Summary: A Ministering and Serving Church
Both the Christians and the church will minister to the needs of others. The unintended consequences of growth, yet the foundation of its continued reproduction.
1. Growth demands attention to conditions that produce growth. “As the believers rapidly multiplied . . . rumblings of discontent” (Acts 6:1).
2. New growth produces new problems. “Because the people come to me” (Ex. 18:15, NLT). “You are going to wear yourself out, and the people too” (Ex. 18:17, NLT). Organize or stagnate.
3. New growth demands new strategy. “Apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program” (Acts 6:2, NLT).
4. Divide work load and multiply results. “Select seven men” (Acts 6:3, NLT).
a. Good reputation.
b. Full of the Spirit.
d. Full of faith (Acts 6:3, 5).
5. Solve problems by involving many people in the problem. Hellenistic believers complained, 7 deacons (term means serving) were Hellenists.
6. Nicolas, first church worker, a Gentile, integrated.
7. Growing organism gives attention to organization.
B. USE OF LAY PEOPLE
1. All ministers in Old Testament were Levites (training, separation).
2. Jesus, a non-Levite, from the tribe of Judah, a lay preacher.
3. Jesus choose 12 non-Levites, i.e., workers to do His work.
4. The 120 were non-Levites. God ignored Old Testament priorities and patterns. God had a new and better way to get workers.
5. All believers were workers, i.e., witnesses.
6. Churches and denominations that stagnate, separate ministry to clergy.
7. Originally, “A kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). Church fulfills that dream. “You are a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).
C. CHURCH GREW USING LAY MINISTRY
1. The early church emphasized all “gathered” (2:1), “were filled” (2:4), “spoke” (2:7), “poured out Spirit on all” (2:17), “witnessing” (2:32), “believed” (2:44), “all things common” (2:45), “feared” (2:47), “grace upon all” (4:33), “gathered” (5:12), “scattered” (8:1).
2. All are given spiritual gifts (abilities), to perform a specific ministry. “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other” (1 Cor. 12:7, NLT).
3. Stephen. “Full of God’s grace and glory” (6:8). “None could stand against the spirit and wisdom . . . Stephen spoke” (6:10, NLT).
4. Philip. “Told the people about the Messiah . . . eager to get saved” (8:5-6). “The people believed . . . many were baptized” (8:12).
5. Faithfulness in first task leads to promotion of greater responsibility. Philip, the layman, became a deacon, then became an evangelist (Acts 21:8).
6. Faithfulness in embryonic spiritual gift grows the effectiveness and results of that gift. “Desire earnestly the most effective gift” (1 Cor. 12:31, ELT).
D. SUMMARY AND APPLICATION
2. God expects exceptional believers will build exponential churches.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
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