Summary: This sermon shows how the early church dealt with a problem in its fellowship.
THE CHURCH COMPLAINING
"And in those days, when the number of the disciples
was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the
Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows
were neglected in the daily mintration.
Then the twelve called the multitude of the dis-
ciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that
we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven
men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and
wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer,
and to the ministry of the word.
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and
they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the
Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor,
and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of
Whom they set before the apostles: and when they
had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
And the word of God increased; and the number of
the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly;
and a great company of the priests were obedient
to the faith."
In Chapter 5 of the book of Acts, the church
was boldly witnessing for God, in spite of growing
opposition and persecution. The church continued
to grow numerically, and unfortunately, as is often
the case, with growth comes conflict. People get
dissatisfied about something. Someone feels un-
noticed, or neglected, or someone says that their
needs are not being met. Let’s see how the early
church handled this problem.
I. First, let’s consider THE CAUSE OF THE COMPLAINT.
There arose a dispute, a murmering of the Grecian
believers against the Hebrew believers, because
their widows were alledgely being neglected in
the distribution of food. Remember, that in the
early church, they shared their possessions, and
if anyone had need they reached out to them. This
worked fine for awhile, but human nature being
what it is, it didn’t last forever. Satan sought
opportunity to divide the church. A conflict
arose. This was a bi-lingual situation also.
Confusion resulted-and conflict. You can imagine
the problems that might arise if you had several
hundred people of another language join your
church next Sunday. They would need an interpreter
to understand your message. What about church
involvement, and church leadership positions?
How was that going to set with the longtime reg-
ular folks who have always gone to church there?
II.Secondly, let’s see THE RESOLVING OF THE COMPLAINT.
The early church, following the advice of the
apostles, acted wisely. They appointed some to
investigate the problem, and to seek to solve it.
It appears that they involved some from their
own number in this process. That is wise.
III. Thirdly, let’s notice THE RESULTS OF THE RE-
SOLVING OF THE COMPLAINT.
Verse 7 tells us "And the word of God increased;
and the number of the disciples multiplied in
Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the
priests were obedient to the faith."
What could have been a disaster, and church
split turned out to be a catalyst to church
growth. The complaints were heard. The conflict