When the laws of the land oppose God’s will our faith is tested. The church’s first martyr faced a mob of religious zealots. He did not hold back from telling the truth. “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. Now when they heard this, they were infuriated, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'” (Acts 7:54-56 NASB)
Stephen was “full of the Holy Spirit.” He knew and believed the Word of God. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh provides no benefit; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63 NASB) Stephen’s sermon leaves no doubt that he knew God’s word. To proclaim the unvarnished truth to a hateful mob is proof of his faith. Full of the Holy Spirit, a fire tested faith in God’s word. Stephen was stoned. After seeing the glory of God and Jesus the Holy Spirit within carried Stephen through to praise, glory and honor.
Those born of the Spirit,
“who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” (1 Peter 1:5-7 NASB)
Overcoming trials through believing the word of God IS THE PROOF OF OUR FAITH.