July 5, 2014
Acts 6:1-7 (in context)
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters,choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit;also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Problems, problems. When you think about it, the New Testament, in its essence, is a problem solving document.
Yesterday’s problem: The Sanhedrin death penalty trial. Today, it’s the widows. Tomorrow it will be an execution and the day after it will be a vigilante named Paul. Soon the Apostles will be faced with the massive problem of what to do with the Gentiles. Then will come the problems of the church in Rome and the church in Ephesus and the church in Corinth and the church in Thessalonica and the church in Phillipi and if we track this long enough we will come to the problems in your church and in my church and yes it will land in your house and my house and ultimately it comes back to your life and my life, where the problems begin in the first place. Problems, problems.
Notice how they solve the problem.
1. Find people who “are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.”
2. Lay hands on them, publicly commissioning them for the work.
3. Turn them loose.
Notice what happens.
1. The Word of God spread.
2. The number of disciples increased rapidly.
3. A large number of PRIESTS became obedient to the faith.
No shaming people into service. No begging for volunteers. No committee meetings.
Sounds pretty good to me. And you?
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
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