-The necessity for help now arises in the church as it keeps growing and people have needs. Think about the numbers that the text gives us about this early church movement (Acts 2:41; 4:4). There are probably around 10,000 members of the church by now and some complaints arose between the Hellenistic Jews (who held to Greek customs and languages) and the native Hebrews because the Hellenistic Jews felt they were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.
-The twelve brought the congregation of disciples together and mandated that seven men be given charge of the task of this service. They had the requirements of a good reputation, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and full of wisdom. The twelve maintained that they needed to be devoted to prayer and ministry of the word, which necessitated this arrangement of what would later be termed deacons (from diakonos in the Greek). These were servants that helped the work of the church, and they are given qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:12-13. *Application* The modern church in some denominations have given undue power and authority to the deacon body. The term deacon means “servant” and this is to be their function. There is a different group given oversight of the local body of Christ. These are called elders, which have some diverse words describing them in the text of Scripture (pastor- poimen, episkopos, presbyteros). Here we must remember that the church is an organism which has a head, Jesus Christ, and is not an organization like the world operates.
-The word of God kept spreading and the numbers kept growing greatly in Jerusalem. Even a great number of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7).
-Stephen became a great man of God full of grace and power and performing great wonders and signs among the people. There was a newly formed group called the “Synagogue of the Freedmen” that stirred up the people by speaking lies against Stephen by seducing people secretly. This led to Stephen being dragged before the Jewish Council with accusations that he was against Moses, the Law, and the Temple. This sets up Stephen’s defense of the gospel in chapter 7. *Application* Here we see the hand of evil present to disrupt the spreading of the message of Christ as it was gaining great strength and power through the Holy Spirit. Count on this in your life as well. As soon as you move forward with Christ and His Kingdom there will be opposition and persecution trying to thwart, distract, and confuse the work of God. Pray against this, but expect this spiritual warfare. It will come in new and unique ways every time and we must be on our guard to recognize these threats. It is always wise to know the enemy so that he can be combated and overcome through the Lord.
Verse to Memorize: Acts 6:3