A seminar presenter was teaching his audience about time management. To make a point, he took a large jar, placed some fist-sized rocks in, then some smaller ones, then gravel, and finally sand until the jar filled to the brim. He was pointing out to his audience that if you do not put the big, important things on your agenda first, the small things will push them out.
In Acts 6:1-7, Jesus’ Apostles needed to follow a similar procedure to resolve a problem. How they solved the problem reveals the bedrock from which all other activities in the church spring.
The esteemed pharisee Gamaliel once warned, “You might even be found opposing God (Acts 5:39)!” Jesus’ apostles were on trial for teaching in the name of Jesus. The Jewish Sanhedrin was on the brink of sentencing them to death when Gamaliel made this bold assertion.
Many today do not give much thought about the implications of the existence of God. Undirected, evolution, while a widely fanciful idea, has convinced many that the world we live in no longer requires the intelligence of a designer for its existence. Meanwhile, the latest science shows us, with every discovery, how narrow the margin of error for life’s existence is.
“…you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us (Acts 5:28).” This accusation was lodged against the apostles, and the world continues to lodge this complaint against Christians.
Few crimes are more grievous than murder. After Cain killed his brother Abel, God said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground (Gen 4:10).” Abel’s blood cried for justice!
God sovereignly ensures that the gospel of his Son always goes out into the world. Throughout church history the number of the faithful may wax and wane; nevertheless, a faithful remnant always remains to tell the world the good news of Christ.
I was invited by a friend to a Christian music festival when I was sixteen. Having not grown up in a religious home, I expected no more than a fun time with my friend. However, after a speaker presented the gospel message that first night, two seemingly contradictory feelings gripped me. I was at once deeply afraid. These people really believed all this. And, at the same time, I was deeply attracted. I never met a kinder, more joy-filled, cooperative group.
Many people have tried to explain away verses in the Bible such as this one: “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).”
John Hick tried to describe all major religions as looking at the same thing from different perspectives. He said that all religions have equally valid paths of salvation. One might start here, he asserted, and another there, but they all really lead to the same place.
Pray we should. But how should we pray. Are there right and wrong ways? I think there are. Many give up on prayer because no one has ever taught them how to pray. Though not exhaustive in the least, the apostle’s prayer in Acts 4:23-31 gives us some pointers.
After the healing of the lame man at the gate called beautiful, the religious leaders had the apostles Peter and John arrested. Though they could find nothing to convict them of, they tried to silence them by commanding them to neither speak nor teach any more in the name of Jesus. The apostles responded as all Christians ought to respond to such persecution. They said to these very powerful men, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:19-20).”
A baby’s first steps mark a milestone. From sitting up to crawling to pulling up to holding on to finally walking, those steps open up a world of possibility. Can you imagine someone waiting forty plus years to take those first steps?
We come to the last distinguishing mark of the infant Christian church in this series. This series does not give an exhaustive list of distinguishing marks, only those listed in the first major snapshot of the infant Christian church given to us in the Book of Acts (Acts 2:42-47).