Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 6 and 7 (Lesson 6) by clicking here.
Read and meditate on Acts 6.5-7.
The disciples had established the spiritual qualifications needed to carry out this work, but they left the task of nominating workers to the people (v. 3). The people sought the right men, then brought them to the apostles for final approval and commissioning. Here we get a glimpse of the orderly working of the Kingdom community for the purpose of restoring peace and neighbor-love in their midst.
1. Note the wisdom of God at work among the people: They chose godly men, as instructed, but also men with Greek names – men from the same community as the widows who were being overlooked. So the whole body of believers honored the slighted community in this gesture, but they also made sure the work would be done efficiently in the hands of godly Greek-speaking Jews. Is there a principle of leadership or ministry to be discerned here?
2. Here is evidence of increasing maturity within the body of Christ as a whole, the result of faithful and diligent equipping by the apostles (Eph. 4.11-16). The apostles approved the selection the people had made, and “ordained” the men to the task. Were these the first “deacons” of the Church (“serve”, v. 2, comes from the same root word as “deacon”)? And if so, what is suggested about the work of deacons by this situation?
3. And so the job was done, the system repaired, and peace restored. We note the results: The Word of God continued to increase. Why would it not, given the continuing, living proof of its power to bring about such love as evidenced here? Meditate on Romans 14.17, 18. Which aspects of the Kingdom were the believers signing to the surrounding community? What are some ways churches might do this in our day?
4. But the truly amazing result of this situation is in the last part of verse 7: “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Oh, the convincing power of the love of Christ! The world had seen the unity of these disciples and their love for one another, and even the most hard-core opponents to the faith were convinced (Jn. 13.35; 17.21), just as Jesus had predicted. Meditate on Ephesians 4.3. Why is it so important that churches be willing to do the hard work maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?
5. Remember, these were the same priests who killed Jesus and persecuted the apostles. They’d heard the message and not only denied it, but moved to stifle and silence it. And now here they are believing the Gospel, forfeiting their privileged status in Jerusalem to unite themselves with the body of Christ and begin a new start in life. No wonder Jesus emphasized “you will be My witnesses,” and not merely, “you will go witnessing.” The being is as important as the doing. Here we see why.In what ways does your church together, as a body, and with the other churches in your community, demonstrate the love of Christ to the larger community around you?
Jesus was absolutely right about the power of visible unity to convince even the enemies of the Gospel of its truth. The loving, efficient, participative manner in which this problem was solved and a crisis averted made it plain to all who were looking on from without that something truly new and wondrous was at work here. This is the ongoing work of Christ – to sign the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom to the world. How does this signing the Kingdom factor into your church’s vision?
Give the king Your judgments, O God,
And Your righteousness to the king’s Son.
He will judge Your people with righteousness,
And Your poor with justice.
The mountains will bring peace to the people,
And the little hills, by righteousness.
He will bring justice to the poor of the people;
He will save the children of the needy,
And will break in pieces the oppressor.
They shall fear You
As long as the sun and moon endure,
Throughout all generations.
He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing,
Like showers that water the earth.
In His days the righteous shall flourish,
And abundance of peace,
Until the moon is no more.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. For more insight into His work in our here and now, order the book, The Kingship of Jesus, from our online store by clicking here.
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