STEPHEN’S MESSAGE WAS FIRST; GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PLACES. The temple was beautiful but it was wrong to idolize it as “the house of God.” Second, Israel had a long history of rebelling against God’s messengers. Jesus said it is impossible for old wineskins to hold new wine (Matt 9:17). Through Stephen, the Holy Spirit shows how the old traditions (wineskins) of Judaism (especially idolizing the temple) cannot contain the new wine of Christianity. God used Stephen’s martyrdom to send the church out to the whole world, but God also used his message to show that there was no theological reason to prevent the gospel from going to the Gentiles. Stephen took the sharp knife of God’s Word and exposed the sins of the people, laying open their hearts. The fact that he was facing certain death made Stephen even more zealous.