"The Camouflaged Leader"
Acts 6 (NASB)
1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.3 Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.9 But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.10 But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.11 Then they secretly induced men to say, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.12 And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.13 They put forward false witnesses who said, This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law;14 for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.15 And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.
Acts 7 (NASB)
1 The high priest said, Are these things so?2 And he said, Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,3 and said to him, LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.4 Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living.5 But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM.6 But God spoke to this effect, that his DESCENDANTS WOULD BE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE ENSLAVED AND MISTREATED FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS.7 AND WHATEVER NATION TO WHICH THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I MYSELF WILL JUDGE, said God, AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE.8 And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.9 The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him,10 and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household.11 Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food.12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time.13 On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Josephs family was disclosed to Pharaoh.14 Then Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all.15 And Jacob went down to Egypt and there he and our fathers died.16 From there they were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.17 But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt,18 until THERE AROSE ANOTHER KING OVER EGYPT WHO KNEW NOTHING ABOUT JOSEPH.19 It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive.20 It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his fathers home.21 And after he had been set outside, Pharaohs daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son.22 Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.23 But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel.24 And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian.25 And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.26 On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?27 But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US?28 YOU DO NOT MEAN TO KILL ME AS YOU KILLED THE EGYPTIAN YESTERDAY, DO YOU?29 At this remark, MOSES FLED AND BECAME AN ALIEN IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he became the father of two sons.30 After forty years had passed, AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HIM IN THE WILDERNESS OF MOUNT Sinai, IN THE FLAME OF A BURNING THORN BUSH.31 When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord:32 I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB. Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look.33 BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, TAKE OFF THE SANDALS FROM YOUR FEET, FOR THE PLACE ON WHICH YOU ARE STANDING IS HOLY GROUND.34 I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.35 This Moses whom they disowned, saying, WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE? is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush.36 This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.37 This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you.39 Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt,40 SAYING TO AARON, MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT--WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.41 At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands.42 But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL?43 YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen.45 And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David.46 David found favor in Gods sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.47 But it was Solomon who built a house for Him.48 However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:49 HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME? says the Lord, OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE?50 WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?51 You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;53 you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.54 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;56 and he said, Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.57 But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse.58 When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!60 Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, Lord, do not hold this sin against them! Having said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 8 (NASB)
1 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him.3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.6 The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing.7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.8 So there was much rejoicing in that city.9 Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great;10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, This man is what is called the Great Power of God.11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts.12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John,15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles hands, he offered them money,19 saying, Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.20 But Peter said to him, May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!21 You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.24 But Simon answered and said, Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.25 So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza. (This is a desert road.)27 So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship,28 and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go up and join this chariot.30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, Do you understand what you are reading?31 And he said, Well, how could I, unless someone guides me? And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.32 Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH.33 IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.34 The eunuch answered Philip and said, Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?37 [And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.]38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.