Monday, April 18, 2022

2022.04.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 5:42–6:7

Read Acts 5:42–6:7

Questions from the Scripture text: What were the apostles doing daily (Acts 5:42)? In what two locations? What did they not stop doing? What was still happening (Acts 6:1)? What arose? Among which two types of Jews? Why—what was happening? Who summon the multitude in Acts 6:2? What do they say is not desirable to leave? Why would they have to leave it? What do they tell the people to seek (Acts 6:3)? How many? Of what three qualities? What would the apostles appoint them to do? To what two things would the apostles keep giving themselves (Acts 6:4)? How did the congregation respond (Acts 6:5a)? How many of them? Whom did they choose? How does it describe Stephen? What is specifically noted about Nicolas? What do they do with these men (Acts 6:6)? What do the apostles do with them first? Then what? What spreads as a result (Acts 6:7a)? And where do the disciples multiply, and how much (verse 7b)? And from what specific group (and how many) do they see new converts (verse 7c)? How is this conversion described?

The Purpose of the Deacon (free the Apostles for their work). The work of an apostle was intense. Daily, they were preaching not only in the temple but also from one household to another (Acts 5:42). There was much evangelism and public preaching to do, and much discipleship and household pastoring to do. But all of the evangelizing and discipling occurred by the same basic function: teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. This is the sum of the message of the Bible. In Him is the essence of all that we are to believe about God, and He is the only ability and great reason for all of the duty that God requires of man.

To this was added the ministry of prayer, to which they also gave themselves continuously (Acts 6:4). Indubitably, this included private prayer, but the implication is that verse 4 is tied to that ministry that “did not cease” in Acts 5:42. Prayer is an act of worship, and there is a right way of doing it. The disciples of the Pharisees and of John the baptizer knew this, and so did Jesus’s disciples. 

After hearing Jesus Himself pray, the disciples had asked Him to teach them to pray as well (cf. Luke 11:1–13). Jesus not only gave them a model prayer but taught them about persistence and the laying hold of God’s good gifts—especially the Holy Spirit, Who helps us to pray according to God’s Word (cf. Romans 8:15, Romans 8:23–27). Leading in public prayer and training households in prayer was an apostolic duty that continues to be the duty of elders—teaching the men in every place to pray, among the other parts of discipling them (cf. 1 Timothy 2:8). 

What were the apostles (and now elders) to give themselves to? Where? How much? What was one thing that was necessary for this to happen? How can you encourage it in your own congregation?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for redeeming us and taking care of us, body and soul. Please promote the care of our souls in the church by freeing up the pastors for prayer and the ministry of the Word. Unto this end, please give us good deacons, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP87 “The Lord’s Foundation” or TPH404 “The Church’s One Foundation”

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