Summary: A sermon for a deacon ordination based on Acts 6:1-7
In an energetic congregation the preacher get up one Sunday morning and said, "With God’s help we can see the day when this church will go from crawling to walking." The people responded enthusiastically, "Let the church walk, preacher, let the church walk." "And when the church begins to walk, next the church can begin to run." And the people shouted, "Let the church run, preacher, let the church run!" "And finally the church can move from running and finally begin to soar. Oh, the church can soar! But of course, that’s going to take the commitment of all of us for that to happen!" The congregation grew quiet and from the back of the church, someone mumbled, "Let the church crawl, preacher, let the church crawl."
Jerrie Barber talking about a church he heard of in south Georgia- The minister there at the time was wore out. He had just got through directing a week at camp, then that was followed by a very stressful VBS that he directed, and after this he was in a meeting with the men of the congregation. “We need this church to grow! We need to seek and save the lost! We need to reap the harvest!” And the preacher went on and on. You could hear the frustration in his voice as he pleaded with the men to get involved and do something. Then he finally asked the men, “Do you want the church to grow?” There was silence for about 1 minute, and then one of the men spoke up and said, “I want the church to grow, but I don’t want any more people.”
When we come to Acts 6 over 6,000 people had come to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. The number of disciples kept increasing. All of them were in Jerusalem.
There are several areas of growth, but in a growing church there will be more people. With more people, of course, there will be changes and there will be problems.
Thesis: Let’s look at how the early church handled some pressing problems as they were growing from Acts 6.
The Rise of Complaining- Vs. 1
Remember that this was still an all Jewish church. However, there were two different groups represented among these Christians.
One of the groups is called “Hebraic Jews.” These were Palestinian Jews, part of the groups that came back to resettle the land after the exile by Babylon. These were people like Ezra and Nehemiah who came back and did not leave the Promised Land.
The other group is called “Grecian Jews.” They are also known as Hellenistic Jews. This group would have been made up of people who grew up outside of the native land of Palestine. These Hellenistic Jews had a Greek culture background, and this made them different from the native Palestinians.
Don’t know how true this complaint was but probably Grecian widows felt like the Hebraic widows were favored because they were less influenced by the Gentiles. Common problem in Palestine at this time. Hebraic people were more pure.
Be sure that Satan will cause complaints to arise from somewhere whether true or imagined
The Reasoning of the Apostles- Vs. 2-6
At this point I would think, “I just need to work harder and do better.”
No, the apostles knew what their ministry was. Vs. 4
We don’t have apostles today but we have elders that are to oversee, to shepherd, to teach and preach, to protect the church from heresy, and to equip Christians to serve. This involves spiritual matters. To wait on tables, while a valuable ministry, is not the ministry of an apostle
There was a man who became an elder to reach out to people and to help them grow in the Lord. After a few years of being an elder, he realized that his fellow elders were more concerned with the business of the church than spiritual matters. This man resigned from being an elder and at his last meeting said these words: “I am resigning so that I can put down all of this stuff and really minister with people. I want to shepherd people and help others grow in the Lord so I am resigning as an elder so I can do more of that.” This was a slap in the face to all of these elders. It convicted them so much that they began to change their ways. It changed that church and today may that desire change us.
Not that the apostles were above this ministry (they had been doing it), no they valued this ministry and so they wanted to see that it was done well. This was just taking away from their primary purpose.
The apostles were equipping the people to do their ministry for the Lord and the church. Ephesians 4:11-12: It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.