Acts 6:8-15 Jealousy And Lies

Being caught doing good was his crime

As the church is growing so is the discontent around it. The people are flocking to the gospel and those around are seething with envy. They can’t compete with the truth so they have to devise lies to try and stop it any way they can. Stephen is the target in our reading today.

Stephen sets precedence for us in the miracles department. I have heard it said that the Holy Spirit and miracles were only for the apostles. Well, Stephen wasn’t an apostle. He was a disciple like the rest but he was also singled out for added authority. While serving the people he “was doing great wonders and signs among the people” (verse 8). This lets the stage for the Spirit working miracles among the rest of us disciples. Read more »

Acts 6:1-7 Learning To Delegate

The apostles follow God’s model

The early church is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds! God’s message is being spread all over the region but especially in Jerusalem. Along with the gospel are signs, wonders and acts of caring. These ALL were a part of the early church. And like any group, issues arose. We will visit one of these today and see how it was resolved.

Luke identifies a group in the early church called the Hellenists. These were Jewish Christians whose mother tongue was Greek. They came from the Diaspora who settled in Jerusalem. (I Googled it of course.) Their issue was that some of their widows were not being taken care of like the Hebrew widows were. Both groups were part of the new church but something was dividing them. Possibly a language barrier. This could have been the first “church split” but instead it was the first appointment of direct ministers, deacons if you will. Read more »

Acts 5:17-41 The Green Eyed Monster

(This reminds me of the High Priest’s efforts to stop God’s plans)

The apostles have gained a LOT of attention! Everyone is flocking to them for healing and deliverance. They are popular with the people. This was the same position Jesus occupied during His ministry. And the religious leaders couldn’t stand it! Now it’s time to do something about His followers.

Luke gets right to the root of their grievance; jealousy. The high priest and the Sadducees envied the apostles popularity and probably their success with miracles. “Why can’t we do signs like them? WE are supposed to be God’s connection to the people! Not those uneducated Galileans!!” So instead of going to God and finding out where they were missing the mark they have the apostles arrested instead. From the wording here I’m inclined to believe that most if not all the apostles were arrested in this raid. Read more »

Acts 5:12-16 Signs & Wonders Abound

The perfect place to reach everyone!

We get another look at the daily lives of the new church from Luke. He brings us the daily call that went out to those in need. This is the “body building” time of the church.

The custom was to go to the temple every day at specific times to offer prayers. The apostles were led to continue this practice, for some time at least. But while at the temple they engaged in more than just prayers. They engaged in what we would call evangelism. They stood and proclaimed the gospel to any who happened to be there and would listen. And there were a LOT of people who did listen! Read more »

Acts 5:1-11 Hidden In The Heart

He knows our heart’s condition

We come to the second half of Luke’s example of generosity in the early church. This half doesn’t end well like the previous example did. The reason is the heart of the giver not the gift itself.

Meet Ananias and Sapphira. They are land owners just like Joseph in our previous example. And like Joseph they sell their property and give the “proceeds” to the apostles for the use of the body. But unlike Joseph, they are deceitful in their giving.

Let’s start at the beginning. They were not required to sell their property and give the proceeds to the apostles. It was something that had become common among the believers but God had not commanded it. We aren’t told if the Spirit prompted them to do this or if they decided to do it because everyone else was. But we can see from their actions that they didn’t really want to give up their lifestyle completely. They had one foot in the church and the other in the world. Read more »