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Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-7
Local Church Challenges
1. Local church is a family. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus; children of God, 1 Tim. 3:14-15.
2. Like any family, problems will arise in churches. When they do, we can do one of at least four things:
a. Ignore the problem (stick head in sand).
b. Run away from problem (can’t address and overcome controversy).
c. Increase the problem through inflammatory, angry words and actions (reveals impure hearts).
d. Discuss the problem with open minds, open Bibles and prayerful, reverent attitudes, Eph. 4:1-3.
3. God expects Christians to meet the challenges before us and live and serve each other in love and unity, Eph. 4:3; 1 Cor. 1:10; 12:25.
4. To solve problems, we must identify the cause of the problem, then treat the cause, not the symptoms.
5. Acts 6:1-7: Teaches us how to identify potential problems and overcome them, so that the challenge becomes a blessing.
I. CHALLENGE OF COMPATIBILITY, Acts 6:1 (cf. Jew-Gentile issues).
A. Great Challenge before Us: Many Different People Becoming One In Christ.
1. All different: Our personalities, moods, emotions, behavior, likes and dislikes vary tremendously.
2. Yet, we are to be one: Rom.12:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:25-26.
3. Some say “impossible,” but Jesus said we can, Jno. 17:20-23.
4. Those who love Jesus will be able to coexist in love, 1 Jno. 4:7-11.
B. How to Meet this Challenge.
1. Make others a higher priority than ourselves, Acts 6:1, 5; Phil. 2:3-4.
a. “Others, then self.” Not, “self, then others.” (Jesus, Matt. 20:28)
b. Selfishness causes hurt feelings, it blinds us to the needs of others, it causes indifference, hatred, jealousies, lack of trust, etc.
2. Forgive each other when there is sin, Matt. 6:14-15.
3. Remember our common relation in Christ, Gal. 3:26-28.
II. CHALLENGE OF COMMUNICATION, Acts 6:1. (Two related problems)
A. The Failure to Communicate, 6:1.
1. We don’t have trouble communicating–when we choose to do so.
a. Complaining, grumbling, 6:1.
b. We talk about instead of with, Matt. 18:15; 5:23-24.
c. “Too much talk and not enough talk.” (Jas. 1:19-20)
2. Do not be afraid to talk with each other.
B. Communicating the Wrong Information.
1. Christian is interested in truth and facts, not rumors, hearsay, gossip, and backbiting (1 Tim. 5:13).
a. Creates strife, conflict and barriers, Prov. 16:27-28.
b. Disorderly conduct, 2 Thess. 3:11.
2. When right things were communicated the problem was met: problem solved, Acts 6:2-5a.
3. Speak truth, for we are members of each other, Eph. 4:25.
III. CHALLENGE OF CONVERTEDNESS, Acts 6:3.
A. When this Exists, Satan Still Controls One’s Life, Acts 5:1-5, 7-9.
1. “To turn, to turn about, turn towards” (Vine); A turning or change from one state to another.
2. Constitutes a change of heart, life and relationships, Acts 3:19; 26:20. [Heart cleansed (Acts 15:9); Life changed (Rom. 6:4); New relationships (Gal. 3:27-28).]
B. Our Conversion Shows:
1. In what we serve, Rom. 6:16-18; 1 Thess. 1:9.
2. In what is our first concern (priorities), Matt. 6:33 (Phil. 3:17-19).
C. Take the Test (2 Cor.13:5):
1. Am I truly converted when I: Allow materialism/carnal matters hinder my obedience to God (1 Jno. 2:15-17)? Hold grudges? Fail to forgive? Fail to repent? Seldom pray? Plan to disobey?
2. Solution? Develop a “good reputation,” be “full of the HS and wisdom,” Acts 6:3-4.
1. This church can meet and overcome every challenge we face when we love truth and love one another, and are determined to learn God’s word and obey Jesus together.
2. Be an asset to this church by facing problems with faith, love and mercy.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: June 1, 2017