Sermon & Small Group Resources
This is the eighth sermon in our series on the book of Acts on “Seven Chosen to Serve”. Preacher: Matthew Skelton. Bible Reading: Acts 6
Next Steps this Week
BIBLE READING: Acts 6
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. 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. 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.”
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. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
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.
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”
So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
CONNECT: How is God using you on your front lines to make disciples?
Have you ever been chosen, commissioned, and sent to do a special task? What was it like?
Is it more important that the church shares the Gospel or that it cares for people in need?
READ Acts 6:1-4
What is the problem the church is facing? Why is this a good problem to have?
Why was it so important for the apostles to solve this problem equitably and swiftly? How do churches face similar challenges today?
What characteristics were the apostles looking for in choosing these deacons in v.3?
What role do you have to play in ensuring the church can care for people and share the Gospel?
READ Acts 6:5-7
All seven names listed in v.5 are greek names, therefore those chosen probably came from within the greek community. What does this tell us about the kind of people chosen to serve the widows?
How are these men commissioned to serve in their ministry? What does this tell us about the value placed on their duty?
What role did these seven servants play in allowing the church to increase in number in v.7?
How can we encourage and equip our sisters and brothers in Christ for ministry in God’s church?
READ Acts 6:8-15
If Stephen was meant to be serving widows, why is he doing wonders and signs in v.8?
The Jews mentioned in v.9, had greek backgrounds. Why did Stephen’s message challenge them? What pattern do you see emerging in Acts between evangelism, opposition, and church growth?
Where does Stephen’s power, authority in preaching, and shining face come from? How can this truth inform our prayers as we commit to being disicple makers this year?
How can we be more proactive in equipping and sending out disciple-makers around us?
APPLY This Week: Write a list of gifts you have been given and ways you can exercise these gifts to communicate the gospel with those on your front-line.
Sending God, thank you that you raise up all sorts of people to serve your church in all sorts of ways. Help us to work together to spread the gospel and make and mature disciples of Jesus. Amen!
On Your Frontline This Week: Who is the one person you are praying that will become a disciple? Write their name on the Disciple Maker tree and pray for them each day.
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