Summary: 3 of 4 messages on prayer and the church. This message is based on Acts 6 when the KJV says "there arose a murmurming..."
Sunday, September 3
There arose a Murmuring…
“The number of followers was growing. But during this same time, the Greek-speaking followers had an argument with the other followers…”
The Greek-speaking widows were not getting their share of the food that was given out every day. 2 The twelve apostles called the whole group of followers together and said, “It is not right for us to stop our work of teaching God’s word in order to serve tables. 3 So, brothers and sisters, choose seven of your own men who are good, full of the Spirit and full of wisdom. We will put them in charge of this work. 4 Then we can continue to pray and to teach the word of God.”
5 The whole group liked the idea, so they chose these seven men: Stephen (a man with great faith and full of the Holy Spirit), Philip, n Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (a man from Antioch who had become a follower of the Jewish religion). 6 Then they put these men before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands n on them.
7 The word of God was continuing to spread. The group of followers in Jerusalem increased, and a great number of the Jewish priests believed and obeyed.
There arose a Murmuring
They were energetically evangelizing
What were the Christians doing? “Daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).
They were oblivious to a problem
Some Christians can be so busy – and diligent – serving Christ that they are unaware that they cause problems.
There was “ethnic” discord
What was the problem in the early church? “There arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews” (Acts 6:1).
There was “class” separation
Greek widows were being neglected
There was an “administrative” challenge
They were being neglected
Small problems become a big issues
When there is a perception of carelessness in your attitude.
Then they become occasions to sin and create distress in the body of Christ.
Jesus taught that we should expect problems – but that we should not accept them
Jesus said to his followers, “Things that cause people to sin will happen, but how terrible for the person who causes them to happen!
The word translated sin here is different than the common word – hamartia. Hamartia means “ to miss the mark”. This is not the word used here. What is used here is a stumbling block or offence. A problem or a challenge that trips you up and causes you to fall.
What Jesus is saying here is that life is full of problems… I am intrigued by movies like “Die Hard, Die Harder, and Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon II, Lethal Weapon III, and Lethal Weapon IV. The hero is always covered with dirt, mud, and blood at the end of the story. He’s been kicked, run over, and has run 30 miles through city streets. He’s been shot, tortured, hammered, and taken 20-30 kicks to various parts of his body but somehow at the end he gets up and laughs it off with some sort of a wise crack.
Listen – movies like this make living look easy compared to the reality of every day life with a job, a boss, and kids in school. I wish life was as easy as it is in one of those movies.
The fact is that there are lots of problems, challenges and stumbling blocks in life… That does not mean we have the right to put them in front of people… No – we are not to be stumbling blocks for others – especially the disadvantaged. Jesus goes on to make it clear that we are not to be the cause of stumbling for children.
Does that mean you’ll never be part of the problem? Of course not. You will sometimes offend others when you…
Are trying to do good… and you accidentally goof – either because of inexperience or just not thinking things through.
Years ago Donna and I had a MSU student from our youth group at Bangor come to Lansing. He was struggling financially to make ends meet so we invited him over for dinner one night. While he was upstairs for a nice dinner of mac and cheese and some hammered to tenderness, chuck steak, I slipped down to his car and stuck a box of groceries in the back seat. Donna and I were excited to help him – but he was offended by the way we helped him. We took away his dignity and the opportunity to be gracious. We made a decision to never help someone like that again.
Sometimes you can cause offence by offering help… when it is not wanted. Sometimes you can help one person… while overlooking another.