Curing The Crippled Church

The events of Acts 6:1-8 are often used to show the ministry of deacons in the church. I view this chapter as one of the great miracles of the early church. Up to this point the church has grown at a rapid pace while experiencing the arrest and beating of it’s leaders and the deaths two people who were seeking glory for themselves. During this time the Apostles were conducting all of the church’s ministry. Now we find discord in the body and the church has become crippled.
The Reason v1-2: Four things can be listed as the cause. 1) Unnumbered Multitude; “the disciples multiplied” the larger the congregation the more this becomes an issue. With growth comes growing pains. 2) Unfair Ministration; “widows were neglected” the Greeks were accusing the Hebrews of showing favoritism. This may or may not be true but it affected the fellowship. 3) Ungodly Murmuring; the Greeks may have been done wrong but this is not the way to handle it. Murmuring has plagued God’s people since the days of Moses and it still cripples churches today. 4) Unfit Ministers; “it is not reason…” the Apostles were not to be “serving tables” they were to lead and teach.
The Remedy 3-6: “seven men… to appoint over this business” weather these were actual ordained deacons or just seven helpers matters not to me. God’s wisdom for the church to have deacons is clear from other text. lets look at the trait these men were to posses. 1) Hard Working Men; they were not paid ministers. The work they did was on top of supporting their family. 2) Honest Men; “of honest report” means everyone would know them to be honest. The office did not make them honest. they already were. 3) Holy Men; “full of the Holy Ghost” they didn’t seek accountants, bankers or lawyers. They sought godly men who were led by the Spirit of God. These seven men will free the twelve up to pray, study and teach.
The Results 7-8: When God binds the wounds of a church it can begin to grow again. Four things testify to this in these two verses. 1) The Word Increased; there can be no spirituals growth without growing in the knowledge of the Bible. The more Bible we take in, the better we are equipped to handle this life. 2)The Worship Increased; “disciples multiplied” the Lord has once again begun adding to this church. When we are at peace with our fellow believer we are able to reach others. 3) Their Influence Widened; “priest” the priest around Jerusalem became believers in Jesus Christ. They knew all to well the difficulties of serving a large congregation. 4) Their Wonder Increased; “Stephen… did great wonders” this is the first time we see God doing this through someone other than one of the twelve. A healthy church has room for others to and glorify God with their gifts.
Let us pray to God that he would work this miracle among the many churches of our day. Pray that God would use you in the remedy and keep you from becoming one of the reasons. ~ Bro Harold