Acts 6 Lesson

Learning From First Century Churches

LESSONS FROM THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCHES

The early church was thriving because everyone was doing their part.  Instead of glorifying themselves, they were glorifying God and serving others.  When a problem arose, the entire church got involved, and people stepped up to resolve the issue.  Luke writes about this in the following scripture:

  • “A complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.  So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.  Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.  But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.” – Acts 6:1-5.

EARLY CHURCHES APPOINTED DEACONS

Appointing deacons to tend to the physical needs of the church allowed the twelve apostles to continue to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:3-4).  Everyone was looking out for each other and glorifying God.  Because of this, the early church was thriving!  Luke writes:

  • “The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.” – Acts 6:7.

THE SECRET TO THEIR SUCCESS

The Gospel was spreading, and souls were being saved for two reasons:

  1. People were involved,
  2. People were selfless.

If we want to grow the Lord’s Church, we need to get involved and be selfless also.

GETTING INVOLVED

Not everyone can preach and teach the way the early apostles did, but everyone can do something! 

All of us have been blessed with our own unique set of Spiritual gifts.  We have been given these gifts by God, and He wants us to use them! 

According to churchgrowth.org:

  • “People will support the church that meets the needs in their lives or touches the needs and lives of their loved ones. Not only must the church meet the needs, but it must also meet the needs when they occur.  The church that can meet a person’s specific need when it occurs will have the best chance of reaching that person for Christ.  How can that best be done? By encouraging church members to use their Spiritual Gifts to meet the needs of non-believers in the community.  For every need in the life of an unsaved person, there is a Spiritual gift that helps reach that person for Christ.”

That is a great perspective for us to think about.  As Christians, we need to purposely, with intent, look to reach out to those around us and share our gifts with them.  That is how we glorify God and serve others. 

UNDERSTANDING WHAT PEOPLE NEED

Of course, the only way to know what people need is to take the time to get to know them.  There is a wise expression, “People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  One of the best ways to evangelize is to simply find out what the needs of the people are where you live and then put together a plan to help them if you are able to. 

There is a synergetic effect that takes place when people see us serving others and putting their needs ahead of our own.  They will become curious and may ask questions.  When these questions come, we should do our best to be ready with the appropriate scripture or scriptures.  Peter wrote about this in his first epistle:

  • “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, but with gentleness and respect.” – 1 Peter 3:15.

BEING SELFLESS 

Serving others is highly effective at spreading the Gospel.  That is why Jesus and the Apostles were constantly out among the people to see what their needs were.  This type of service requires us to be selfless, and humble, and to put the needs of others ahead of our own.  When we do this, God is glorified, and we will receive our reward in Heaven. 

Consider the following three Bible verses:

  1. “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” - Philippians 2:4,
  2. “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.” - Luke 6:35,
  3. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” - Philippians 2:3.

CONCLUSION

The early church was successful, in part, because it understood the needs of its members.  People got involved and used their Spiritual Gifts to glorify God and serve one another.

If we want people to see Christ living in us, we must do as Jesus did, and put others' needs ahead of our own. 

We will end today’s lesson with the following words spoken by Jesus.  This scripture captures the mindset that we are to have as we seek to follow the perfect example of our Lord and Savior:

  • “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” – Mathew 20:28.

Comments

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Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?

***PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS HERE***

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Leandre

Deacons play an important role that allows others to complete their roles (for example, Elders). Knowing our roles and executing them to the best of our ability glorifies God. Sometimes checking the ego and remembering Who we are serving is something that we need to remind ourselves is important.

Reply
Michael
Leandre

Amen Leandre!

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