Sermons

Summary: Taken from our church’s verse by verse study of the book of Acts, this study covers Acts 6:1-7, the calling of the first deacons. It covers several issues such as the Care of widows, the need for church business meetings and pastoral leadership, as well

Grant Avenue Baptist Church

2215 Grant Avenue Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Phone 310-376-7890 Fax 877-248-2998

DAVID M. WILSON, Pastor

THE FIRST CHURCH BUSINESS MEETING

Acts 6:1-7

Verse 1 GROWTH PANGS

In the early history of the church we quickly find a division between those who were Jewish Christians (with a Jewish heritage, a Jewish culture,

and the Aramaic language) and those Christians from other backgrounds. It did not take long for Jewish believers to establish themselves as morally

and spiritually superior to gentile believers.

In verse one of our study of Chapter 6, we see that division already growing. There is a great deal of debate about who these “Greek-speaking Jews” were. We don’t have to argue this idea much because it is sufficient for our study to see that they were believers who had a different background, a different culture and even a different language than the

Jewish believers. This meant that they were so different that somehow there was a valid difference (whether perceived or exaggerated) in the

ministering towards the widows of these believers.

Even though we cannot easily identify the two groups we can quickly understand that there was a group of Hebrew Jews. These folks were born of Jewish descent and had extremely conservative ideas in

regards to Jewish traditions and practices. The others are called “Hellenists” a word which implies that they not only spoke Greek, but also lived as Greeks. This group would obviously not hold Jewish traditions and ideals in the same type of respect as those known as Hebrews.

God has always had a special concern for widows and it was no different in the early church. Prophets had cried out against nations which

oppressed widows. (For further study See Zech. 7:8-14, Ezekiel 22:6-7, Malachi 3:5, and Isaiah 1:17) God Himself made special promises to protect and care for the widow and the fatherless. (Deuteronomy 10:18).

In his letter to the church, James wrote that ministering to the fatherless and the widow was an important of pure religion. (James 1:27). It is no

shocking revelation to find that the church needs to minister to the needs of widows.

It is amazing that many churches will work diligently to minister to youth. They will call a special minister to meet the needs of the youth.

Often, in our churches today, the widows are ignored. How rare it is that people will even go to a widow’s home to sing a Christmas carol or take her

grocery shopping! These ministerial activities should be as important today as they were in the early days of the church. God has not stopped caring about the widow and the orphan.

Verses 2-6

A SOLUTION- THE FIRST CHURCH BUSINESS MEETING

The apostles were very wise in their response to this problem because they did not let the problem distract them from the ministry which God

had called them to.

On the surface, it may seem that their attitude was that they were ABOVE “waiting on tables,” but in reality they remained focus on the

responsibility that Christ had given them.

Their proposal was not to resolve the issue all by themselves, but to bring the matter before the entire congregation and allow the congregation

to be involved in the solution. The congregation was to choose the first deacons (literally table waiters).

The practice established here makes two issues very clear (at least to me).

FIRST- the CHURCH selects deacons, not the pastor.

The church chooses men of good report and who meet the requirements later established by the Apostle Paul in his pastoral letters.

The church has this responsibility. The apostles did not take it upon themselves, but presented the matter to the assembled congregation.

SECOND- Pastoral leadership has the responsibility to bring matters before the church, with a positive direction that the church can be

involved in.

The apostles made the proposal but the congregation made the decision.

If the pastor just makes decisions for the church and never allows the members to have their say or express their opinions then he is shutting

them out of the kingdom work. Believe me when I present this simple advice- especially to my fellow pastors who may hear or read this text- “If

the congregation is not allowed to have their say INSIDE the church, they WILL have their say outside the church-- in the parking lot or the coffee

shop!”

But note that the apostles didn’t just say, “We have a problem- how are we going to fix it.” They also proposed a positive direction for the

church to go. I can only assume that they received this direction from the Lord. They presented what they felt was God’s will to the congregation.

A pastor leads the church, but the congregation must discern whether or not the direction he is leading is God’s will. At times, like the

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