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3.1.19 4.8.2018 Acts 6.1-7 Jerusalem Deals with Race, Class and Poverty

Acts-Encounter with Empire  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Church chooses deacons to address an issue that arises from social class, racial identication, and economic status-not just to meet immediate community needs but to expand the reach of the gospel

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The Kingdom of God vs. the Empire of Man

▾ Start:
• Series Overview: Empire rules the world with a gravitational pull that brings every human institution and circumstance under it's
Series Overview: Empire rules the world with a gravitational pull that brings every human institution and circumstance under it's control. What we think of as political and social discussions have been for most of human history also spiritual and religious questions. This is the Spirit of Empire. The Persians expressed this as Shah-ha-Shana…King of Kings. The Romans as Pax Romana.
control. What we think of as political and social discussions have been for most of human history also spiritual and religious
questions. This is the Spirit of Empire. The Persians expressed this as Shah-ha-Shana…King of Kings. The Romans as Pax Romana.
Jesus changed human dynamics so much because His Kingdom challenges the hubris of Empire. The book of Acts is the sometimes experimental application of the principles of Jesus.
experimental application of the principles of Jesus.
Entice: So the Church is subject to this attraction of Empire, drug into every conversation about who was excluded, who was ignored, who was marginalized, who was put-upon or put-down. There used to be a discussion of whether our job is to "save souls". Or do good works. This is a false dichotomy. We are to do both.
ignored, who was marginalized, who was put-upon or put-down. There used to be a discussion of whether our job is to "save souls".
Or help the disenfranchised. This is a false dichotomy. We are to do both.
Engage: Think about recent news. Think about the many issues confronting our nation? There are nearly too many to name? Many of them revolve around discussions of race, class and economic well-being. How have those issues impacted the Church and how have we worked to bring about change? Surprisingly, some of the issues in play now have plagued human communities for generations, with the Church taking the lead in resolving them.
them revolve around discussions of race, class and economic well-being. How have those issues impacted the Church and how
have we worked to bring about change? Surprisingly, some of the issues in play now have plagued human communities for
generations, with the Church taking the lead in resolving them.
Expand: Race. Class. Economic differences. They existed in Jerusalem. In the Church. Just as they exist today. In Christ we are called to rise above the divisions that exist because of the fall. We are enabled to do rightly by one another in light of the fact that Jesus has acted with grace to us.
to rise above the divisions that exist because of the fall. We are enabled to do rightly by one another in light of the fact that Jesus has
acted with grace to us.
If Jesus loved us enough to die for us we should love others enough to do our best to fix what is wrong in our fallen world, to take on the entrenched power of Empire so that we may bring the peace of Christ to those who have only known the strife of human rebellion.

If Jesus loved us enough to die for us we should love others enough to do our best to fix what is wrong in our fallen world,

take on the entrenched power of Empire so that we may bring the peace of Christ to those who have only known the strife of human
to take on the entrenched power of Empire so that we may bring the peace of Christ to those who have only known the strife of human rebellion.
rebellion.

Overcoming prejudice is a part of Jesus' growth strategy for His Church.

Overcoming stereotypes is a part of Jesus' growth strategy for His Church.

Explain: From the famous story in we learn several lessons about overcoming damaging stereotypes so that we can get on with the job!
Acts 6:1–7 ESV
1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
with the job!
Acts 61 Overcome Prosperity.
Acts 6 ESV
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

1 Overcome Prosperity.

Overcome Prosperity.
1 v. 1a Overcome Prosperity. (x can't stand prosperity)

1 Overcome Prosperity.

v 1.a
(x can't stand prosperity)
▾ 1 v. 1a Overcome Prosperity. (x can't stand prosperity)
• 1.1 Success is the origin of as many crises as adversity.
1.1 Success is the origin of as many crises as adversity.
1.2 But we don't expect it and don't prepare for it.
• 1.2 But we don't expect it and don't prepare for it.
▾ 1.3 Let's think for a moment…what kind of people would we attract if we were as loving as Jesus and s motivated as the Jerusalem
1.3 Let's think for a moment…

what kind of people would we attract

if we were as loving as Jesus and

Church?

as motivated the Jerusalem Church?

We would attract...
1.3.1 Red & Yellow, Black & White?
We would attract...
• 1.3.1 Red & Yellow, Black & White?
1.3.2 Those struggling with destructive addictions, demeaning attractions, damaging actions?
• 1.3.2 Those struggling with destructive addictions, demeaning attractions, damaging actions?
1.4 Under those circumstances we would be overwhelmed with needs and prone to the same kind of mistakes.
• 1.4 Under those circumstances we would be overwhelmed with needs and prone to the same kind of mistakes.

2 Embrace Diversity.

▾ 2 v. 1b & 5 Embrace Diversity.
vv. 1b & 5
• 2.1 The Minefield.
• 2.1 The Minefield.

2.1 The Minefield

2.1 The Minefield.
2.2 The Ministry

2.2 The Ministry

•2.2.1 By being aware of our own prejudices. 1b
2.2.1 By being aware of our own prejudices. 1b
• 2.2.2 By seeking solutions that address the issue and confront the cause.
2.2.2 By seeking solutions that address the issue and confront the cause.
▾ 3 vv. 2-5 Maximize Opportunity.

3 Maximize Opportunity.

vv. 2-5
• 3.1 Examine the situation.

3.1 Examine the situation.

• 3.2 Expand the talent poole.

3.2 Expand the talent poole.

• 3.4 vv. 6-7 Energize Ministry.

4 Energize Ministry.

▾ 4 vv. 6-7 Energize Ministry.
vv. 6-7
4.1 Choose & enable.

4.1 Choose & enable.

4.1 Choose & enable.

4.1 Choose & enable.

Choose & enable.

▾ 4.1 Choose & enable.

4.1.1 Set before.

• 4.1.1 Set before.

4.1.2 Set apart.

• 4.1.2 Set apart.

4.1.3 Set loose.

• 4.1.3 Set loose.

4.2 Release God's people and expect results.

▾ 4.2 Release God's people and expect results.

4.2.1 Word of God increased

• 4.2.1 WOG increased...

4.2.2 Disciples multiplied

• 4.2.2 Disciples multiplied

4.2.3 Cultural penetration

• 4.2.3 Cultural penetration.

Redeeming the Lost Serving The Least:

▾ Shut Down:
Both coasts have the perception that those of us in flyover country are haters and segregators. In all actuality this congregation won't let you starve in Grayville. Whether you are a part of our congregation or not we help.
• Both coasts have the perception that those of us in flyover country are haters and segregators. In all actuality this congregation won't
Our goal is not to be exclusive, we want to go beyond inclusive-we want to be universal. If I had my way every person in Grayville would be aligned with us and our message of freedom in Christ. Whatever their skin, color, language or background. The gospel is for saving and people need saved.
let you starve in Grayville. Whether you are a part of our congregation or not we help.
• Our goal is not to be exclusive, we want to go beyond inclusive-we want to be universal. If I had my way every person in Grayville
Our goal is not to be exclusive, we want to go beyond inclusive-we want to be universal. If I had my way every person in Grayville would be aligned with us and our message of freedom in Christ. Whatever their skin, color, language or background. The gospel is for saving and people need saved.
would be aligned with us and our message of freedom in Christ. Whatever their skin, color, language or background. The gospel is for
saving and people need saved.
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