Summary: The apostles devoted themselves to the ministry of the word (Acts 6.4) which involved the Internal, External, and Eternal Mission of God's word.
1. You are flying at 30,000 feet. Which wing of the airplane do you think is more important, the right or left? BOTH, of course! Welcome to Biblical thinking; both-and rather than either/or
2. The same is true in our walk with God – Acts 6.4
a. The problem solved with servants so the apostles could maintain their priority
b. Some – focus so much on prayer they leave the word of God off – 2 Chronicles 7.14
c. Some so focus on the word of God they miss the impact of prayer – 2 Timothy 4.2 (preach word. . .)
3. To be genuine, God-led people, we must be prayer-centered and word-focused to know and do
4. The explosive growth of the early church
a. Did not come from:
• A sizeable ministry budget
• High Profile Superstar leaders
• Fancy Worship Centers
• Technology and Social Media
b. Rather, It came from:
• Supernatural presence of God and His Spirit
• Where people cooperated with the presence and priorities of God
• Supernatural results – Acts 6.7; 122.24; 19.8-20 – “And the word of God continued to increase,”
5. Let’s explore the “Ministry/Mission” of God’s Word
I. The Internal Mission –
Make our character like God’s – conformed to the image of his son (Romans 8.29)
By the living, powerful Word of God (Hebrews 4.12)
A. The Word of God Works as a Fire – Jeremiah 5.14; 20.9 (word in heart as fire)
Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.
One of the women called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.
He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.
B. The Word of God Works as a Sword (to reveal our sins and direct us)
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7
Signs of Life
An American was walking along a highway in Israel, miles from a city. As cars passed him, drivers or passengers would yell something to him in Hebrew. He smiled and waved. When he arrived at his destination an Israeli asked him how he enjoyed his walk. He said it was fine but wondered why people were yelling at him. He told the Israeli what they had been saying. The Israeli smiled and said, “They were warning you of the land mines in the fields by which you were walking. You obviously could not read the signs.”
All over the world, in seemingly safe settings—fields, jungles, pastures, farmlands—there are signs posted: “DANGER: DO NOT PROCEED.” The signs also explain why. With words and dramatic graphics, they say, “LAND MINES.” There are millions of land mines buried in former war zones all over the world, never dug up following the cessation of hostilities. And those mines kill or maim thousands of innocent civilians each year in locations where no warning signs are posted.
Those warning signs are not intended to deprive anyone of the pleasure of enjoying the land. They are meant to save lives, to warn of danger, to encourage people to take a different path. The signs do what the Word of God does: It warns us of choices and behaviors that are offensive to a holy God and harmful to us. For instance, the apostle Paul said he would never have known that coveting was offensive to God unless the Law said, “You shall not covet.”