Dear children, I was so touched from your sharing of your appreciation and your blessings for your moms on the Mother’s Day last Sunday. I would believe the entire week; you have been an obedient child showing your love toward your mom as we have agreed we would. Thank the Lord for your determination to follow God’s command of Obeying your parents in the Lord as it says in Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.” (NLT)
After more than one year of online school, a few of you already attend school physically as you did before the pandemic. What would you think if you came home from school and there was no food for dinner? How would you feel if you saw your food being given to someone else? Your parents would never let this happen to you, right? However, this sometimes happened in the early church. Some people had no food, while others had plenty to eat. As we have learned from the previous weeks, the Holy Spirit gave the believers devotion and boldness to share the good news, and shared everything with each other, therefore, the young church kept growing and growing. The apostles kept busy! All day, every day, they taught the Word of God to people who were eager to hear it. But one day an ugly problem arose. Today we are going to take a look on how the apostles took care of this problem, and how the church kept growing afterwards. Mabel will read Acts 6:1 to show us what the problem was.
“But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.”
The Greek-speaking believers began to complain. They thought that the Hebrew speaking believers were not sharing the daily food equally. They believed the Greek widows were not getting their fair share. Today we call this problem discrimination. Discrimination means that we treat others poorly because they are different from us in some way. They may look different, or speak a different language. The Greek believers felt the Hebrew Jews were discriminating against them. This probably caused by language barrier, which means misunderstanding between each other as they spoke different languages. The apostles knew they could not handle every problem in the new church. And they were wise enough to know they shouldn’t even try to resolve the issue by themselves. So, they called the people together to talk about it. Let’s see how the Holy Spirit was in charge of this. Mabel, please continue to read verses 2 to 4 for us.
So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”
The apostles’ most important job to be focused on was to teach God’s word and pray. They also knew it was important to feed people. They knew money needed to be taken to the families in need. The apostles needed wisdom to deal with this difficulty in the growing church. The Holy Spirit gave the apostles wisdom to know how to deal with this problem. They told the believers to choose seven men. They weren’t to choose just anyone. They were to look for certain character traits in these men. What were those character traits from verse 3, yes, “Full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom”. Why do you think it would be important for God’s servants to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom? These seven men would be leaders in the Body of Christ and would have to know how to best serve others. A person who is not full of the Holy Spirit is not going to be a powerful leader and servant of God’s people. A person full of the Holy Spirit would have the Holy Spirit to guide him and give him wisdom how to serve others in a way that pleased God.
What the apostles said to do was pleasing to the believers in the church of Jerusalem. The seven men chosen to meet God’s criteria were Stephen, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas. These seven men could speak the Greek language. This would be helpful to be able to know the needs of the Greek-speaking believers. Some believe these seven men were the very first deacons to serve in the early church. The deacons’ job was to serve Jesus by helping people in the church who had needs. If someone was hungry, they made sure the person got food. If someone needed clothes, they made sure they had money to buy clothes. These men served the Body of Christ, the family of believers by helping others and allowing the apostles to do the very important job of teaching the Good News to others. Everyone was happy. Once again, the young church was united. The apostles served God by teaching and spreading the gospel. These seven special servants of God, they were deacons in the church, served by caring for the practical things that needed to be done in the growing church. God blessed both the apostles and the deacons as they served Him. When these 7 special servants of God were taking care of the need of the people in the early church, God’s work was able to continue through the power of the Holy Spirit working through the apostles. Let’s have Mabel read Acts 6:7 to see how God’s work continues and others are saved causing the Body of Christ to continue to grow.
So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.
It’s a hallelujah, praise the Lord, the ugly problem was well handled, and once again the church united and grew.
Our church, Home of Christ Church in Newark, we have about 200 brothers and sisters, we call congregation in our church. (introduce slowly as the photos would be showing) We have Elder Rich, Elder Jerry, and Elder Dean, also pastor Joseph, pastor Sidney, and minister Wing, and minister Jeremy in our church to teach God’s word, to pray, and to spread the good news. Also the 6 elected and dedicated deacons currently serve the church congregation. I would like you today to meet these 6 deacons in our church, so we could pray for them, also when we go back to meet at the church site, you would thank them personally as they are servants called by God with special godly traits and gifts serving our needs. (video clip of deacons) Thank the Lord for blessing our church with so many faithful servants.
What about us? Do we have a responsibility to serve believers? Even though we are not deacons if we are believers, we have a responsibility to serve other believers with the gifts and talents that God has given us. As we serve each other we help the Body of Christ grow and the power of the Holy Spirit is evident in the Church. Many of you regularly serving the children church by leading worship, reading verses, collecting offering when we were at the church, and saying prayers. These are wonderful. Can you think of other ways you could serve others at your age? Daily Prayer for others, letters of encouragement to pastors, teachers etc. are some ideas.
By keeping Jesus your main focus, you will be able to serve Him well and really help others. If you and I get busy doing too many activities and skip our time with God we will not be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and will not easily hear God’s voice when He shows us a way to help others. Therefore, daily reading God’s word and pray are a must to do list. Also, attending children worship like now, and participating children Sunday school every Sunday morning or afternoon, are so very important to keep yourself in God’s word, also to interact with others and encourage each other to grow in the Lord.
Jesus died on the cross for your and my sins, was buried and rose again on the third day. He died so you and I could be cleansed of all our sins and be a part of God’s family. It’s our prayer that you will say yes to Jesus if you have not done so. If you have any questions, please talk to our pastors or your Sunday school teachers anytime.
This week as we pray each day let’s ask God to show us how we can better serve other believers so the Body of Christ can be powerful and effective in sharing the Good News to a lost world. Let’s pray
“Dear heavenly father, thank you for our church, and your blessings that so many of your faithful servants who are called to serve us in the church. Please add your wisdom and protection daily to them. Help us to know you better every day, so we could love you and serve you in our church. Children pray together is in the name of Jesus, Amen!”