Summary: If each member of the family of God will do their part, it will help the family to become healthy and full of love.
THE FAMILY OF GOD #2: SERVING ONE ANOTHER
INTRO TO TOPIC: Question: What are three things you like best about your family? Share.
• What I love about my family: We love each other; it’s a safe place where we can be ourselves. And we can be a little crazy! Yesterday’s spontaneous dance party!
• We are going through a series in the Bible learning about what God’s family is like.
• Last week we learned that God’s family is a place of love, acceptance and forgiveness, and we are a people who give generously.
THE BIG IDEA: If each member of the family of God will do their part, it will help the family to become healthy and full of love.
KEY TEXT: Acts 6:1-7
“Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists (Greek speaking Jews), because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.” (Acts 6:1, NKJV).
• This story is about one of the first threats to the growth of the church, and how the early church dealt with it. See the framework for this story:
o v.1 - “the number of the disciples were multiplying…”
o v.7 - “the number of the disciples multiplied greatly…”
• We remember from Acts 4:32 how the church was caring for the needs of the poor. However, the Hellenists’ widows were being neglected.
“Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.” (Acts 6:2).
• Some people must have been suggesting that the apostles should take on this work.
“Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:3-4).
• What was the leaders’ response to this crisis? Delegation and Devotion.
• Delegation: they recognized that caring for widows and the poor was very important
• Devotion: they also realized that their first responsibility was to the Word & prayer.
• Lesson for all of us: All believers should be devoted to prayer & the Word. (Preach!).
“And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:5-7).
• What was the fruit of the way the apostles responded to this crisis?
o The Word of God spread and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly.
o Miracle: many of the priests were obedient to the faith = became Christians:
o The priests were the ones attacking the church and threw the apostles in prison!
o This happened because everyone got involved serving – everyone did something
THOUGHTS ON SERVING:
1. EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY HAS TO HELP THE FAMILY:
“Jesus is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-12, NLT).
• It’s not the pastor’s job to do all of the work. My job is to equip YOU to do God’s work!
• The pastor’s job is more like a coach – helping people find their place in ministry.
FAMILY ILLUSTRATION: When babies are born, parents do all of the work, changing diapers, getting up in the night, making food, cleaning up messes.
• As the kids get older, they are given more and more responsibility. We need to grow!
• With six people in our family, if one or two of us (Liza and I) had to do all the work, it would be hard, but if each person did something, it works a whole lot easier!
“Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Eph. 4:16, NLT).
• Every member of the church has a job to do – and when we all do our part:
• We help the family grow and become healthy and full of love.
• TEXT: “Through love serve one another.” (Gal. 5:13b). This is a command!
2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET DIRTY:
“Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?" That's exactly what Jesus did. He didn't make it easy for himself by avoiding people's troubles, but waded right in and helped out. "I took on the troubles of the troubled," is the way Scripture puts it.” (Romans 15:2-3, The Message).