Seven Men Chosen to Serve: Acts 6:1-7.
The church was growing in number and there was a complaint about the distribution of food among widows. The Greek speaking believers complained that their widows were being neglected in favor of the more traditional Hebrew speaking Jews. The apostles handled this problem with great wisdom. The apostles studied the situation and understood that it is not right to give up prayer and preaching of the word of God to serve tables. Every ministry in the church is important but it is a matter of priorities. Nothing should create a spiritual deficiency in the church. So the apostles called the disciples together and asked them to select seven men to serve the tables. Among them, Nicolas was a proselyte from Antioch. These men were humble servants of God full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Stephen and Philip became bold witnesses of the gospel later. They were appointed to serve the tables by the apostle. The qualifications of deacons are given in 1Timothy 3:8-13. This enabled the church to remain unified and helped apostle to devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. The church continued to grow and many priests became obedient to the faith in Christ. Once they were opposed to the gospel. Some suggest that there were 8000 Jewish priest attached to the temple ministry at that time. Their conversion is an indication of the power of the gospel to save those who oppose Jesus. The evangelistic zeal and social concern for others helped the early church to advance.
Stephen’s witness: Acts 6:8-15.
Stephen was a faithful and a Spirit-filled witness of Christ. The Holy Spirit empowered Stephen to perform miracles to witness Christ in a powerful way. His opponents could not stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. His ministry was marked by power of the Holy Spirit. They instigated men to speak against Stephen. Their only defense was to use lies and half truths against Stephen (6:11-14). They said they have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this temple and change the customs that Moses delivered. (John 2:19; Mat 27). It was only a reference to Christ’s claim about his resurrection. Their treatment of him was parallel to the treatment Jesus received from Jewish leaders (Mat 26:59-61). Stephen was arrested and dragged before the council. His powerful response is given in Chapter 7. The council saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. His face was glowing with love of Christ for those who persecuted him. Nobody can underestimate the power of the gospel preached in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 1:18). Christians are blessed with peace to rejoice in the Christ always.