#ChurchOnMission Series
  • At His ascension, Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach his gospel. That same mission continues today, unbroken and unhindered for almost 2,000 years since. The book of Acts is an encouragement for the church today as Christians contend for the gospel of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. How did the disciples begin executing the biggest mission in the history of the world? The Bible says that while waiting for the Holy Spirit, they devoted themselves to prayer—they talked to God. The apostles led by following Scripture—through it, God responded. Consequently, the early church experienced success—but not without undergoing failure first. What can we learn from what they did? Join us Sunday ACTS #churchonmission.
5. The Men of the Mission - Eclessiology Acts 2, Acts 6
  • Are vocational ministers the only ones who can serve in the work of the Church? Every believer should participate in the ministry of the Church.
Talk it Over Discussion Guide 
  • Interpretation - What is the text telling/showing us?
    • Why was the church growing in numbers? 
    • Who was carrying out the work of the ministry? 
    • What was the role of the Apostles? Why did they take the steps they did in Acts 6:1-6? 
    • What role did all the new believers in the church play in the ministry of the church? 
    • Describe the individuals in Acts 6:5. What “qualified” them to serve in the role for which they were chosen? 
    • Read I Corinthians 12:12-27. How do these verses describe what was happening in Acts 2:42-47 and 6:1-7? 
    • Who should be leaders within the church? How should all leadership be structured? What are the “qualifications” for leadership in the church? 
    • What is the distinction between “vocational” ministers and everyone else in the church in terms of the mission of the church? 
  • Implementation - What should the listeners response be?
    • How are you participating in the work of the church and why? 
    • What more might you be able to do? 
    • What has the Holy Spirit gifted you to do?
Sermon Teaching Notes (as compiled by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation - What's generally going on in this area of scripture?
In Acts 2, we see that in the power and under the filling, direction and influence of the Holy Spirit, the disciples had moved out of the house and into the streets, praising God and testifying to the resurrection of Jesus. The many pilgrims in Jerusalem celebrating Pentecost heard the disciples speaking in their languages and most wondered what was happening. Peter stepped to the fore, with the Eleven standing with him, and brought the message of the gospel, focusing on the resurrection of Jesus, and calling his listeners to repent and receive Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Many did, and Luke reports that some 3000 were saved and added to the church that day. Verses 42-47 tell us that the church continued to grow as the Lord “added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47)

The church had begun and was growing. Acts 4:32-37 speak of the fellowship, caring and ministry of the church as it tended to those among them who had need, and continued to testify to the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 4:33). As the church grew, Acts 6 indicates that there was need for some organization and structure beyond the Twelve leading everything. The immediate situation which precipitated such need was the issue of the daily distribution food to widows. There were Grecian (or Hellenistic) Jews, and Hebraic (or native) Jews, and the widows from the respective groups were treated differently in respect to the food distribution. Scholars differ to an extent as to the composition of the Grecian Jews, but suffice it to say that they were Jews whose principal language was Greek, and many of them were likely Jews who had moved back to Jerusalem and the Palestine area. The Hebraic Jews were likely Jews native to Palestine whose principal language was Aramaic (and Hebrew).

The two groups would have attended different synagogues, and as they came to Christ, the distinctions continued. The Grecian Jewish widows were apparently not getting sufficient food. To further complicate the matter, the Twelve, who were overseeing the church in general and the distribution of funds and food (Acts 4:35), were overworked and thus unable to properly fulfill their calling to preach and witness. Thus, they arranged for the selection of seven individuals to oversee the food distribution and ordained them to service. These individuals did more than just oversee the food distribution; they were men of faith and wisdom and full of the Spirit (Acts 6:3). Stephen in particular, undertook to preach and witness with power, and with such success that he riled the members of several synagogues who, in turn, brought charges against him to the Sanhedrin. (Acts 6:8-15)

It is clear that in these earliest days of the church, it was not only the Apostles who were involved in the work of the church, the work being the proclamation of the kingdom and the resurrection of Jesus, but it was literally all the believers. Acts 2:42-47 gives us the picture of the body of Christ, caring for those in the body and those outside the body, reaching out with the love of Jesus, and impacting the community. Acts 6:1-7 gives us the picture of leadership in the church based on spiritual giftedness and maturity, of the leadership delegating responsibilities to others, and of at least minimal organizational structure, all to the end that the work of the church as a whole can continue. In short, we see the body of Christ at work, and the Lord adding new believers to the body it seems a daily basis (Acts 2:47; 6:7).