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The Beginning of the DEACON MINISTRY

September 20, 2020 Speaker: Scott Slaughter Series: Acts, Continuing the Work of Jesus

Topic: Worship, Evangelism, Church Growth, Outreach Scripture: Acts 6:1–6:7

Every healthy church desires to grow. It is the nature of our calling in the Great Commission of our Savior to work to share the gospel with those that are lost in darkness and to see them come to faith in Jesus. As we do that, the church will inevitably grow and that’s what we want. 

I once heard a preacher say, “Keep the baptism waters stirring and the church doesn’t have time to complain.” Sometimes we convince ourselves that a growing church has no problems. But is that really true? Acts 6 seems to suggest otherwise. The Jerusalem church had grown from 120 to over 3000 members on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Shortly thereafter, the church saw another harvest of souls when Peter preached and over 5000 were converted (Acts 4:4). The truth is, these were very different people who would have to work out their differences in submission to the Word of God. Two of these were the Hellenistic Jews (Greek Speaking) and the Hebrew speaking Jews.   

We make a mistake if we assume that this was a small problem in the Jerusalem church. Acts is a historical book; if this problem was not significant, it would not have been included in the narrative. As one approaches this account from a modern perspective, it may seem that this solution would be impossible to reproduce. Why could the church seemingly handle such a large problem so easily? Why do the problem, response, and solution in Acts 6 work so well in the ancient church but not in the modern? 

First, let’s observe that this can work in the modern church since this is God’s Word. If there is a similar understanding of the nature of the church, of spiritual leadership, and Christian service, it is my contention, that we can and will have similar resolutions to our problems in church life. There is a level of spiritual understanding latent within this account that reveals much about the humility and spirit of the ancient church that Christians today need to recapture. 

Let’s consider this situation recorded for us in the first half of chapter 6 being careful to keep our interpretations closely to the historical setting and the Scriptural account. Let’s first discover who these people were and what caused this rift between the widows in the church. Let’s consider the widows, the congregation, the pastors (who were the Apostles themselves), the men who were chosen, the work to be done, and the outcome of this God-focused problem-solving.