Acts Chapter 6

THE NEED FOR DEACONS, OFFICERS IN THE EARLY CHURCH

Acts 6:1
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
  • Whenever there is revival, there is soon strife and every bad thing (the flesh, the enemy)
  • Communal living works for a moment, until carnality comes in, which is inevitable and unavoidable
  • Persecution would also add to the number of widows
  • The selling of all things and distribution to make it even is apparently not a good idea...
  • There is also always the flesh calling for "fairness"
  • Helenists were Greek speaking Jews
  • "To wait on or upon, to attend, as a servant; to perform menial services for; as, to wait on a gentleman; to wait on the table. To wait on"
  • This is spiritual authority only, through prayer and careful study of the Word, in service only, and never more authority than that at any time
Acts 6:2
Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
  • Full time ministers
  • Deacons, really
  • Restaurants...first century.
Acts 6:3
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
  • Honest report-had in good reputation
  • Full of the Holy Ghost-submissive, obedient, which would be the reason for the reputation
  • The only wisdom that counts is the wisdom from God, not worldly wisdom like being a business man, good at organizing, or inspirational, organizer, promoter, manager, administrator, etc.
  • The wisdom from God only comes from studying the Word of God and prayer
Acts 6:4
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
  • The apostles took their mission very seriously, understanding the need and counting the cost.
  • Today instead of prayer we have programs, conferences, speakers. Instead of the Word of God we have books by "great Christian authors".........who do not even believe the Bible
Acts 6:5
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
  • This is seven men
  • Pleasing the multitude was not the goal, nor should be, and rare as it is, and never really good
  • Their qualifications, again, are full of honesty, full of good report, full of (controlled by) the Holy Ghost, prayer, studying the Word of God (possessing Godly wisdom)
  • They have important responsibilities, so this is necessary
Acts 6:6
Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
  • Partnership, fellowship, working together was the purpose here in Acts
  • Praying for them is one thing, but today we do not need to "lay hands" on someone.
  • It is prayer that is communication, not the laying on of hands
  • Laying the hands on in the Old Testament was for the purpose of transferring sin to that sacrifice (sin offering), bulls, rams, scapegoats
Leviticus 4:15
And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD.

Leviticus 8:22
And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.

Leviticus 16:21
And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:

1 Timothy 5:22
Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.

Acts 6:7
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
  • These people are praying (vs. 6), the word of God is increasing (vs. 7), the church numbers are still bulging (vs. 7), and if that were'nt enough, they are getting Jewish Rabbis converted (vs. 7)! This is the epitome of a great church.
  • Jewish leadership was getting saved.......so, "That Way" (Christians) is not going away.
  • This revival is threatening and overturning the apple carts, the words of men, the religion of men, the organization set up by men-their seat of power
  • The number of DISCIPLES multiplied
  • They were still in Jerusalem......IMPORTANT!
  • The Word of God is decreasing today in America
Acts 6:8
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
  • Wonders and miracles, again in Jerusalem, for Jews
  • It does not not say, "full of the Holy Ghost"
  • It does not say further, "BY faith" and not "BY his own power
Acts 6:9
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
  • Alexandria was in Egypt, a place for them never to return to (including Alexandrian mss., the LXX)
  • Egypt is a picture of the World
  • They were of the synagogue, not atheists, not of the Greek religion
Acts 6:10
And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
  • Truth trumps error, always. God's Word trumps false witnesses, always
  • Stephen's qualifications included devotion to the wisdom of the Word of God (v.3)
  • They resisted the Holy Spirit, but could not resist the Holy SPirit..............because they resisted Him, TO NO AVAIL

RESIST, v.t. rezist'. [L. resisto; re and sisto, to stand.]
  1. Literally, to stand against; to withstand; hence, to act in opposition, or to oppose. a dam or mound resists a current of water passively, by standing unmoved and interrupting its progress. An army resists the progress of an enemy actively, by encountering and defeating it. We resist measures by argument or remonstrance.
    Why doth he yet find fault? for who hath resisted his will? Rom 9.
  2. To strive against; to endeavor to counteract, defeat or frustrate.
    Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit. Acts 7.
  3. To baffle; to disappoint. God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. James 4.
RESIST', v.i. to make opposition.

Acts 6:11
Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
  • These "blasphemous words" would include, to their ears, the Resurrection and claim of Deity of Jesus Christ from it
  • The "against Moses" would be Christian living outside of the Law, bound to the spirit of a higher law, written on men's hearts
Acts 6:12
And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
  • Numbers are very much necessary where truth is not held to
  • With numbers, come threats and intimidation of mob rule
Acts 6:13
And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
  • Man calls places on earth, "sacred", "holy", "shrines"......it is no longer the case like the Old Testament, where Moses stood "on holy ground".
  • It will all burn, every building
BLASPHE'ME, v.t. [Gr. The first syllable is the same as in blame, blasme, denoting injury; L. loedo, loesus; The last syllable is the Gr.,to speak.]
  1. To speak of the Supreme Being in terms of impious irreverence; to revile or speak reproachfully of God, or the Holy Spirit. 1 Kings 21. Mark 3.
  2. To speak evil of; to utter abuse or calumny against; to speak reproachfully of.
    BLASPHE'ME, v.i. To utter blasphemy. He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven. Mark 3.
  3. To arrogate the prerogatives of God. This man blasphemeth. Who can forgive sins but God? Math.9. Mark 2.
Exodus 3:5
And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

2 Peter 3:12
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Acts 6:14
For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
  • Their customs were not delivered by Moses; they were adding to the Law of Moses with their traditions
  • We have a different set of traditions, being the Church, unique
  • We have the Word of God to live by; traditions are to be more familial, not "Christian"
  • Jesus did not come to destroy Israel, but to "seek and to save that which was lost"
Matthew 5:17
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Luke 9:56
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

THE TRADITIONS OF THE ELDERS

Matthew 15:2
Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

Matthew 15:6
And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Mark 7:8-9
For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Galatians 1:14
And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Acts 6:15
And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
  • They were literally staring, seeing something they never saw in any man who held to the traditions of the elders, the priests, the high priests, the Roman leaders, or anyone else
  • It was a man filled with the Holy Ghost and wisdom, proven by the fact that they "were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake"

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