Dying to Envy, Rising to Kindness

Ryan Green | May 30, 2021

Scripture: 1 John 3 Acts 7 Mark 15 Genesis 37

See what great love[a] the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed.(A) We know that when he appears,[b] we will be like him(B) because we will see him as he is.(C) And everyone who has this hope(D) in him purifies himself just as he is pure.(E)

Everyone who commits sin practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed so that he might take away sins,[c](F) and there is no sin in him.(G) Everyone who remains in him(H) does not sin;[d](I) everyone who sins[e] has not seen him or known him.

Little children, let no one deceive you. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who commits[f] sin is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God(J) was revealed(K) for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works. Everyone who has been born of God(L) does not sin,[g] because his seed(M) remains in him; he is not able to sin,[h] because he has been born of God. 10 This is how God’s children and the devil’s children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister.(N)

Love in Action

11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another, 12 unlike Cain,(O) who was of the evil one(P) and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.

13 Do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates(Q) you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death.(R) 15 Everyone who hates his brother or sister(S) is a murderer,(T) and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life(U) for us.(V) We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.(W) 17 If anyone has this world’s goods(X) and sees a fellow believer[i] in need(Y) but withholds compassion(Z) from him—how does God’s love reside in him?(AA) 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth.(AB)

19 This is how we will know that we belong to the truth(AC) and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows all things.(AD)

21 Dear friends, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive whatever we ask from him because we keep his commands(AE) and do what is pleasing in his sight. 23 Now this is his command: that we believe in the name(AF) of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps his commands remains in him,(AG) and he in him. And the way we know that he remains in us(AH) is from the Spirit(AI) he has given us.


  1. 3:1 Or what sort of love
  2. 3:2 Or when it appears
  3. 3:5 Other mss read our sins
  4. 3:6 Or not keep on sinning
  5. 3:6 Or who keeps on sinning
  6. 3:8 Or practices
  7. 3:9 Or not practice sin
  8. 3:9 Or to keep on sinning
  9. 3:17 Lit sees his brother or sister

Stephen’s Sermon

“Are these things true?” the high priest asked.

“Brothers and fathers,” he replied, “listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran,(A) and said to him: Leave your country and relatives, and come to the land that I will show you.[a](B)

“Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this land in which you are now living.(C) He didn’t give him an inheritance in it—not even a foot of ground—but he promised to give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him,(D) even though he was childless. God spoke in this way: His descendants would be strangers in a foreign country, and they would enslave and oppress them for four hundred years. I will judge the nation that they will serve as slaves, God said. After this, they will come out and worship me in this place.[b](E) And so he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. After this, he fathered Isaac and circumcised(F) him on the eighth day. Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.(G)

The Patriarchs in Egypt

“The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt, but God was with him(H) 10 and rescued him out of all his troubles. He gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and over his whole household.(I) 11 Now a famine and great suffering came over all of Egypt and Canaan,(J) and our ancestors could find no food. 12 When Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there the first time. 13 The second time, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14 Joseph invited his father Jacob and all his relatives, seventy-five people in all,(K) 15 and Jacob went down to Egypt. He and our ancestors died there,(L) 16 were carried back to Shechem, and were placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.(M)

Moses, a Rejected Savior

17 “As the time was approaching to fulfill the promise that God had made to Abraham, the people flourished and multiplied in Egypt(N) 18 until a different king who did not know Joseph ruled over Egypt.[c] 19 He dealt deceitfully with our race and oppressed our ancestors by making them abandon their infants outside so that they wouldn’t survive.(O) 20 At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful in God’s sight. He was cared for in his father’s home for three months. 21 When he was put outside, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted and raised him as her own son.(P) 22 So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his speech and actions.(Q)

23 “When he was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. 24 When he saw one of them being mistreated, he came to his rescue and avenged the oppressed man by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He assumed his people would understand that God would give them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. 26 The next day he showed up while they were fighting and tried to reconcile them peacefully, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why are you mistreating each other?’ (R)

27 “But the one who was mistreating his neighbor pushed Moses aside, saying: Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me, the same way you killed the Egyptian yesterday?[d](S)

29 “When he heard this, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.(T) 30 After forty years had passed, an angel[e] appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he was approaching to look at it, the voice of the Lord came: 32 I am the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.[f](U) Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look.

33 “The Lord said to him: Take off the sandals from your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. And now, come, I will send you to Egypt.[g](V)

35 “This Moses, whom they rejected when they said, Who appointed you a ruler and a judge?[h]—this one God sent as a ruler and a deliverer through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.(W) 36 This man led them out and performed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt,(X) at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.(Y)

Israel’s Rebellion against God

37 “This is the Moses who said to the Israelites: God[i] will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.[j](Z) 38 He is the one who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors.(AA) He received living oracles to give to us.(AB) 39 Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him. Instead, they pushed him aside, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.(AC) 40 They told Aaron: Make us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what’s happened to him.[k](AD) 41 They even made a calf in those days, offered sacrifice to the idol, and were celebrating what their hands had made.(AE) 42 God turned away(AF) and gave them up to worship(AG) the stars of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:

House of Israel, did you bring me offerings and sacrifices
for forty years in the wilderness?
43 You took up the tent of Moloch
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship.
So I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.[l](AH)

God’s Real Tabernacle

44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses commanded him to make it according to the pattern he had seen.(AI) 45 Our ancestors in turn received it and with Joshua brought it in when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before them,(AJ) until the days of David. 46 He found favor in God’s sight and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God[m] of Jacob.(AK) 47 It was Solomon, rather, who built him a house,(AL) 48 but the Most High does not dwell in sanctuaries made with hands, as the prophet says:(AM)

49 Heaven is my throne,
and the earth my footstool.
What sort of house will you build for me?
says the Lord,
or what will be my resting place?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?[n](AN)

Resisting the Holy Spirit

51 “You stiff-necked(AO) people with uncircumcised hearts and ears!(AP) You are always resisting the Holy Spirit. As your ancestors did, you do also. 52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?(AQ) They even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers(AR) you have now become. 53 You received the law under the direction of angels(AS) and yet have not kept it.”

The First Christian Martyr

54 When they heard these things, they were enraged[o] and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.(AT) 56 He said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (AU)

57 They yelled at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and together rushed against him. 58 They dragged him out of the city and began to stone(AV) him. And the witnesses laid their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.(AW) 59 While they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” (AX) 60 He knelt down and cried out with a loud voice,(AY) “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” And after saying this, he fell asleep.(AZ)


  1. 7:3 Gn 12:1
  2. 7:6–7 Gn 15:13–14
  3. 7:18 Other mss omit over Egypt
  4. 7:27–28 Ex 2:14
  5. 7:30 Other mss add of the Lord
  6. 7:32 Ex 3:6,15
  7. 7:33–34 Ex 3:5,7–8,10
  8. 7:35 Ex 2:14
  9. 7:37 Other mss read The Lord your God
  10. 7:37 Dt 18:15
  11. 7:40 Ex 32:1,23
  12. 7:42–43 Am 5:25–27
  13. 7:46 Other mss read house
  14. 7:49–50 Is 66:1–2
  15. 7:54 Or were cut to the quick

Jesus Faces Pilate

15 As(A) soon as it was morning, having held a meeting with the elders,(B) scribes,(C) and the whole Sanhedrin, the chief priests(D) tied Jesus up, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.(E)

So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king(F) of the Jews?”(G)

He answered him, “You say so.”

And the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate(H) questioned him again, “Aren’t you going to answer? Look how many things they are accusing you of!” But Jesus still did not answer, and so Pilate was amazed.

Jesus or Barabbas

At(I) the festival(J) Pilate(K) used to release for the people a prisoner whom they requested. There was one named Barabbas, who was in prison with rebels who had committed murder(L) during the rebellion.(M) The crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do for them as was his custom. Pilate answered them, “Do you want me to release the king(N) of the Jews(O) for you?” 10 For he knew it was because of envy(P) that the chief priests had handed him over. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd so that he would release Barabbas to them instead. 12 Pilate asked them again, “Then what do you want me to do with the one you call the king of the Jews?”

13 Again they shouted, “Crucify him!”

14 Pilate said to them, “Why? What has he done wrong?”

But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!”

15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them; and after having Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified.

Mocked by the Military

16 The(Q) soldiers led him away into the palace (that is, the governor’s residence(R)) and called the whole company together. 17 They dressed him in a purple(S) robe, twisted together a crown(T) of thorns, and put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail,(U) king(V) of the Jews!” 19 They were hitting him on the head with a stick and spitting on him. Getting down on their knees,(W) they were paying him homage. 20 After they had mocked(X) him, they stripped him of the purple robe and put his clothes on him.

Crucified between Two Criminals

They led him out to crucify him. 21 They(Y) forced a man coming in from the country, who was passing by, to carry Jesus’s cross.(Z) He was Simon of Cyrene,(AA) the father of Alexander and Rufus.(AB)

22 They(AC) brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull(AD)). 23 They tried to give him wine(AE) mixed with myrrh,(AF) but he did not take it.

24 Then they crucified him and divided his clothes, casting lots(AG) for them to decide what each would get. 25 Now it was nine in the morning[a] when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge written against him was: The King(AH) of the Jews.(AI) 27 They(AJ) crucified two criminals[b](AK) with him, one on his right and one on his left.[c]

29 Those(AL) who passed by were yelling insults(AM) at[d] him, shaking their heads,(AN) and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,(AO) 30 save yourself by coming down from the cross!”(AP) 31 In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes(AQ) were mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! 32 Let the Messiah,(AR) the King(AS) of Israel,(AT) come down now from the cross,(AU) so that we may see and believe.”(AV) Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.

The Death of Jesus

33 When(AW) it was noon,[e] darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.[f](AX) 34 And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[g](AY)

35 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “See, he’s calling for Elijah.”

36 Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, fixed it on a stick, offered him a drink,(AZ) and said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”

37 Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 Then the curtain(BA) of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he[h] breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” [i](BB)

40 There(BC) were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene,(BD) Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 In Galilee(BE) these women followed him and took care of him. Many other women had come up with him to Jerusalem.(BF)

The Burial of Jesus

42 When(BG) it was already evening, because it was the day of preparation (that is, the day before the Sabbath), 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward(BH) to the kingdom of God,(BI) came and boldly went to Pilate(BJ) and asked for Jesus’s body.(BK) 44 Pilate was surprised that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had already died. 45 When he found out from the centurion, he gave the corpse to Joseph. 46 After he bought some linen cloth, Joseph took him down and wrapped him in the linen. Then he laid him in a tomb(BL) cut out of the rock and rolled a stone(BM) against the entrance to the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene(BN) and Mary the mother of Joses were watching where he was laid.


  1. 15:25 Lit was the third hour
  2. 15:27 Or revolutionaries
  3. 15:27 Some mss include v. 28: So the Scripture was fulfilled that says: And he was counted among criminals.
  4. 15:29 Or passed by blasphemed
  5. 15:33 Lit the sixth hour
  6. 15:33 Lit the ninth hour, also in v. 34
  7. 15:34 Ps 22:1
  8. 15:39 Other mss read saw that he cried out like this and
  9. 15:39 Or a son of God

Joseph’s Dreams

37 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.(A) These are the family records of Jacob.

At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended sheep with his brothers. The young man was working with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives,(B) and he brought a bad report about them to their father.(C)

Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age,(D) and he made a long-sleeved robe[a] for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him.

Then Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: There we were, binding sheaves of grain in the field. Suddenly my sheaf stood up, and your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.”(E)

“Are you really going to reign over us?” his brothers asked him. “Are you really going to rule us?” So they hated him even more because of his dream and what he had said.

Then he had another dream and told it to his brothers. “Look,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun, moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

10 He told his father and brothers, and his father rebuked him. “What kind of dream is this that you have had?” he said. “Am I and your mother and your brothers really going to come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him,(F) but his father kept the matter in mind.(G)

Joseph Sold into Slavery

12 His brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers, you know, are pasturing the flocks at Shechem. Get ready. I’m sending you to them.”

“I’m ready,” Joseph replied.

14 Then Israel said to him, “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are doing, and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the Hebron(H) Valley, and he went to Shechem.

15 A man found him there, wandering in the field, and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

16 “I’m looking for my brothers,” Joseph said. “Can you tell me where they are pasturing their flocks?”

17 “They’ve moved on from here,” the man said. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”(I) So Joseph set out after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

18 They saw him in the distance, and before he had reached them, they plotted to kill him.(J) 19 They said to one another, “Oh, look, here comes that dream expert![b] 20 So now, come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the pits.[c] We can say that a vicious animal ate him. Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”

21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from them.[d] He said, “Let’s not take his life.”(K) 22 Reuben also said to them, “Don’t shed blood. Throw him into this pit in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him”—intending to rescue him from them and return him to his father.

23 When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped off Joseph’s robe, the robe of many colors that he had on. 24 Then they took him and threw him into the pit. The pit was empty, without water.(L)

25 They sat down to eat a meal,(M) and when they looked up, there was a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead.(N) Their camels were carrying aromatic gum, balsam, and resin, going down to Egypt.(O)

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come on, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay a hand on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh,” and his brothers agreed. 28 When Midianite(P) traders passed by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took Joseph to Egypt.(Q)

29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes.(R) 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone! What am I going to do?” [e] 31 So they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the robe in its blood. 32 They sent the long-sleeved robe to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it. Is it your son’s robe or not?”

33 His father recognized it. “It is my son’s robe,” he said. “A vicious animal has devoured him. Joseph has been torn to pieces!” (S) 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth around his waist, and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said. “I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” And his father wept for him.

36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guards.


  1. 37:3 Or an ornate robe; see 2Sm 13:18,19
  2. 37:19 Lit comes the lord of the dreams
  3. 37:20 Or cisterns
  4. 37:21 Lit their hands
  5. 37:30 Lit And I, where am I going?

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