Acts 6

Author

Joel King 

Scripture

Acts 6:1-15

Observation

· As the church grew it experienced some challenges
· Those widows of Grecian Jewish background were getting less in the daily distribution of food than those widows of Hebrew Jewish background; and the Grecian Jews began to complain.
· The Twelve saw it needed to be managed better, but also acknowledged that their own ministry was to teach the Word of God.
· They decided it best to turn it over to others, and had them select seven men who would do it
· These men had to be full of the Spirit and wise. In other words, it was evident that they were being used by God and making decisions that were of God
· The Twelve saw their primary ministry as teaching the Word of God and Praying
· One of the men they chose was Stephen who was not only full of the Spirit but was also full of faith.
· The names of all seven of the men seem to indicate that they were of Grecian Jewish background, the offended background (a wise and prudent solution)
· These men were commissioned by the twelve by the laying on of hands
· As the Twelve were free to continue doing what they had been called to, the church grew even more.
· Even some of the Jewish Levitical Priests began to follow Jesus
· The story shifts to Stephen here, and for the first time someone is doing miracles that is not one of the twelve
· Opposition arose from other Grecian Jews, but they could not discredit Stephan because the he was full of the Spirit and wisdom (The two criteria mentioned for the task above)
· (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament) - Jerusalem had many synagogues (though not the 480 of later tradition), including some of those mentioned here. Archaeologists have found the dedicatory inscription from a "synagogue of the freedmen," those descended from former Roman slaves.
· Since they couldn’t discredit him legitimately they did it illegitimately. And got some false witness to accuse him of speaking against Judaism and one of its most loved leaders, Moses.
· They had him brought before the Sanhedrin and falsely accused him of saying Jesus was going to destroy the Temple and change the customs of Moses. The Sanhedrin has heard these false charges before. They were similar to the same false accusations charged against Jesus (Mark 14:55-59).
· Everyone there observed at this point that Stephan’s appearance had changed and he looked somewhat angelic. It would seem that his face glowed with glory, like Moses' face in Ex 34:29,35).

Application

· Our church needs foster men and women who are full of the Spirit and Wisdom
· We need to figure out how our spiritual leaders can spend more time teaching the Word of God and praying and less time administrating.
· We need to evaluate our church and make sure that we aren’t giving preference to one group of people (those who have been there a while) versus another group (those newer to the church)
· I need to grow personally. I need the Holy Spirit to work more in me, and I need to grow in faith.

Prayer

Father,

Thank you for your grace and love. You are almighty and yet you choose to pour out your gifts on us. I know you love the people at Trinity Church and continue to bless us, Thank You! Please show us how we can grow in the power of your Spirit and in your wisdom. Help us equip each person for the ministry, and help us free our shepherds up more to teach your word and pray for the saints. Would you open our eyes to any inequities in our body, and give us the wisdom to make them right so that we might glorify you. Continue to grow me and my leadership of this gathering. I thank you for your grace and patience with me. I want to take the next step and become even more the man of God you desire me to be. Help me be courageous and follow you more closely. More of you, less of me . . . for your Glory.

In the name of Jesus, my Lord and King I pray, AMEN.

5 comments (Add your own)

1. Jim Asselin wrote:
I was reminded in v9 that as we speak boldly about Jesus that we will face opposition. In fact, if we are not experiencing opposition to the gospel message, then we most likely are not sharing the truth with anyone. The word is a stumbling block and an offence to the proud, sinful heart. I know because I have one. Lord, help me speak with boldness and confidence today regarding your way, truth and life.

Wed, February 11, 2015 @ 7:04 AM

2. Michelle Wilson wrote:
Awesome prayer Joel...amen & amen.

Wed, February 11, 2015 @ 4:43 PM

3. Rob Schulze wrote:
Joel... I'm grateful for your heart and conviction to shepherd, teach and pray.

Holy Father, you know the purposes you have for our congregation. Fill us this week with your Spirit and wisdom as we strive to be faithful to you. Give our elders and shepherds wisdom as well as faith that leads to Spirit-led risks. Lord... and if it be your will, bless Trinity & Joel with an administrative leader soon as he stewards all that you've entrusted him as our lead elder. In name of Jesus. Amen"

Wed, February 11, 2015 @ 5:26 PM

4. Phil Payne wrote:
Acts 6. The Church Under Assault

The young church did three things well. Food was being distributed to the poor within the church, such as the widows who had no way to make a living in that culture. The apostles focused on ministry of the Word through preaching and prayer (vs 2,4). Evangelists such as Stephen followed the apostles earlier example in chaps 4 and 5. He witnessed for Christ in the city, teaching/preaching the life of faith through Jesus, as people’s attention was captured by miracles done in power of the Holy Spirit. (vs 8-10)

But Satan was counter-attacking through strategies that we still see in the church today.

1. DIVISION AND PREJUDICE. The Hellenists were Jews who had assimilated with the Greek culture that had overlaid Palestine for a few hundred years prior to Roman conquest. Their loose adherence to Law and Jewish tradition was offensive to those who kept a more orthodox faith. They complained that their widows were neglected in the food distribution. The apostles asked the Hellenists to nominate seven men from their own group [all seven had Greek names] and then delegated authority for the food distribution to these men. These men had demonstrated spiritual maturity and would be trusted by the Hellenists, as they had good reputation.

Our tendency toward division and prejudice is deeply engrained in our fallen nature. Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for such disunity (1 Cor 1:10-13) and notes in Christ the cultural distinctions between Jew and Greek or economic distinctions between salve and free should not matter (1 Cor 12:12). James had to rebuke the church for favoring the rich over the poor (James, chapter 2).

2. DISTRACTION OF KEY LEADERS. The dispute between Hellenists and others was serious; it could have split the church. But the apostles wisely refuse to be distracted from the work God had asked them to do – prayer and teaching. They delegated table service to others – and undoubtedly prayed for peaceful resolution of the conflict.

3. SLANDER AND PERSECUTION. Some Jews slandered Stephen, speaking lies and half-truths as he stood trial before the council. The motives for slander could have been either jealousy or their consciousness about their own sin, because they could not withstand the wisdom of Stephen or the Spirit (vs 10). He is accused of preaching against the Temple and the customs that Moses (allegedly) delivered.

APPLICATION:
1. Like the church in Acts 6, our congregation is a blend of many cultures and economic levels. I already try to build bridges by purposely associating with others who are unlike me. But I need to pray for power in the Holy Spirit to make such connections effective.
2. It is good that Trinity Church has the fellowship fund and the caring teams that visit or provide meals. But are we doing enough? Prayer: Jesus, show our Trinity leaders and me what more we should do to care for the needy in our midst.
3. Prayer: Please protect Ernie and the Gateway team from slanders and lies that could discredit them or Trinity in our neighborhood.
4. Prayer that elders and key staff or lay leaders will have focus on what God has asked & equipped them to do.

Thu, February 12, 2015 @ 9:02 AM

5. Stephen Dittmer wrote:
Thanks for the insights above


Application: There will be much opposition to teaching of God’s word. Always has seemed to be. My application is to hold firmly to the word and know Gods teaching. Pray for those who are against the word of God that they may be more open to understand it.

Thu, February 12, 2015 @ 9:02 PM

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