Summary: RIGHT NOW, THIS SECTION OF ACTS WE ARE IN IS FOCUSED ON CHURCH PROBLEMS AND DIFFICULTIES. IN CHAPTER 5 WE SAW TWO PROBLEMS BESET THE CHURCH, ONE INTERNAL, AND THE OTHER EXTERNAL. NOW, IN CHAPTER 6, WE HAVE A NEW DIFFICULTY. A DIFFICULTY THAT WILL RESUL
POSITIVE LEADERSHIP CIRCUMVENTS CHURCH PROBLEMS
Acts 6:1-7 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word." 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
INTRODUCTIO0N: RIGHT NOW, THIS SECTION OF ACTS WE ARE IN IS FOCUSED ON CHURCH PROBLEMS AND DIFFICULTIES. IN CHAPTER 5 WE SAW TWO PROBLEMS BESET THE CHURCH, ONE INTERNAL, AND THE OTHER EXTERNAL. NOW, IN CHAPTER 6, WE HAVE A NEW DIFFICULTY. A DIFFICULTY THAT WILL RESULT IN THE CHURCH ORDAINING LEADERS AND ALLOCATING RESOURCES AND TALENTS IN A WAY THEY HAVE NOT DONE BEFORE. THE ISSUE IS SIGNIFICANT, BUT AS WE WILL SEE, THE OUTCOME IS POSITIVE.
I. THE PROBLEM WITH GROWTH
a. NOTICE THE ENVIRONMENT – THE DISCIPLES ARE INCREASING
b. TODAY WE WOULD CALL THIS CHURCH GROWTH
c. THE AREA OF GROWTH WAS IN THE AREA OF “INTERRACIAL” GROWTH
i. WORLD TENSIONS CAN ALSO AND DO ALSO INFILTRATE INTO THE CHURCH.
ii. THERE WAS A SIGNIFICANT TENSION BETWEEN JEWS WHO SPOKE ARAMAIC AND THOSE WHO DID NOT.
d. NOW AT THE SAME TIME THERE IS ALSO SOME GRUMBLING GOING ON THAT IS WORTHY OF OUR NOTICING, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS NOT DEALT WITH IN THIS PASSAGE. OFTEN THESE ARE THE SEEDS OF CHURCH PROBLEMS
i. THERE WAS A LACK OF CHARITY
ii. THERE WAS A LACK OF SPIRITUALITY
iii. THERE WAS A LACK OF GRATITUDE
e. THE ISSUE OF GROWTH IS AN ISSUE OF ADMINISTRATION
f. ONCE AGAIN WE SEE THAT THE CHURCH IS NOT PERFECT. PERFECT IS OT WHAT NEEDS TO BE STRIVED FOR.
g. THE CHURCH DOES NOT NEED TO BE PERFECT TO BE AN EFFECTIVE WITNESS FOR CHRIST!
h. THE CHURCH NEEDS TO HAVE WILLING SERVANT. AND WILLING SERVANTS PRODUCE EFFECTIVE CHURCHES AND EFFECTIVE CHURCHES WITNESS FOR CHRIST!
A THOUGHT TO PONDER: IF GROWTH PRODUCES ISSUES OF SERVICE THEN LACK OF SERVICE PROHIBITS GROWTH.
II. THE PRIORITY OF LEADERSHIP
a. WITH THE VISIBILITY OF DIVISION, LEADERSHIP COMES FORWARD
b. KIND OF INTERESTING TO NOTICE WHAT THEY DID NOT DO WITH THE ISSUE OF DIVISION
i. THEY DID NOT THROW THEM OUT
ii. THEY DID NOT SHUN THEM
iii. THEY DID NOT OUT VOTE THEM IN A MEETING
iv. THEY DID NOT SEPARATE FROM THEM
v. THEY DID NOT FORM A COMMITTEE
c. WHAT THEY DID DO
i. THE APOSTLES MATCHED GIFTS TO SERVICE
ii. UNDERSTAND THAT NO ONE IS ABOVE ANY LEVEL OF SERVICE – EVERY TASK FOR GOD IS IMPORTANT.
iii. THE APOSTLES DETERMINED THAT THEY COULD NOT ADD THIS AREA OF SERVICE TO WHAT THEY WERE ALREADY DOING – ALL CAN DO SOME, BUT SOME CANNOT DO ALL.
1. THEY UNDERSTOOD THE IMPORTANCE OF PRIORITIES
iv. THEY SET THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR LEADERSHIP
1. SOUND LEADERSHIP DIVIDES RESPONSIBILITY – CHOSE 7 (OTHER) MEN
2. SOUND LEADERSHIP IS PLURAL – EVERYWHERE IN SCRIPTURE THE HOLY SPIRIT LEADS THE CHURCH TO APPOINT MORE THAN ONE.
3. SOUND LEADERSHIP IS SPIRITUALLY QUALIFIED – “KNOW TO BE”. A VISIBLE RECORD!
III. THE PLACE OF BELIEVERS
a. THE CHURCH WAS TO CHOOSE BASED ON QUALIFICATION
b. KIND OF INTERESTING THAT THE CHURCH CHOOSE THE ENTIRE GROUP FROM ONE “ETHNIC” GROUP
c. THE CHURCH WAS PLEASED TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY
i. PLEASE TO CHOOSE
ii. PLEASED TO SERVE
THIS IS A GROWING PROBLEM IN THE CHURCH TODAY, MANY WANT TO CHOOSE, BUT DO NOT WANT TO SERVE. WE SHOULD STRIVE TO INCORPORATE BOTH IN OUR CHRISTIAN WALK. AS WE CHOOSE WE SHOULD BE WILLING TO SERVE IF CHOSEN!
IV. THE POSITIVE RESULTS
a. WE SEE THE INTRODUCTION INTO GREATER MINISTRY FROM THOSE CHOSEN TO SERVE --- IE: STEPHEN AND PHILIP
i. WILLINGNESS TO SERVE PRODUCES GREATER OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE.
b. WE SEE PUBLIC IDENTIFICATION WITH THE CHURCH AND THE LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCH. THE ACTIVITY OF SERVICE BROUGHT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTABILITY.
I CAN REMEMBER SERVING IN A PLACE WHERE WHEN A VOTE CAME UP, ONE INDIVIDUAL NEVER VOTED EITHER YES OR NO. THAT WAY HE COULD COMPLAIN AND CRITICIZE TO EITHER SIDE OF THE ISSUE DEPENDING WHAT THE END RESULT WAS!