Series: The Mvmnt
Message: Infighting and Growth
Preacher: Monica Wernick
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Jessyka Albert
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin today in prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Acts 6:1–7 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Luke opens very intentionally with the words “Now in these days” to keep the focus on the graciousness of the apostles. They had the courage to admit that they had failed and needed a course correction. This is what we would refer to as “rolling strategic plan.” It is a sign of a flexible or nimble start-up operation. You would certainly not envisage this kind of freedom and adaptability in a huge institution with policy books or proprietary documents—those that are meant for internal eyes only. Yet the Church was not one local small congregation meeting in a living room. Most scholars believe that at this point there were probably close to 10,000 followers of Christ—about 10% of the population of Jerusalem (Acts 1:4;2:41). That large group, who only moments earlier were selling everything and acting as one family, suddenly had to deal with the implications and pragmatic consequences of choices that left them, in some cases, isolated. We must not forget that to choose to accept Jesus as Savior, to choose to believe that Jesus came, died, rose on the third day, ascended to heaven, sent the Holy Spirit, and calls His followers to “the life,” is not an gentle jaunt down a country lane. Your family members will disown you. Your faith community will banish you from communal worship. Your close friends from childhood may consider you a traitor. You might lose your job. You might lose your spouse.
The growth in the early church was explosive. It was also noted by historians that there were probably 8,000 priests and 10,000 Levites. The tensions among these diverse groups were huge. Still, many chose to follow Jesus.
How do we handle growth today? Does it cause any tension? I have met with local ministers' fraternal groups in every city in which I have pastored. It has been revealing over the past couple of decades to observe, both in England and in the USA, how ministers of different denominations treat each other. Some are naturally inclusive and others are extremely cautious. Some pray for everyone’s churches to grow and others hope the rest of the congregations will simply disappear. The apostles were all about the kingdom of God. They wanted more people to know Jesus. When they realized that they were not taking care of everyone, they put a new plan in place.
Recalibrate: What would be your priority if you were the leader of the local church?
Respond: Pray for insight.
Research: Read 1 Chronicles 9:13; Nehemiah 11:10-14, and Ezra 2:36-49. How did all those priests serve?
Look in the mirror with your child at each other’s teeth. Point out the teeth in the front and the teeth in the back. Clean your teeth together and explain that it is so important to clean every tooth because when one tooth is hurting your whole mouth hurts.
When you are asked to help with a chore at home, how do you feel? Excited?When the seven men in the Bible text were asked to serve, they were excited to help and to serve. Ask you parents what they could use help with today around the house. How can you make this chore exciting?
Have you ever gotten into such a bad fight with someone that you stopped talking to them? Are you sad you lost that relationship? Sometimes the biggest reason for fights is miscommunication. Spend some time in prayer asking God to give you words and help you understand others.