Acts 6

Acts 6

Seven Chosen to Serve

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

And 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 the faith.

Stephen Is Seized

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.


Acts 6 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

We really have two storylines going on here. We have a great leadership move and a great Holy Spirit move both packed into one chapter. The beginning of Stephen is a great story, and one that will continue into Chapter 7, however, I was so drawn to the first part of this reading.

The leadership move we see here is a great template for anyone wanting to know how to oversee a flock of believers. There is so much good stuff here, I could write for days!

There is a disagreement in the body. So often these days that means a church split. Things will get ugly. People will say things they don’t mean. In the end, everyone loses. Here we have some discrimination taking place, and instead of immediately casting blame or pointing fingers, the leaders act quickly to come up with a collaborative strategy. It is a low-drama approach.

It is significant that they do this by first making the decision to stick to their calling. This is so huge. It would have been easy for these men to try and double up their duties. In their pride, they might have said, I can do it all! I can teach the Word, devote myself to prayer, and also care for these people in need. Many pastors do this today.

The need was great and filling it was a good thing, but it was not their calling. There was work that needed to be done, but not by them. How many leaders today (in the church and in the business world) are sticking to their guns while delegating and setting others up for success?

Next, they proceed to choose men filled with the Spirit. This was critical. They didn’t want just anyone. If they chose men filled with the Spirit, they could rest assured that God would lead the ministry that’s been given to them. Also, let me just point out that the men they chose didn’t say “No I’m too busy for that,” or “I don’t think I’m ready for that yet.”

They were fully committed to this body and had their priorities straight. They were obedient to stepping in and assisting their church leaders when the call went out. Once they were chosen, they were all in.

Finally, they lay hands on these men and send them off to their mission. Here is the best part. This move produced immense fruit. There was massive growth! So much, in fact, that there is a one-liner in verse 7 we should all gasp over. It says there was so much fruit, that even priests became obedient to the faith. Yes, that means priests (the hypocrites during Jesus’ earthly ministry). Some of the dreaded Pharisees became Christians. What?

This is a rare and shocking revelation that no one saw coming, but it started with a great leadership move and a great Holy Spirit move. This is what the church looks like when we work together like a body instead of hobbling along with one eye and one leg. We could learn a lot from these early church folks.

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