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Sermon24-27 Acts6 Guide

Acts 2:1-13, theme verse Acts 2:38

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

In the first Sunday after the Pentecost, I pray that His grace of the application of all the benefits which Jesus earned for our salvation and also the glorious ministry of the proclamation of His kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit may be full in our life. While the Gospel of Luke records the story of the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Acts records the evangelism story of His disciples who received Great Commission from their Lord to proclaim His good news to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and then to the end of the earth with the power of the Holy Spirit. But it is said that there arose a complaint in the church, full of the Holy Spirit so that I hope while we look at what the problem was and what the solution was, I hope we can learn few lessons together.

1)    The “Acts” as the sequel to the Gospel of Luke, written around AD 80-90 after the Gospel of Luke, was written by Luke also on the ministries of the first church, who proclaim the Good News to all over the world, I mean, geologically from Jerusalem to Samaria, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome and ethnically not only to Jews, but now embracing Gentiles of every nationality. And briefly speaking, in chapter 1 through 12, Luke recorded the ministry of Peter, while recording the ministry of Paul in the chapter 13 through the end, chapter 28.

2)    And in this book of Acts, after summarizing the Lord’s ministries in the Gospel of Luke in the first paragraph of 1:1-11, Luke recorded that Jesus testified of His resurrection, teaching His disciples about the Kingdom of God, and commanded them to wait until they were clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit in order to be His witnesses before His ascension. And then in the following three paragraphs, Luke recorded the stories of how the gospel was spread out through Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and finally to the end of the earth. Specially in 1:12-6:7, where today’s text is located, Luke recorded that when His disciples were gathered together and devoted themselves to the prayer, when the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down upon them and all His disciples were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit so that the church in Jerusalem was exploded.

3)    By the way, according to the Acts chapter 6, it was recorded that there arose a complaint in this Jerusalem church, which was full of the Holy Spirit. I mean, even though the apostles who were filled with the amazing power of the Holy Spirit, performing the miracles, while they distributed the food to the widows, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So, the twelve apostles gathered all the disciples together, saying “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables so that you may choose seven men full of the Spirit and wisdom then we will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” And this proposal pleased the whole group and they chose seven full of faith and the Holy Spirits. And the Apostles took over this mercy ministry to them after laying their hands on them. These seven people were the first deacons in early church. And then, it was recorded that after the church installed deacons to share the ministries of the Apostles, then 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 this faith.

4)    In other words, by installing other office-bearers in addition to the Apostles, they could share the ministries so that the Apostles could focus more on the ministry of the words and prayers and the church could be established more in the word of God. The reason is that the fullness of the Holy Spirit, I mean, the clothing with the power of the Holy Spirit does not result in the omnipotence. Because, even with being filled with the Holy Spirit, a person does not receive all kinds of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In other words, a man cannot have all the gifts so that even after being filled with the Holy Spirit, he or she cannot take all the ministries by himself or herself so that each gift has to cooperate with other gifts for common good.

5)    Through today’s Bible verses, we would like to learn few things.

Firstly, we need to think about why the congregation chose men, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, even though the Apostles talked them to choose seven men, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. First, we can think that they did it since they saw the faith and the wisdom are the same in this case. But, according to 1 Cor12, two gifts, I mean, faith and wisdom was different so that we can know this was not the answer. Then secondly we can infer that some were given with the gift of wisdom while some other were given with the gift of faith so then we can think there may be a reason why Luke recorded only two gifts, faith and wisdom, among many kinds of gifts. When I look at the people who serve in church, I noticed that these two people with faith or wisdom seem to have very different character and style to serve. I mean, those who are given with the faith typically treat those who examine carefully as people without faith so that they used to do the ministry, saying, “Let’s do it with faith.” On the other hands, those with gift of wisdom typically prefer to do in the practical and realistic alternatives within the circumstances and conditions. Therefore sometimes they tend to confine God’s work to human reason. So, when faith leads us too much, we tend to push everything with faith without putting our feet on reality, yet when wisdom leads us too much, we tend to confine God’s work with our reason. In this respect, I think we can learn a lesson that God’s work can progress gracefully when faith and wisdom work together along with being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Secondly when we see these seven deacons, we can know that there are two things we have to know. I mean, a) firstly, it seems that they were all chosen from Hellenistic Jews, since all their names were Hellenistic. Even though we can say that they chose all seven with Hellenistic Jews because Hellenistic widows were dismissed, but on the other hands, since this can be a biased decision in the perspective of Hebrews, so that they could oppose this decision, yet it did not happen. Therefore we can imagine that Hebrews understood this decision with  magnanimity for the church. And b) secondly, even though these seven people were the deacons in early church, they performed the miracles and proclaimed Good News in Judea and Samaria. I mean, in the following paragraphs, we can see that deacon Stephen was full of grace and power of the Holy Spirit and not only did he perform great wonders and signs, but also when he was arguing in the Sanhedrin against false testimony, he boldly testified the word of God, being filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Even he was martyred. And also deacon Philip too stood in the frontline of evangelism, in Judea and Samaria where Christians were scattered when the great persecution arose in Jerusalem. As such, even though all the office-bearers in church, I mean the minister of the Word, Elders, and Deacons, were doing different ministries, such as the ministry of the Word, the ministry of care and ministry of relief, yet we can know that there is no difference in performing wonders and signs, and also proclaiming the gospel and even being martyred. And finally, we need to think about whether the same office-bearers have to share the same gifts. According to the today’s text, we can know that deacons even for the same ministries received different gifts so that they cooperated together to do their ministry gracefully. Therefore, we have to remember that we have to engage in ministry keeping in mind that the reason why such diverse gifts were given is to cooperate with each other for good. That’s why 1 Cor 12:4-7 says that “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Therefore, I pray that when the Holy Spirit who came, regenerated us and makes us become like Jesus while dwelling us, gives us the gifts and calls into the Lord’s offices to do His ministries, we all may obey to the leading of the Holy Spirit to build up His church to His glory.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 According to today’s text, even though we are filled with the power of the Holy Spirt, we know that we have to cooperate since the being empowered does not mean we can do everything perfectly. So for a moment after reviewing our life to check what gifts we received from the Holy Spirit and how we can serve the church with those gifts, I hope you could share your thought and idea experience with your team members together.

Q2 And also according to today’s text, we can know that the gifts of the Holy Spirit and offices of the Lord were given to dedicate, serve and minister to build the church. And since its authority comes from serving so that we can know that the gifts without serving already lost its purpose and contents. So after reviewing whether we serve the church with the gifts which the Holy Spirit endowed, I hope you could share your thoughts and experience with your team members.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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