The Difference Your Service Makes
October 2, 2011
Introduction: The early church set the example of living in the context of unity. Their unity and power gave them a testimony that swept Jerusalem and as a result, many came to faith in Christ. No persecution or opposition from the Jewish authorities could stop the spread of the gospel. The believers' love for each other expressed in the sharing of material goods had made a profound impact on the community. As a result, even unbelievers held the church in high regard. (5:13)
The church's explosive growth had brought with it the need for further organization. It was already somewhat organized. They knew the number of converts and members. They met together in specific places at specific times. The believers also met for meals in private homes. Money and goods were collected by the Apostles and distributed to those in need. Sin had to be dealt with. The church became further structured as its life and growth demanded.
An important principle is illustrated: Biblical church organization responds to needs and to what the Spirit is already doing. To organize a program and then expect the Holy Spirit to get involved in it is to put the "cart before the horse." We dare not try to force the Spirit to fit our mold. Organization is never an end in itself, but only a means to facilitate what the Lord is doing in His church.
In Acts 6, the church is facing its first organizational crisis.
I. THE DISTRACTION IN SERVICE. 1-2,4
A. GROWTH TESTIMONY. 1a
"Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying"
Acts 1:15 - 120 disciples
Acts 2:41 - 3,000 added
Acts 4:4 - "number of men came to about 5,000"
There could have been around 20,000 men, women, boys, and girls in the Jerusalem church at this point.
FACT: The leadership and administrative problems associated with such a large congregation were enormous. Merely to meet thei ...
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