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Summary: First, we see the calling of the first deacons and second, we see the capture of one of the first deacons, a man named Stephen and his testimony to us to stand strong! (Acts 6:1-15)

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Serving takes Commitment

Acts 6:1-15

Introduction

- This chapter contains two different thoughts which are tough to separate

- It is because one lends to the other that we will tackle both of them today

- First, we see the calling (recorded by Luke) of the first disciples

-- These were men devoted to the teaching of Scripture and to serving others

-- It is important to remember this happened before Paul’s letters to Tim/Titus

-- A deacon is a servant, someone who takes care of others needs first

-- He is not a ruler or a dictator; but is a servant of all within the church

- Second, we see the capture of one of the first deacons, a man named Stephen

-- Most know of the stoning of Stephen in chapter 7; great testimony

-- But before that happens, we see why he was such a threat to the religious

-- God knew when he was called what would happen and this should comfort us

- Read Acts 6:1-15

- Pray

Point 1 – Choosing the First Deacons (1-7)

- Most times understanding the “why” helps us study and comprehend

- God’s Word is wonderful in giving the “why”, IF we will study it fully

- Side note: This is why expository preaching is so critical – it gives the “why”

-- Topical preaching is just that, preaching on topics (life, heaven, death, etc.)

-- But expository takes the words written, and using scripture confirms them

- So, let’s look at how these men were called and specifically … WHY?

- First, he needs to be someone of integrity (doing what’s right no one looking)

-- The Greek word used here is “martyroumenous” which means witness

-- The Disciples asked the people to choose 7 witnesses (or evangelists)

-- His character is blameless and he is to be above reproach (Paul echoes in 1 Tim)

- Second, the deacon is to be filled with the Holy Spirit

-- He has the Spirit of God living within him, and it controls him (not vice-versa)

-- Most importantly, a deacon is concerned about his relationship with Jesus

- This relationship, above everything else is critical in his life and it guides him

- This means that false idols and things that take the place of it are put aside

- APP: As believers, whether a deacon or not, this should be evident

- It means that Jesus is what we live for … and not for temporary pleasures

- Lastly, a deacon is to be full of wisdom from being tested and tried

-- Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

-- This fear is not like the boogy-man; but fear as in respect of who He is

- So, how does get wise (again, whether a deacon or not)? By study!

-- Spending time reading God’s Word and digesting it are critical to being servants

-- This is why Luke says in v4 that they would continue being devoted to scripture

-- Additionally, if one is full of the Spirit and wise he will know how to pray

- There will be a devotion to prayer in all facets and it will guide his life

- This is why we see the criticality of picking leaders who exemplify this

- Re-read verses 5-7

- Because of the choosing of these seven, God’s Word was preached

- But notice that priests were saved (v7) – Jewish priests who prev. turned away

- TRANS: Now, we are about to see what can happen when we are obedient

-- If you are taking notes, don’t miss what is about to occur to Stephen

Point 2 – Testimony brings Danger (8-15)

- When the Gospel or truth is preached, those who don’t like it will rise up

-- There will constantly be those who hate the truth, and Stephen met them all

-- What happened to him was that charges were brought by ungodly men

- But why? It’s simple: It’s not that the truth bothered them so much …

- But it’s because they wanted to prove him wrong; to refute his testimony

- IMP: See … if Stephen were telling the truth, then THEY were living a lie

-- These men were stirred up because they were irritated, they had to right

- So, who were these men that were accusing him? Who were the “they”?

- They were members of the local synagogue

-- Synagogue of the freed – Possibly Jewish slaves captured and taken to Rome, now free and returned to their home.

-- Cyrenians and Alexandrians – 2 Major cities of North Africa. Cyrenian was home of Simon who carried Jesus’ cross (Luke 23.26)

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