Hey Table Church Fam! We want just want to thank you for tuning in this week! For those of you who are new with us tonight, we just want to welcome you and thank you for taking a few moments of your Saturday evening to connect with us!
Last week we had the opportunity to express vision and where we believe God is leading Table Church. It was the first time in 98 days that everyone came together since Coronavirus in one place to worship God! I remember having a conversation with Kristen afterwards about how mentally drained we were! It was such a great night being able to celebrate a couple graduates as they graduated high school and college. We had a rain delay of about a half hour when it came to starting our service! Instead of people gathering in our backyard to eat together, they ended up eating in their cars! There were so many highlights that are just going to stick with me for a very long time. But it was the connections and conversations that we had with others besides our immediate family that drained us! The conversations were really good but when you haven’t had an opportunity to talk in person with people for so long to so many different people, it can be exhausting! By the end of our last conversation last Saturday, it was 10 o’clock. Needless to say, everything that happened, it was so good and God was at the center of it all!
This week we are going to jump back into our journey through the book of Acts. We are going to be looking into Acts 6 tonight which happens to be the shortest chapter in book of Acts. It maybe the shortest chapter, but man can we find some really practical things we can take from these 15 verses and really apply them in our lives. Before we jump in, let’s pray When we go back to the beginning of the book of Acts, we see the apostles in the upper room in prayer and in Acts 2:2 we see “suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.” As we see this verse and jump into Acts 6, the question is posed what does it look like when the Spirt of God moves in our lives? What’s the evidence that God is moving in our lives? Some will express how obvious God moves in their lives while others have atypical ways that God moves in their life. Again it’s all about perspective. Are we looking through a lens that only shows us so much or are we expanding our lens, putting into focus what God is trying to do in our lives? To give a little bit of context up until this point, like we saw in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit just comes into the lives of the apostles and from there we see them preaching God’s word and the Holy Spirit does miracles through the apostles. So with that many people came to know Christ. So we pick it up in Acts 6 starting in verse 1.
Acts 6:1-5a: “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group.”
We see right in the beginning that it seems a bit chaotic. The reason is that so many people were coming to know Christ from many different nations. The movement just wasn’t in one area, it was happening all over. Picture like a soup kitchen where this kitchen typically feed a certain amount of people each day and now these new people are coming in. Yes they believe in Jesus but they are different than us because they act a little different and now they are taking food from our people. They shouldn’t be put in front of our people because our people still need food. So ultimately some people were not being fed and that led to frustration.
So in these few verses, we see a couple of different ways where the Holy Spirit moves in our lives.
I think if we are to be really honest with ourselves, most of us need and crave structure! I know I desperately need structure in my life. The apostles saw this and realized something needed to change. They saw that order needed to happen. They looked at this situation and realized that it was going to hinder what God wants to do in our lives. The apostles realized they weren’t the ones who were supposed to oversee what was happening so they in this soup kitchen or food bank. They appointed 7 men and provided structure to the situation. One of the things I’m learning as a leader that I can’t do everything myself. I know it’s surprising! But when more ministry opportunities come up in our community, I can’t be the lead for everything. Eventually I’m going to be spread so thin that I’m going to burn out! More opportunities then allows others to step up and take a leadership role. New opportunities calls for more leadership. I think we tend to not let go of things because we may actually think/believe that this other person may do a better job than us. Let’s jump to verse 7 and read that quickly.
Acts 6:7: “7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” There is a small but powerful word in verse 7 that I want to highlight for a second. That word is the first word in the verse “So”. “So the word of God spread.” To me, the word “so” is like the word “therefore” in the Bible. When I see “so” and “therefore” it brings to mind a result of something happening. So since the apostles appointed these 7 men to oversee daily distribution of food, the result was that the word of God spread. When the apostles brought a structure into this community, results happened. When I look at our lives, what are the areas in our lives that there needs to be structure where God can move through my life? What are the areas that need to be adjusted? Am I positioning myself in a place to hear from God and let God work through me?
Acts 6:8-9: “8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen.”
We get introduced to Stephen here in Acts 6 and we are going to talk more about Stephen next week as well but we see in these verses that he immediately he faces opposition. Do you remember how we talked about atypical ways that the Holy Spirit is moving through your life? Struggle is one of them! The moment we come up against opposition, we start to question. We start to question where we are at in life. I’m doing this and that and I just don’t understand why and how I can be struggling right now. We see right off the bat that Stephen has opposition because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. A couple weeks ago, I had the So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” opportunity to share that struggle and doubt should not be viewed as a weakness but instead it should be expressed as part of the journey we are all on with God.
Every single one of us will struggle! Every single one of us will come against opposition. Let me say this about struggle. Struggle does not represent the absence of God moving in our life! It’s the result of being aligned right where God wants in our season of life.
James 1:2-4: “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a]whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
We need to change our perspective to see how God is going to work through the struggle whatever that maybe. The struggle could be with our family, physical and/or emotional pain, finances, etc. God has positioned us in our time of struggle to lean more on Him so the Holy Spirit can move through us!
Acts 6:15: “15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” When Stephen stood before the Sanhedrin, they saw the face of an angel. When God is working in our lives, the way we hold ourselves changes and it’s different. When God is working in you and through you, your posture changes! People see a change! People notice a change!
We need to create some type of structure in our relationships where we will see and feel God moving through us. When struggle happens, it’s not necessarily that we are doing anything wrong. It’s just the season of life that God has us in where we can lean into him.