Islamic Terrorism hit hard over the weekend in a Kenyan Mall and a Pakistani Church, and, after well over a thousand years, the reality of Muslim jihad has displayed no signs of waning. Islam was started as a terrorist religion by Muhammad himself, so we should not be surprised when these events occur. Christianity, on the other hand, is rooted in grace. The former rules by intimidation and deceit and the latter by love and truth.

Long before Islam, the early Church faced the same kind of evil, yet it thrived, though not necessarily by the means it anticipated. The case of Stephen in is an excellent example. He stood up to his adversaries and boldly proclaimed the truth of God’s Word. We cannot and must not refrain from confronting evil and calling out sin.

51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

ESV Acts 7:51-53

Speaking the truth cost him his earthly life, but he was welcomed into eternity with great glory. What did he see before his departure?

54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed 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, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

ESV Acts 7:54-56

Wow! Christ is often described as seated at the right hand of the Father on High, yet, here He is standing. Christ does not take the death of His saints lightly, and He is not a mere bystander. He has brought such things to pass for His glory, and Stephen beheld that glory in a splendor that we eagerly anticipate.

Shortly thereafter the Church was dispersed because of a great persecution (Acts 8).  These were tough times, but God was in complete control of the situation, for, in this, the gospel exploded to the four winds. Let us pray that God will use these events to reach those who at present hate him the most.