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Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-4
In Those Days
1. There is work we call can do! Matt. 10:42
2. Acts 6 gives us a snapshot of the work going on in the Jerusalem church, its successes and challenges, as well as the dangerous opposition that rose up against the truth and its faithful followers.
I. IN THOSE DAYS, Acts 6:1.
A. In those Days the Gospel Continued to be Preached in Spite of Opposition, 5:40-42.
B. In those Days Many Miracles Occurred that Confirmed the Word, 5:14-16 (32); Mk. 16:20.
C. In those Days the Church was Growing in Number, 6:1, 7.
1. Growth is connected to the spread of the word of God.
2. Conversion of many priests a significant milestone (Jno. 12:42).
D. In those Days a Complaint Arose among the Brethren, Acts 6:1.
1. The problem: Some widows were being neglected in the daily service, cf. Acts 4:35.
2. This neglect was compounded by the appearance that favoritism was behind the problem. Two groups of Jews:
a. Hebrews: Native speakers, localized.
b. Hellenists (Grecian Jews): Jews who lived among the Gentiles and spoke the Greek language (cf. 2:5).
3. Murmuring: “a secret displeasure not openly avowed”, Phil. 2:14; 1 Pet. 4:9.
a. Has the potential of greatly disrupting the work of the gospel.
b. No respect of persons by Christians, Jas. 2:1.
4. When the problem and the complaint became know it was immediately addressed and solved, Acts 6:2-7.
II. THE CHURCH IN THOSE DAYS.
A. The Church Still had Problems to Address, Acts 6:1.
1. Growth for the sake of numbers is not apostolic, Acts 5:14.
2. Neither is ignoring problems for the same of “peace” (thinking that is the way to enhance growth).
3. Bible solutions produce the climate for more growth (numerical and spiritual), 6:7; Eph. 4:11-16.
B. The Church was Under Apostolic Authority, Acts 6:2-6.
1. Not: A church-wide meeting at which the church exercised authority concerning what to do (distorted by some today who wish to give women leadership roles in the church).
2. Rather: The assembly was told what to do by the apostles – and they gladly submitted to apostolic authority.
3. Pleased (6:5): “to strive to please; to accommodate one’s self to the opinions desires and interests of others” (Thayer).
4. The church was committed to pleasing the apostles (Christ) – not themselves!
5. The church is still under apostolic authority, and obeys it for the same reason today, Gal. 1:6-9; Acts 2:42; 2 Cor. 5:9.
C. Everyone Had Work to Do, and Everyone was Taught to Respect and Encourage Each Others’ Work.
1. Serve tables: Daily distribution to needy saints, 6:1-2.
a. Select 7 men (enough to do the work), 6:3.
b. Qualifications: Good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.
c. The ones selected had Grecian names: A good model for resolving trouble; Include those with the complaint. (No warring spirit, instead, the Hebrews willing to entrust their widows to the care of the Grecian Jews.)
d. Endorsed by the apostles and miraculous gifts given, 6:6.
2. Serve the word: Prayer and the ministry of the word.
III. STEPHEN IN THOSE DAYS.
A. Full of Faith and Power (miracles), Acts 6:8 (cf. 1 Cor. 12:4-11).
B. Full of the Word of God, Acts 6:8, 10.
1. He spoke it clearly to opponents of the truth, 6:9.
2. Dispute: Inquire, question, reason, Acts 17:2-3, 11-12; Jude 3.
3. See his faith in the power of the word of God:
a. Wisdom: The ability to use facts (knowledge = accumulation of facts) properly to solve problems or arrive at proper conclusions.
b. The Spirit: Divine inspiration.
C. Reactions and Accusations against this Blameless Man, 6:11-15.
1. They persuaded men to lie against Stephen, 6:11, 13.
2. The charge: Blasphemy, 6:11, 13 (Death under LOM, Lev.24:16).
a. Against Moses and God: Jesus Christ (Deut. 18:18); Jno. 5:45-47.
b. Against temple and law: Church and sacrifice for sin (Jesus)
3. The effect: Agitated the people and leaders against him, 6:12.
4. Stephen is brought before the Sanhedrin, 6:15.
a. Face was as the face of an angel.
b. No need to suppose anything supernatural here.
c. Indicates the calmness, dignity, strength, confidence and wisdom that was conveyed by his demeanor, cf. Eccl.8:1.
5. The supreme hour of his life had come, and he confronted it with calmness of faith that impressed his audience (and us, too).
1. Brethren are working and the church is growing.
2. Enemies are gathering and attacking the servants of God.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: June 15, 2013