Summary: We can adjust to the change God brings.
A SET UP
S: New Covenant
C: Adapting to Change
Th: A People with Purpose
Pr: WE CAN ADJUST TO THE CHANGE GOD BRINGS.
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• Be a person of faith, like Stephen – a man of character and courage.
• Adjust yourself, adjust your presuppositions, and enjoy the new thing God wants to do in you.
RMBC 12 March 06 AM
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat: “I’m the greatest hitter in the world,” he announced.
Then, he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed.
“Strike One!” he yelled. Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!”
He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down he swung again and missed. “Strike Two!” he cried.
The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!”
Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. “Strike Three!”
“Wow!” he exclaimed. “I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”
Well, you have to admit, the young man knew how to adjust.
How about you?
1. Do you adjust well to changing circumstances?
When things are changing around you, can you take it?
Are you able to accept change?
Or do you resist it?
When we began our study in the 6th chapter of Acts, we saw that…
2. The apostles proved that they could both, keep their priorities, and change (1-4).
When there was conflict in the church, they understood where they needed a firm grip and where they needed a loose one.
They needed to be firm when it came to their priorities – their God-given priorities – the Word and prayer.
They also needed to be loose with areas of responsibilities that could be done by others.
They could not be doing everything.
And the service to the poor was important, but they could not be everywhere.
3. They understood God had gifted others (5-6).
So they asked the believers in the church to look for men of God, men of faith, leaders who were wise and had an excellent reputation.
These were the type of people that were needed to solve this situation.
So the church found them.
They were Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolaus – all Greek names, by the way – not a Jewish name in the bunch.
Then the apostles appointed them.
They were given the problem, trusted with it, and they solved it.
4. Adapting to the situation made the church more effective (7).
The ministry of the Word of God was more successful.
Now, more and more people were coming to understand Jesus as the Messiah.
The church regained its effectiveness and began to reproduce again.
Surprisingly, adjusting to the difficulty allowed the church to have an effectiveness in an area they probably did not expect.
It was the priests.
The text tells us that a great many became obedient to the faith.
This phenomena brought on another conflict.
5. Priests coming to the faith accentuated the tension between the old and new covenants (Jeremiah 31.31-33).
It was the prophet Jeremiah that had announced a new covenant.
"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
That which God had promised through the prophet Jeremiah had been fulfilled.
The problem was that the Jewish elite had not recognized it as so.
Because the Messiah had not come they way they thought he should have come, they fiercely held on to the status quo.
It was not in their theological framework that God might actually work differently than they way they interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures.
But in Acts 6, many priests are getting it.
They see that Jesus is the promise of the New Covenant fulfilled.
In the middle of this tension is one of the men that was appointed to help with solving the conflict in the church.