E. Stanley Jones told of a missionary who lost his way in an African jungle. He could find no landmarks and the trail vanished. Eventually, stumbling on a small hut, he asked the native living there if he could lead him out. The native nodded. Rising to his feet, he walked direct … More
We find this early church faced with a big problem, and it was over money (sound familiar?) (v. 1). There were two groups; the Hellenistic Jews (Greek speaking) and the Hebrew Jews (Aramaic speaking). They charged that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of relief money. Tension developed, and it looked like the membership would be divided and the leadership discouraged.
The twelve Apostles wisely held a church council and discussed the matter with all the believers (v. 2). The Apostles admitted that they were to blame, because they were so busy serving tables that they were neglecting prayer and the ministry of the Word. So, they proceeded to appoint seven men (Deacons) to take care of this matter and serve tables. The requirements for these men was not business experience, financial success, or organizational ability, which are the requirements many churches look for today in leadership roles. Instead they had three basic requirements (v. 3):
What would I say is the most pressing problem facing the church at large today? What can I be doing to help solve the problem?
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
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Acts 9:19b-31Previous Persecutor Begins Preaching Ministry
Acts 3:1-10A lame man healed
Acts 3:11-16Supernatural healing of the crippled man
Acts 3:17-26Peter’s Message of Repentance
Acts 4:1-12Early Church Persecuted for their Faith
Acts 4:13-22Boldness Brings Results
Acts 4:23-31Prayer Produces Unity
Acts 4:32-37Sharing Shows Brotherly-Love
Acts 5:1-11Ananias & Sapphira Hide the Truth & Suffer Consequences
Acts 5:12-16Effective Church Ministry
Acts 5:17-32Obedience to God and Man
Acts 5:33-42Gamaliel Convinces the Council – No Persecution
Acts 6:1-7Deacons Chosen To Serve
Acts 6:8-15Stephen Summoned before Synagogue Leaders
Acts 7:1-8Stephen’s Sermon–God’s Covenant of Circumcision to Abraham
Acts 7:9-19Stephen’s Sermon–Abraham’s Promised Descendents
Acts 7:20-29Stephen’s Sermon–Moses Identifies with God’s Chosen People
Acts 7:30-43Stephen’s Sermon–Moses’ Mandate From God
Acts 7:44-53Stephen’s Sermon–The Bold Conclusion!
Acts 7:54-60Stephen Stoned to Death for his Faith
Acts 8:1-8Persecution Scatters Believers / Philip Boldly Preaches
Acts 8:9-25Simon Seeks and is Denied the "Spiritual” Gift of Healing
Acts 8:26-40Ethiopian Eunuch Evangelized by Philip
Acts 9:1-9Saul’s "Damascus Road Conversion” to Paul
Acts 9:10-19aAnanias is Available to Disciple Saul–a New Believer!
Acts 9:32-43Peter Used by God in Joppa to Heal Beloved Dorcas