Acts Chapter 6
Seven Men Chosen to Serve:
(Read 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 widows. 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 ministry God has given them to serve tables. Every ministry in the church is important but it is a matter of priority. 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 1 Timothy 3:8-13. This enabled the church to remain unified and helped the 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 opposed the gospel. Some suggest that there were 8000 Jewish priests 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. Ask God to give you a devotion to serve Christ who saved you.
(Read Acts 6:8-15)
Stephen was a faithful and a Spirit-filled witness of Christ. The Holy Spirit empowered Stephen to perform miracles. His opponents could not stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. His ministry was marked by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jewish leaders instigated men to speak against Stephen. Their only defense was to use lies and half-truths against Stephen (Acts 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; Matthew 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 (Matthew 26:59-61). Stephen was arrested and dragged before the council. His powerful defense 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. Stephen was a man of character, courage, and commitment. Nobody can underestimate the power of the gospel preached who is filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:18). Jesus will triumph over all enemies either by saving them or by judging them at the end.