Chapter Six — Part Three: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 06/27/2021
a. Acts 6:2-5 KJV — Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch.
b. Serve (diakoneō): to serve or minister to.
c. Each of us is called to serve in one way or another.
d. Matthew 20:25-28 NKJV — But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
e. Minister: (Greek: diakonos) one who executes the command of another.
f. Used of servants—of kings, or at feasts (Matt. 22:13; John 2:5,9).
g. Ministers or officers—civil government (Rom. 13:4).
h. Men or women, serving in churches (Matt. 23:11; Mark 9:35; Rom. 16:1).
i. Deacons of churches or non-preaching business elders (Php. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:10-13; Acts 6:1-7).
j. Acts 6:6 KJV — Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
k. In this case, they did not lay hands on them to impart the Holy Spirit or a ministry gift.
l. It was to designate them for an office, as Moses did with Joshua (Num. 27:18-23).
m. No matter what position we hold in the Body of Christ, or in which capacity we serve, we each need the anointing and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
2. Seven Men.
a. Each of the seven had Greek names.
b. Stephen, whose name signifies a crown (Acts 6:5—Acts 8:2; 22:20).
c. He was full of faith, faithfulness, and the Holy Ghost.
d. He had strong faith in the Word and doctrine of Christ.
e. He was courageous and excelled in everything that was good.
f. Philip (Acts 6:5; 8:1-40; 21:8).
g. He also did an excellent work and was later ordained to the office of an evangelist.
h. Nicolas was a proselyte of Antioch.
i. We do not know anything more of the others—Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, and Parmenas.
j. As far as the Bible record is concerned, we do not know where they came from nor what became of them.
k. Perhaps they simply continued to minister in a ministry of helps capacity.
l. This was a vital ministry, for it freed up the apostles to spend their time in the Word and in prayer.
m. Spending time in the Word and prayer are essential for every believer, but especially those who stand in the full-time (five-fold) ministry.
3. Peace and Increase.
a. Acts 6:7a KJV — And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly…
b. Once they addressed the problem, restored order, and the murmuring and grumbling ceased, the Church began to grow and increase once more.
c. When the leadership of any individual church do not address problems, and when members continually complain and cause problems, the Gospel is hindered!
d. This is one of the reasons why the Word tells us to do whatever we can to live in peace and harmony with others (Rom. 14:19; Eph. 4:3; 1 Thess. 5:13; Heb. 12:14; Jas. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:11).
e. When we stay in the spirit, there is peace.
f. When we get in the flesh, there’s strife, dissension, and confusion.
g. It is your choice to be a blessing or a burden!
4. A Great Company.
a. The deacons attended to the tables, the apostles focused on preaching and demonstrating the Gospel, and the Gospel increased and was magnified.
b. As a result, many more were saved, and the Church grew greatly in numbers of committed Christians (disciples).
c. Acts 6:7 AMPC — And the message of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and [besides] a large number of the priests were obedient to the faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom is obtained eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].
d. A great company—a large number—of the priests were converted and attained salvation through Christ.
e. This was a great miracle and surely did not sit well with the Jewish counsel!
f. The priests embraced the Truth—the doctrine of the Gospel—and were obedient to the faith.
g. Faith is an act of obedience.
h. Romans 16:25-26 AMPC — Now to Him Who is able to strengthen you in the faith which is in accordance with my Gospel and the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ (the Messiah), according to the revelation (the unveiling) of the mystery of the plan of redemption which was kept in silence and secret for long ages, 26 But is now disclosed and through the prophetic Scriptures is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, [to win them] to obedience to the faith.
i. We are commanded by the Father to believe in Jesus Christ—and put our faith and trust in Him!
j. 1 John 3:23 AMPC — And this is His order (His command, His injunction): that we should believe in (put our faith and trust in and adhere to and rely on) the name of His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and that we should love one another, just as He has commanded us.