13 - explains why Moses can only see the Promised Land but cannot enter) in the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you (Moses) rebelled (Lxx = Marah = was contentious, disobedient; Lxx = antipipto) against My command to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water." (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)
The English translation of the Septuagint of Nu 27:14 = because you transgressed my word in the wilderness of Sin, when the congregation resisted to sanctify me. You did not sanctify me at the water before them.” (This is water of dispute of Kades in the wilderness of Sin.)
Net Note explains it this way - Using the basic meaning of the word qadash, "to be separate, distinct, set apart", we can understand better what Moses failed to do. He was supposed to have acted in a way that would have shown God to be distinct, different, holy. Instead, he gave the impression that God was capricious and hostile – very human. The leader has to be aware of what image he is conveying to the people.
Resisting has the same effect as grieving the Spirit and shutting down His enabling power in one's life...
Isa 63:10 But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.
YOU ARE DOING JUST AS YOUR FATHERS DID
- Heb 3:12, 8, 4:2,Jesus Mt 23:31
Literally: as your fathers also ye. Their fathers had made "external worship" a substitute for spiritual obedience. Stephen has shown how God had revealed himself gradually, the revelation sloping upward to Christ Jesus. Their fathers had made "external worship" a substitute for spiritual obedience. Stephen's piercing denunciation of his Jewish audience reminds us of similar words of Jesus in Luke 11:47-51.
"And as he saw his countrymen repeating the old mistake--clinging to the present and the material, while God was calling them to higher spiritual levels--and still, as ever, resisting the Holy Spirit, treating the Messiah as the patriarchs had treated Joseph, and the Hebrews Moses--the pity of it overwhelmed him, and his mingled grief and indignation broke out in words of fire, such as burned of old on the lips of the prophets"
Horatius Bonar - Beware of grieving this Spirit. There is great danger of this. Israel was continually guilty of this crime (Acts 7:51), and so is the church: “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” Let us not, by unbelief, or error, or inconsistency or backsliding, or apostasy, grieve or quench this Spirit, whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Light and Truth)
Thomas Watson - Our deplorable condition before we are called....We are in a state of impotency.—“When we were without strength.” Rom. 5:6. No strength to resist a temptation, or grapple with a corruption; sin cut the lock where our strength lay. Judg. 16:20 Nay, there is not only impotency, but obstinacy, “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” Acts 7:51. Besides indisposition to good, there is opposition. (A Divine Cordial)
A W Tozer - We’ve Crucified the Holy Spirit
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. —Acts 7:51
It is time for us to repent, for our transgressions against the blessed Third Person have been many and much aggravated. We have bitterly mistreated Him in the house of His friends. We have crucified Him in His own temple as they crucified the Eternal Son on the hill above Jerusalem. And the nails we used were not of iron, but of the finer and more precious stuff of which human life is made. Out of our hearts we took the refined metals of will and feeling and thought, and from them we fashioned the nails of suspicion and rebellion and neglect. By unworthy thoughts about Him and unfriendly attitudes toward Him we grieved and quenched Him days without end.
The truest and most acceptable repentance is to reverse the acts and attitudes of which we repent.…
We can best repent our neglect by neglecting Him no more. Let us begin to think of Him as One to be worshiped and obeyed. Let us throw open every door and invite Him in. Let us surrender to Him every room in the temple of our hearts and insist that He enter and occupy as Lord and Master within His own dwelling. (The Pursuit of Man)
Robert Neighbour - Resist Not the Spirit
"Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost" (Acts 7:51).
The Lord Jesus Christ stands outside the life of each individual man, seeking to enter in.
He is willing to save; He is unwilling that any should perish.
To His own people, Israel, Christ said: "How often would I * * and ye would not" (Matt. 23:37).
Christ seemed to be saying, "I would, ye would not, I could not."
We are now about to consider the fact that man may refuse the work of the Holy Ghost.
The Spirit of God convicts him of his sin, but he will not hear.
Three things may be said.
1. The sinner may resist Christ. The scene in Acts is a solemn one. Stephen was a man full of faith and power. He preached a plain, positive, pungent message, to Israel, concerning her treatment of the Prophets, and of the Saviour.
Those who heard Stephen were pricked in their hearts. They knew that he spoke of them; they knew that they were a stiffnecked and an uncircumcised people, both in their heart and in their ears.
Stephen told them plainly: "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51).
Then the men, cut to their heart, gnashed on him with their teeth; stopping their ears and crying with a loud voice, they ran upon him with one accord, "and cast him out of the city, and stoned him" (Acts 7:58).
This is the attitude of many a lost man toward the Lord Jesus Christ.
They will not come unto Him that they might have life; they stubbornly and steadfastly set their hearts against Him; and they will not hear.
2. The sinner may do despite unto the Holy Spirit. "He that despised Moses' Law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace" (Heb. 10:28, 29).
The passage above seems to speak of "doing despite unto the Spirit of grace," as a climax of sin.
Does "doing despite" mean more than "hardening the heart, and stiffening the neck?"
Does "doing despite" mean more than "neglecting so great salvation," and "refusing Him Who spake?" (see Heb. 2:3).
Is there not carried in the Word "despite" almost the depth of that sin against the Spirit, elsewhere called "blasphemy"?
One thing we know — it is a sin of terrible results. Let no one do despite unto the Spirit of Grace.
Greg Laurie - SIX SINS
The New Testament mentions six offenses that can be committed against the Holy Spirit. Some specifically apply to unbelievers, while others apply to believers. Still others apply to both.
1. We lie to the Holy Spirit. Acts 5:1–5 tells the story of Ananias and Sapphira, two so-called Christians who tried to cheat the church out of some money. Peter caught them in the act and rebuked them, telling them in lying to the Holy Spirit, they had lied to God. Immediately, Ananias dropped dead.
2. We grieve the Holy Spirit. This offense applies to believers. Ephesians 4:30–31 tells us, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” The phrase “to grieve” means “to make sad or sorrowful.” When we allow bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and any type of malicious behavior to take place in our lives, we grieve the Holy Spirit. Are you harboring a grudge against someone? Have you been slandering (speaking lies about) anyone lately? Have you been flying into fits of rage? All of this grieves the Holy Spirit.
3. We quench the Holy Spirit. This, too, applies to believers. The apostle Paul exhorted the Thessalonians, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thess. 5:19). Unbelief certainly can hinder the working and moving of God’s Holy Spirit. This happened in Jesus’s hometown as the people questioned his authority. We read that “He did not do many mighty miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matt. 13:58). Quenching the Spirit can occur when the Holy Spirit is leading you to do a certain thing, such as sharing your faith with someone, praying more, or taking a step of faith in a certain area, and you flatly refuse to do it. Has God called you to serve him with your life? Has he led you to do something? Are you doing it? If not, then you’re quenching the Holy Spirit.
TURNING OUR BACKS ON GOD The list continues with sins that involve pushing the Spirit away.
4. We resist the Holy Spirit. Stephen, as he spoke to the unbelieving Sanhedrin, said, “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 7:51). The Holy Spirit seeks to speak to the heart of the unbeliever and lead him or her to God. The Holy Spirit is incredibly patient and persistent, but it is possible to resist all the Spirit’s pleadings, as we discover from Genesis 6:3, where God said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever.” Apparently the spiritual leaders of Israel whom Stephen was addressing had resisted the Holy Spirit. It seems they were convinced of the truth of what Stephen was telling them, yet they would not yield their hearts.
5. We insult the Holy Spirit. When someone refuses to accept Jesus Christ, he is denying the very mission of the Holy Spirit. He’s saying he doesn’t need salvation or doesn’t believe Jesus Christ can save him or that Jesus’s work on the cross was unnecessary. Hebrews warns, “How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Heb.10:29). Therefore, to resist the Holy Spirit’s appeal is to insult God and cut off all hope of salvation. The Bible poses this alarming question: “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).
THE MOST SERIOUS OFFENSE
6. We blaspheme the Holy Spirit. This is the unpardonable sin, which can be committed only by unbelievers. In speaking of this sin, Jesus said,
And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:31–32
This is the most serious offense against the Holy Spirit, because there is no forgiveness for the one who commits it. So what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Again, the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin and bring us to Jesus Christ. To blaspheme the Spirit is similar to insulting the Spirit by resisting the Spirit’s work altogether. This sin should not be the concern of any Christian because it is not a sin a believer can or will commit. But for the person who is playing some silly religious game, there is great cause for concern, because this is a point of no return. Where and when this would occur in an individual’s life, only God could say. So instead of lying to, grieving, quenching, or insulting and resisting the Holy Spirit, we should be open to the Spirit’s work in our lives. The Spirit wants to show us our need for Jesus Christ and then fill and empower us to be the people God wants us to be. (Walking With Jesus)
Robert Neighbour - "Grieve Not, Quench Not, Resist Not"
• The Mission of the Indwelling Spirit (II Cor. 3:18).
• Grieve Not the Spirit (Eph. 4:30).
• The Mission of the Enduing Spirit (Acts 1:8).
• Quench Not the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19).
• The Mission of the Convicting Spirit (John 16:8).
• Resist Not the Spirit (Acts 7:51).
The Holy Spirit has a threefold mission. He is sent to indwell the believer, He is sent to endue the believer, and He is sent to convict the unbeliever.
Individuals may express a threefold attitude toward the Holy Spirit.
Believers may grieve Him, and quench Him; and unbelievers may resist Him.
There is, of course, another attitude which believers and unbelievers also may take toward the Holy Ghost. Instead of grieving Him, they may please Him; instead of quenching Him, they may yield to Him and obey Him; instead of resisting Him, they may open their hearts and receive Him.
The first two divisions will discuss how the Holy Spirit indwells the believer, with the express purpose of transforming his life into the image of Christ, and how the believer may grieve Him.
The third and fourth divisions will discuss how the Holy Spirit desires to serve and magnify Christ through the lives of His children; and how the believer may quench Him.
The fifth and sixth divisions will show how the Spirit deals with the unsaved, seeking to bring to them the knowledge of the crucified and risen Lord, and how the unbeliever may resist Him.
Paul Enns - THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN BE REJECTED
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4.30)
The question of whether the Holy Spirit is a person can be answered by the fact that He can be resisted and rejected. In the much debated statement in Mark 3:29 Jesus says, "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin." That warning could only be made about a person. I can stand at an electrical outlet and vehemently ridicule it, but there are no repercussions because I am ridiculing an inanimate object. When I ridicule a per-son, there are repercussions. The unbelieving Jews were attributing to Satan what Christ had done through the power of the Holy Spirit-and that was unforgivable.
Rebellious children resist the admonitions of their parents. A lazy employee resists the exhortation of his employer. A student resists the assignments of the teacher. We resists persons.
The Holy Spirit may be resisted because He is a person. Stephen chastened the unbelieving Jews, "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7:51). The One who had worked in their history by granting grace and lending leaders to the nation was the very One the people rebelled against-the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit can also be lied to. When Ananias and his wife, Sap-phira, sold their land and deceptively kept back part of the money, Peter told them that they had lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). We do not lie to inanimate things. I cannot lie to a radar beam. A spoken matter becomes a lie when someone has heard and received a false message.
The Holy Spirit can also be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). 1 may express my displeasure concerning a building when I do not appreciate the architecture. But I do not grieve the building. I grieve the person of the Holy Spirit when I sin by speaking unkind and uncharitable words (Eph 4:29). God has graciously provided His Holy Spirit to direct the spiritual path of people. It behooves us to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
LESSON: The Holy Spirit is a person, seen in that He can be blasphemed, resisted, lied to, and grieved. (Approaching God - Reflections for Growing Christians)
READ: Acts 7:51-60
PEOPLE who announce bad news sometimes get blamed for causing it. It is difficult to be the one who bears unwelcome news. The meteorologist can upset people by predicting rain on the Fourth of July. It's not the forecaster's fault, yet he or she still takes the heat for bringing the message. On a much more serious note, when Stephen addressed the religious leaders of Israel, he incurred their wrath because he boldly told them the truth about themselves. He criticized their ancestors and implicated the whole council in the murder of Jesus Christ. Everything he said was true. So what did they do with this indictment? They "gnashed at him with their teeth" (Acts 7:54). They threw him out of the city and killed him. Because he told the truth, Stephen died under a barrage of stones.
When we speak out for purity, righteousness, and godliness in a sinful, pleasure-loving world careening toward destruction, we too will be criticized. But no matter what happens to us, we belong to God, and ultimately He will vindicate us, if not in this life, in the life to come.—J D Branon
Acts 7:51 TELL IT LIKE IT IS
You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. --Acts 7:51
It is difficult to be the one who bears unwelcome news. The TV meteorologist can upset people just by predicting that it's going to rain on the Fourth of July. It's not his or her fault, yet the forecaster still takes the heat for bringing the message.
On a much more serious note, when Stephen addressed the religious leaders of Israel, he incurred their wrath because he boldly told them the truth about themselves. He criticized their ancestors and implicated the whole council in the murder of Jesus Christ. Everything he said was true. So what did they do with this indictment? They "gnashed at him with their teeth" (Acts 7:54). They threw him out of the city and put him to death. Because he told the truth, Stephen died under a barrage of stones.
When we speak out for purity, righteousness, and godliness in a sinful, pleasure-loving world that seems destined to self-destruct, we too will be criticized. But no matter what happens to us, we can call on God as Stephen did. We can take comfort in knowing that we belong to Him and that ultimately He will vindicate us.
As God's people, let's pray that we will have the courage to tell it like it is. - J D Brannon
Lord, give us courage to speak out
Against the evils of our day;
For only when the truth is known
Can sinners choose the better way.--D J De Haan
It's better to declare the truth and be rejected than to withhold it just to be accepted.