Sermon in a nutshell: Acts 6:1-7, “The number of Disciples increased rapidly!”

Sermon in a nutshell: Acts 6:1-7, “The number of Disciples increased rapidly!”
Read the Bible! The passage for today starts with the sentence, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing,…” and ends with the sentence “The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” It is pretty exciting, isn’t it?
Do you know, however, what happened in between those two sentences? The first church had conflict! Why it does not surprise me? In our individual lives and communal lives, conflicts are integral parts of them. Can you imagine anybody who is exempt from any conflict? The important issue for us is not how to avoid it but how to handle it. When the church was growing, they had conflicts that flowed naturally from the growth. When they handle it wisely, the church grew more rapidly!
Today we observe Veteran’s Sunday. Veterans fought fights to defend our country whenever our country had conflicts with others. Because our Veterans sacrificed their lives and comforts, we can enjoy now freedom and safety. They made our country to grow rapidly and to become the strongest country in the world within 2 centuries! Our church also needs spiritual veterans who are willing to fight the battle for the Kingdom of God!
Both in the first church and in the history of our country, we can find the same principle: Wise and courageous leaders and workers work together to handle their conflicts and made it an opportunity for them to grow more! So, brothers and sisters! Do not be intimidated by the challenges of life! Let us fight against them with God’s help and guidance.
When we have an issue, first, we have to identify what the problem is and who the enemy is. The issue that the first church had this: the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. You can say that it was an issue of economy or finance. Or you can say that it is the issue of justice! Or you can say that there was a power struggle or control issue! You can define the issue in many different ways and it will dictate your way of solving it.
The disciples saw it as an issue of how to live together and how to love unconditionally! Hellenistic Jews and Hebraic Jews were not enemies against each other. They only need to work out better how to live together!
For that purpose, they did two things. They set the priorities. The disciples said that they would focus only on prayer and the ministry of the word of God! Before they figured out concrete and practical policies, they wanted to know God’s will revealed in the word of God! The second thing that they did was to elect the leaders of the community who “are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom” like our Veterans! They turn the responsibility of distributing the food fairly over to them and paid full attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. That took care of the problem and the result was rapid growth of the first church and the spread of the Gospel!
I will preach the word of God and pray for all of you to be filled with Spirit and Wisdom. May God bless our church with great leaders as God has blessed with our country with veterans!
• What are the issues that you are facing these days?
• Who or what helps you to define the issue and to find solutions?
• What would you offer for our church to grow rapidly?

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About biblepreacher

United Methodist Church Pastor. My wife, Hysung Hong Lee, is also a UMC pastor and my children are all grown and have their independent life. We have now empty nest. I and my wife are collecting some mission eggs now in that nest!
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