Selfless Acts 6:1-10 HCSB April 24, 2016
In the early church the spirit of selflessness prevailed as most of the people put Christ and their brothers and sister first. Today if a church has that fellowship it is beautiful to behold.
1. Selfless But A . . Search Is Needed. 6:1-2
A. A Search to . . Satisfy the concerns of Widows. 6:1
1 In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the
Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution.
B. A Search to . . Signify How to Answer the concerns 0f the Widows. 6:2
2 Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, "It would not be right for
us to give up preaching about God to wait on tables.
One group of widows felt like they were being neglected in the daily sharing at meal time. The apostles felt it was not good for them to give up preaching about God from His word to wait on tables. As we look back it makes good sense to follow their spiritual recommendation about the ministers time. Today at times the minister is crowded with work that may very well be taking him away from the word and that which is spiritual. Sometime a ministry to the physical needs get a minister taken aside to do what may be good but not best to have him neglect that which is spiritual. If a man waits on people and their food needs but neglects their soul it is not good.
2. Selfless But A . . Solution Is Reached. 6:3-7
A. A Solution to . . Satisfy the concerns of Widows. 6:3-4
3 Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we can appoint to this duty.
4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry."
B. A Solution to . . Select the Leaders for this Duty. 6:5-7
5 The proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,
and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte from Antioch.
6 They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 So the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a
large group of priests became obedient to the faith.
The apostles got a spiritual solution to this physical need. The people could recognize the spiritual side of the solution offered by the apostles and it pleased the people. The men they chose were certainly men with spiritual qualities. Sometimes today men are chosen because of their wives qualities or simple popularity. If godly men are chosen it makes a real difference in what is accomplished. It is interesting to note how this decision affected the growth of the church. Even the priests in the community were affected as they left their faith and became Christians. The text says a, “. . .large group of priests”. That certainly is significant. When a preacher is anointed by the Spirit his presentation makes an obvious contribution that cannot be refuted but sometimes that makes the opposition mad. That is what happened as these men try to change Stephen or refute
what he had said.
3. Selfless but A . . Servant Is Tested. 6:8-10
A. A Servant is Tested As Some . . Debate with Stephen. 6:8-9
8 Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.
9 Then some from what is called the Freedmen's Synagogue, composed of both Cyrenians and
Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and disputed with Stephen.
B. A Servant is Tested but they Can’t . . Dispute with the Wisdom and Spirit of Stephen. 6:10
10 But they were unable to stand up against the wisdom and the Spirit by whom he spoke. HCSB
Sometimes people in a group separate themselves because they think they have a better position on interpretation of the scripture than the rest of the group. These Jewish people believed they knew a better identity for the Messiah than Jesus and did not agree with the resurrection. Stephen, the Jerusalem church and the apostles felt like they were correct in the evidence they received which told them Jesus was the Messiah. The church believed the resurrection appearances of Jesus the apostles and ladies of the church had seen. Stephen believed and shared as a convinced believer. The Holy Spirit convinced Stephen and made him a convincing preacher for most of the people. The people of the so-called Freemen’s Synagogue were not able to stand up and dispute with Stephen but did not submit to his presentation. They were not Selfless. Amen? Amen!