Stephan was stoned and killed because he preached Jesus and His grace.
He was a man full of God’s grace and power (Acts 6:8). His preaching was about the Righteous One – the Messiah (Acts 7: 52).
It is the Righteous One who brings righteousness to us. We don’t become righteous, we receive it as a gift and God imputes it unto us. That is the only righteousness acceptable by God; all the self efforts are like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6) in God's eyes.
The Jews could not take victory over the argument with Stephan (6:10) so they persuaded some men to lie against Stephan saying, "We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God (6:11)".
So the elders and the teachers of the religious law arrested him and brought before the high council.
They complained that Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.
That’s the fear of many law-preachers. The freedom in Christ can shake their little kingdoms. They can’t conceive the extraordinary risk in allowing people to be free.
They shrink the freedom in Christ to 'freedom to dance' and 'freedom to sing'.
Thats is man made 'freedom'.
But it is the freedom in Christ what sets people really free - free from people pleasing, free from rituals, free from customs, free from law, free from 'authority', free from guilt, free from peer pressure, free from self-pity, free from self-righteousness, free from condemnation, free from anything and everything but Jesus! and Jesus alone! It is the freedom in dependence.
It is that freedom that teaches us to say "No" to unrighteousnesses , it is that freedom what enables us to give in free will. It is that freedom which gives us to enter the throne of Grace with courage and call the all sufficient, all powerful, omnipresent God, Abba Father!
It is the 'spirit of control' what takes us to the book of Malachi to establish the law of tithing. That is when we put people in guilt trip saying if you don’t tithe you are robbing God. It is the law that enables some people to use godliness as a means of financial gain. So they dwell on the law. Shame on them!
It is the law which allows the elders and authorities to control people – emotionally, spiritually and financially.
In Acts chapter 7 Stephan addressing the council and he declared fearlessly that the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands and quoted Isa 66:1-2.
He used some strong words: you are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit?
Where there is Spirit of God, there is freedom!
He pointed out to them they failed to obey the law even though they speak about it all the time.
When Apostle Paul pointed the following to the people at Corinth, was he blaspheming Moses?
7Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone (10 Commandments!), came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! (2 Cor. 3)
He was being persecuted for this. (Gal 5:11)
And the persecution continues...and it will continue...