6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Learning how to be the church in today's world through learning from the book of Acts.

[2] Isn’t it nice to be served? You know, when you go to a nice restaurant and you have a great waiter that really takes care of you? Makes you feel good to be served. I went to a restraint once with my family and they had the best wait staff you could imagine.

[Napkin in the lap story.]

But usually, we loved being served. We go to the beauty shop…the car wash…the spa…all to be served. And you know, there’s really nothing wrong with that on occasion.

But when we start to think that our life is about being served, then we’ve got this Christianity thing backwards! Christianity is about serving God and others – not the other way around. Look at what Jesus said about this very thing. [3]

“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28

Christianity is about serving others.

Now the early church did a great job at this. As we’ve been studying through the book of Acts and focusing on how to ‘be the church’ in this world we’ve seen how the early church took care of each other to the point of extreme selflessness.

But the more the church grew the more needs came into the church. And sometimes those needs went unmet. Probably not because people didn’t care, but just because it was an oversight. Remember, this Christianity/church thing was brand new to everyone. They had thousands of new believers and they were going to have some growing pains.

[4] One of those growing pains was how to take care of all the widows that needed help. You see what had happened was that the widows of Greek descent felt like they weren’t being given the same support that the widows of Jewish descent were. Somehow they had slipped through the cracks. So the Apostles had to make some changes so everyone’s needs could be met. And this is where the idea of selecting deacons in the church was birthed.

[Read Acts 6:1-6.]

The Apostles met the need of the moment by granting these seven men the

authority to oversee the needs of the Greek widows. People in this position would later be known as ‘deacons’ because the Greek word for serving tables is ‘diakonos’ or deacon.

Now this isn’t where the official office of the church deacon was started. That would come a little later. But this is where the idea began that eventually shaped what it meant to hold the church office of a deacon.

Remember, at this time in history the New Testament hadn’t been written yet. But as it’s written it would define what it means to be a deacon. We will get into that in a moment.

But before we do, let’s look at why the Apostles understood that this was the best way to meet these women’s needs. They understood the [5] roles and responsibilities of church officers. They knew they couldn’t do everything and that God didn’t want them to do everything. Everyone can bring something to the table when it comes to church ministry.

[Read Acts 6:2-4.]

The Apostles knew their main responsibility was prayer and preaching. That’s what they were called to do and that’s what the church needed them to do. If they had to care for the hundreds of widows in their congregation they’d never have time to pray for the church or study God’s Word to be able to teach the people. It wasn’t that they didn’t care about those women, it was just that they needed to focus on prayer and preaching.

As we go through the books of Acts we’re going to see the church become more and more organized as they go along. Their structure would become more clear through their history. Basically, the early church’s structure was the Apostles who were the leaders and biblical teachers of the church, the elders who helped administrate the church, and the deacons who oversaw the care ministries of the church.

Here at Bay Ridge we follow the early church’s example along with Scriptural teachings that follow this model. The pastoral staff does the leading and the majority of the biblical teachings in the church, our elders help administrate the church and our deacons and deaconesses oversee the care ministries of the church.

Now this doesn’t mean that deacons never teach and that pastors never visit people. But it does mean that we understand our main roles and responsibilities and they must be fulfilled. And you know what, if everyone does their part, no one slips through the cracks!

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