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Acts (6): Being the Church

Acts:Being the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Who are you in Christ Jesus? Who are you called to be?

In they were aware of the person of JEsus Christ (they preached him)
They were aware of the mission and the mandate (it was their vision & calling)
They were aware of the message (JC, HIs crucifiction, and His Life—thru the power of the HS)
THey knew it all started with Jesus
They knew to care about the community of believers
They knew it wasn’t to focus on the community, BUT the unfolding of God’s kingdom in the midst of man’s kingdom
They knew unity was essential
They knew what would seek to divide
they knew what could distract
they knew that the enemy would attack in a variety of ways
in light of these things, how can we unpack Acts 6?

Characters in the story speak to us

Apostles—calling and responsibilities
Full number of disciples —the community
The Seven—had a calling and responsibility
let’s look at the characteristics of each character and how it unfolds?

If the Purpose of the community (why they existed)

Witness (word, actions, signs & wonders) or the follow up of the unfolding of the witness
Gather to worship, pray, eat, do life together (such as helping, sharing, caring, providing
Natural outflows of the salvation of Christ (what is done for the sake of God’s kingdom)


Calling to prayer and ministry of the word
Knew that they had been with JEsus, full of the spirit, spoke in wisdom and boldness, taught the meaning of stories and scripture.
Knew were to go, what to say, stood firm in the call of Christ (when grumbling and trials occurred)
These things came thru the Father, because of Jesus, and empowered by the HS.
Responsible for the lifting up of the community and nurturing community, gathering for worship, prayers, eating, sharing, rejoiceing
Thru them God multiplied and brought more into the community
Think of the logistical hurdles and opportunities of 15-25k coming to faith over 2 years?
Tesla 25k in 3 months. vs 25k in one day?
leading community of meeting needs of the community, nurturing life, sustaining through multiplying disciples to walk in their Call of Christ

The Community of the believers

who was Christ to them? Their salvation.
How was He at work in and thru them, 4 what was happening within?
B/c of salvation and sign and wonders, they continued to gather to pray, to worship, to live out the mission, mandate, message, to meet needs and provide for one another
Unity was essential; help one another navigate new life in Christ and with one another

The Seven

characteristics: faith, grace, wisdom, power, and the HS.
background: they were most likely Greek, Hellenistic Jews.
Means whereby message of Kingdom would unfurl outside Jerusalem
thru their gfts and talents, story, and salvation further the mission and mandate
They were specifically affirmed by the Apostles and community to work thru the challenge being presented within, but also to be at work making known message of the Kingdom:
(only Jerusalem at this point)
HS was opening doors to step out (Gathering of Freedmen, debate, conversations within spheres of influence)
Not called to neglect needs of the core community, but the activity of the core community wasn’t supposed to hinder from “as you are going”
Experiences over the 2 years had informed them of what unites them: Work of the Father centered around Jesus, empower by the HS.
The evil one will seek to divide and conquer
Watch out for distractions
should the Apsotles neglect the mission and mandate of the message related to their relationship with Christ and the work of the HS?
Should the community focus on division and attempts at disunity, that came thru events and naturally exists when people gather and do life together? Their purpose was to continue creating space for gathering, praying, eating, celebrating, doing life together
The Seven ( and others). We nurturing their relationship with God, but were they constantly attempting to express their relationship with God. Were they getting ahead of listening, waiting for God to invite into action and responding faithfully (I imagine they were already doing, we know of characteristics and love of the community. also imagine things that come up when life together happens; daily tasks of life. But at some point God will invite us into action ...
-within the community
-for the sake of the kingdom

Notice how the Seven (most likely others) had been being:

Full of Grace, power, wisdom, faith, and HS doesn’t just exist. Thru the way of the disciples & Jesus, this reality doesn’t happen over night. We don’t know details, but we can fill in gaps:
2 examples
-relationship with spouse/kids
-development of children
natural maturity, some of it intentional and deliberate (way of disciple of Christ is following, obeying, listening, doing, learning, being—from the gospels)
My personal experience these past 10 years and recently
I like to journal, constanly paying attn. to movements within and conversations with God, others, and going on around.
learning to listen, discern, and respond
like to connect to God thru stories, music, and doing ministry
hasn’t happened over night, rahter past 10 years working thru life sory and seeking to answer call and follow Him faihtfully
creating spiritual rythms and habits
-praying desires of heart
-asking to hear God’s voice and learning to act on what I hear
Developing recently a Rule of Life (personal expressions of mission & mandate; values, influences, life verses, etc…)
understanding specific gifts and calling in ministry
What I have been discovering?
-Collaborating in Ministry
Synergistic Activities
reaching out to those places in need
-military and men’s ministry
-rebuilding church unity (different congregations)
-caring for those on margins (i.e.-prison, foster, addictions)
mentoring, coaching, spiritual formation, and teaching (fill my tank)
Opening doors thru Ministerial Assoc. (Hospitality tent, prayer meetings/groups, and TLC at Hiland)
Prayer on the Mtn. (uniting in prayer for our community)
Outreach event in October (with businesses)
Inviting people into fellowship at our community of faith
Teaching FPU at Hiland and development team
Spritual Formation group

What does all this mean? So What?

How are you living out your salvation?
When God calls you into action, are you ready to respond?
Community of faith—are we nurturing unity and love of Christ for one another
Are we sustaining life giving activites wtihin?
Are we witnesses to the mission, mandate, and message of God’s kingdom?
Are we connecting with the needs of others (within and around) affirming the gifts of God in one another and commissioning ways to be the church in the world?
To the Apstles/Leaders in the church—who is Christ in you?what is the mission, mandate, message of Christ in Our present context (Eagle River, Anchorage, Alaska?) How does your response reflect Christ, nurture the community of believers, and spring forth God’s Kingdom
Is it leading to HS empowered unity, working thru disunity, aware of attacks and distractions, but staying in trajectory so as to fulfill the calling and responsibility of faith, family, and the church?

Why we celebrate at the Lord’s Supper (response to the music, text, and message)

Words of first song
theme of the music
influence of the scripture
significance of the sacrament
invitation of Christ
Revived to Be the Church, the natural outflow of an inner reality

We are the Sanhedrin:

speaking truth—allowing the HS to shine the light on the places in our lives and in the church that doesn’t reflect the gospel of Jesus ()
The Sanhedrin illumines the darkness that lies with in and around us:
Center of the city
it’s out in the open for everyone to see. the fight to save isn’t going to be fought in the shadows, it’s going to be fought in the light of day.

Stephen contrasted with opposition

full of grace and power, doing wonders and signs among people
some rose up to oppose him (significance of the place mentioned?)
couldn’t withstand wisdom with which he spoke
accuse of speaking blaspheme. How were words spoken blasphemous? OR what did they accuse that resulted in blaspheme?
That Jesus would destroy this place (temple) & He is changing doctrine of Moses (law)
All who saw him, in spite of accusations, said his face was that of an angel???
HP, Are these things true?
Speaks of Abraham: Promise of a child, promise sealed wtih covenant, promise fulfilled through sons of Isaac & Jacob, and culminated in Moses—the exiled, murderer; once rejected now would redeem and deliver.
Yet, Moses was rejected by some who wanted to return to Egypt. Had a golden calf erected.
He affirms Moses and the law
THe temple was a tabernacle of witness, from the wilderness to the time of Solomon.
—God doesn’t dwell in temples.

51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

What’s up with verses 54-60. What did he say that enraged them so much?
Speaking the truth, make sure its the truth. and speak it in grace. but just because you speak it in truth and with grace, infused by the work of the HS, doesn’t guarantee an opposition free life.
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