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The Scriptorium

Acts 5 and 6

Problems, growth, problems, more growth...

The Heart of God: The Covenant People (3)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Luke 24.27

Read and meditate on Acts 5 and 6.
A problem arises and is resolved; the Word increases; threats increase; more problems, but more power, and more growth in the Word of God: We begin to see a pattern developing for the covenant people as they carry out their mandate and mission in the world.

For reflection
1.  How would you describe the problem that arose in the covenant community in Acts 5? Why was it necessary for the consequences of this situation to be so dire? Can you see any similarities between this situation and what Joshua and Israel faced in Joshua 7? Explain.
2.  How do you see that the Spirit of God blessed this act of discipline (Acts 5.11-21)? What is the role, and what is the promise, of church discipline, when practiced correctly within the covenant community?

3.  The disciples of Jesus clearly did not obey what the religious authorities commanded them (Acts 5.22-42). How did they justify their actions? What do you suppose they expected to have happen to them? How is it evident that the Lord was keeping watch over His people?

4.  Summarize the problem that arose in Acts 6.1-7. Why was it important that this situation be resolved? What was the impact of the way this problem was resolved?

5.  Stephen is described as a man full of faith, power, and the Holy Spirit (vv. 5, 8). How was that apparent? That is, how did others see his faith, and the power of the Spirit in him? How should Stephen’s example serve us?

The Spirit of God brings power for unity to the Body of Christ, but that unity sometimes comes at a price. Sin in the covenant community must be dealt with if the blessings of God are to rest upon His people. Church discipline and sacrificial service create channels of grace and truth for binding the members of the community together and fitting them for their witness in the world. What seems to be keeping churches today from having the kind of powerful witness we see in this first covenant community?

Closing Prayer
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God,
In His holy mountain.
Beautiful in elevation,
The joy of the whole earth,
Is Mount Zion on the sides of the north,
The city of the great King.
God is in her palaces;
He is known as her refuge.
For behold, the kings assembled,
They passed by together.
They saw it, and so they marveled;
They were troubled, they hastened away.
Fear took hold of them there,
And pain, as of a woman in birth pangs,
As when You break the ships of Tarshish
With an east wind.
As we have heard,
So we have seen
In the city of the LORD of hosts,
In the city of our God:
God will establish it forever.

Psalm 48.1-8

T. M. Moore

Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documentsprovides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course,
Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.

We are happy to be able to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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