Acts 06 - 07
Growth of the church
· 3,000 believed (2:41)
· Then believers were added daily (2:47)
· Then the church grew by 5,000 men (4:4)
· Then this number multiplied (6:1)
· Then the number multiplied again greatly (6:7).
1. They had a legitimate reason
2. Murmur: Grumbling
3. Just in case you’ve never read the Old Testament…God doesn’t like murmuring.
4. 1 Corinthians 10:9-10 "9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer."
5. Philippians 2:14-15 "14Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
6. What should we do instead of murmuring?
First Things First
The food problem was solved by putting first things first.
Prayer and the Word go together
1. John 15:7 "7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
2. Proverbs 28:9 "9He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination."
3. Samuel: 1 Samuel 12:23 "23Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:"
4. Jesus: Mark 1:35-39 "35And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. 36And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. 37And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. 38And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. 39And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils."
5. Paul: Colossians 1:9-10 "9For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
6. Ephesians 6:17-18 "17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
7. Acts 20:32-36 "32And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. 33I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. 34Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 36And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all."
Dangers Of Overload
1. The deacons’ main task was to take care of material needs and thus relieve the apostles for their spiritual ministry.
a. Counseling, etc.
b. They have high qualification and a position of honor.
3. A distracted overtaxed pastor is the prelude to a dead church or a dead family.
· These seven men are not actually called “deacons,”
· The word “ministration” in 6:1 is diakonia in the Gk., and this word is transliterated “deacon” elsewhere in the Bible.
· The word simply means “servant”; in 6:2 it is translated as “serve” and in 6:4 as “ministry.”
1. honest report
2. full of the Holy Ghost
3. wisdom: James 3:13-18 "13Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
a. This was not about who is most popular
b. Who does everybody like
c. Who is the most talented
d. Character, morality and spiritual things matter
1. “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you..” (3)
a. Verse 5 “they chose”
b. The ones appointed had Greek names
2. We may appoint
a. The apostles laid down the guidelines
b. The apostles appointed/charged the seven
c. They prayed and laid hands on them. (6)
3. Verse 6: laying on of hands was signifying commissioning an granting of authority
a. Acts 8:17-19 "17Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost."
b. Acts 13:3 "3And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away."
c. Acts 19:6 "6And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."
d. 1 Timothy 4:14 "14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery."
e. 1 Timothy 5:22 "22Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure."
f. Hebrews 6:2 "2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."
Acts 21:8 "8And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him."
Stephen and Philip are introduced here.
1. Stephen means “victor’s crown”
a. Revelation 2:10 "10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
b. He certainly earned it.
2. Deacons are soul winners too.
3. Opposition (9)
4. Not able to resist (10)
a. Just like with Jesus
b. Stephen shut them up
i. Right words (projectile)
ii. Holy Ghost power (gun powder)
c. Words (10) and deeds (8) that are in synch are powerful combination.
to introduce stealthily
to bribe or induce someone unlawfully or secretly to perform some misdeed or to commit a crime.
i. These people who oppose the truth work to gain an unjust advantage
ii. Luke 20:14-26 (Verse 20)
b. Nothing new
i. Mark 14:58 "58We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands."
ii. Mark 14:64 "64Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death."
6. Face shown…
a. God was giving testimony that Stephen is not against Moses! He is like Moses—he is My faithful servant!
b. Exodus 34:29-30 "29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. 30And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him."
c. His faced shown then and it does now. Daniel 12:3 "3And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
1. Had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the Messiah and His gospel.
2. Stephen reviewed the history of Israel and pointed out that the nation always rejected God’s chosen leaders when they first appeared, but received them the second time. Both Moses and Joseph were examples of this pattern (7:13 and 35). This is the very way Israel treated Christ: He was presented to the nation on earth by John the Baptist and the apostles, but it refused Him; but Israel will receive Christ when He appears the second time.
I. God’s Covenant with Abraham (7:1–8)
This covenant with Abraham was the foundation of the Jewish nation.
II. Israel’s Rejection of Joseph (7:9–16)
Joseph bears a wonderful resemblance to Christ in many ways:
1. he was beloved of his father (Gen. 37:3; Matt. 3:17)
2. he was hated by his brethren (Gen. 37: 4–8; John 15:25)
3. he was envied by his brethren (Gen. 37:11; Mark 15:10)
4. he was sold for the price of a slave (Gen. 37:28; Matt. 26:15)
5. he was humbled as a servant (Gen. 39:1ff; Phil. 2:5ff)
6. he was falsely accused (Gen. 39:16–18; Matt. 26:59–60)
7. he was exalted to honor (Gen. 41:14ff; Phil. 2:9–10)
8. he was not recognized by his brethren the first time (Gen. 42:8; Acts 3:17)
9. he revealed himself to them the second time (Gen. 45:1ff; Acts 7:13; Zech. 12:10)
10. while rejected by his brethren, he took a Gentile bride (Gen. 41:45; Acts 15:6–18).
Stephen’s argument here is that the Jews had treated Christ the way the patriarchs treated Joseph, but he did not bring this accusation out until the end.
III. Israel’s Rejection of Moses (7:7–41)
Like Joseph, Moses was strikingly similar to Christ:
1. he was persecuted and almost slain when a child (Ex. 1:22 and 4:19; Matt. 2:13–20)
2. he refused the world that he might save his people (Heb. 11:24–26; Matt. 4:8–10; 2 Cor. 8:9)
3. he was rejected the first time he tried to help Israel (Ex. 2:11–14; Isa. 53:3)
4. he became a shepherd (Ex. 3:1; John. 10)
5. he took a Gentile bride during his rejection (Ex. 2:21)
6. he was received by his brethren the second time (Ex. 4:29–31; Acts 7:5)
7. he delivered the people from bondage through the blood of the lamb (Ex. 12; 1 Peter 2:24).
8. Moses was a prophet (Deut. 18:15–19; Acts 3:22), a priest (Ps. 99:6), and a king (Deut. 33:4–5).
Though Israel had a godly leader and God Himself in their presence (v. 38), they still rebelled and rejected God’s will!
Acts 7:39 "39To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,"
Moses performed miracles, met their needs in the wilderness, and gave them the Word of God; Christ also had performed mighty works, fed the people, and had given them God’s Word—yet they turned away!
IV. Israel’s Rejection of the Prophets (7:42–50)
1. In these verses Stephen refers to Amos 5:25–27 and Isa. 66:1–2.
2. The Jews thought that because they had their temple, they were safe from harm, and God had to bless them.
3. The prophets all warned them that the temple would not assure them of blessing if their hearts were not right.
4. How can God, who fills all heaven and earth, be confined to a temple made with hands?
5. Israel’s religious life was a formality; they had the outward forms of religion but their hearts were not right with God.
6. They rejected the voice of the prophets, even persecuting and killing them (see Matt. 23:29–39);
7. and when The Prophet (Christ) appeared (v. 37), they rejected His Words and crucified Him!
V. Israel’s Judgment Sealed (7:51–60)
1. Israel had committed two murders and was about to commit the third.
2. In allowing John the Baptist to be slain, they rejected the Father who had sent John to prepare the way for Christ.
3. When they crucified Christ, they rejected the Son.
4. Now, in slaying Stephen, they were committing the final “unpardonable sin” (Matt. 12:31–32) of resisting the Holy Spirit.
5. God would have forgiven the nation of its treatment of His Son, but He could not forgive the Jews once they resisted the Spirit who witnessed so mightily to His Son.
6. God had given every evidence to the nation that Christ was their Messiah, but they preferred to harden their necks and hearts (7:51). How like sinners today!
Stephen’s death closed the offer of the King to the Jews and was the turning point in Acts, for now the church as the body of Christ begins to assume chief importance; and it is to the church that Christ has His ministry at the right hand of God. Perhaps Luke 22:69 "69Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God." should be kept in mind; the Jewish leaders would certainly recall Christ’s testimony.
Stephen’s prayer shows his own love for his people and reminds us of Christ’s intercession on the cross.
“He fell asleep” is a beautiful picture of what death means to a believer!
Israel’s judgment was sealed; in the next chapters we will see the Gospel of grace (not the message of the kingdom) moving from the Jews to the Samaritans and the Gentiles.