Summary: All churches have problems, but when we serve together in the unity, and power of the Holy Spirit there is no problem that will overcome or distract us from our main purpose. Taking the Gospel to all the world.
A rather pompous-looking deacon was working hard to impress upon a class of boys the importance of living the Christian life. “Why do people call me a Christian?” the man asked. After a moment’s pause, one of the boys said, “Maybe it’s because they don’t know you.”
The answer I believe the deacon was looking for was, “because they see me as a servant.” That is ultimately what Jesus came for. He came to serve.
Mark 10.45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
So we must ask, what specific way did Jesus come to serve?
Luke 19.10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.”
Romans 8.28 Tells us that if we are saved we are called according to God’s purpose to be conformed to the image of His Son.
John 20.20 Jesus tells us, “as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
The Father sent the son into the world to seek and save that which was lost. The Son sent the church into the world to be His vehicle to seek and save the lost.
The Church has ever been sent by the Son in the authority of the Father, by the Power of the Spirit to seek and save people that do not know Jesus Christ.
We as the church are to reach, teach, and encourage people to know and to serve Jesus.
In Acts Chapter 6 we see the church facing, head on, its first organizational crisis.
We also see the proper response to the crisis. As the Apostles and early church did, so should we. They responded to needs and to what the Spirit was already doing.
According to John MacArthur “To organize a program and then expect the Holy Spirit to get involved in it is to put the “cart before the horse.” We dare not try to force the Spirit to fit our mold. Organization is never an end in itself, but only a means to facilitate what the Lord is doing in His Church.”
The devil discovered that persecution, and corruption would not work in a body that would address these problems in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I believe that the devil was foaming at the mouth when this murmuring and grumbling was taking place in the early days of the church. Why? Because when murmuring and discontent, and dissension happen it distracts us from our ultimate purpose of serving God and being used by God to seek and save that which is lost.
Our ultimate reason to serve is that Jesus served us so we should serve others.
I. Reason to serve.
A) Problem recognized
1) To stop neglect of the widows Acts 6.1
a) Huge number of disciples
Acts 1.15 – 120 Disciples
Acts 2.41 – 3,000 added
Acts 4.4 -- “Number of men to about 5,000”
According to John MacArthur there could have been approximately 20,000 men, women, boys, and girls in the church in Jerusalem.
The overall size and quick growth of the early church must have made administration an amazingly huge task.
It should not surprise us to find out that someone’s needs were overlooked.
b) Hatred of Hellenists
1) “Hebrews” – Native Palestinaian Hebrews ; spoke Aramaic or Hebrew. Tended to be self occupied not concerned with outside interests.
2) “Hellenists” – Were more open to the Gentile world having probably lived outside Israel, possibly ancestors of those that did not come back after Babylonian captivity.
According to the Jewish writings (Talmud), “Pharisaism made little secret of it’s contempt for Hellenists.” They were viewed as “second-class Israelites.” Some of that racial and cultural hostility carried over into the church.
c) Heard by Apostles
1) Complaint – Widows neglected, points to the Helenists possibly thinking it was a purposeful neglect.
2) Compassionate response
Let’s get together and work it out.
“summoned the multitude of disciples.”
The apostles themselves did not have the time to handle the problem. However, they had God given wisdom to realize the legitimate claim of the Greek speaking Jews.
According to John MacArthur this is the first hint of apostolic authority and congregational activity working towards a united decision.
2) To stop neglect of the word and prayer Acts 6.2
a) Keeping Prayer a Priority
1) Most important thing a leader or layperson can do!
a) Powerful – Allows God’s power to work through us.
Jesus Mark 9.29
The disciples had asked why they couldn’t cast a demon out of a boy. Jesus answer. “This kind comes out only by prayer.”