Saturday, May 07, 2022

2022.05.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 6:6–7

Read Acts 6:6–7

Questions from the Scripture text: 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 ordination of a deacon is seen in Acts 6:6. Now, it’s not money that is laid before the apostles but men who are laid before them, “whom they set before the apostles.” The people’s last “offering” to the apostles, with respect to “material” goods is officers who will oversee the use of all material gifts.

Then the apostles pray. It is not enough that these would be men in whom the Holy Spirit has already done work. Faithfulness and fruitfulness in their calling depended upon the Spirit’s continued work in them and ongoing work through them. God uses means, and so He requires obedience and wisdom in recognizing and selecting the mean that He has appointed to the work. But they are still only means; God must use them. The work will not succeed because of how well they have been selected but because God Himself uses them.

Finally, the apostles lay hands upon the men to whom they are handing off this part of the ministry. The laying on of the hands signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit’s specific empowering, calling, and helping them (cf. Acts 8:17, Acts 9:17, Acts 13:2–3, Acts 19:5–7; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; Hebrews 6:2). 

The success of a deacon is seen in Acts 6:7. “The Word of God spread.” The deacon’s goal is not merely to see the money distributed wisely but to see God’s blessing upon the work that he has freed up the minister of the Word to do. The deacon hopes that by relief of those responsibilities and of the tension that can arise from administering them, the ministers are more enabled to preach and teach the Word. And the deacon hopes that by their relief of earthly suffering and of personal offense, the people are more enabled to hear the Word.

“And the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem.” The number of disciples, which was already a multitude (cf. Acts 2:41, Acts 4:4, Acts 6:1), now multiplied greatly. Jesus had come to save the Jew first (cf. Acts 1:8, Acts 3:26, Acts 5:31; Luke 24:48; Romans 1:16, Romans 2:16). The first part of Jesus’s program of redemption was being completed. The progress and success of Jesus’s program of eternal redemption is the goal unto which a deacon labors in his oversight of ministry in earthly things.

“And a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” From among those who had been arch enemies (cf. Acts 5:17), a great many became obedient to the faith. The Lord is sometimes pleased to bless faithfulness in ministry of deeds by suddenly pouring out power upon a previously unfruitful ministry of the Word. This is one of the great hopes set before wives who submit gently and quietly to an unpersuadably unconverted husband (cf. 1 Peter 3:1–5). He upon Whose power the effect of our evangelism depends is pleased to respond to His people’s obedience and love with such outpourings as this.

How are deacons selected, ordained, and installed into their office? What should the response of those under them be? At what outcome(s) does their ministry aim?

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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