Acts 6:1-7 The Renewed Creation
In our reading from Acts chapter 6 verses 1-7, and we have the title of the renewed creation our reading from Acts is at a time when the church in Jerusalem is expanding, Pentecost had happened, and the Holy Spirit had come to live in the baptised believers.
But before we dive into our reading lets pray: –
Open our ears, O Lord, to hear your word and know your voice. Speak to our hearts and strengthen our wills, that we may have soft hearts and open ears for your word and for the prompting of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
And Lord, for myself, may my words be your words not my own, Amen.
Please open your Bible to Acts Chapter 6 verse 1 and we read “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
What do you make of this verse well when I looked at it earlier this week after spending two long days at a new wine conference, two long days 9 am to 9pm, but two very uplifting days, New wine by the way is an evangelical charismatic movement, any way when I looked at this first verse I thought yes Lord because it says ‘In those days when the number of disciples was increasing’. And my prayer for our area for our borough, for our city, for our country is Lord make that happen again, and it has happened in the past. In church language it is called revival, now with a little bit of research I have come up with what some call the
THE TEN GREATEST REVIVALS EVER
1. Pentecost 30 A.D.
2. The Pre-Reformation Revival 1300-1500
3. The Reformation, 1517
4. The First Great Awakening, 1727-1750
5. The Second Great Awakening 1780-1810
6. The General Awakening 1830-1840
7. The Layman’s Revival 1857-1861
8. The 1904 Revival, Beginning in Wales
9. The World War II Revival 1935-1950
10. The Baby Boomer Revival 1965-1970 which was also called The Jesus People, and the birth of the charismatic movement in main stream churches.
Revival is a pouring of God’s spirit on people, if you want to be amazed look up revival and see what God has done through time since Pentecost, I pray for revival every day, nothing else will make things right and when God pours out His Holy Spirit on His people, lives are changed people are changed nations are changed.
In our reading in verse 1 we read ‘In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews[a] among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So praise the Lord numbers were increasing people were being saved and look people were being transformed and people were being helped, but people were still people we read in the last part of verse 1 “the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
Hellenistic Jews were those who had adopted the Greek language and culture, and Hebraic were the ones who kept the old ways and the old language and the old culture, and the people were still people they looked after there own first and the Twelve recognised the problem, the problem was not the people it was bad teaching, they the twelve had not been devoting enough time to teaching and prayer, it was not anyone else’s problem.
We read in verse 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.
The twelve disciples are saying it is down to us to teach, teaching is more important than serving on tables, what are we doing serving on tables and clearing up, what is needed is teaching, and the same has been the case in every revival since Pentecost and will be the same in the next revival and there will be another revival.
God comes upon people in His power through the Holy Spirit but some of the learned behaver is very deeply in bedded. And knee jerk, I know this for myself, after I came to faith, I realised some time later that I was institutionally racists I never know it at the time, I would think of them people, and what could you expect there all like that ant they. It was the Holy Spirit and good teaching that changed that and now I realise that we are all like that and we are all them people, in every race and every culture there are good and bad, nice and lovely and not nice and some even evil in every race.
So the disciples recognise that things had to change and we read in verse 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Such wisdom can only come from the Holy Spirit, they the first disciples were the first wave of a Renewed Creation, they said ‘choose seven from among you who are full of the Spirit and wisdom’, not full of one without the other but full of the Sprit and wisdom.
Some in the church today are afraid of the Holy Spirit they are afraid of a gift from God, Jesus said in John 14:15-18 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Jesus is with us through the Holy Spirit, in fact I have meet people in this church who are frightened to be filled with the Holy Spirit, they are denying a part of God, I have news for you God is three in one not a pick and mix, He is Farther, Son and Holy Spirit three in one, He is God The Father, God The Son AND God the Holy Spirit, those people they don’t want to be renewed creations they are frightened the spirit will make them someone they are not, or someone they don’t want to be, if that is you or somebody you know them you need to fellow Jesus more closely and to read your bible Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 7 verses 7 to 12 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!.
The disciples said choose men who are full of the spirit and wisdom, when we are full of the Spirit we have the grifts of the Spirit.
So What Are They?
Gifts of the Spirit are special abilities provided by the Holy Spirit to Christians for the purpose of building up the body of Christ His Church. The list of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 includes wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. The gifts of the Spirit are simply God enabling believers to do what He has called us to do. The Apostle Peter says 2 Peter 1:3 says, His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” The gifts of the Holy Spirit are part of the “everything we need” to fulfil His purposes for our lives.
The gift of wisdom seems to be the ability to make decisions and give guidance that is according to God’s will.
The gift of knowledge is the ability to have an in-depth understanding of a spiritual issue or situation.
The gift of faith is being able to trust God and encourage others to trust God, no matter the circumstances.
The gift of healing is the miraculous ability to use God’s healing power to restore a person who is sick, injured, or suffering and I know this one still works my daughter was healed from years cornice back pain by nothing more than prayer.
The gift of miracles is being able to perform signs and wonders that give authenticity to God’s Word and the Gospel message.
The gift of prophecy is being able to proclaim a message from God, a lady vicar prophesied over me when I had just came to faith and told me what I would be doing today.
The gift of discerning spirits is the ability to determine whether or not a message, person, or event is truly from God.
The gift of tongues is the ability to speak in a language that you do not have knowledge of, in order to communicate closer with God. Arch Bishop Justin Welby speaks in tongues so do I.
The gift of interpreting tongues is the ability to translate the tongues speaking and communicate it back to others in our own language.
The gift of administration is being able to keep things organized and in accordance with God’s principles.
The Holy Spirit distributes the gifts of the Spirit as He sees fit for those who want them(1 Corinthians 12:7-11). God does not want us to be ignorant of how He wants us to serve Him. However, it is very easy for us to get caught up in what spiritual gift we want we have and then only serve God in that area of ministry. That is not how it works. God calls us to obediently serve Him. He will equip us with whatever gifts of the Spirit we need to accomplish the task or tasks He has called us to. Yes, God calls some to be teachers and gives them the gift of teaching, but that does not excuse the person from serving God in other ways that He calls them to serve Him as well. What are your spiritual gifts have you invited the Holy Spirit to give you gifts to server our God.
And we read in verse 5 That this proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
And so the believers see the sense of this and chose seven men, who they presented to the Apostles, seven men who stood out and stood up, who were willing to be leaders under a leader, they did not want to take over, they wanted to serve as is shown by there willingness to be prayed for and to have hands laid on them.
And through them and Apostles God continued to move, continued His revival God even changed the hearts and minds of a large number of priests, a large number of priests, the men who properly on Good Friday shouted as reported by Luke in chapter 23 verse 21 they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”.
Jesus came so we might have life, and was crucified for us, why because God loves us, God don’t just love the nice people He loves each one of us even the ones who shouted Crucify Him, Crucify Him people don’t like it when I tell them that God will forgive anyone who truly repents, even the worst person you can imagine, even a paedophile, but never forget you cant fool God you can only fool yourself. God knows if we truly repent.
So are you a renewed creation, have you fully repented and are full of the Holy Spirit, full of God’s love, receiving God’s forgiveness? Are you full of the fruits of Gods Spirit full of the Father Son and Holy Spirit full of as the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:22-23 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control? Are you forgiving as God has forgiven you?
Are you praying to be filled by the Spirit of God and for God’s revival to come to Gidea Park to Romford to London to England?
Because it will if we pray for it because God wants to renew His Creation. But he chooses His people to make it happen just as he did in our reading in Act two thousand years ago.
God the Farther, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit love us with one heart, what is our response to that love. To reject one or two or all three parts of God and spend eternity separated from His love or to commit ourselves to Him and repent of or wrong doing to love our neighbour as ourselves and be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have said it before good works will not get you into heaven, they will only get you into other people good books. Now I know what I want. God in His grace gives each one of us the choice. It is up to each one of us. Do we want to be a renewed creation and live in community with Jesus? Amen